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War for the Throne - The Battle of Shrewsbury 1403

By John Barratt : Published by Pen and Sword Books


War for the Throne

The great battles of the Wars of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and York in the second half of the fifteenth century are well known to most people with an interest in British history. However, while the battles at Bosworth Field, Towton and Tewkesbury may be familiar, less well known is the desperate conflict of the early years of the same century, when the new Lancastrian dynasty, headed by King Henry IV, fought a merciless struggle for survival against a host of enemies at home and abroad.


Henry IV, who had overthrown and probably murdered his predecessor Richard II, fought a protracted and bloody campaign against the most powerful nobles in the land. This culminated with the Battle of Shrewsbury, where both sides suffered tremendous casualties, with thousands losing their lives in a matter of hours. This fascinating and pivotal period is the subject of John Barratt's gripping new study.

The Percy family, led by Sir Henry Percy 'Hotspur', whose fiery nature and military prowess were immortalized by Shakespeare, stood out against Henry's rule. Moreover, the beleaguered King also had to contend with a range of other unrelenting opponents, among them Owain Glyn Dwr, who led the Welsh revolt against English supremacy.

In this graphic account of the first, deeply troubled years of Henry IV's reign, John Barratt concentrates on the warfare, in particular on the set-piece pitched battles fought at Homildon Hill, Pilleth and Shrewsbury. His story brings to life the embittered politics and the personal and family enmities that gave rise to armed conflict. He also describes in vivid detail the tactics and fighting methods of the day, which were dominated by the devastating power of the English warbow. Complimented by a wealth of contemporary accounts, supplemented by modern research, maps and illustrations of the battles, the book should appeal greatly to all with an interest in medieval history or for those wishing to learn more about this brutal period.



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