Escape from Bloreheath.
In 1459 a great battle took place close to the village of Mucklestone at a place called Bloreheath, which can be found in the North of Staffordshire close to the Shropshire borderland. From Eccleshall Queen Margaret of Anjou and her council issued orders to Lord Audley, commanding him to intercept the Earl of Salisbury, who was marching from Middleham, in Yorkshire, to join the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of York at Ludlow.
“The road from the ancient town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, is undulating, and the country through which it passes is pleasantly interesting. Some miles from the town there is a stiff climb up the fir-covered Blore Edge, from which point the battlefield is not three miles distant. The village of Loggerheads lies below, with its Inn displaying an odd sign, “The Three Loggerheads”. Beyond is the battlefield. On the left of the road is to be seen Cross field, and about the middle of it is a strange cross, apparently of very ancient date, which marks the spot where the Lancastrian leader Lord Audley was killed. It is much dilapidated and time stained, and the description upon it is very difficult to decipher”.
This then was the area where the two opposing armies of the houses of York and Lancaster met, Lord Audley it is said commanded 10,000 men and the carnage was terrible.
“The homely quiet of the place contrasts strongly with the bustle and din, and the clanging of weapons and accoutrements that may
have obtained on a Sunday morning four and a half centuries ago.It was close to the hemp mill where the thickest of the fight was and the noisy rivulet ran blood for three months – so the country people say. This is, of course, an absurd tale but the exaggeration is perhaps pardonable. Accounts of the awful carnage would be handed down through many generations – each succeeding decade finding the details more and more harrowing.
“It is said that Queen Margaret watched the battle from the church tower in the nearby village of Mucklestone – the spire of which we could see half hidden amongst the trees which clothe the slopes of Blore Edge. When the battle was over the Queen fled over the heath towards Newcastle, having first taken the precaution to get her horse’s shoes reversed in order that the soft turf might not betray the course of her flight. The Blacksmith, whose name was Skelhorn, lived near the church, and the smithy, now a wheelwright’s shop, is still pointed out by the villagers.
(the smithy can still be seen to this day on the opposite side of the road from the church)
Until lately, comparatively speaking, the house was occupied by a family of the same name. They claimed descent from the man who assisted the escape of the Queen, just as two hundred years afterwards the Penderils found means of escape for a future King.
Opposite Smithy Cottage, in the churchyard the very same anvil that Skelhorn used to reverse the horseshoes on the Queens horse can still be seen to this day. It is said that she made her escape and stopped the night at Madeley Old Hall on the outskirts of Newcastle-under-Lyme. https://ludchurchmyblog.wordpress.com/places-of-other-local-interest/madeley-old-hall/