Drive southward from Tewkesbury and turn off the A38 at The Odessa Inn and the road to Bishop’s Cleeve takes you through Tredington, a small village with a Twelfth Century church and medieval farm houses.
The warm days have brought misty mornings and driving through the village at 6.45 am there was a moment of timelessness. The timber-framed Tudor buildings provided a frame for a glimpse of the Tudor wooden tower of the church.
Had it not been a journey to work, had there not been a need to prepare for cover lessons, there would have been an inclination to have stopped and to have savoured the silent ambience, perhaps to try to photograph the scene, although no picture could have captured the coolness of the misty morning, the calmness of a place unchanged in generations.
It is 550 years since King Edward IV rode past the church on his way to battle at nearby Tewkesbury where his Yorkist army destroyed the Lancastrian forces. The seventeen year old Lancastrian heir to the throne, Edward, Prince of Wales, was among the dead.
Would the stories of the battle have been passed down through the generations? Would children of Tredington have heard tales of the king’s army passing among the houses in which they lived? Would there have been an oral tradition that recounted the bloody realities of the aftermath of the conflict? Would memories have been passed down of Lancastrian nobles being dragged from the abbey, where they had sought sanctuary, to face short trials and summary executions? Would old people’s recollections of the noise of battle have chilled listeners centuries later?
Tredington is a place where the past feels present, a place of beauty, but perhaps that is a modern perception.
Had one been a farm labourer in many of the eight hundred years or so since the church was built, would the village have seemed beautiful, or would it have seemed just another village among the countless others in Gloucestershire? Would the manor houses have seemed attractive buildings or would they have represented a world that a labouring man might only have imagined? Did some of the farms of the village sometimes seem to be places that were as oppressive as some of the mills came to be seen in the Nineteenth Century?
Scenes created by summer morning mists can conceal thoughts of the historical realities of hardship and violence in a small corner of Gloucestershire.