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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