After following the long exile of Jasper and Henry Tudor in Brittany I have now returned to Pembrokeshire in West Wales. The Tudors had made an unsuccessful attempt to invade England in 1483 but learned from this near disaster. On Monday the 1st of August, 1485 they sailed again from the mouth of the Seine with their mercenary army of some four thousand men to challenge King Richard III for the crown.
It seems the sea voyage led by the Poulian De Dieppe, flagship of their capable captain, Guillaume de Casenove, was uneventful and had the benefit of favourable winds. They made landfall at Mill Bay, a secluded, pebble-strewn beach in the far west of Wales just before sunset on Sunday 7th August.
|Mill Bay, Pembrokeshire|
On going ashore, Henry Tudor kissed the ground and recited a Psalm in Latin. Some accounts suggest it was Psalm 23 but the consensus was Psalm 46: ‘Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.’
I also read that Henry’s French mercenaries were reluctant to come ashore – and had to be tempted with offers of ale and fresh bread. The ships were unloaded in the fading light and Henry’s army made the short trek to the nearest town of Dale, where they camped for the night and made preparations for the long march through Wales to confront the army of King Richard.
I visited Mill Bay on a bright summer’s day and was pleased to see a bronze plaque commemorating Henry’s landing there. I also found a post placed there by the HistoryPoints Website which celebrates Welsh History. The bay is far enough from Dale for them to have landed undetected, although the path up the hill is steep. The Tudors had brought artillery and ammunition from France, so it must have been quite a haul, despite the number of men.
The final stop on this journey in the footsteps of the Tudors is to Bosworth Field, where there is an Anniversary Battle Re-enactment Event on 20th & 21st August. See http://www.bosworthbattlefield.org.uk/ for more details.
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