Siege of Bamburgh Castle, December 1462

The siege of Bamburgh Castle (December 1462) was a Yorkist victory that briefly gave them control of Bamburgh Castle, on the Northumbrian coast.

Battles of the Wars of the Roses
Battles of the
Wars of the Roses

After the battle of Towton Bamburgh, Alnwick and Dunstanburgh were all held by Lancastrian supporters. Bamburgh remained in Lancastrian hands for longer than the other two castles, and wasn't taken by the Yorkists until July 1462 (during a brief truce with the Scots).

On 25 October Queen Margaret landed at Bamburgh with a small French army led by Pierre de Brézé. Bamburgh surrendered, as did nearby Dunstanburgh, where Sir Ralph Percy changed sides. Edward responded by sending Warwick north and then began to raise a massive army. Faced with this threat Queen Margaret retired into Scotland, leaving Henry Beaufort, duke of Somerset and Sir Ralph Percy to defend Bamburgh.

In early December Warwick began sieges of Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick. He held overall command, while John Neville, Lord Montagu was in daily command at Bamburgh. Supplies soon began to run out inside Bamburgh. A relief army was being raised in Scotland, but the Yorkists were able to keep Bamburgh isolated, and on 24 December Somerset and Percy offered to surrender. Their offer was accepted, and on 26 December Bamburgh was surrendered to Warwick.

Remarkably Edward quickly pardoned Somerset and Percy, Both men swore allegiance to him, and Somerset even took part in the siege of Alnwick (December 1462-6 January 1463) while Percy was given command of Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh.

Edward's attempt to reconcile Percy failed. On March 1463 he changed sides yet again and surrendered both castles to Queen Margaret. In November Somerset also returned to his earlier allegiance and joined Henry VI at Bamburgh. Somerset then began a successful campaign which established Lancastrian control of much of Northumberland. Once again Edward prepared to deal with this new threat, but before his army could reach the north Montagu had dealt with it. He defeated Someset at Hedgeley Moor in April 1464 and Hexham in May. Somerset was captured and executed after the second battle. Sir Ralph Grey, the commander at Bamburgh, attempted to defend the castle (siege of Bamburgh, June-July 1464) but he was knocked out by falling masonry and his second in command surrendered, effectively ending the Lancastrian campaign in Northumberland.

Books on the Middle Ages - Subject Index: War of the Roses

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 December 2013), Siege of Bamburgh Castle, December 1462 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/siege_bamburgh_1462.html

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