The Tewkesbury Battlefield Society is a group of interested people who want to preserve, promote and interpret the history, archaeology and natural history of the sites associated with the battle for the present and future generations.
- Working with the owners of the many sites associated with the Battle of Tewkesbury, the Society aims to raise public awareness of the events of the battle, and to promote the sites as an integrated educational resource.
- We aim to encourage tourism and leisure activity by advertising, interpretation and presentation in connection with the sites.
- We aim also to collate research into the Battle, and to encourage further research, making the results available to the public through a variety of media.
- We aim to become the Authority on the battle and battle site
In pursuing our objects, we work alongside a variety of organisations, including public bodies and other charities, in Tewkesbury and throughout the world. We develop schemes and advocate projects, including fundraising for them, delivering them where it is within our ability, and project managing if appropriate.
- To promote the permanent preservation of the battlefield and other sites associated with the Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471, as sites of historic interest, to the benefit of the public generally.
- To promote the educational possibilities of the battlefield and associated sites, particularly in relation to medieval history.
- To promote, for public benefit, research into matters associated with the sites, and to publish the useful results of such research.
About the battle
The Kynge apparailed hymselfe, and all his hooste set in good array; ordeined three wards; displayed his bannars; dyd blowe up the trompets; commytted his caws and qwarell to Almyghty God, to owr most blessyd lady his mothar, Vyrgyn Mary, the glorious martyr Seint George, and all the saynts; and advaunced, directly upon his enemyes; approchinge to theyr filde, which was strongly in a marvaylows storng grownd pyght, full difficult to be assayled.
In the early morning mist on Saturday 4 May 1471, the Lancastrian army broke camp and took a defensive position with their backs to Tewkesbury. The Yorkist army marched to the field, and formed a line facing them along the high ground of Gub’s Hill. The armies engaged, and the fighting was fierce among the buttercups in the Gaston field until the Lancastrians broke, and were chased in hot pursuit into the Park, the rivers and the town. At the end of the Battle, the Lancastrian heir, Prince Edward, lay dead on the field, marking the end of opposition in England to the Yorkist King Edward.
There are many sites associated in chronicles, literature and local tradition with the events of The Battle of Tewkesbury. There are also locations in Tewkesbury which interpret the battle and the period to the public.
Time has changed many features of the landscape, but not yet made it unrecognizable, nor made it impossible to follow the main manoeuvres of the battle or its aftermath.
At the Western edge of the battlefield can be found the remnants of the Gaston Field, where the Duke of Somerset, the Lancastrian Commander, engaged the Duke of Gloucester and The Park, from which two hundred ‘spears’ charged into the fray, and into which defeated Lancastrians fled. Along with The Bloody Meadow, traditionally the scene of greatest slaughter, these all remain, and despite changes wrought by time they retain their essential character.
The Gaston Field has been identified as the Battlefield. The Gaston Field was the open field to the south of Tewkesbury, probably pasture by the late middle ages. By the end of the seventeenth century it had been divided into seven enclosures. In the eighteenth century, a turnpike road was constructed through it; the present Gloucester Road. In the nineteenth century, there was some ribbon development along the turnpike, and Abbots Road became an exclusive residential area in the 1920s. The Town Cemetery was established in the North East. After the second World War, the land to the east of the road was heavily developed. In the nineteen seventies, development of the north of the field took place; a new road to Tewkesbury Park giving access to enable the development of the Council offices on Windmill Hill and the Battle Road estate on the northern Gastons.
For more information, see the Battlefields Trust resource centre