Towton

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Towton (derivation: Viking tofi's farm) is a village in North Yorkshire, England, about 18km (11miles) south-west of York.

It has given its name to a battle fought nearby between Lancastrianary and Yorkist forces that is believed to be the biggest and most brutal ever fought in Britain. It began on 29th March 1461 in cold and windy conditions with frequent snow showers, and both sides had decided that no quarter would be given. Between 70,000 and 80,000 men took part and it was a victory for the Yorkists led by Edward, Duke of York, over the forces of King Henry VI. The battle and ensuing rout lasted from early afternoon through to the next morning. It has been estimated that over 30,000 men, mostly Lancastrian, died. (Daniel Defoe in “A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain” (1724-6) reckoned 36,000.)

Henry and his wife fled to Scotland and Edward assumed the throne as Edward IV. The battle marks the end of the first phase of the Wars of the Roses.

The rivalry between the two counties continues to this day.

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