On Easter Sunday 14th April 1471 the armies of the house of Lancaster and the house of York faced each other on the outskirts of Barnet in what was to be one of the decisive battles in the war of the roses. Within five hours the white rose of York had defeated the red rose of Lancaster and thousands of bodies lay scattered on Hadley common.

Clearing the battlefield would have got underway quickly in view of the warm weather, and most of the dead were probably buried within a week. The carnage on the field would have been a truly appalling sight. Estimates of the number killed vary greatly, as with most 15th Century battles, but it is likely to have been between 2,000 and 3,000 although some have put it as high as 10,000.

10,000 arrows were apparently collected on the field afterwards and artillery would have been left where it was abandoned. Bodies with limbs hanging off and the sound of men screaming in pain would have filled the air in Barnet. Thousand of pints of blood flowed in the ponds and the fields of the small area that the main battle took place. Most of the tales of the Battle of Barnet state
that the bodies were buried in a place called “Deadman’s Bottom" It has also been mentioned that Lancastrian solders ran into "Deadman's" and were slaughtered.

Other stories say that it is in the top end of Hadley Wood while others have a view that it is in Wrotham Park or down Kitts End Lane. Most of the dead could have been buried in grave pits on the field as the black plague was still fresh in some people minds.

The locals would have been aware that they had to clean up and be quick. Most of the bodies would have been stripped of armour and anything valuable by the Yorkists who were drifting back to London. Some of those of noble birth would be taken away to be buried with more dignity in family tombs.

Is there anything to say that the bodies are buried somewhere in Hadley Woods or is it in some spot that nobody has yet thought of! There is a story that Edward paid for a chapel to be built near the site of the battle where prayers were said for those who died.

It is said that the chapel was built either above or near to the grave pits. The exact position was never recorded, but it was mentioned during the following century in the St. Albans Abbey records, concerning repairs and maintenance.

After the Reformation, the chapel was abandoned and nothing was heard about it again. Part of it is supposed to be incorporated in Pimlico House, which lies beside the common”
Although the Lancastrians lost heavyweights such as Warwick and Montagu, the Yorkists, lost far more noblemen than they had in any other battle.

Somewhere close to the Hadley Highstone the answer could be found.

How long would it take to remove all the bodies?

In what were they transported? Did they burn the bodies and is there is no grave or pit?

Did the people of Barnet come out after the battle and start right away?

Who would organise such a task and how did they know where it was a safe distance to leave the bodies?

Where would the ground be soft enough to dig (apparently) two large graves, one for either red or white rose follower?

Why, with so much building going on in Barnet has nothing ever been found?

The clues are there but who has the answer?

Brian Carroll of Barnet 4U said “Nobody has ever found the site of the graves to these soldiers and although many have tried it still remains a mystery. We now have the best chance of trying to solve this mystery and we are asking for anyone interested in the battle to give us their views and any information they have of the true location of “Dead mans Bottom. With modern technology we would be able to find out where they are buried without disturbing the bodies.
It would also be nice to have a proper memorial to such an important battle in English history”.

If enough of you are interested please get in touch with us at Barnet4u and perhaps we can solve this where others have failed