Edward, Earl of March, now Edward, Duke of York, following his father’s death at the Battle of Wakefield, had planned to march his forces from Gloucester to London.
Having learnt of a Lancastrian army raised by Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke and his father Owen Tudor, travelling to meet up with the main Lancastrian army, he changed his mind and decided to block their advance.
Edward marched his army north, meeting the Lancastrian force at Mortimer’s Cross, near Wigmore, Herefordshire on 2 February 1461.
On the morning of the battle, a meteorological phenomenon known as ‘parhelion’ or ‘sun dog’ occurred, when three suns were seen to rise in the sky. Many of Edward’s soldiers were frightened by this, as they believed it to be a bad omen. Edward managed to convince them otherwise, that it was a good sign and meant that God was on their side.
Edward’s army outnumbered the Tudor’s, but it was the Tudor’s who attacked first.
The Lancastrian division led by James Butler, Earl of Wiltshire, attacked Edward’s right wing, forcing them to retreat. Jasper Tudor faced the Yorkist centre, and Owen Tudor attempted to encircle the left wing.
Owen Tudor’s force were defeated, the centre broke and the battle was over. Owen Tudor’s men fled the battlefield and were pursued by Yorkist forces. Owen Tudor was captured and beheaded, however Pembroke and Wiltshire managed to escape.