York’s Medieval Attractions Commemorate England’s Bloodiest Battle This March


Issued 14/03/2016

Three of the city’s visitor attractions mark the 555th anniversary of the Battle of Towton.

History is full of stories of warfare; sieges and strikes, invasions and withdrawals and English history is no exception to this. So, the team at The JORVIK Group, the operators of JORVIK Viking Centre, are looking to shine a light on a fascinating, if not sometimes confusing period of our nation’s history; the Wars of the Roses, a time that shaped the monarchy for centuries to come, with a series of special events commemorating the 555th anniversary of the Battle of Towton.

“The Battle of Towton is seen not only as the bloodiest battle on English soil but also a defining moment in the Wars of the Roses, when the newly crowned Edward IV, a Yorkist and brother of the future Richard III, defeated the army of the mad Lancastrian king, Henry VI. It sets up the events that lead to the Tudor Age, so it is truly an exciting time in our history and something that should be explored.”

Said Danielle Daglan, Head of Festivals and Events for York Archaeological Trust, the owners of The JORVIK Group.

The Battle of Towton took place on 29th March 1461, Palm Sunday, a day of huge religious significance, especially in the Middle Ages. Yet both sides agreed to fight in order to solve the continued problem in English politics at the time, namely having two kings vying for the throne of England. Over 50,000 soldiers fought at Towton, with casualties reported at 28,000 just days after the battle.

With so much to cover The JORVIK Group have enlisted all three of their medieval attractions to play host to a series of exciting and informative events on Saturday 19th March.

First up, the historic medieval townhouse, Barley Hall, will be the place to discover the function and fashion of warfare in the Middle Ages, with costumed guides on hand to take you through how a knight put his armour on to what the civilians of the period would have been wearing. Then it is onto the city walls and Monk Bar where visitors can learn about the tough lives of the soldiers who took part in the Wars of Roses. Finally, at Micklegate Bar visitors can meet a Plague Doctor and discover some truly horrendous medieval ‘cures’.

“With so much to cover, on this the 555th anniversary of the Battle of Towton, it seemed right to focus on specific aspects of the Wars of the Roses across our medieval attractions. You can uncover the harsh lives and grisly injuries they suffered at our two attractions in the city’s gatehouses and then discover the changing fashions of the period, truly an unique medieval experience in York for this commemorative weekend”

Commented Danielle.

The Battle of Towton Commemorative Events take place at Barley Hall, off Stonegate, the Richard III Experience at Monk Bar and the Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 19th March. Check www.barleyhall.co.uk for specific event times. Normal admission prices apply at each attraction or purchase The JORVIK Group’s Medieval Pass to gain entry to all three for one price.


Picture Caption: Paul Toy, from the Richard III Experience, Monk Bar, prepares to welcome guests and commemorate the 555th anniversary of the Battle of Towton this weekend.

Notes to Editors

About the Battle of Towton

The Battle of Towton was fought during the English Wars of the Roses on 29th March 1461, near the village of Towton in Yorkshire. It brought about a change of monarchs in England, with the victor, the Yorkist Edward, Duke of York—who became King Edward IV (1461–1483) displacing the Lancastrian King Henry VI (1422–1461) as king, and thus drove the head of the Lancastrians and his key supporters out of the country.

Between 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers fought on each side, with approx 28,000 casualties on the day, making Towton one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on English soil.

Towton is approx 2.5 miles from Tadcaster and approx 12 miles from York

About The JORVIK Group

The JORVIK Group is owned by York Archaeological Trust, an independent charity and comprises:

JORVIK Viking Centre, which will re-open in Spring 2017 following the flooding in December 2015.
Barley Hall
Richard III Experience at Monk Bar
Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar

Media Contact:
Paul Whiting
Marketing Manager
01904 543433