Lost Legend of the Thryberg Hawk
by Jack Holroyd
Published: August 2014
Marksmanship skills honed to perfection, driven by necessity and desperation, Edmund Hawksworth hunted
with his crossbow to keep his ailing mother alive, only to have her die in his arms.
Deserted by his father who
had left to fight the Lancastrian cause, the embittered and determined lad set out on a mission of vengeance
and became embroiled in the bitter struggle for the throne of England between the Houses of Lancaster and
York. There were those in 1461 who avowed that Edmund had been divinely chosen and anointed to be the
Avenger of Righteous Blood – something the boy himself never claimed. What is certain, in command of the
Wespen (Wasps), an élite unit of crossbow mercenaries, he turned events in York’s favour at the decisive
Battle of Towton.
Despite protests from Yorkist lords, King Edward IV (himself a youth of eighteen), gave the accolade to the
former herder of pigs from Thryberg declaring him to be ‘The truest and most loyal knight in all England’.
With the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and the ascent of the Lancastrian Tudors the many stories of the
Yorkist boy hero were supressed. However, for fifty years fanciful tales of ‘The Hawk’ lingered on in the
towns and villages of the West Riding of Yorkshire until in 1509 Edmund’s brother arrived in chains at
Conisbrough Castle. Before his burning in Doncaster Fish Market the condemned heretic tells the true story of
the Lost Legend of the Hawk.