The Cotswolds and the Wars of the Roses….

“What role did the Cotswolds play in the 30-year Wars of the Roses?”

A good question. There wasn’t a specific War of the Cotswolds, but there was (still is) a connection to the Wars of the Roses, as you’ll see in this article . For instance, there’s the wonderful Church of St John the Baptist at Cirencester (see above) which was apparently endowed by retainers of the Duke of York. The duke features in its east window….as does one of the Mortimer Earls of March. He’s to be seen top left, holding his arms. The Mortimers were, of course, descended from Lionel of Clarence, a more senior son of Edward III than John of Gaunt, from whom the Lancastrian side claimed descent.

Edward IV marched his army over the Cotswolds on his way to confront Margaret of Anjou at Tewkesbury, before which conflict the city of Gloucester had closed its gates to her. And if you go south of Gloucester to the quaintly named Nibley Green, you’ll find the site of the last battle in England, in 1470 between “private” armies, those of Lord Lisle and Lord Berkeley. This wasn’t the Wars of the Roses exactly, but a quarrel between rival families, but it took place during the wars.

When still Richard of Gloucester, Richard III was granted beautiful Sudeley Castle, as that establishment is glad to claim to this day. It also had connections with Eleanor Talbot (Butler). Richard, of course, fought at Tewkesbury, which the Yorkists won decisively.

Another magnificent Cotswold site with strong connections to the Yorkists is Francis Lovell’s Minster Lovell Hall, a picturesque ruin on the banks of the equally picturesque River Windrush And so the list goes on.

I must also question the inclusion of Mortimer’s Cross (Herefordshire). Tewkesbury is only just to be connected to the Cotswolds, but Herefordshire is going a little too far. As for the description of the wars as the “Cousins’ War”…. 😠

Nor do I care for the statement that Richard’s accession was “smoothed” by rumours about Edward IV’s marriage being bigamous. Smoothed in this instance has a rather oily ring to it. And did “rumourmongers” really dig out the story? But the article is even-handed on the whole, so I’ll let that one pass. 😊

But the article is interesting and well illustrated. You can do a lot worse than visit the Cotswolds if you want to find places with links to the part of our history that interests you most.


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