Skip to content
Home » Battles in Medieval History: The Battle of Barnet, 1471

Battles in Medieval History: The Battle of Barnet, 1471

The Battle of Barnet, one of the critical battles in the Wars of the Roses, involved the forces of Edward IV and Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick. At one time, Edward and Richard had been allies, both of them overthrowing Henry VI (of Lancaster) and putting Edward on the throne. As a reward for his faithfulness to Edward, the Earl of Warwick hoped to earn prestigious positions for his friends at court, but instead Edward gave those positions to supporters of his wife, Queen Elizabeth. This act of disrespect infuriated Richard, and so the earl declared war on Edward. The earl eventually drove Edward into exile and restored Henry VI to his former kingship.

Edward was not done, however. In March 1471, he returned to England with an army of Burgundian mercenaries and marched on London, taking Henry prisoner, and once Henry was in chains, Edward turned his attention on his old friend and ally the Earl of Warwick.

Not far north of London, the two armies met at Barnet in the early morning admist a thick fog. At first, it looked as though Warwick’s men would win the day, but the battle turned, and Edward’s army ended up routing the earl and killing him. After Barnet, Edward won an even greater victory at Tewkesbury, securing his position as king of England.


“Battle of Barnet.” Barnet London Borough. (accessed July 13, 2009).

Tompson, Richard S. “Battle of Barnet.” Great Britain: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present, European Nations. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2003. Ancient and Medieval History Online. Facts On File, Inc.
ItemID=WE49&iPin=GB0091&SingleRecord=True (accessed July 13, 2009).

Additional Reading:

Confrontation at Coventry through the Battle of Barnet, written in Middle-English (primary source) — the Wikipedia entry has some really good information and lots of references and additional sources

4 thoughts on “Battles in Medieval History: The Battle of Barnet, 1471”

  1. Richard Neville was once the most powerful man in England and nicknamed The Kingmaker. Neville was king in everything but name during the rule of the mentally ill Henry VI and stopped at nothing to maintain his control over the throne. He even married his daughters off to the sons of Henry and Edward.

    Warwick castle, owned by the Nevilles is a fascinating place to visit.

    The Nevilles remained an important family, one branch being the Dudleys who were favourites at the Elizabethan court too.

    The Neville family badge is carried over into pubs called the “Bear and Ragged Staff” . The same emblem appears on the arms of Warwickshire County Council

    Elaine Saunders
    Author – A Book About Pub Names

  2. Thanks for the info, Elaine. Warwick Castle does look impressive in pictures. It’s one I’d like to visit when I go to England. Tell me a little about your book. How did you come up with the idea, what inspired you?

  3. Years ago I read a snippet about the history behind pub names and that got me interested. Subsequently, I wrote several magazine articles on the subject and continued to research as I am interested in quirky British history and travel.

    Eventually, I decided to expand the research into a book. As it has over 100 colour illustrations it would have been prohibitively expensive to print so I created it as an e-book.

    This meant I could have as many, high resolution images as I liked plus I could include live links to specialist websites. Therefore, if a sign comes from The Wars of the Roses and I don’t have space to explain in detail about the war, I can link to a site that has all the info. This makes it a starting place for research rather than a destination.

    Currently e-book readers are only in black and white but some has suggested turning it into an iphone application. I’m currently looking into this.

    Extracts from the e-book and free pub-related articles can be found on my website at or on my blog below.

    Thanks for your interest and carry on with your great blog.

    Elaine Saunders
    Author – A Book About Pub Names

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Anti-Spam by WP-SpamShield