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Battle of Bosworth Field

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 22 Aug 1485 [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: England Miltary_and_War
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The Battle of Bosworth Field (or Battle of Bosworth) 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.[1]

Lancastrians, Battle of Bosworth Field

Yorkists, Battle of Bosworth Field

The battle of Redemore, as it was known by contemporaries, was fought 22 August, 1485, between King Richard III of England and his supporters, the Yorkists, against the Lancastrians supporting Henry Tudor.

Richard had 15,000 men, Henry had 5,000. Richard III's vanguard was led by the aged John, duke of Norfolk. 7,000 men, raised to support Richard, under Henry Percy, the earl of Northumberland did not enter the battle. Later Henry Percy was killed by his own supporters for 'disappointing' Richard.

The Lancastrian general, John de Vere, the earl of Oxford, led Henry's forces and his vanguard. Henry Tudor was stationed at the back of the field.

Thomas Lord Stanley, and his brother, Sir William Stanley, had around 6,000 men between them who were raised to fight for King Richard. Thomas was Henry Tudor's step-father. The Stanleys kept their men out of the fighting as well.

Richard and around 200 cavalry fought through to Henry Tudor. When Sir William Stanley saw that Henry was in 'immediate danger' he brought his men into action, crashing into the side of Richard's men and sweeping them into the marsh.

Even John Rous, who compared Richard to the Antichrist, admitted “if I may say the truth to his credit, though small in body and feeble of limb, he bore himself like a gallant knight and acted with distinction as his own champion until his last breath”.

Richard knocked down Sir John Cheyney, who at six foot eight inches was the tallest soldier of his day, while Henry's standard-bearer Sir William Brandon was killed. Richard's own standard-bearer, Sir Percival Thribald, has both his legs cut from underneath him, but still managed to cling to the king's standard.</blockquote>

Emma McFarnon, 10 things you need to know about the battle of Bosworth, History Extra, accessed 3 July 2015.

With Richard at Bosworth were a close-knit group of gentry who served in the royal household: men like John Huddleston, Thomas Pilkington and Richard Ratcliffe. They were men whom Richard could trust, but they were also the very men who were instrumental in reducing Stanley’s power in the northwest.

By Richard’s side, possibly carrying his standard, was James Harrington. When Richard III sped past the Stanleys at Bosworth Field he presented them with an opportunity too tempting to refuse.

During the 1470s Richard had become the dominant power in the north as Edward’s lieutenant. He served his brother faithfully and built up a strong and stable following. The leading gentry families could serve royal authority without an intermediary. The losers in this new dispensation were the two northern magnates, Henry Percy and Thomas Stanley. Matt Elton, In case you missed it... Treachery: what really brought down Richard III, History Extra, accessed 3 July 2015.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia article




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