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Siege of London, 12-15 May 1471

Siege of London, 12-15 May 1471

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Siege of London, 12-15 May 1471

The siege of London (12-15 May 1471) was a brief attack on the city that threatened to revive the Lancastrian cause, which had appeared to be lost after the disaster of Tewkesbury, but that failed after two attacks on the city defences were repulsed.

The attack was led by Thomas Neville, the Bastard of Fauconberg. He was an illegitimate son of William Neville, Lord Fauconberg and earl of Kent, a rare example of a Neville who had died of natural causes (in 1463). Like his father, Thomas served the Yorkists at sea, and in 1470 he commanded part of Edward IV's navy. Thomas Neville was a cousin of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, and when Warwick was forced into exile after a failed revolt he supported him and took his part of the fleet with him. After Warwick's successful invasion later in the year Fauconberg was appointed to command the fleet, and given the task of preventing Edward IV from returning to England. He was always short of money and was thus easily distracted by opportunities for piracy that would help pay for his fleet, and thus failed to intercept Edward when he returned to England in March 1471.

As Edward advanced on London Fauconberg was given the task of raising troops in Kent, but at the crucial moment of the campaign he was absent collecting the experienced men of the Calais garrison. When he returned to Kent Fauconberg was initially unaware that Warwick had been defeated and killed at Barnet (14 April 1471) and that Edward now had control of London, but when he did discover the bad news he wasn’t discouraged. Instead he raised a large army in Kent, with contingents from most Kent towns (amongst them was Nicholas Faunt, Major of Canterbury. Some of Fauconberg's men were probably motivated by loyalty either to Warwick or to Henry VI, but others were simply after plunder and others were simply anti-London.

London was vulnerable to attack because Edward had already moved west to deal with the Lancastrian army of Margaret of Anjou. Queen Margaret had landed at Weymouth on 14 April, and raised a sizable army in the south-west. By the end of April the two armies were on a collision course, and on 4 May 1471 Edward defeated the Lancastrians at Tewkesbury. Henry's son and heir Prince Edward was killed in the battle, and the future of the Lancastrian cause seemed bleak.

This didn't put off Fauconberg. On 8 May he was at Sittingbourne, from where he wrote to the London authorities asking to be allowed to pass through the city on his way west to attack Edward. In the recent past London had let most armies pass through - the one major exception being the Lancastrians after their victory at St. Albans in 1461. This time they had more reason to resist. Fauconberg's letter arrived at about the same time as one from Edward announcing his victory at Tewkesbury. On 9 May the city authorities replied to Fauconberg, and refused to give him permission to enter the city. They then began to prepare for a siege. The river bank was lined with troops and guns and all of the city gates were reinforced. The defenders of London were well armed, with plenty of guns, but there were some doubts as to the loyalty of the Londoners, many of whom had welcomed Warwick in the previous year.

London would have been a valuable prize for the Lancastrians. Henry VI was a prisoner in the Tower of London, while Edward's queen and their young son were both in the city. If Fauconberg had managed to capture the city and free Henry then the Lancastrian cause might have been revived. This probably explains why he decided to continue with the attack despite the news from Tewkesbury.

On 12 May Fauconberg's fleet anchored close to the Tower of London, while his army reached Southwark. On the same day he launched his first attack on the city. In 1471 London Bridge was fortified, with a newly built gate at the southern end and a drawbridge part of the way across. Fauconberg's men managed to burn down the new gate, but they were unable to fight their way across the bridge. They did manage to set a few pubs on fire on the north bank, but their first attack was a failure.

On 13 May Fauconberg tried an alterative plan. He led his men west, and announced that he was going to cross Kingston Bridge and attack London from the west, taking Westminster before attacking the fortified city. Earl Rivers, the commander of the Tower, shipped some of his troops up the river to guard the bridge, but Fauconberg abandoned the plan and returned to Southwark. That even he drew his men up in battle array opposite the city, perhaps in an attempt to intimidate the defenders.

The most serious attack came on 14 May. Fauconberg had prepared well for this attack. He had shipped 3,000 of his Kentish rebels across the river, where they joined with another 2,000 men from Essex. The guns were removed from his ships and lined up on the south bank of the river in an attempt to counter the city's artillery.

The attack started with an artillery barrage across the river, but the city guns returned fire and the rebels were forced to abandon their positions. The main attack began at around 11am. On the north bank the rebels attacked Aldgate and Bishopsgate, the eastern and north-eastern gates of the city, while on the south bank they made another attempt to cross London Bridge.

The attack on London Bridge reached as far as the tower that guarded the drawbridge but was stopped there. At Bishopsgate they were able to set the gate on fire, but again got no further.

At Aldgate the rebels managed to capture the bulwark that the defenders had just built to protect the gate. It took a two-pronged assault to recapture the gate, with the Londoners attacking from within and part of the garrison of the Tower coming out of a postern gate to attack the rebels in the rear. The rebels were driven back from the gate, and the retreat soon turned into a rout. Several hundred of them were killed and more were captured before the survivors reached their ships and escaped back to the south bank. On the same day Edward, who had moved to Coventry to deal with a northern revolt that had now collapsed, was able to dispatch the first of his troops towards London.

Fauconberg spent 15 May at Southwark, but then only withdrew a short way east to Blackheath. He finally abandoned the enterprise on 18 May, as Edward's advance guard reached the city. Fauconberg sent his fleet to Sandwich, and then accompanied the Calais garrison as they marched across Kent to join the ships. Most of the Kent rebels went home at this point, although some would be found and punished later (amongst them was the major of Canterbury, who was hanged, drawn and quartered. Fauconberg sent the Calais troops back across the Channel, but it was increasingly clear that the Lancastrian cause was doomed, and with Warwick and his brother Montagu both dead the Neville cause was also rather uncertain. Fauconberg still had his fleet, and he used it save himself. On 27 May he surrendered his ships in return for a pardon.

As was so often the case Edward attempted a reconciliation with Fauconberg, and he was sent to serve under Richard of Gloucester in the north of England. Again as was so often the case the efforts failed, and for unknown reasons Fauconberg was beheaded at Middleham Castle in September. His head was then returned to London and displayed on London Bridge, facing towards Kent.

Books on the Middle Ages -Subject Index: War of the Roses

Battle of Barnet

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Battle of Barnet, (April 14, 1471), in the English Wars of the Roses, a momentous victory for the Yorkist king Edward IV over his Lancastrian opponents, the adherents of Henry VI. It was fought around Hadley Green, now in East Barnet, just north of London, on Easter Day. Edward, in power since 1461, had in 1470 been driven into exile when his main supporter, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, changed sides and restored Henry VI. Returning to England in March 1471, Edward seized London and the person of Henry VI and then moved north to meet Warwick’s advance from Coventry. Warwick chose his positions on April 13. Edward, with his brother the Duke of Gloucester (afterward King Richard III), arrived later, spent the night close to the enemy, and attacked at dawn. Although Edward’s left flank was routed, his right and his centre were victorious. Warwick, who had fought on foot to avert suspicion that he would desert his men, was killed while fleeing. The defeat a month later of an army led by Henry VI’s queen, Margaret of Anjou, and their son at the Battle of Tewkesbury and Henry’s death in captivity left Edward secure until his own death in 1483.

Historical Events on May 12

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Victory in Battle

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1789 William Wilberforce makes his first major speech on abolition in the UK House of Commons, reasoning the slave trade morally reprehensible and an issue of natural justice

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Siege of London, 12-15 May 1471 - History

THE BATTLE OF TEWKESBURY (May 4, 1471), was, strictly speaking, the last battle fought in the Wars of the Roses, for the Battle of Bosworth can hardly be included in those wars.

Queen Margaret landed in England the very day that Warwick was defeated and slain at Barnet, but despite this severe blow to the Lancastrian cause, she was persuaded by Somerset and other lords of her party to continue her advance. She had landed at Weymouth, and at first marched westward to Exeter, where she was joined by reinforcement from Devon and Cornwall. She then moved eastward to Bath, but learning that Edward was marching against her, she determined to march to the north, where the chief strength of the Lancastrians lay.

After a tedious march she reached Tewkesbury on May 3, and the next day Edward gave battle. The Lancastrians were utterly routed, owing in no small degree to the treachery or folly of Lord Wenlock, who neglected to bring up the reinforcements in time. Queen Margaret was taken prisoner, and her son, Prince Edward, either fell in the battle, or, more probably, was put to death immediately after. The Duke of Somerset and others, who had taken sanctuary, were beheaded two days after in the market-place at Tewkesbury.

This decisive battle coming so soon after the victory at Barnet completely established Edward IV on the throne.

The Dictionary of English History. Sidney J. Low and F. S. Pulling, eds.
London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1910. 994-5.

Books for further study: Goodchild, S. Tewkesbury 1471: Eclipse of the House of Lancaster.
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Pen and Sword Books, Ltd., 2005.

Gravett, Christopher. Tewkesbury 1471: The Last Yorkist Victory.
Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003.

Hammond, P. W. The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.

Hicks, Michael. The Wars of the Roses 1455-1485.
New York: Routledge, 2003.

Weir, Alison. The Wars of the Roses.
New York: Ballantine Books, 1996.

to Edward IV
to Margaret of Anjou
to the Wars of the Roses
to Luminarium Encyclopedia

Site ©1996-2011 Anniina Jokinen. All rights reserved.
This page was created on April 14, 2007. Last updated May 8, 2012.

Torture in the Tower of London

The Tower of London’s role as a prison evolved to make it the preferred incarceration site for anyone𠅎ven members of the royalty�med a threat to national security.

As cruel as the place was known to be, however, not all prisoners suffered terrible conditions. Wealthy inmates, for example, were allowed to live relatively luxuriously, with some even allowed to leave to go on hunting trips.

Scottish King John Balliol was able to bring his own servants, hunting dogs and wife with him when he was imprisoned for three years at the Tower until he was allowed to go to France, in exile, in 1299.

Although the site became notorious as a site of torture—most notably with the infamous device known as “the rack”—records suggest relatively few inmates were tortured. Torture was used as a means of compelling political prisoners to provide their captors with information, primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries.

These prisoners were forced to lie down on the rack, with their hands and feet bound. Ropes attached to these bindings were slowly pulled to inflict pain.

Life After Revolution

Yorktown effectively sealed the Continental victory in the American Revolution, though the war did not formally end until 1783. After being discharged, Joseph Martin settled in Maine, near the mouth of the Penobscot River, on land that would become the town of Prospect. He served as a selectman and justice of the peace and as Prospect’s town clerk for more than two decades. In 1818, Martin applied for and was granted a pension for needy veterans offered by the federal government, declaring that 𠇋y reason of age and infirmity” he was unable to work and support his wife and five children.

In 1830, at the age of 70, Martin published his diaries, under the title 𠇊 Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Interspersed with Anecdotes of Incidents that Occurred Within His Own Observation.” Published anonymously, as was customary at the time, the book sold poorly, and was largely forgotten by the time Martin died in 1850. More than a century later, however, the work was rediscovered and republished as “Private Yankee Doodle.” Though Martin’s account was often exaggerated and embellished (at times he recounted events he could not possibly have witnessed firsthand or improved the outcomes of incidents), it stands as the most graphic, vivid and detailed first-person account of the life of a Continental soldier during the American Revolution.

Historic Gloucestershire Guide

Population: 861,000
Famous for: The Cotswolds, Forest of Dean, Offa’s Dyke
Distance from London: 2 – 3 hours
Local delicacies: Gloucestershire Cheeses, Lamb Roasts, Squab Pie
Airports: Staverton
County town: Gloucester
Nearby Counties: Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset

Gloucestershire boasts some of the most beautiful countryside in England. The majority of the Cotswolds lies within its boundaries, as does the ancient Forest of Dean and the stunning Wye Valley.

The Cotswolds are famous for their honey-stone towns and villages set within glorious rolling hills. Bourton-on-the-Water is known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ because of the number of bridges crossing the river in the centre of the village. The nearby Slaughters and the market town of Stow-on-the-Wold are also popular places to visit.

Don’t let the glorious countryside trick you Gloucestershire has had a turbulent history. The Battle of Tewkesbury took place on 4th May 1471 and proved to be one of the most decisive battles in the Wars of the Roses. The last battle of the English Civil War took place on 21st March 1646, just one mile north of Stow-on-the-Wold.

Gloucestershire boasts many Roman sites including Chedworth Roman Villa, managed by the National Trust and one of the largest Roman villas in England. Cirencester was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times and boasts a well preserved Roman amphitheatre.

There are impressive cathedrals to visit at both Tewkesbury and Gloucester. Other religious sites include the ruins of Hailes Abbey near Winchcombe, a Cistercian abbey founded in the 13th century.

Gloucestershire's castles have links to royalty Sudeley Castle, also near Winchcombe, was once home to Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII, and King Charles I sought refuge there during the Civil War. Another castle with royal connections is medieval Berkeley Castle, where Edward II was murdered in 1327.

The spa town of Cheltenham is well worth a visit, with its Georgian and Regency buildings, terraces and squares. And don't forget the races the highlight of the four day Cheltenham Festival meeting every March is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which attracts racegoers from all over the world.

Siege of London, 12-15 May 1471 - History

The House of York
1461 -1470 1471 -1485

  • King Edward IV 1461 -1470, 1471 - 1483
  • King Edward V 1483 - 1483
  • King Richard III 1483 - 1485

King Edward IV
1461 -1470, 1471 - 1483

      • Age 18-40
      • Great-great-great-grandson of Edward III
      • Born: 28 April 1442 at Rouen, Normandy, France
      • Parents: Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville
      • Ascended to the throne: 4 March 1461 aged 18 years
      • Crowned: 28 June 1461 at Westminster Abbey
      • Married: Elizabeth, Daughter of Richard Woodville (English)
      • Children: Three sons including Edward V and Richard Duke of York (the Princes in the Tower), Seven daughters and four illegitimate children
      • Died: 9 April 1483
      • Buried at: Windsor
      • Reigned for: 21 years. Deposed 3 October 1470, Restored 21 May 1471
        Succeeded by: his son Edward V

      Edward IV was twice king of England, winning the struggle against the Lancastrians to establish the House of York on the English throne.

      Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470,and again from 11 April 1471 until his death in 1483.

      Edward IV was the first Yorkist King of England.

      Edward defeated the Lancastrians in a series of battles, culminating in the Battle of Towton in 1461. With the Lancastrian king, Henry VI, overthrown, Edward was crowned Edward IV.

      1470 - 71 Henry VI briefly restored as king

      1471 - Edward is restored to the throne and with his wife Elizabeth Woodville produce their first of 10 children and heir to the Yorkist throne also a Prince Edward.

      During his reign the first printing press was established in Westminster by William Caxton.

      King Edward V 1483 - 1483

      • Age 12
      • Born: 4 November 1470 at the Sactuary, Westminster Abbey
      • Parents: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville
      • Ascended to the throne: 9 April 1483 aged 12 years
      • Crowned: Not crowned
      • Married: Never Married
      • Children: None
      • Deposed: 25 June 1483
      • Died: 3 September 1483 at Tower of London (murdered), aged 12 years
      • Buried at: Tower of London
      • Succeeded by: his uncle Richard III

      Elder son of Edward IV. He was deposed two months and 17 days after his accession in favour of his uncle (Richard III), and is traditionally believed to have been murdered (with his brother) in the Tower of London on Richard's orders.

      Tower of London

      King Richard III 1483 - 1485

            • Age 31-33
            • Younger brother of Edward IV
            • Born: 2 October 1452 at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire
            • Parents: Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville
            • Ascended to the throne: 25 June 1483 aged 30 years
            • Crowned: 6 July 1483 at Westminster Abbey
            • Married: Anne Neville, widow of Edward, Prince of Wales and daughter of Earl of Warwick
            • Children: One son, plus several illegitimate children before his marriage
            • Died: 22 August 1485 at Battle of Bosworth, Leicestershire, aged 32 years
            • Buried at: Leicester
            • Succeeded by: his distant cousin Henry VII

            King of England from 1483

            Prime suspect to the suspected murders of the two princes, Edward and Richard.

            The Princes in the Tower
            The two princes, Edward and Richard were locked up in the Tower of London by Richard. The elder prince was in fact the 12 year old King Edward VI who Richard had kidnapped on his way to London to be crowned King. The other prince was his younger brother also called Richard (Duke of York). Richard Duke of York was obviously second in line to the throne. Both needed to be “done away with” before Uncle Richard could inherit the throne.

            The two boys simply disappeared and nobody who valued their lives dared to ask Richard what had become of them.

            About 150 years later some children’s bones were discovered but technology was not then available to provide the conclusive evidence for who they were.

            During the 1930’s the bones were examined again and were dated as far as was then possible to the late 1480’s.

            Shakespeare portrayed Richard as the most evil of Kings.

            Richard was killed in battle against Henry Tudor (Henry VII) ending the Wars of the Roses. He was the last English King to die on the Battlefield.

            1154 - 1216 The Angevins (The first Plantagenet kings)

            1603 - 1649 and 1660 - 1714 The Stuarts

            1901 -1910 and 1910 - Today Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and The Windsors

            © Copyright - please read
            All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

            Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website.
            The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

            Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
            She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

            The Battle of Tewkesbury

            Queen Margaret landed at Weymouth intending to join forces with Warwick. She had only progressed as far as Cerne Abbas when she learned of Warwick's death at the Battle of Barnet. Despite the loss of their leader, the Lancastrians gathered fresh troops and marched north to join with Jasper Tudor in Wales.

            Edward IV had let his levies go after Barnet, but he quickly called up fresh men and sped to intercept the Queen and Somerset before they could cross the Severn at Gloucester. For his part, Somerset's army was forced to enter Bristol for supplies and extra arms. The delay this caused was to prove fatal.

            Somerset slipped by Edward's army by pretending to fortify Sodbury, only to pull out again. Edward alerted the Governor of Gloucester to hold out against the anticipated attack as long as he could. Then Edward led his men in a beeline towards Tewkesbury, knowing that if Gloucester held firm that Somerset would have to move further north to cross the Severn.

            When Somerset arrived at Gloucester he found the gates closed against him. There was no time for sieges the Lancastrians knew that Edward was close behind them, and they struggled on to Tewkesbury. There was a ford there, a mile south of the great Abbey. But by this time the troops were exhausted and there was no real choice but to turn and fight.

            THE BATTLE
            Somerset's men actually outnumbered Edward's army by some 2000 men. Neither side had any reserves, but threw all their men into the fight.

            Somerset led some of his men on a flanking manoeuvre, but they were pushed back fiercely. Some reports claim that Somerset became enraged because promised support from Lord Wenlock had not arrived and when he eventually returned to his lines he split Wenlock's skull in rage.

            Whatever the truth of this somewhat unlikely tale, the Lancastrians were demoralized by their failure, and when King Edward attacked the centre of their lines, they put up only a token resistance - despite their numerical advantage.

            The Yorkist advance pushed Somerset's men back on the town and the river, where many drowned trying to escape. No quarter was given, and as many as 2000 Lancastrians may have died, compared to about 500 of King Edward's men.

            The most vital loss was Prince Edward, the last legitimate descendant of Henry IV. Somerset and his principle aides were tried and executed, perhaps after being taken from sanctuary in Tewkesbury Abbey.

            THE RESULTS
            Queen Margaret heard the news of her son's death and the disaster on the battlefield at Payne's Place, across the Severn. She fled but was captured and brought before Edward IV at Coventry. She remained a prisoner for four years until ransomed by Louis of France.

            Edward's comprehensive victory at Tewkesbury stilled the voices of opposition - at least for a time. The country was weary of war, and for the next 12 years, Edward ruled in (relative) peace.

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            The race to the river was on. The weather was unseasonably hot for early May, and men and horses became frantic for lack of food and water. When they reached the town of Tewkesbury late in the afternoon of 3 May, Margaret’s exhausted men could go no further. Battle was joined the next morning, in terrain one chronicle describes as a morass of “evil lanes and deep dykes, so many hedges, trees and bushes, that it was hard… to come to hand”.

            Margaret herself took refuge in the abbey. Legend tells that she mounted the 200 steps of its tower – still accessible today by prior arrangement – from where she could view the fighting all too clearly. What she saw, to her horror, was an overwhelming Yorkist victory, thanks in part to Edward’s clever deployment of his forces but also to the failure to advance of one veteran Lancastrian commander. A nearby field is still dubbed Bloody Meadow in memory of the slaughter of hapless Lancastrians that took place there. Among the dead was Margaret’s son, probably killed as he fled the battle scene.

            Bloodshed in Tewkesbury Abbey

            Many of the defeated Lancastrians fled into the abbey, claiming sanctuary. The different chronicles vary sharply in their versions of what happened there – and the propaganda war of this era, in which the different sides told two quite different stories, is a saga that can be traced through the stones of Tewkesbury Abbey.

            Edward and his two brothers – George, Duke of Clarence, and Richard of Gloucester – pursued the fugitives onto consecrated ground, demanding that the abbot hand them over. One tale tells of Edward bursting into the church itself, sword in hand, at the very moment Mass was being celebrated, only to be confronted by the abbot wielding the Host. The story describes a bloodletting so great – perhaps even under the very pillars of the nave that still stand today – that the church had to be reconsecrated.

            What is certain is that the Lancastrian leaders were handed over, tried, and summarily executed in Tewkesbury’s marketplace the next day. They are buried under what now serves as the abbey shop.

            Margaret herself had fled farther afield. She was captured three days later in a “poor religious house” near Malvern, and displayed in Edward IV’s train as he re-entered London in triumph. That night, Henry VI died – “of pure displeasure and melancholy”, said the Yorkists, though the Lancastrians all-too credibly told a different story.

            Margaret was kept in custody until she was eventually ransomed back to her native France, where she died in poverty. After Tewkesbury she had become irrelevant. She had been a formidable fighter – a “tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide,” as William Shakespeare would describe her. But now she had no Lancastrian claimant for whom to fight.

            The miraculous afterlife of Henry VI

            In life Henry VI was a pitiful ruler who plunged England into disarray. But in death he became a national hero, hailed for saving the sick and the wrongly accused. Lauren Johnson explores the miraculous afterlife of a medieval monarch

            A resting place of royal remains

            Margaret of Anjou’s son. Edward, was buried in Tewkesbury Abbey, where he is commemorated by a plaque – ironically placed right under the ‘Sun in Splendour’ emblem, representing the victorious York brothers, on the ceiling.

            Edward’s plaque was laid during Sir Gilbert Scott’s Victorian restoration of Tewkesbury. The church (purchased by the townspeople when the rest of the abbey disappeared in the Dissolution of the Monasteries) retains genuine medieval remains aplenty: the famous bosses in the nave, the exquisite stonework of the chantries, the glass of the quire clerestory – and the mortal remains of one of the wars’ most debatable personalities.

            Edward IV’s brother George, Duke of Clarence, had originally joined Warwick’s coup but, in the weeks before Tewkesbury, had come back over to his brother’s side. Six years later, however, the fickle Clarence rebelled again. Reputedly executed by being drowned in a butt of malmsey wine, in 1478, he was buried beside his wife, Isabel, Warwick’s daughter, in Tewkesbury Abbey.

            A grating on the floor behind the altar hides the cramped vault where the bones of George and Isabel lie jumbled. Indeed, Tewkesbury keeps some of its extraordinary history hidden from the casual eye. For example, horse armour taken from the battlefield by monks strengthens the reverse side of the closed door to the sacristy. And the town itself is riddled with myriad alleys to be discovered as you explore the countless agreeably junky antique shops and delightfully eccentric tea rooms.

            But on the other side of the abbey from the town’s timber-framed houses, the lush, green ground where the armies struggled in 1471 still looks much the same. Get a Battle Trail plan from the town’s visitor centre, or see the display in the museum, and the Wars of the Roses are laid out before you – the whole messy human story.

            Find out more about visiting Tewkesbury Abbey

            Edward IV: champion of the Wars of the Roses

            Edward IV, the first Yorkist king of England, was given short shrift by Shakespeare. Yet, argues author AJ Pollard, Edward was a remarkable military leader

            Four more places to explore linked to the Wars of the Roses


            No battles were fought here, but the city is still one of the best places to get a feel for the late 15th century. Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville and Anne Neville were all patrons of Queens’ College, while King’s College was founded by Henry VI, and construction of its famous chapel continued under Henry VII and his son Henry VIII– an example in stone and glass of the progress of a vital half-century.

            Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, founded both St John’s and Christ’s colleges she kept her own set of rooms in the latter, and visited regularly.

            Find out more about visiting Cambridge

            Tower of London

            The Tower of London is associated above all with the mysterious fate of Richard III’s nephews, the unfortunate princes. But it’s also where Elizabeth Woodville first took refuge in 1470, where Elizabeth of York retreated during the rebellion of 1497, and where Henry VI died in mysterious circumstances. Its strategic and symbolic importance in the medieval era is still evident today.

            Find out more about how to visit the Tower of London and book tickets with Historic Royal Palaces

            Middleham Castle, North Yorkshire

            The north of England provided Richard III with the power base he needed to seize the English throne, and Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales was his favourite residence.

            His short-lived son was Edward ‘of Middleham’, who died there in childhood. Largely ruined, and now in the care of English Heritage, the castle nonetheless retains evocative reminders of Richard’s day.

            Find out more about how to visit Middleham Castle and book tickets with English Heritage

            Bosworth battlefield, Leicestershire

            The precise conduct of the battle in which Richard III was killed seems always to be in dispute – but there’s no questioning the interest created by the new heritage centre: family-friendly, it’s informative for adults, too.

            Ever wondered why the battle was fought at Bosworth? Because the site is crossed by Roman roads – themselves tributes to even earlier English history – and battles were fought in places to which troops could travel quickly.

            Find out more about how to visit Bosworth battlefield

            Sarah Gristwood is a best-selling Tudor biographer, novelist, broadcaster, former film journalist and commentator on royal affairs

            Watch the video: Διάγγελμά του Βασιλιά Κωνσταντίνου στον ελληνικό λαό για το νέο έτος 1967 (May 2022).