Lancastrian sanctuary at Beaulieu, 1471

First Yorkists on the run to sanctuary, then Lancastrians… Henry VI’s wife and son Queen Margaret and Prince Edward took a breather from the struggle with Edward IV at Beaulieu Abbey, touching base in a (deadly) game of tag before going back into the fray.

Queen Margaret of Anjou and son Edward had arrived in England in April 1471 to bolster the regime of husband/father Henry VI, only to find the restored (but very ill) Henry VI as prisoner of Edward IV and a resurgent Yorkist force basking in the victory of the battle of Barnet.


According to Polydore Vergil, Queen Margaret and Edward went into the sanctuary of Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire to regroup. Hearing the queen was at Beaulieu, Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, and several others of the Lancastrian leadership joined her there.

Margaret of Anjou (British Library)

The Lancastrians decided to make their stand at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire; queen, prince, and forces set up camp there to await another (and as it would turn out, decisive) battle, in which Prince Edward would be killed (Vergil, English History, 148).

Beaulieu Abbey – pronounced (and usually spelled in the 15th/16th century) Bewley – was a Cistercian monastery; there were a few recorded seekers earlier in the 15th century, but its heyday as a sanctuary was after this, primarily in the 16th century.

Photo by Przemysław Jahr

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