Tewkesbury, battle of

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Tewkesbury, battle of, 1471. The last and one of the bloodiest battles of the Wars of the Roses. Queen Margaret, still defending the claims of her husband Henry VI, landed at Weymouth the same day that Edward IV defeated Warwick at Barnet. She moved towards Wales and the north-west to collect support, with Edward marching from Windsor to intercept her. Yorkist supporters denied her a crossing of the Severn at Gloucester, obliging her to make for Tewkesbury. Her troops were caught before they could safely cross and forced to give battle on 4 May 1471, facing south. An attack by the duke of Somerset on the right failed and in the subsequent flight Edward, the young Lancastrian prince of Wales, was killed, near the abbey mill. Somerset was executed, Queen Margaret captured, and Henry VI murdered the same month. The slaughter is commemorated in the name Bloody Meadow and the Lancastrian cause never recovered from the disaster.

J. A. Cannon