August 22, 1485

Market Bosworth, Leicestershire

Richard III vs. Henry Tudor

Richard III had exiled Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond. Henry was the recognised head of the Lancastrian cause against Richard's House of York. Henry gathered allies abroad, and, buoyed by Richard's dubious support in England, effected a landing at Milford Haven.

Richard had every reason to believe that he had sufficient manpower to deal with Henry's army. He was wrong. Richard's left wing, under Northumberland, refused to fight. Lord Stanley's men were pledged to Richard's cause, but Stanley had secretly agreed to support Henry. When the decisive moment in the battle came, Stanley's men joined in on Henry Tudor's side and Richard's fate was sealed.

Whatever else has been said of him (most of it negative propaganda by later Tudor "historians") no one can accuse Richard III of cowardice. He fought bravely to the end, and was eventually killed on the field, deserted by his friends and allies. Tradition tells that the crown of England was found upon a bush after the battle, and Henry Tudor placed it upon his own head.

Bosworth Field was the penultimate act of the interminable Wars of the Roses. A minor skirmish two years later at Stoke was a feeble last gesture of defiance from the defeated Yorkists. Henry Tudor became Henry VII, first of the Tudor dynasty, and a new era began in English history.

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