On this day in 1485the Battle of Bosworth Field which ultimately led to the death of Richard III and the end of the House of Plantagenet, took place.
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century.
Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians. Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, by his victory became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle.
Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history.
After the battle, Richard’s circlet was found and brought to Henry, who was crowned king at the top of Crown Hill, near the village of Stoke Golding. According to Vergil, Henry’s official historian, Lord Stanley found the circlet.
Historian Stanley Chrimes and Professor Sydney Anglo dismiss the legend of the crown’s finding in a hawthorn bush; none of the contemporary sources reported such an event. Ross, however, does not ignore the legend. He opines that the hawthorn bush would not be part of Henry’s coat of arms if it did not have a strong relationship to his ascendance.
In Vergil’s chronicle, 100 of Henry’s men, compared to 1,000 of Richard’s, died in this battle—a ratio Chrimes believes to be an exaggeration. The bodies of the fallen were brought to St James Church at Dadlington for burial.
However, Henry denied any immediate rest for Richard; instead the last Yorkist king’s corpse was stripped naked and strapped across a horse. His body was brought to Leicester and openly exhibited in a church, possibly in the collegiate foundation of the Annunciation of Our Lady, to show his death.
After two days, the corpse was interred in a plain unmarked tomb, within the church of the Greyfriars. The location of Richard’s tomb was long uncertain, as the church was demolished following its dissolution in 1538.
In 2012, Richard III’s body was thought to have been found in a Leicester car park. I have posted previously on my opinion of this. If you’re interested, you can find that post here: https://historyholdsthesecrets.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/richard-iii/