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Tewkesbury Museums, John Moore and the Battle of Tewkesbury

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Located in the County
of Gloucestershire
North Western edge of the Cotswolds 14 miles from Broadway
8 miles from Cheltenham
2 miles from junction 9
M5 Motorway

Tewkesbury Town Museum

'explore and celebrate the cultural
history of the region'

Explore the Romans and the secret of a young female skeleton.

Discover the triumphs and tragedies of the Madieval Battle of the Roses.

Learn about the beautiful Tudor buildings and ancient Abbey.

Enjoy the spectacle of wonderful funfair models which celebrate the street fairs of medieval times.

Open all year  Wed - Sat  10am - 4pm Living history and event days. Groups and School visits welcome.

Tewkesbury Museum
Address Tel Fax E-Mail Website
64 Barton Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 5PX 01684 292901 01684 292277

The John Moore Countryside Museum

'a museum for those who care about the countryside and the creatures which live in it'

A countryside collection displayed to honour the writings on nature conservation of the late John Moore.

Central to the museum is the Natural History Collection of preserved mammals and birds, nearly all the victims of accidents or predators.

Displays of hand tools illustrate how people have shaped the countryside which we know today.

The museum houses part of the Alan R. Jack collection of wildlife sculptures, made entirely from scrap metal parts.

Although appealing to all ages, the museum is especially suited to young people.

Open - 1st April to 31st October Tuesdays and Saturdays 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. Open all Bank Holidays

Joh Moore Museum
Address Tel E-Mail Website
41 Church Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 5SN 01684 297174

John Moore (1907 to 1967)

The Prophet of Conservation

John Moore was born in Tewkesbury, and from the 1930's wrote some forty books, most of which were set in the countryside. Long before conservation became fashionable he wrote of the threat to our countryside from technological progress. The relevance of his writings is even more keenly felt in today's climate of concern for all environmental matters.

He is best remembered for the three books known as `The Brensham Trilogy', Portrait of Elmbury, Brensham Village and The Blue Field. Set in and around Tewkesbury, and recently successfully republished by the Windrush Press, they established John Moore as one of the 20th Century's finest country writers.

Concern and love for the countryside shines through all John Moore's work, and the museum, which was opened in 1980, reflects these themes. An extremely active John Moore Society exists to promote his writings and details are available from the museum. Both the museum and the society would like to acknowledge the support and practical help given by Lucile Bell the widow of John Moore.
John Moore

The Battle of Tewkesbury in the War of the Roses 1471

The Wars of the Roses, a series of campaigns from 1455 to 1487, began as a struggle to rule England in the name of the incompetent Henry VI between the rival families of Lancaster and York. Later they became a fight for the crown itself. In 1470 the Yorkist Edward IV seemed secure on the throne but his great supporter, the Earl of Warwick, the `Kingmaker', quarrelled with him and joined Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI's queen. Caught off guard, Edward fled abroad and Henry VI was briefly restored. In March 1471 Edward landed at Ravenspur on the Yorkshire coast and advanced to London. Warwick pursued him and the two sides met at Barnet on Easter Sunday, 14 April, where the Lancastrians were defeated and Warwick killed.

Meanwhile, Margaret and her son Edward, Prince of Wales, had raised a handful of troops in France and landed at Weymouth on the very day of Warwick's defeat, hearing the news the following day. Should she retreat to France or advance boldly to seek support to defeat her implacable enemies? Adopting the latter plan she gained the support of the Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Devonshire, advancing northwards to link up with her Welsh supporters under Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke.

At Bristol she was joined by more volunteers and raised funds and some artillery. Continuing north, she aimed to cross the Severn into Wales. The nearest bridge was at Gloucester and the next at Upton, though there was a deep ford at Lower Lode, Tewkesbury. Meanwhile Edward IV reassembled his victorious army and sent messengers ordering the citizens of Gloucester to close their gates against the Lancastrians. Without time to storm the city walls, Margaret marched on to Tewkesbury pursued by Edward. On the night of 3 May the Lancastrians camped just south of Tewkesbury with Edward two miles away at Tredington. Margaret dared not risk being caught with her forces divided to cross the river so her troops deployed in battle order on the higher ground, probably around Gupshill Manor.

Early next morning, Saturday, 4 May 1471, the Yorkists moved into position along the ridge from Southwick Park through Stonehouse Farm. The battle opened with an artillery exchange and a flurry of arrows. Somerset, on the Lancastrian right, advanced to outflank his opposite number, the Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III. Somerset did not know that Edward had sent 200 cavalry to search the wooded area of Tewkesbury Park. These `lances' now hurtled down the hill to take Somerset's men in the flank. The Lancastrian right retreated in disorder. Somerset blamed Lord Wenlock who commanded the Lancastrian centre for not supporting him and, according to some sources, beheaded him in front of his own men. The Lancastrians now fled in panic, large numbers being killed in the `Bloody Meadow' and trying to cross the River Swilgate.

Prince Edward was killed in the retreat, together with John Beaufort, Somerset's brother. Other prominent Lancastrians took refuge in the Abbey, including Somerset and John Langstrother, Prior of St John. The Yorkists violated the sanctuary of the church and the Lancastrian leaders were summarily tried and executed, probably at the Crescent. Several Lancastrians were buried in the Abbey, notably Edward, Prince of Wales, whose tomb is beneath the main tower from which the sun of York shines down on him. George, Duke of Clarence, a brother of Edward IV, who fought on the Yorkist side and who later reputedly drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, also has a famous vault in the Abbey. Queen Margaret, after spending a night at Payne's Place, Bushley, was arrested, probably at Little Malvern Priory, and forced to enter London on 21 May with the victorious Edward IV That night her husband, Henry VI, was murdered in the Tower where she herself was imprisoned for several years before being ransomed by her father, the King of France. Edward ruled peacefully and powerfully until his death in 1483. The Yorkists then quarrelled among themselves, enabling the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, to win the throne from Richard III on Bosworth Field in 1485 and to survive a final Yorkist thrust at Stoke in 1487.

The victims of the battle are still remembered in an annual communion service in the Abbey on 4 May.


Tewkesbury Museums, John Moore and the Battle of Tewkesbury