On this day - 22nd August 1485 - The Battle of Bosworth Field
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the last battle of the long running Wars of the Roses, where the houses of York and Lancaster fought over the throne of England. The crown had changed between both houses many times and was currently in the hands of the Yorkist King Richard III.
On the morning of the 22nd of August, Richard and his Yorkist army met with Henry Tudor and the Lancastrian support he had gathered. Richard held the high ground on Ambien Hill, while Henry was at the bottom on marshier land. This was a disadvantage for Henry’s men, as charging down the hill was much easier than charging up. Henry’s forces suffered large casualties because of this. Richard’s men also fell in large numbers due to the very skilled Welsh longbowmen in Henry’s army.
Another disadvantage Henry faced was his smaller number of men. He was believed to have had a force of about 5000 men, while Richard had around 10,000-12,000. However, not all of Richard’s men fought. The Earl of Northumberland failed to commit his troops to the battle, and a number of 4000 men belonging to the Stanley family did not engage in the fighting, but instead stayed back and watched. Lord Stanley had reasons to support both Richard and Henry, so he decided to see who would ultimately win before he chose a side. When Henry’s forces started to overpower the Yorkists Stanley chose to back him and charged against the King.
As the battle turned against Richard, he caught sight of Henry and with a small number of trusted men he charged towards him. He got close enough to kill Henry’s standard bearer, but was struck down and killed. At the King’s death the remaining Yorkist forces scattered and fled.
Richard’s crown was found and placed upon Henry’s head proclaiming him rightful King by conquest. Richard’s body was stripped naked and paraded around on a horse. He was then buried in an unknown location until he was recently found 527 years later under a car park in Leicester.
The Battle of Bosworth resulted in the death of Richard III and thus the end of the long ruling Plantagenet line. With this also ended the Medieval period in England, and saw the beginning of the Tudor era. Henry Tudor became King Henry VII, and began one of the most well-known eras in English history.