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1471: 14 April - Barnet

In October 1470 Warwick drove Edward out of England and reinstated Henry as King. Aided by money and ships supplied by his brother-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy, Edward returned in March 1471. Landing in Yorkshire, he was soon able to assemble a small army and gather reinforcements as he marched South. Montagu in Yorkshire and Warwick in Coventry were successfully by-passed, while Clarence (unknown to Warwick) was preparing to return to his brother’s camp. On 12 April King Edward entered London unopposed. He left again the next day to confront Warwick, who had marched through St. Albans with a mixed Lancastrian and Yorkist force of about 9,000 men and taken up a position on Hadley Green, just north of Barnet. Edward, at the head of some 8,000 men, arrived at Barnet on the evening of 13 April and in spite of the darkness advanced to within a short distance of Warwick.
 
The battle started early the next morning in a thick ground mist. In the initial stages the Yorkist left (under Lord Hastings) was beaten from the field by the Earl of Oxford’s battle, but Prince Richard of Gloucester (the future Richard III) had some success on Edward’s right. The fight in the centre was sternly contested. Oxford, returning from the pursuit of Hasting’s men, misjudged the position and in the mist his banners with their star were mistaken for Edward’s sun and he was attacked by men from Warwick’s centre. Thinking treachery was afoot, Oxford and his followers rode off the field. The battle lasted between three and four hours and ended in a complete victory for Edward. The Earl of Warwick, who had fought on foot, was struck down trying to regain his horse.