The battle of Towton Reading Questions and Answers

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IELTS Reading Passage: The battle of Towton

The battle of Towton

March 29th, 1461, in small Towton was one of the most ferocious days in English history, as yet only recently have a limited number of fighter’s bodies experienced cremation and scrutiny.  Some thousand still lie interred in masstomb on the battleground. Early inquiry of the remains has led to an analysis of medieval warfare.  

Towton, a village in the north of England, between York and Leeds, is unfamiliar to many English people. History educate at school mostly neglects the mid-15th century. Towton itself has neither museum nor large memorial, only a roadside cross to mark where the fight happened. 

In 1996, a building at hand called Towton Hall was being modernized when workers excavated skeletons in its ground and  below its floor. 28 of these were complete; further 20 or so were incomplete. What amazed paleontologists were the brutal way in which the men had met their demise and the apathetic manner of their funeral. We are all acquainted with the glory wars of the 20th century and might presume that automation and government have become more devastating over time. But,it could be the case that humans have long been brutal -only now is the proof coming to light.

So what was the Battle of Towton? It was one confrontation of numerous between two powerful families-the Lancastrians and the Yorkists- who each needed their king to order England. The Lancastrians trusted the present king of England, Henry VI, was unable if not demented,  as the Yorkists, led by Richard Plantagenet, bear Henry since he had selected Richard as the next king. When Richard  was murder in 1460, his son Edward, only 18, swore to presume the seat in his father’s place. Unnecessary to say, the Lancastrians debate this. Adequately, the Battle of Towton would validate Edward’s rule. 

Earlier to Towton, defense affray in England had been small-scale: wars were brawl with hundreds or at most a few 1000 men, and no army was white-collar. In so-called conciliation, personal armies were composed of men- varying in age from 15 to 50- whose levels of strength were changeable, and whose teaching and apparatus were poor. This meant that when brawling  did flare up , it rarely lasted long- maybe just a few days. Nor were numerous men murdered. Actually, there is proof that more men died from their injuries or other sickness after battle. Towton it looks unlikely, for there was a war in which both sides gathered large armies, and there were dreadful victims in the field. The number of fighters murdered at Towton is a stuff of conjecture as few documents have come down to us, and those that do remain alive may have overstated the success of King Edward IV, as Edward became, for the sake of frightening his foe. One guess of the dead is 28,000 out of the 75,000 fighters who took part. These 75,000 describe 10% of all battling-age men in England at the time- the total residents being just 3 million. 28,000 dead on one day is, consequently, a lurch number. 

As wounds show on the skeletons of fighters already deliberate, those men were peeved to death, shot by arrows, or hurt by horses. Some of the ancient bullets used in England were launched that day. Lead- composite shot had been learned on the battleground, and one paleontologists assert to have created part of a gun, but there are no clear death from guns, and it is difficult to tell how they were used. The most effective weapon was the hatchet- a long hefty iron weapon with a sharp tip, a small ax sword on one side and, on the other, a large sharp head like Phillips-head screwdriver. It was used to murder fighters who were running off as war lines broke up, and it is thought this is how many of the Lancastrains funeral at Towton Hall died. 

It is not understood why the death rate in this war was so high, nor why the bodies of fighters were so spoiled. Skeleton proof points out that frequently a dozen blows were given to a man who would have been murdered by the initial two or three. Paleontologists are suspicious when these additional blows were made-on the battleground or in the funeral procedure- but such cruelty advises the crisis of a new notion of a rival as not just someone to kill but someone whose specification should be completely erased. 

After death, in a ceremonial never previously seen in English batt;e, fighters were deprived of their clothes and swayed into mass tombs to further humiliate them. It is easy to forget that in medieval England funerals were frightened, and people trusted climb to paradise only happened when the body of the dead was whole. In all Europe, there is only one other named mass tomb on the scale of Towton from throughout the same time- that is in Sweden from 1361. There, but, fighters from the war of Wisby were buried entirely in their armor.  

It is evident that the cruelty of the Yorkists did effect submission since Edward continued king for the next 22 years. 

Today, at Towton, work continues on exhumation and investigation of the medieval skeletons. Theories about a new sort of brutal battle and the purpose of mass tomb proliferate. It looks that arranged savagery is no recent occurrence; it existed 550 years ago.

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IELTS Reading Questions: The battle of Towton

Questions 1-5

  • Complete the summary below.
  • Choose ONE WORD OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.
  • Write your answers in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

The battlefield at Towton in northern England has only recently been surveyed and excavated. Archaeologists are now looking at medieval 1 ……………………. in a new way. Although a major battle took place at Towton, this is not popular knowledge for English people as the battle is not studied at 2 …………………….. . In 1996, soldiers’ skeletons were found under a building near Towton. 3 ……………………… of these had all their bones. This meant archaeologists could accurately determine how the soldiers had died. The archaeologists were very surprised by the 4 ……………………. means of death, and the uncaring method of 5 ……………………. .

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Questions 6-9

  • What are the following statements according to information in the passage?
  • In boxes 6-9 on your answer sheet, write:
  • TRUE               if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE              if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN     if there is no information on this

6   The Battle of Towton was part of a war between two families seeking control overEngland.
7   Soldiers who fought at Towton were better trained than in the past.
8   Ten percent of all soldiers in England died at Towton.
9   Guns killed many soldiers at Towton. 

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Questions 10-13

  • Choose the correct letter: A, B, C, or D.
  • Write the correct letter in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.

10   Most Lancastrians were killed

A   fleeing the Yorkists.
B   at Towton Hall.
C   in prison.
D   fighting in lines on the battlefield.

11   At Towton, it is likely soldiers’ bodies were cut up and buried in mass graves

A   as this was common practice at the time.
B   because King Edward IV was against religion.
C   since Yorkists hated Lancastrians.
D   so opponents of King Edward IV would live in fear.

12   Soldiers who died in a Swedish battle in 1361

A   were also killed with poleaxes.
B   went to Heaven.
C   were buried in individual graves.
D   were buried more respectfully.

13   A suitable title for this passage would be:

A   Towton: a forgotten battle in English history
B   The horrors of warfare in an age before guns
C   Modern savagery in medieval Towton
D   Towton: a turning point in military techniques

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The battle of Towton Reading Answers

1. warfare
2. school
3. 28/Twenty-eight (capital optional)
4. violent
5. burial
10. A
11. D
12. D
13. C


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