History - OnThisDay - 4 May 1471 - The Battle of Tewkesbury

On 4 May 1471 one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses took place.

The Wars of the Roses were a series of battles of the two rival houses of 
Lancaster and York which had been contending for power and ultimately for
the throne of England. 

The Battle of Tewkesbury

As day broke on 4 May 1471 the forces loyal to the House of Lancaster took up
a defensive position a mile south of the town of Tewkesbury (located in the
south western of the United Kingdom). Most of the Lancastrian army had 6,000
soldiers, mostly were tired footmen. They had 3 commanders inter alia:

- Duke of Somerset;
- Lord Wenlock;
- Prince Edward (of Westminster, Prince of Wales).

The forces who were loyal to the House of York came with an army about 5,000
soldiers. This army was composed mainly of mounted men.

King Edward IV also organised his army into three battles. His commanders

- Richard, Duke of Gloucester;
- King Edward IV;
- Lord Hastings.

A victory?

The House of York were slightly outnumbered by the Lancastrian army however
they had experienced commanders. Due to some tactical decisions of
King Edward IV the Battle of Tewkesbury was a victory for the House of York.
Besides some fine tactical decisions the Yorkists certainly had more guns than
their enemies and they were better served.

After the Battle of Tewkesbury the Lancastrian army was completely defeated by
the army loyal to the House of York. The Lancastrian heir to the throne,
Edward, Prince of Wales was killed and also many notable nobles as
John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset and the Earl of Devon.

Edward, the Prince of Wales was found in a grove by some of the Duke of
Clarence's men. He was summarily executed despite pleading for his life to
Clarence, the younger brother of King Edward IV, who had sworn allegiance
to him in France barely a year before.

Things were complicated, not? Due to the difficult family relations and ties of
both the Houses of York and Lancaster. 


The Lancastrian King, Henry VI who was prisoner in the Tower of London died
or was murdered shortly after the battle.

The Battle of Tewkesbury restored the political stability in England until the
death of King Edward IV in 1483.

Source pictures: Wikipedia

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