New Historian

Oldest English Cannonball Found In Delapre Park

Cannon Ball

<![CDATA[On the 10th July 1460, the Battle of Northampton was fought between the armies of York and Lancaster, in the area now known as Delapre Park. Recently, a lead cannonball, measuring roughly 50-60 mm in diameter, has been found on the site of the ancient battlefield. It is believed to be the oldest cannonball in the entirety of England. The cannonball was found on farmland near Eagle Drive, Northampton, in an area that is registered as an English Heritage battlefield. The late Stuart Allwork first found the cannonball in the mid 2000s, however, it was believed to have been lost until its rediscovery in 2014. Since the ball's rediscovery, it has undergone multiple tests and examinations by Dr. Glenn Foard, a battlefield archaeologist from Huddersfield University and one of the UK's leading experts on medieval artillery. Among his other work, Dr. Foard managed the research team that accurately pinpointed the site of the Battle of Bosworth. Dr. Foard stated, "It is highly likely that the projectile was fired during the battle in 1460", which, if true, would make it the oldest cannonball in England. However, much testing, analysis and study are still taking place to determine the cannonball's exact age. The ball, known as the Eagle Drive Cannonball, is massively damaged due to at least two impact bounces, and it has been determined that one of the ball's grooves still contains small fragments of Northampton Sand and Ironstone. The additional damage could have been caused by the cannonball striking a tree or a piece of wooden apparatus. Both the House of York and the House of Lancaster are known to have had artillery during the battle, although it is believed that the Lancastrian forces were unable to utilise their cannon due to rainy weather. Therefore, it is believed that the cannonball was fired by Yorkist artillery men against progressing or retreating Lancastrian forces. The cannonball is important as according to David Mackintosh, Leader of the Northampton Borough Council, "It supports the long-held belief that the 1460 Battle of Northampton was the first time artillery was used in battle on English soil, raising the importance of the conflict as part of the story of England." Modern day estimates suggest that up to 12,000 men had died during the battle, and the desperate Lancastrian retreat. After the War of the Roses, Richard of York, the father of Richard III, took control of the English throne for the first time. It was then that the foundations were laid for the eventual violence and tragedies that culminated in the death of his son, at the Battle of Bosworth, 25 years later. It is intriguing and saddening that Stuart Allwork was able to add so much to the understanding of English Medieval history, by pinpointing the site of the Battle of Bosworth and discovering the cannonball, but was unable to live long enough to see the fruition and importance of his discovery. Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons user: World Imaging ]]>

Exit mobile version