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Today, August 22, 1485: Battle of Bosworth Field Ends War of the Roses

The history of the English monarchy is rife with sabotage, intrigue, conflict and murder. The first recorded English king was Egbert who ruled from 827-839. Egbert was the first of a long line of Saxon kings that ruled from 827 to 1066, with Harold II, being the last of the Saxon kings.

In 1066, William I, also known as William the Conqueror, became the first Norman King of England. The Norman kings ruled until 1154, with Stephen being the last.

In 1154, Henry II was the first of the Plantagenet Kings of England. Their rule ended with Henry III in 1272.

In 1272, Edward I became the first of a group known as Monarchs of England and Wales. This group of monarchs ended in 1399 when Richard II was deposed by Henry IV of the House of Lancaster.

In 1413, Henry V, assumed the throne upon the death of his father Henry IV.

In 1422, Henry V died of dysentery while on a campaign in France. He was replaced by Henry VI who ruled until 1461.

In 1461, the House of York believed they held the rightful claim to the English throne, sparking what would later become known as the War of the Roses. Edward IV deposed Henry VI, becoming the first King of the House of York. Later historians referred to the thirty years of warfare between the houses of England as the War of the Roses bases upon the color of rose they wore on their armor. The House of York and those loyal to them wore white roses while the House of Lancaster and their followers wore red roses.

The problem that existed was that both the House of Lancaster and House of York were direct descendants of King Edward III so both believed that they had the right to the throne. During the reign of King Henry VI, many nobles had armies of their own, the king surrounded himself with a number of very unpopular nobles which created a lot of civil unrest among the population.

The War of the Roses actually began around 1455 and continued for thirty years.

In early August 1485, Henry Tudor, a loyal supporter of the House of Lancaster who also laid claim to the English throne, sailed from France to Wales with an army of about 2,000 men. He began his march across the British Isle. Along the way, more supporters of the House of Lancaster joined Henry Tudor’s army, doubling it in size.

On this day, August 22, 1485, King Richard III heard of the approach of Henry Tudor and gathered his army of about 10,000 and positioned them near Markey Bosworth in Leicestershire. Also present and in position on a nearby hilltop was the 6,000-man army of Thomas Lord Stanley, who happened to be Henry Tudor’s stepfather. Stanley and his army waited and watched the battle that ensued between Henry Tudor and King Richard III. At one point, Richard III decided to mount a charge directly towards Henry Tudor. Upon observing that Richard III was separated from the main body of his army, decided to join the battle and attacked. Richard III’s horse became mired in boggy ground leaving the king to fight on his feet. He was eventually defeated and killed. Richard III was the last Plantagenet King of England. Upon the fall of King Richard III, his army abandoned the fight. The crown was recovered from some bushes and placed on the head of Henry Tudor, making him King Henry VII and established the House of Tudor, and ending the War of the Roses.

Henry VII married Elizabeth of York which reunited the two Houses and ended the long running conflict. The House of Tudor continued to reign in England until 1603, when James 1 (James VI of Scotland) assumed the throne. Queen Elizabeth I was the last British monarch from the House of Tudor.

For more details on the actual Battle, see the various references below.

 

Sources for the above includes: Kings and Queens of England & Britain; Wars of the Roses; Wars of the Roses: Battle of Bosworth Field; Wars of the Roses; Battle of Bosworth Field; 10 Things You Need to Know About the Battle of Bosworth; Battle of Bosworth Field; The Battle of Bosworth Field

 

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Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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