Today is the 539th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet and hence the deaths, among thousands of others, of the Neville brothers - John Neville, Marquis Montagu and Richard Neville,Earl of Warwick and Salisbury.
The manner of their deaths vary with the author and the audience they were writing for and becomes more bizarre the further from the events one gets.
I believe John was caught up in the confusion surrounding Oxford's return to the battle after chasing Gloucester's men from the field (see earlier post); Warwick was holding together a disparate force and it isn't difficult to believe that thoughts of betrayal were not far from some minds. Though John had made an impassioned speech to the readeption parliament giving his explanation for remaining with Edward's camp, for some he had possibly remained a Yorkist too long and some may have found his hounding and execution of the Lancastrians after the Battle of Hedgely Moor in April 1464 difficult to forgive. But wearing Edward's livery under his own? Nope. John was Warwick's brother and in the end the Neville blood was thickest and when they rode out that morning they were true brothers-in-arms.
And Warwick. Scrambling for safety and a horse? We are talking here about the man who fought at Towton with an arrow wound in his leg; the man who fought at sea, where there is no escaping from an enemy once engaged! I prefer to have him make a noble last stand, circled by his enemies like the bear of his badge circled by dogs in the pit. Realistically he had nowhere to run to, having been let down by King Louis of France, and telling him in a terse letter exactly what he thought of him! And the thought of Warwick kneeling to Marguerite with a leering Somerset at her side after losing a battle doesn't bear contemplation! I prefer to think that Warwick knew that either he or Edward would die that day; when he lost the Battle of Barnet, Warwick knew he had lost everything. In July 1470 he had sworn on the True Cross in Angers Cathedral to fight for Lancaster and I believe that's exactly what he did to his last breath.
'Requiescat in pace'