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  The Battle of Evesham 1265  

The Battle of Evesham 1265

‘Such was the murder at Evesham, for Battle it was none.'

After Simon de Montfort's decisive victory at the battle of Lewes in 1264, he found himself the master of King Henry III and the kingdom of England .

This power however did not sit well with Simon for he knew he could only rule the kingdom through the King and with the consent of the clergy and nobility. Very soon the Baron's began to fall out and Simon began to increasingly take the role of a dictator. Support for Simon weakened and many disaffected powerful Baron's began forming alliances with Prince Edward, who had earlier in the year escaped captivity and was now seeking revenge.Early on the 4 August 1265 , Simon de Montfort and his small army numbering about 6,000 were uncharacteristically outmanoeuvred and trapped in a loop of the River Avon near Evesham in Worcestershire. Simon was outnumbered and surrounded and upon seeing this was heard to say: “They come on well, they learned that from me.”

Seeing the hopeless situation the rebel army was in many of his Welsh contingents deserted before the battle commenced. Simon was left with no choice but to launch an attack uphill and try and punch his way through Prince Edward's battles.

Heavily outnumbered, Simon's army was overwhelmed and the massacre began. Simon was unhorsed and continued to fight on foot but the shear weight of numbers against the rebel army began to show. The battle or slaughter lasted about two hours and the rebel army was annihilated. Simon de Montfort, his son Henry de Montfort and Hugh Despenser were among the dead. Simon had brought the King into the battle clad in armour and he was unrecognisable, only saving himself by constantly shouting: ‘I am your King, do not harm me.'

Simon's body was shamefully mutilated, his head being cut off and sent to Earl of Wigmore, Roger Mortimer's wife and his limbs were removed and distributed throughout the kingdom.

The Baron's war carried on for a few more years until finally the King and Prince Edward made peace with Earl Gilbert, ending the unrest.

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