are the bodies buried
SITE IN SEARCH FOR THOUSANDS OF BODIES
BURIED IN BARNET
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.
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
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.