Tewkesbury 1471, The Last Yorkist Victory
By Christopher Gravett
A review by David Lanchester
Firstly, this is better value than I realised as it also covers the Battle of Barnet fought 3 weeks before and Fauconberg's attack on London a week after the battle.
Christopher sets the scene with his introduction. After listing and commenting on his sources, he takes the reader through the Warwick inspired rebellions of 1469-70 that caused Edward IV to flee abroad and his subsequent return on 14th March 1471.
Following a good, well detail chronology, Christopher looks at the various commanders and the opposing armies. As you would expect from the Senior Curator of the Royal Armouries his description of their arms and armour is extremely comprehensive.
The various campaigns leading to both battles and the attack on London are exceedingly well written and very detailed given the space allotted to them. There is perhaps not a lot that's new here but his writing style gives the reader a sound footing to search for fuller details elsewhere.
Added to all this we have the fabulous artwork of Graham Turner and those wonderful 3D birds-eye view maps for which Osprey can be rightly proud of. It's a pain that these maps are spread across two pages and to view them in all their glory may well damage the book! I note from Graham's painting of the Heraldic Banners that animate objects are not facing the hoist (flagpole) I believe that this is always attached to the Dexter side and the reverse side of the banner is always shown in a mirror image of itself.
No mention of the Gannick Bank, an earthwork than enclosed Enfield chase at the time of the Battle of Barnet is made. This barrier must have given the Yorkist advance on their right some problems, also not mentioned is a report in The Great chronicle of London, placing Gloucester on the left of the Yorkist line opposite Oxford. Both options for the site of the Battle of Tewkesbury are given, although the artwork favours the Gupshill Manor position along with a cattle-fold known as Queen Margaret's Camp (that may have been constructed sometime after the battle) nearby. I would like to believe that either army would not deploy with these obstructions to their front and I would certainly favour the other site, 'at the towns end'.
As with any Osprey Campaign book it's a very good read, featuring very fine artwork and is lavishly illustrated throughout with good quality maps and photographs. A few petty niggles aside a very fine work and worth a place on your bookshelf.
Osprey Publishing, Campaign Series No. 131. ISBN 1 84176 514 7
Retail Price £12.99 / $18.95
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