Tewkesbury: Eclipse of the House of Lancaster 1471

By Steven Goodchild

Pen and Sword Publishing are well known for their wide range of books focusing on battles throughout history and Goodchild’s book is another addition to this fantastic range.

Focusing on the Battle of Tewkesbury, Steven Goodchild examines battle and the political and personal events leading up to the famous day of 4 May 1471. He explores the lives of Edward IV, Henry VI, the Earl of Warwick, Margaret of Anjou, Edward Prince of Wales, as well as several other prominent political figures at the time to gain a greater understanding of why this battle took place.  Tewkesbury was one of the most decisive battles in England’s history up to that point in history, and it was more than just about who should sit on the English throne. There were a number of personal and political motives behind the battle and Goodchild does a fantastic job of exploring these to give the reader a fully rounded understanding of why the battle had to take place.

He steps the reader through the events of the battle, from Edward IV’s army chasing the army of Margaret of Anjou, through to the morning of the battle, the battle itself and then the bloody aftermath. He details the various versions of the battle that have been handed down throughout history and which report of the battle is most accurate and why. He also outlines the Lancastrian’s famous flight after the battle, either through the bloody meadow or to Tewkesbury Abbey where many sought sanctuary.

It was fascinating to read how the battle unfolded and why individual players within the battle made the moves they did, or in one case, made no move at all! Goodchild outlines where the battle took place and gives the reader a guide on how to walk the trail around the fields surrounding Tewkesbury Abbey. Having walked the battle site myself, Goodchild’s guide is a valuable resource. A person wanting to walk the site can quite easily follow the guide in the book. I do love the addition of the battle walks within Pen and Swords ‘battle books’ as they help to bring each battle to the reader and the present point in time.

In addition, Goodchild outlines the aftermath of the battle, giving the reader some detail about the years that followed and the affects the battle of Tewkesbury had on the people of England. He also talks about the weapons that would have been used within the battle. I found this part very interesting as I learnt a lot about weaponry and how the battle played out. Not to mention the horrific injures people would have sustained!

I thoroughly enjoyed Steven Goodchild’s book on the Battle of Tewkesbury. It is evident that the book is well researched and the amount of detail included about the events leading up to the battle, the battle itself and the political aftermath ties the book together well. I am enjoying Pen and Swords books on historical battles, and I think Godchild’s book on Tewkesbury is a fantastic addition – highly recommended.

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Today I want to give a shout out to one of my favourite websites: On the Tudor Trail. As the title suggests this website is dedicated to all things Tudor. Natalie Grueninger has run On the Tudor Trail for a decade and in that time both Natalie and the website have gone from strength to strength. Natalie is a historian, researcher and an author and this is reflected in the quality and range of information shared on the website. If you are looking for anything, and I do mean anything, related to the Tudors, then this is the site for you.

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Natalie has a deep interest in Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, and there are a large number of articles dedicated to Anne’s life. In addition to this Natalie has explored, visited and detailed a huge number of castles and locations that Anne Boleyn visited during her life. This part of the website is my personal favourite as I have been able to learn a great deal of information about a large number of castles, buildings and locations in England. Natalie also provides details on how you can visit these locations.

In addition to this, Natalie is also the co-author of ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’ and ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’. These books are a fascinating walk through history – literally. The books provide details about Anne Boleyn and each of Henry VIII’s wives while detailing the places they lived, visited etc. and how to access those locations.

But wait there’s more! Natalie also hosts a podcast called ‘Talking Tudors’ in which she talks about all things Tudor with a wide range of authors and historians. These interviews are just fascinating and I strongly recommend tunning in, you will always learn something new.

I just love On the Tudor Trail, it’s a brilliant website full of fascinating information about Tudor history, and one of the first I will always recommend.

As well as a website and podcast Natalie also runs a brilliant Facebook page and Twitter so please do check them out!

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Barnet 1471: Death of the Kingmaker

By David Clark

David Clark’s book focuses on the battle of Barnet and provides a vivid picture of what the battle was really like and why it had to take place.

What I love about this book is that it provides details of the events leading up to the battle, why the Earl of Warwick fell out with Edward IV and what brought the two famous men to stand on opposite sides of the battlefield. This provided a fantastic basis so the author could then move to detail the battle, the main people involved and the movements of each troop. The description of the battle was so vivid that I felt as though I were there, lost within the thick fog, the clash of metal and the cries of injured men surrounding me.

I also love that this book can be used as a guide if one wished to walk the battle site. There is a chapter dedicated to the path to take if you were visiting Barnet and wished to retrace the footsteps of the Earl of Warwick or Edward IV. Be it in book form or on kindle, this is a great companion book to take with you as not to miss any parts of the battle.

It is clear from the onset that Clark has done a great deal of research for this book, using a number of primary sources which spoke about the battle as reference. He also challenges later theories of the battle and the events that unfolded to get to the truth behind the happenings surrounding the prelude, aftermath and the battle itself.

Clark’s book on the Battle of Barnet is very well written and provides a wealth of information. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Wars of the Roses or military history.

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Shout Out Sunday: The Tudor Travel Guide

There are so many amazing websites and facebook pages out there devoted to bringing Tudor history to life. I have learnt so much from these websites and they have been so valuable to me I really wanted to share them with you all. Each Sunday I am going to give a ‘Shout Out’ to one of my favourite website/facebook pages.

Today I’d like to give a shout out to The Tudor Travel Guide. Run by the very talented Dr Sarah Morris, the Tudor Travel Guide is the website for all things visiting Tudor locations. Sarah has spent countless days, weeks, months visiting Tudor related sights throughout England and compiling information about these sites.

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Sarah has created a number of travel guides that will walk you through various Tudor locations, providing information on each place and providing details of what Tudor events happened at each place. Sarah has compiled booklets on such places as Sudeley Castle, Dover Castle, Hampton Court and Hever Castle, just to name a few! There are also fantastic ‘Weekend Away’ guides, providing Tudor related locations in different counties including Suffolk and London.

In addition, Sarah’s website provides lots of information about a wide range of Tudor personalities and places in short article form.

I have had the great pleasure of visiting Tattershall Castle, Grimsthorpe Castle and Windsor Castle with Sarah. It was such an incredible experience and it was wonderful to chat all things Tudor with such a knowledgeable and kind person.

Sarah is also co-author of ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’ and ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’. These books are a fascinating walk through history – literally. The books provide details about Anne Boleyn and each of Henry VIII’s wives while detailing the places they lived, visited etc. and how to access those locations.

I love Sarah’s website, there’s so much to learn about Tudor history and to be able to walk in the footsteps of Tudor personalities – literally – it just amazing!

Please do stop by Sarah’s website!

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Plantagenet Queens and Consorts: Family, Duty and Power

by Steven J Corvi

The period of Plantagenet rule lasted from 1154 with the accession of Kind Henry II through to the death of King Richard III in 1485. During this period of time, England was ruled by a variety of King’s. Some were warrior kings such as Edward III and Henry V who oversaw prosperity and great victories in France. Other kings were not well-liked such as the cruel and tyrannical King John and Richard II who was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke. Yet each King had a wife or a mother and it was these women that Corvi examines within the pages of his book.

Corvi selects ten women from the Plantagenet period to explore including, Eleanor of Provence, Isabella of France, Philippa of Hainault, Joan of Kent, Katherine Swynford, Joanna of Navarre, Katherine of Valois, Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York. These women were either Queen Consorts, mothers to Kings such as Joan of Kent or the wives of rich and important men such as Katherine Swynford.

Each woman has a chapter dedicated to her and Corvi outlines the woman’s life, who they married, their children and the happenings in England during their lives. The author then details the political minefield that each woman had to maneuver herself within and how she used her political knowledge, her wit and skills to be able to succeed as a Queen/Wife/Mother as well as being able to achieve their own personal goals.

Although chapters are not dedicated to these women, Corvi also mentions influential women such as Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Margaret Beaufort who fought fiercely, not only for their own rights but also for the rights and the succession of their sons to the throne of England.

This is a well-written book and thoroughly researched. There are a few spelling and grammatical errors but these do not take away from the research and compelling information provided. A tree of England’s monarchs would also have been a useful reference guide but not necessary. This is a great book that provides overviews of the lives of ten fascinating and influential women from England’s history.

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