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July 08, 2007

Sunday rumbles

The Battle of Tewkesbury was fought in 1471 in May. One reason for the rout of the House of Lancaster was the fact that their troops became mired in the mud on the Bloody Meadow, then, as now, a place that is marshy and marked by a small stream that disects it. That is why the re-enactment society chose to do their re-enactment in July, when the ground is normally dry and less prone to rusting the armour. Not a bad move, until this year that is. The whole camp has had to be moved, the battle re-enactment has had to move and much fun is being had by all.

Yesterday my windows rattled repeatedly to the boom of the several "Bombards" that have come to lend authenticity (Tewkesbury was one of the earliest battles in which artillery was deployed in Britain) and the town is full of folk in medieval dress. It can be quite disconcerting - especially first thing in the morning. This year the Battle is being fought on a football pitch above the Bloody Meadow. Still on the field of battle in one sense, just a bit more level and less lumpy.

Armoured knights and men at arms form up for the Lancastrian Prince of Wales.

Asked if they were planning to watch the battle, one local remarked, "No, seen it a few times, the same side always wins."

Compline in the Abbey last night was graced by the "King" and his entourage, "Edward Lancaster" and his attendants (their heads miraculously restored to their bodies after the "beheadings" which take place in the Crescent outside the Abbey Grounds) and about a hundred other visitors. The Parish Eucharist this morning took place on the Battlefield, a small mark of memorial to the seriousness and the sacrifice of so many lives in the quest for power and wealth.

The re-enactments are fun, but we should never lose sight of the fact that many were injured, killed or stripped of all they owned in these wars. More importantly, we must ensure that we never have to walk this road again.

Posted by The Gray Monk at July 8, 2007 01:23 PM

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