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1485: 22 August - Bosworth

Edward IV died in 1483. His son was only twelve years old and so Edward designated his brother Richard as protector. He had many enemies both at home and abroad, and on 7 August 1485 Henry Tudor landed near Milford Haven with about 2,000 French mercenaries and a handful of Lancastrian lords and knights. Gathering reinforcements as he advanced through Wales, Henry then marched via Shrewsbury, Stafford and Atherstone. Richard was at Nottingham, and moved from there to Leicester on 19 August, and by 21 August the two armies were in striking distance of each other two or three miles south of Market Bosworth. Richard’s army (without the Stanley brothers) was not much short of 8,000 men, while Henry had only about 5,000. However, the loyalty of the Stanleys to Richard was very suspect, and during the battle both of them opted for Henry, bringing with them perhaps a total of 4,000 men.

The battle was fought on and around Ambion Hill, close to Sutton Cheney, and lasted for only two hours. Richard gained the best position, but failed to take advantage of it by attacking Henry’s van under Lord Oxford while it was still deploying. In the event Oxford was allowed time to launch his attack and the Duke of Norfolk, commanding Richard’s forward battle, was soon killed. For the first hour, the fighting was evenly matched, but the battle was lost for Richard through treachery. Both the Stanley's deserted his cause, but even more damaging was the failure of the Earl of Northumberland to bring the rearguard into action when he saw which way the Stanley's were moving. The battle ended with the death of Richard, for his followers had no stomach for continuing the fight after their king had been slain.