In this series I have followed the progress of Henry and Jasper Tudor from Pembroke Castle to their long exile in Brittany and return with an army to Wales. Their long march, covering as much as twenty-six miles a day, ended when they encountered King Richard’s army camped at Ambion Hill, close to Sutton Cheyney.
The Battle of Bosworth is poorly documented, with no first-hand accounts surviving. Anything we read about the battle therefore has to be looked at closely to see who wrote it and when. One of the best summaries of the often conflicting accounts is Chris Skidmore’s book, Bosworth - The Birth of The Tudors. Even as Chris was writing the book, news emerged of a new location for the battlefield site, and the bones of Richard III were discovered in a car park as he completed the first draft.
I visited the at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre for the special anniversary weekend events, which now attract visitors to the area from all over the world. As well as a re-creation of the march to Bosworth, there was a full scale re-enactment of the battle, complete with the hundreds of archers and the artillery of the Wars of The Roses Society.
It was also fascinating to visit the ‘living history’ encampment and see the soldiers preparing for battle. I spoke to several of them and they take great pride in achieving historical accuracy – even to the extent of sleeping in their flimsy canvas tents overnight, despite the strong winds.
There was a poignant moment as we all held a one-minute silence in memory of the men who died at Bosworth Field. I’d be interested to know what Henry Tudor would have to say if he knew the battle was still being re-enacted 531 years after his amazing victory!
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