Mike Ingram was the president and founder of the Northamptonshire Battlefields Society, and a tireless advocate for the history of Northampton and the county, who sadly passed away.
His role in reinterpreting the 1460 Battle of Northampton was revolutionary, shattering the accumulated fiction that had begun in the Victorian era and still survives today in poorly documented modern works and on websites with more graphics than d ‘analyzes.
Mike was first noticed in regards to the location of the battlefield at the 550th Anniversary Conference in 2010 hosted by the Northampton Museum, where he spoke, along with Dr Tom Welsh and Harvey Watson, of the where the battlefield might be. This overturned the popular idea that the Lancastrians were fighting with their backs to the River Nene, placing the battlefield squarely within the grounds of DelaprÃ© Abbey, between the Abbey and the Cross of Eleanor.
This general location was adopted in the English Heritage Battlefields Register. His research was refined and then published by the Company in its book, The Battle of Northampton 1460. His analysis is now universally accepted by anyone with any knowledge of the Wars of the Roses. If you have even a passing interest in the topic, then you should go get a copy.
The threat of building football pitches and changing rooms on the battlefield led him and other enthusiasts to form the Northampton Battlefield Company in 2014, and campaign for its preservation.
This campaign was ultimately successful, with Mike demonstrating what would almost become a commercial use of social media, primarily Facebook, to raise awareness and get the word out.
This is the model Mike and the Society then followed in campaigning for the preservation of Eleanor’s Cross. It is true that without him and this campaign one of the county’s most important medieval monuments of national significance might have rotated due to the indifference of an incompetent council that has proven to be world-class for dodge his responsibilities and return the ball. Mike’s persistence and willingness to shut people up was a big factor in the eventual victory.
He took great joy in explaining the battlefield to people, and loved little more than strolling through DelaprÃ© Park, showing the landscape with a cane or umbrella, filling the battle narrative with anecdotes and details. living. He was a talented battlefield guide, and when the Battlefield Guides Guild honored the Society with an award, it was in large part thanks to him (although he still hasn’t earned the Guild qualification and was not âbadged.â He was the best on the battlefield of 1460, and needed no one to tell him or evidence to prove it).
Mike not only cared about the DelaprÃ© battlefield, but was also active in the interpretation and preservation of the Naseby battlefield. He was chairman of the Trustees of the Naseby Project for a short time and was an active trustee for many years.
âIt was a great sadness for him when he was not selected to the board of directors at the end of his last term. He was a great guide to Naseby’s Field, and I never really understood him until he drove me in his trash-strewn car, from place to place, stopping to explain events and smoking a cigarette at the same time, âsaid Garham Evans.
âIt was his love for Naseby that brought him, Phil Steele and I, to meet there on BBC Radio’s outdoor show Northampton, interviewed on County Heritage for the Breakfast Show . It was a cold and damp morning, and the last time the three of us were together. It was brilliant. Mike also found new things to say about Naseby and his research into the role of the Rockingham Garrison (which you can read in his chapter on Naseby in our book on The Battles of Northamptonshire, which I co-wrote with him) goes a long way towards explaining why the final stages of the battle unfolded like this. Evans added.
Naseby is also an example of Mike’s passion for the truth. He was approached to corroborate that a piece of jewelry found by a metal detector had been abandoned by Charles I after the battle. From what he knew, it was clear to him that this was highly unlikely. The find was a long way from the escape route and that was where the Rockingham garrison had entered the battlefield.
It would have been easy to endorse the discovery, accompany the story, and be part of a national media event. It just wasn’t true, so he couldn’t tell. He was then accused of being indeed jealous of the discovery and the associated story that had been concocted. Anyone who thought this clearly did not know the man, and the insult to his integrity shocked him considerably. He was proud of his research and discoveries, but he would admit if he was wrong. He set the standard for all of us.
Ironically, his greatest passion on the battlefield was not in Northamptonshire, but across the county line in Leicestershire. Mike was a Ricardian – a topic we disagreed on and discussed frequently – and he was fascinated by Bosworth.
His first book on Bosworth, “Battle History – Bosworth 1485âPublished in 2012, gave real meaning to the battle, as confirmed by the results of the battlefield investigation. Mike had never been convinced by the Ambion Hill site, and his understanding of the sources allowed him to build the most believable and cohesive account to date.
He continued with his “Richard III and the Battle of BosworthIn 2019, which is a tour de force in respecting the battle. His take on the background, placing the battle in its European context, was groundbreaking and makes it essential reading for anyone interested in battle.
âI had an immense privilege to read the chapters while he was writing them. Our views weren’t always completely overlapping, and I’m proud to have changed my mind in a few places. See, he could listen as well as speak, and was ready to learn from anyone. It is a pity that we never found the time to tour the Bosworth battlefield with him. Another lesson learned: never procrastinate if you can do it today. I also never did one of his walks at Stoke Field, which he did with his friends from Wargames Foundry. Before I leave the battles, I must also express my gratitude for his help and advice when I wrote my book Edgcote for the Society. He co-led the tour which convinced me we were looking in the wrong place, and he fully embraced the research Phil and I did, once again willing to change our minds in the face of the evidence. Taking him around Edgcote as we understood him and getting him to approve our views was also a proud moment. Evans said.
In recent years, Mike made a living as a historical tour guide and adult education speaker, while also writing his books. He was a frequent guest on local radio, always there when a local perspective was needed on a historical story, highlighting the importance of Northampton in our nation’s history. His relationship with John Griff was particularly important to him, and his desire to speak about Northamptonshire dovetailed perfectly with John’s desire to promote the heritage of our county.
Mike was “Mr. Northampton History”, a role he invented for himself, effectively and recognized when he was invested as a Free Man of the Old Borough of Northampton. Mike came from a long-established family in Northampton who once had a large business in the market place. Once again, a very proud moment to be recognized in this way.
Mike’s career choices meant he suffered during the lockdown, but it gave him time to write his magnum opus of local history. “Northampton: 5,000 years of historyA tour de force of “I Didn’t Know That! When you read it, it does full justice to the history of the town he loved so much and won the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards Hindsight Award for” Best published work â.
His experience using an editor before had irritated him considerably, and he decided to self-edit. Its reputation has made it a much anticipated book and sales have exceeded expectations. If you don’t have one and want to help out, buy one now. You will be informed and entertained, and all profits will go to his family.
Evans said: âThe last time I met and spoke with Mike in person was after the Battlefield Society reunion in November. I had just given a newly prepared lecture, titled Monstrous Regiment, on women who dressed as men to join the military in the past. When I was working there, Mike sent me little pieces, notably the story of AgnÃ¨s Hotot, which lays the foundations of the work. When I gave the real talk, and we were cleaning up, Mike was kind enough to say it was the best I’ve ever done, which made a lot of noise to me. While the Abbey had its Christmas light event, the two of us and another committee member Steve went to sit and had a hot drink and had a chat. The Society’s plans for next year, the City’s new campaign, etc. By the time we were done, we had put part of the world back in place, and we were looking forward to the January speech and all the other things we were going to do in 2022 and beyond. I will remember him like that. Full of ideas, opinions, motivation and caring for others. I will miss him a lot, a lot, a lot.
Mike Ingram’s friends and family are running a gofundme campaign to raise money for the funeral: Click here
Published from a Memorium on Wargaming for adults