Three generations of family provide a unique insight into England’s largest battle.

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Pupils at Brackenfield School in Harrogate were treated to a fascinating presentation on The Battle of Towton by three generations of the Atkin family, Howard Atkin, his son Robert Atkin and his son, Jacob who is a pupil at the school.

The children enjoyed a superb display of drumming, weaponry and armour during the presentation. They learnt about how important battle was in The War of the Roses and how the battle ultimately led to King Edward IV coming to the throne.

The Battle of Towton on 29th March 1461 was possibly the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. The two huge armies, estimated at 65,000 men, confronted each other in the middle of a snowstorm on an open field between the villages of Towton and Saxton, near Tadcaster on Palm Sunday.

three generations of the Atkin family, Howard Atkin, his son Robert Atkin and his son, Jacob who is a pupil at the school
Three generations of the Atkin family, Howard Atkin, his son Robert Atkin and his son, Jacob who is a pupil at the school

Although the Lancastrian King Henry VI had transferred the right of succession to the English throne to Richard, Duke of York, his wife Queen Margaret was not prepared to accept this without a fight. After Richard was killed, his son, the 18 year-old Yorkist Edward, led his followers to depose Henry through force.

The fierce fighting continued through the day but eventually the fleeing Lancastrians were cut down from behind as they fled the battlefield. Towton proved to be a decisive victory for the Yorkists although it took a further 25 years for this political clash to end.

Headteacher, Mrs. Sowa was delighted that the Atkin family were able to teach the children about this key battle: It was fascinating to hear about this important battle which is right on our doorstep. To have three generations of Brackenfield family present this to the school was a really unique way of teaching the children about the battle. I would like to thank them for their enthusiasm and their time.

If you are interested in finding out more, the website for Towton Battlefield Society is www.towton.org.uk and the battlefield is a great day trip.


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