Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The day of the Battle of Bosworth

What a week for true Ricardians and those interested in the times of the Wars of the Roses.
While a modern day battle is being fought over where the body of Richard III should lie, tomorrow  is the 528th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth...the battle in which the King was killed and the course of British history was changed forever more.

It was on  Thursday 22 August 1485 that Richard was killed here in Leicestershire, near the village of Sutton Cheyney. He'd ridden out from Leicester the day before with around 12,000 men with the intention of cutting Henry Tudor off from his march towards London.

But this wasn't just another was the last fought by a King who died in battle and Bosworth is a site of national historic significance, being the location of one of the three most important battles fought on British soil.

And every year, this event is remembered and re enacted by hundreds of men and women who go back and live life in the fifteenth century at the battlefield, and last weekend I joined over five thousand other spectators to watch them.

The re enactors got ready for battle

They lined up waiting for battle, but unlike those men who fought in 1485, they knew they would live to fight another day........

And as the cannons boomed in the distance they watched....

Richard's army began to march 

As did Henry Tudor's men ...

King Richard waited....

As battle began

Until the end...when Richard was killed, his body slung over his horse for the ride back to Leicester, as Henry Tudor celebrated...

But the weekend at Bosworth wasn't just about the battle. It recreated the music and the times of the fifteenth century England, with authentic music

I met Paul Parker, a historical interpreter who was there in the guise of  Captain Mortimer...who was a barber surgeon...and with relish he told me the gory, bloody stories of injury and death on the battlefields of the Wars of the Roses

At battle camp, wood had to be chopped, fires lit ...

Some re enactors are highly skilled ...Stephen Pole is a leathstitch, working in leather and canvas. He makes authentic hand sewn leather bags and purses for other reanactors.During war, he would have been levied by the army, and would have had to leave his shop and go to battle as a camp follower, repairing leather harnesses on the horses, mending tents and soldier's footwear.

He's pictured below with with Ann Laken, who in this century is a gardener, but as a re enactor...she's a master fletcher, handcrafting authentic fifteenth century arrows.

For some , it's never too early to be immersed in the world of the Wars of the Roses....

Also present was someone whose career has taken a different turn because of Richard III...and that's artist Graham Turner. Formerly a motor sport artist, he's now carved out a career as a painter of mediaeval history. He's even become a jouster , wearing a complete suit of replica 15th century armour!

Here's his painting "Challenge in the Mist" ..with Richard at the Battle of Barnet in 1471.

But take a look at this painting, which was unveiled at Bosworth a couple of months ago. It's of Richard, on the field of battle on 22 August 1485. The detail, the colour is all so impressive...I adore it...

So all in all, a wonderful weekend for people of all ages, to not only learn more about Richard III, from experts from the University of Leicester who were pivotal in the discovery of Richard, and from experts such as Dr Phil Stone , Chairman of the Richard III Society ,

and also to become immersed in the world of the Wars of the Roses, both on and off the battlefield.....


  1. Great photos Bridget. I've never been to this re-enactment. Now I've seen this I'll put it in my diary for next year.

    1. thanks pleased you like the photos! And yes, do gonext's such an interesting way to spend a day....

  2. Thank you Bridget for a great blog, and for including us. We look forward to hearing the broadcast. Would it be possible to purchase a copy of the photo of Steve and I?
    Ann & Steve

    1. Hello Ann and Steve , so gad yo like the blog post...I think it's fascinating what you do.....can you email me re photos?

  3. They re-enacted a battle for Marlborough during our celebrations getting our Royal Charter. The Cavaliers clattered into the High Street, led by a very large mare ... in season ... followed by a very small stallion ... both riders trying to pretend nothing was happening, children full of, 'mummy, what are those horses doing?' ... (Wish I had photos!)

  4. Oh that is such a funny story...never mind photos, I wish I could see a video of that! I love seeing re enactments....

  5. Great photo's and write up! It was an amazing experience to be there and you have captured the spirit perfectly. Roll on next year!

    1. Oh thanks very much - I'm pleased that you thought I'd captured the spirit Nikki! Yes, I shall definitely have to go's years since I last went with my children.

  6. Good pics, I'm in a few! Its a great weekend and would recomend it as a great event to anyone interested in the period!

  7. Yes ...a brilliant day which photos are you Mr or Ms Anonymous?

  8. why was todays memorial service not mentioned in the 'events'?
    we were there yesterday and today just because it IS the 22 August .
    the service was beautiful, I was so disappointed that the numbers attending were not more .After events of the past 11 months if I'd been Philipa Langley I'd have expected a whole lot more .She was very gracious when mobbed by the media . Not a lot of room for the rest of us to get a word in.

    1. I heard that the service was beautiful...but don't know why there weren't more there. There again, it's a weekday work day, so that may explain it....
      I 'd seen the press release so knew it was on (but couldn't be there unfortunately) but I should think Phiippa Langley was pleased to see the press. Sorry you didn't get a look in though....