Battle of Bosworth – 22 August 1485


Battle of Bosworth

The Battle of Bosworth was THE battle that determined the entire future of England and quite possibly the husband of Elizabeth of York. Would Richard III continue as king, or would Henry Tudor take the throne of England for himself on the battlefield?

On 1 August 1485, Henry Tudor and a company of some 2000 soldiers set sail from Seine estuary for Wales. On the 7th, the small army landed at Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, from where it advanced, unchallenged by any allies of Richard lll, first through North Wales and then towards England. – The Tudor Chronicles by Susan Doran

The first time Henry Tudor’s army experienced resistance was at Shrewsbury. They would not open their gates to Henry and his army. Eventually their gates open, most likely by the order of Henry’s step-brother, Sir William Stanley. Henry had hoped his step-father, Lord Thomas Stanley and his son Sir William Stanley would join in his fight, however, as we now know they would not commit their armies. Lord Thomas Stanley was notorious for playing both sides and Henry was no exception to the rule, despite the fact that Lord Stanley was married to his mother, Margaret Beaufort.

In the meantime, Richard III began military preparations to defend his throne. Was Richard III concerned about a battle with the Tudor army? The three sons of York had always been triumphant on the battlefield. Is it possible Richard was over-confident? Or was he less confident since he did not have his brothers Edward and George to fight alongside him?

On 21 August he (Richard III) setup his camp close to Henry’s army in the vicinity of Atherstone ready to fight the next day. That night Richard reportedly had a terrible dream, ‘for he thought in his sleep that he saw horrible images as it were of evil spirits haunting evidently about him.’-The Tudor Chronicles by Susan Doran

On 22 August 1485, Henry encountered Richard’s army at Bosworth.

The battle was decided by the king’s desperate attempt to try and bring the fighting to a quick conclusion, a maneuvre that threw away a position of strength. As Richard watched the vanguard of his army take on the vanguard of Henry’s, he had plenty of strength in reserve. However, in the distance he saw Henry Tudor’s standard defended by only a few score troops and decided to attack, in the hope of brining the clash to an early end by killing Henry.

At first the onslaught was successful and Richard killed several of Henry’s bodyguards. When his horse was slain, he fought on, on foot. At this point Sir William Stanley threw his men into an attack on the King. Richard was killed, his body stripped and slung naked across a horse. – The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain by Charles Phillips

His coronet was knocked into a bush and retrieved by Lord Thomas Stanley, who placed it on Henry Tudor’s head. The soldiers and nobles on the field at once acclaimed their new king. – The Tudor Chronicles by Susan Doran

Henry Tudor was now King of England – King Henry VII and the patriarch of the Tudor dynasty.

Henry Tudor, King Henry VIII

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