Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.
Introduction into the cause of the Bosworth Battle.
On the 22 th of August in the year 1485, the last battle of the War of the Roses was fought. In the Bosworth battle the Plantagenet King Richard III of the House of York was killed, and the new King Henry VII of the House of Lancaster became the first ruler of the Tudor Dynasty.
Two years earlier Richard had become King of England after his brother King Edward IV had died and his 12-year-old heir Edward V was declared illegitimate. He and his younger brother later mysteriously disappeared from the Tower of London where they were held, still one of the greatest mysteries in English history to this day. Their uncertain fate did not do Richard’s popularity much good.
The War Of The Roses
The Wars of the Roses, also going by the name of the Cousins’ Wars, was, in fact, a power struggle between rival factions of the Royal Family.
Richard, the Duke of York raised an army against King Henry VI from the House of Lancaster. He was married to Margaret of Anjou, an unpopular queen of French birth.
Due to the loss of English lands in France, Henry VI’s mental health deteriorated, leading to insanity and his wife ruled in his name.
In 1455 she made sure the Duke of York, Henry’s uncle was excluded from the succession.
This led to a string of battles between the two houses of which the Battle of Bosworth was the last.
Henry Tudor, Claimant To The Throne.
Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, was born as a son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort. Through his mother, Henry’s royal claim was traced.
After Edward IV had come to the throne, no Lancastrian was safe, especially claimants to the throne. Henry fled together with his uncle Jasper Tudor to the Continent.
In 1483 he had already attempted a military landing, but this failed due to bad weather and Royal spies, for which his mother narrowly escaped execution through her marriage to the Yorkist Thomas, Lord Stanley.
Finally, on the seventh of August 1485, he succeeded in landing in Wales.
His small army consisted of paid mercenaries and a group of exiled Englishmen.
Marching east, gathering support on the way, they arrived in Warwickshire on the 20th of August.
When Richard learned about the landing, he ordered his nobles to gather their troops and march to Leicester.
Although many nobles did not obey the King, an impressive army began to arrive around the 20th of August.
As Henry planned to march to London to proclaim himself King, the Royal army tried to cut him off.
The Actual Bosworth Battle Of 22th Of August 1485.
On the battlefield on the 22nd of August, the two armies were divided by a marsh.
The troops of Thomas, Lord Stanley and his brother Sir William Stanley were in between at both sides.
As usual, they waited which side they would support depending on the outlook of the battle, even though Richard had taken Thomas Stanley’s son hostage to assure his support.
Henry had given the command to the Earl of Oxford due to his lack of battle experience.
He led Henry’s army around the marsh and attacked Richard’s right flank, eventually killing his commander the Duke of Norfolk.
When Richard noticed Henry was riding towards the Stanley’s, he decided to kill Henry to end the fight quickly.
So he unsuccessfully tried to reach him, separating himself from his main force.
The Bosworth Battle 1485 [Total War Reenactment]
William Stanley then made his move and attacked Richard. Richard lost his horse, and he went on fighting on foot, refusing to escape from the field saying “he would live or die as King of England.”
Outnumbered, he and his supporters did not stand a chance, and they were all brutally cut down. Henry was now King of England, unofficially crowned on the battlefield with Richard’s circlet, which some say was found under a hawthorn bush, hence his crest showing the English crown in a hawthorn bush.
The dead, naked body of Richard was taken to Leicester, unrespectfully slung over a horse.
He was buried at Greyfriars Priory, his grave to be discovered in 2012 under a carpark.
On the fourth of February 2013, it was confirmed that the skeleton was indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England.
The Bosworth Battle Heritage Centre
I was lucky to be able to visit the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park at Ambion Hill Farm in the autumn of 2013.
Originally this exhibition started in 1974 to commemorate and tell the history of the Battle of Bosworth.
Several extensions later, in 2005 a Heritage Lottery Fund grant enabled the exhibition to be updated, and an examination about the exact location of the battlefield was undertaken.
The exhibition is excellent for both adults and children.
It not only tells the story of the real battle with audio tracks but it also shows and tells about the nobles like Thomas, Lord Stanley and the common people who partook, like the French mercenaries and their families or John, farmer, and archer with his longbow.
Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre
There are weapons on display and clothing and armour to be tried on, perfect for taking photographs.
You can see the horrors of war when you look at the tools of the barber-surgeon.
Outside you can take a walk round Ambion Hill or partake in a guided walk (to pre book in summer and autumn) of 7.5 miles across the actual fields of conflict, enjoying the stories of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides.
Every year on the weekend closest to the 22nd of August a re-enactment takes place at the Heritage Center, a great day out for families and everybody else interested in the battle between King Richard III and Henry Tudor, that would define English history for many years to come.
History of the British Monarchy
The UK Monarchy has a rich and long history.
The first kings descended from people who came to England in the fourth century.
King Alfred I was the first king to rule great parts of the UK.
Shortly after that Danish kings reigned.
William the Conqueror became King William I, after defeating the Danish King Harold II.
Several houses ( dynasties ) came to power, including the House Plantagenet, Lancaster House, York House, House of Tudor and Stuart House.
The Tudors came to power after the war between the Lancasters and Yorks ( The War of the Roses).
It delivered the most talked about king and queens from British history: Henry VIII and his daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Henry is best known for his six wives, Catherine of Aragon ( with whom he had Mary ), Anne Boleyn (with whom he got Elizabeth ), Jane Seymour ( who gave him the coveted son Edward ), Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr.
More info about the Bosworth Battle can be found at Bosworth Battlefield Centre