Battle of Evesham, 1265

Account of the battle of Evesham, fought on 4 August 1265, and the death of Simon de Montfort. Extract taken from the chronicle attributed to Arnald FitzThedmar, 1265. By permission of City of London, London Metropolitan Archives.


The king, with the earl of Leicester [Simon de Montfort] and his supporters, had been staying at Hereford for many weeks, being unable to pass the River Severn because all the bridges had been broken down by Prince Edward and the earl of Gloucester. At last, while Prince Edward was with his army at Kenilworth, Simon de Montfort crossed the Severn at Worcester with his army, on the morrow of Saint Peter’s chains [1 August], which day then fell upon a Sunday.

After this, on the Tuesday following, and the fourth of August, they arrived at Evesham, where Prince Edward and the earl of Gloucester, with their army, surprised Simon de Montfort. Prince Edward and the earl of Gloucester gained the victory, and the earl of Leicester [Simon de Monfort] and his eldest son, Henry, were slain. Hugh le Despenser, Peter de Montfort, and all the barons and knights who had adhered to them, were slain, and only a few survived. The survivors were badly wounded and taken prisoner. It was also said that many knights and men-at-arms in Montfort’s army were slain, while few in Prince Edward’s army lost their lives.

The head of the Earl of Leicester, it is said, was severed from his body, and his testicles cut off and hung on either side of his nose. In this state, the head was sent to the wife of Roger de Mortimer, at Wigmore Castle. Simon de Montfort’s hands and feet were also cut off, and sent to many of his enemies as a great mark of dishonour to the deceased. The trunk of his body, however, and that alone, was given for burial in the church of Evesham. On the same day, and at the same hour that the battle took place, there was a very great tempest in London and elsewhere, accompanied with lightning and thunder.

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