Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

Slideshow Widget

Tewkesbury, England

18 January 2011

We are currently living in Ashchurch, which is just down the road from Tewkesbury. Tewkesbury is a small market town that sits on the confluence of the rivers Severn and Avon. The town is built along the river Severn and is littered with timbered buildings.

A traditional y-shaped street lay-out for market towns was used when Tewkesbury was built. The buildings are crammed together with shops on the first floor (the ground floor is referred to as the first floor in England ) and living accommodations above.

Tewkesbury still has the feel of that market town. At one time, Tewkesbury had over 90 little alley-ways. Today, around 30 of these are still being used.

The heart of Tewksebury is the Norman abbey, St Mary the Virgin. The Tewkesbury Abbey is a sight to behold.

Twice in it’s history it has been saved from destruction. The townspeople saved their beloved abbey from the Dissolution of the Monasteries being carried out by King Henry VIII by paying him £453. The Tewkesbury Abbey was also spared in recent times. July 2007 brought heavy rains to the region. The rivers Severn and Avon were experiencing high water levels from spring and with the rains the two rivers over-flowed their banks and engulfed the town of Tewkesbury. The one spot of relatively dry land was the grounds of the abbey.

Tewkesbury was the site of the decisive battle of the War of the Roses between the houses of York and LancasterKing Henry VI had been declared mad and was locked in the tower. Edward of York had been placed on the throne. Margaret of Anjou , wife of King Henry VI, wanted their son to be King. May 4th, 1471 was the date of the Battle of Tewksbury. The battle happened not far from the abbey and it is said that Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, watched the battle from the abbey’s tower. Members of the Lancasterian army sought shelter in the abbey. The Yorkist army broke down the doors and the Abbey became a battle ground. When the battle ended the Yorkists emerged as victors. Edward of York had won the throne of England. Armour from the battle was collected by the townspeople and used to re-enforce the sacristy doors of the abbey. So much blood had been spilt in the abbey during the battle that it took weeks to clean and the abbey had to be re-consecrated.

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