Bosworth Field, Battle of

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Bosworth Field, Battle of

A decisive battle fought on August 22, 1485, during the Wars of the Roses, a dynastic civil war that took place in late-fifteenth-century England. The conflict between the houses of York and Lancaster had reached a crucial turning point with the death of Edward IV in 1483. After this event, the late king's brother Richard of Gloucester of the House of York, had his two nephews, including the heir apparent Edward, held in the Tower of London, where they were likely murdered. After their disappearance, Richard was proclaimed King Richard III. To contest the throne, his rival Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond, gathered an army of about five thousand men, consisting of French mercenaries and knights of Lancaster, and marched to the vicinity of Leicester in central England. There they faced Richard and the Yorkists, who mustered about twelve thousand, including a force of four thousand men under the command of Sir William Stanley and Thomas Stanley, Henry Tudor's stepfather. Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, and the Stanleys held back their forces, however, and about an hour after the start of the battle, the Stanleys deserted to Tudor's army. Richard ordered a desperate raid on Tudor's company, but was killed in the skirmish. After marrying Elizabeth of York, the victorious Henry Tudor was crowned as Henry VII, the first king of the Tudor dynasty.

Bosworth, battle of

views updated Jun 08 2018

Bosworth, battle of, 1485. Richard III's usurpation of the throne of his nephew Edward V was challenged by Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII, whose own remote claim came through his descent from John of Gaunt. Henry landed at Milford Haven and advanced by way of Shrewsbury and Lichfield. Richard concentrated his forces at Leicester where he could watch events. The armies met on open ground on 22 August near Market Bosworth, 11 miles west of Leicester. Richard chose a strong position on Ambien hill, but his considerable superiority in numbers was offset by the defection of Lord Stanley and his brother and the inactivity of the earl of Northumberland, who commanded the royalist rearguard. Richard was cut down fighting on foot and his body slung on horseback for burial at Grey Friars, in Leicester.

J. A. Cannon

Bosworth Field, Battle of

views updated Jun 11 2018

Bosworth Field, Battle of English battleground, near Leicester, England, where Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor (1485). Henry, who claimed to represent the Lancastrian royal house, which had competed with the Yorkists during the Wars of the Roses, invaded England from France. Richard was killed, and Henry claimed the throne as Henry VII.

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Battle of Bosworth Field 1485

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