Battle of Tewkesbury
The Battle of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire , England , on May 4, 1471, marked the end of a phase of the War of the Roses and temporarily put an end to the House of Lancaster's hopes of regaining the throne of England . The only seemingly calm phase of 12 years of peace under the rule of Edward IV from the House of York followed.
At the time of the battle, the mentally unstable King Henry VI was. of the House of Lancaster has just been dethroned for the second time by his rival, Edward IV of the House of York , and imprisoned in the Tower of London . The changing occupation of the English throne came about through the interference of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick , the "kingmaker", who first supported Edward (Edward IV), then Henry. Warwick was dead now; he had been killed three weeks earlier in the Battle of Barnet , and the remaining forces of the House of Lancaster were led by Henry's consort, Margaret of Anjou , and their seventeen year old son, Edward of Westminster , Prince of Wales . On her return to England, Margaret learned the shocking news of Warwick's final defeat. Had she been able to meet her ally Jasper Tudor, 1st Earl of Pembroke , she might have had a chance against the forces of King Edward's House of York. She could only hope to cross the River Severn at Gloucester . She did not succeed in this because she was refused entry by the governor of the city and Gloucester Castle, Sir Richard Beauchamp , a supporter of the House of York.
Margaret was heavily dependent on Edmund Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset , her remaining seasoned military leader, but his military skills were inferior to the king's. House York had the superior artillery and a misunderstanding of the military situation by Somerset allowed the king's younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester , to attack the flank of House Lancaster forces, whereupon they panicked and Somerset allegedly withdrew killed one of his own military leaders, John Wenlock, 1st Baron Wenlock , as punishment for his fatal inaction. However, it is also claimed that there is evidence that Wenlock survived the day and escaped. Before Warwick's last rebellion, Wenlock had been a long-time captain of the House of York.
In a field also known as Bloody Meadow , probably half of Somerset's armed forces were slaughtered. Some fled to nearby Tewkesbury Abbey , where they are said to have pursued their enemies. One of the dead was Edward of Westminster , Prince of Wales, although it is uncertain whether he was killed during or after the battle. Legend has it that King Edwards IV's younger brother, George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence , killed Prince Edward. He remained the only Prince of Wales to die in battle. All of his military leaders, including Somerset, were subsequently executed. Queen Margaret and her daughter-in-law, Anne Neville , remained the king's most important prisoners. King Henry VI, who was already a prisoner in the Tower of London, was murdered there a few days later.
One of the doors of Tewkesbury Abbey is still covered with 68 metal plates believed to have come from brigantine armor worn in battle .
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