Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Battle of Tewkesbury 1471

The sun was burning the earth when the men in the Yorkist camp woke up. Although it was not much past dawn, they were already sweating in the early summer heat. Men cursed their luck at having to put on their heavy armour and fighting today of all days, perhaps the hottest of the summer so far.
It was Saturday, 4th of May. A day that would be remembered long past Edward IV's reign. It was the day the last of the Lancastrian hopes was slain as he ran from the battlefield. Slain by the soldiers of the man that, for a time, had allied with Lancaster: George, Duke of Clarence, brother to the king.

Lancaster's forces were commanded by the Duke of Somerset, Edmund Beaufort. He gave the centre to Wenlock and the young prince Edward, and the vanguard he took himself.

He would be fighting Richard, Duke of Gloucester. It was only Richard's second command but already he had proven himself to be a great commander (if a little foolhardy) at the Battle of Barnet. He was only eighteen. Although the vanguard usually fought on the right, Richard's army formed on the left, to face Somerset.
George, Duke of Clarence, fought with Edward's centre (perhaps so Edward could keep an eye on his turncoat brother). Hastings had the rear.

The battle commenced with York's archers letting loose a volley of arrows.

While the Lancastrians moved into position.

(Little confused here. The white boar is Richard, Duke of Gloucester's, so why is this Lancastrian wearing a white boar?)

Lancastrians psyching themselves up. They'll need it if they are to stand a chance against Edward of York.

Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, escorting Lady Margaret of Anjou and her son; Edward, Prince of Wales; to the battlefield.

Margaret and Edward. Like Richard of Gloucester, Edward was only about 18.

Somerset's men

The Beaufort Banner.

Lancastrian archers send a volley towards the Yorkists

Lancastrians preparing the guns.

Hastings' banner closest to the gun.

In the centre one man flies the standard of Richard of Gloucester.

The king goes to meet Edward, Prince of Wales, in the centre of the field to persuade him to give himself up.

Waiting, alone, for the prince to step forward and take responsibility for his actions.

Edward talking with Hastings and Richard (in the helmet).

18-year-old Edward looking for reassurance from his mother.

One last attempt to convince the Lancastrians to stand down. If Edward didn't listen, perhaps Somerset, Devon and his mother will...

Obviously not. Margaret slapped the king but the king in jest taunts her, gives her another chance to injure his pride.

Edward tries to convince the prince by giving him the option of a quick painless death.

Beaufort and the King have a "discussion"

Gloucester getting his own comments in to the pretender.

More cannon  fire from the Lancastrians.

But the Yorkists stand firm.

Edward, Prince of Wales, reassures his troops.

Beaufort advances towards Gloucester.

The Lancastrian centre waiting for orders.

Beaufort closes with Clarence and Gloucester's armies. (Although Clarence is here shown to be with Gloucester, he would have been with Edward as far as I know)

The Lancastrian centre goes in to help their vanguard.

But Beautfort's men are repelled and the order to retreat is given.

Hastings advances on Lancaster's centre.

The king decides it's time he helped out his men.

Richard and George begin their advance.

As the centres continue to fight.

Everyone then retreats to take on water and bind their wounds. Those with scores to settle stand out in the field, waiting for their chance.

Gloucester and Clarence advance on what's left of Beaufort's van.

The two Edwards meet in the middle of the field, leaving their swords in the ground behind them to show they are unarmed (any daggers hidden anywhere?!)

After the Prince of Wales punched the king (and headbutted him!) they fetched their swords!

Spare arrows being picked up in the background while the king and the prince fight for the crown.

The armies close again as Edward and Edward fight.

Once again Richard and George advance with their men, hopefully for the last time.

Dying and dead Lancastrians

It seems the day is York's.

But a small matter of the young pretender still remains. According to the Chroniclers, Edward, Prince of Wales ran from the field with his guard. He was killed as I stated above by Clarence's men. But where would the entertainment be in that? So King Edward discusses with Will Hastings, Richard and George what should be done.

Edward being "advised".

The king salutes the prince.

Hastings (I think) looks on.

The prince loses his sword.

He turns, in pain.

And pulls out the hidden dagger.

The deadly blow.

The king shows young Edward what he truly wants, and what he will never get! The crown of England!

Edward yells "Lancaster" as he is killed.

England's crown, Edward's crown. There were no other contenders. He was truly England's king.

The king allows himself a little smile.

In much need of a drink, Edward can now assess the damages and deal with the Lancastrian survivors.

Time to get the armour off!


Victorious soldier?

With victory at Tewkesbury Edward had secured the English throne for himself and his children. His first son, Edward, was only about 6 months when the battle of Tewkesbury was fought.

This is another Edward wishing he could fight on the battlefield himself!

If you would like to know more about the Wars of the Roses, but can't get through the history books, why not try the Sunne In Splendour by Sharon Penman. It is a historical novel about the Wars of the Roses, especially about Edward IV and Richard III.

The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival happens every year in Tewkesbury. As well as the battle re-enactment, there is also a medieval market and a living history camp. It's a great day out for all ages but don't forget water if it's a hot day like this year!

Here are some photos from the falconry stall and the display.

The Lanner Falcon, a normal part of Falconry Displays in England.

The handler fetching the Harris Hawk for someone to hold.

Unfortunately the rope was a bit in the way with a lot of my photos. They were there to protect us from the battle re-enactment but still a bit annoying.

It was a bit too hot for these poor birds to do too much flying for us

The little barn owl didn't want to fly at all!

The peregrine

Please respect the rights of the photographer and don't use these photos without permission. If you would like copies either on disc or printed, please contact me.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog and such a great post! I missed most of the action as I was on the Yorkist side with the archers. So good to catch up - thankyou!