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The Conservation Plan can not and does not seek to impose any changes on agriculture regimes. Any scientific research relating to, for example the impact of fertisilers on metal artefacts, will be made available to landowners to inform decisions that they may or may not want to make with regard to agricultural regimes. This research will also aid archaeologists when assessing the age, wear and tear and significance of artefacts; and those working in the natural environment.
Access and rights of way One of the issues identified by landowners and users during the course of the Conservation Plan related to access and rights of way. Any future changes would only be undertaken with the consent of the landowners. There may be opportunities to link these to agri-environmental stewardship schemes and formal permissive paths can offer options to land managers to allow access without the risk of formally creating rights of way, if desired.
English Heritage website
3 The Battle of Bosworth - A Summary of Key Events Summary The Battle of Bosworth took place on the 22 August 1485 between King Richard III and Henry Tudor, who would later be crowned Henry VII. It arguably marks the end of the Wars of the Roses. Understanding about what happened at the Battle comes from a combination of documentary sources, artefacts found in the area and also through the archaeology of the landscape itself – the terrain, patterns of settlement and roads and the management of the land at the time.
Henry returned from the safety of Brittany in 1485 with an army to challenge the Yorkist Richard. Having landed in Wales, he marched towards London but was confronted by Richard and a far larger army, which had marched from Leicester and then camped in the area.
The Battle began with Richard occupying the higher ground, though it is thought the time of day and position of the sun worked to Henry’s advantage. A defeat of his vanguard by Henry’s commander, the Earl of Oxford, is thought to have spurred Richard and his personal army into a direct mounted charge against Henry Tudor. Evidence from the Battlefield Survey suggests that it may have been in the low lying marshy area near Fenn Lane that Richard lost his life.
The Battle lasted just two hours, and according to Henry’s official historian Vergil, Henry then moved to the 'next hill' where he rallied some of his forces and was crowned in front of them. Local tradition has placed this event on Crown Hill in Stoke Golding.
Context 3.1 The Battle of Bosworth took place on the 22 August 1485 between King Richard III and Henry Tudor.
Fourteen years after the Yorkist Edward IV won the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury, Bosworth represents an entirely separate phase of the Wars of the Roses. After Edward's death in 1483, Richard of Gloucester became King after a brief power struggle and the public claims that Edward’s sons (The Princes in the Tower) were illegitimate and therefore could not succeed their father. Once King Richard’s popularity faltered heavily, mostly because many people at the time believed he had the two princes killed.
After Tewkesbury, in 1471, Edward had taken care to execute, imprison or exile all the Lancastrian supporters and claimants, but Jasper Tudor and his young nephew, Henry, escaped to the Low Countries and ended up in Brittany. Henry attempted a military landing in 1483 to claim the throne over Richard of Gloucester, but this plot was thwarted.
The Battle 3.2 The following account is based primarily on the scant historical sources and the recent findings of an archaeological survey undertaken by the Battlefields Trust between 2005-2010 and documented in Foard (2011) Bosworth 1485: A Battlefield Rediscovered.
In August 1485 Henry Tudor sailed from France to Wales and gathered an army of 5,000 men on route. He marched towards London down Watling Street, a significant road since Roman times. He was confronted by King Richard III’s large Royal army, which had marched from Leicester. The forces of Henry's stepfather, Lord Stanley, and the younger Stanley brother, Sir William, were also involved, but remained uncommitted to either side at the start of the Battle.
Where Richard camped before the Battle is still uncertain, but it is likely to have been on the hills overlooking lower lying land known as Redemore Plain i.e. around Sutton Cheney, Ambion Hill and Stapleton. On the night before the Battle it is likely that Henry's army camped somewhere east of Atherstone..
Primary sources indicate that Richard chose the ground for the Battle and was deployed on the higher land before Henry approached, thereby taking advantage of the topography of the area. Henry is likely to have approached along the Roman Road (now Fenn Lane) from Atherstone.
Armies of the 15th century were typically organised in two or three ‘battles’, the vanguard, the main battle and the rearguard. There is some dispute as to exactly how Richard's army was deployed at Bosworth. The royal vanguard was commanded by the Earl of Norfolk, with archers to the fore and a wing of cavalry on either side of the infantry. It seems likely that Richard also deployed his rearguard, under the Duke of Northumberland, in line with the vanguard, forming a left wing, again of infantry and cavalry. The king himself was behind the main battle line with a small reserve or lifeguard, probably solely heavy cavalry numbering perhaps one to two hundred at most.
Henry deployed most of his troops in the vanguard under the command of the Earl of Oxford, in a ‘slender’ battle array. Henry himself was with the main battle, a small force of perhaps just a troop of cavalry and a company on foot behind the vanguard.
The Stanleys appear to have formed a separate battle array, between the two other armies, probably off to the south of the field on the rising ground towards Dadlington and Stoke Golding.
The illustration below is taken from the results of the archaeological survey undertaken by the Battlefield Trust that has resulted in a reinterpretation of the Battle of Bosworth and its location. Given the partial nature of the archaeological and historical evidence it is not yet possible to indicate the locations of the battle lines.
Map of Battlefield finds from the 2005-2010 Survey
Richard's deployment of troops is likely to have taken advantage of the topography (i.e. the slightly rising land overlooking an area of lower lying poorly drained landscape known as Redemore Plain), in order to fire artillery to best effect. However the time of day and the position of the sun are known to have influenced tactics on the Battlefield and to have played to Henry's advantage.9 In addition, the pattern of artillery rounds recovered during the archaeological survey, suggests that there may be two overlapping patterns; one possibly fired from Richard’s main deployment as Henry advanced to within 600 metres of Richard and the other from an exchange of fire between the two vanguards (Norfolk and Oxford) as they engaged on the west side of the fen (near the position of White Moors Car Park today). Norfolk was killed in this action and according to the documentary evidence10 he died beside a windmill.
Peter Foss (1998), The Field of Redemore, The Battle of Bosworth 1485, Second Edition, Kairos Press (page 45).
Stanley Ballads 'Lady Bessiye and Bosworth Field'
The Battle lasted just 120 minutes and according to Vergil, when the Battle was won, Henry moved to the 'next hill' and there he rallied at least some of his forces, in front of whom he was then crowned. Local tradition has long placed these events on Crown Hill in Stoke Golding, which documents tell us was renamed Crown Hill Field between 1470 and 1604.
4 Landscape Evolution Summary The landscape in the Battlefield area has witnessed considerable activity and development throughout the prehistoric and historic period’s right up to the present day. It is notable that the area contains more than just evidence of the Battle which have left their mark on the present day landscape.
Small finds and crop marks indicate activity from the Neolithic period onwards, though Roman evidence in the form of roads (Fenn Lane), a possible villa and a possible temple complex is more substantial. Anglo-Saxon finds are scant and restricted mainly to burial sites, though it is likely settlement of the area was continuous. Later occupation is represented by a number of villages in the area whose names are of Anglo-Saxon origin.
A distinct pattern of nucleated settlement is evident in the area by the medieval period, set within an open field farming system. Five medieval villages falling within the wider Battlefield area survive to the present day: Shenton, Sutton Cheney, Dadlington, Stoke Golding and Upton, along with traces of the wider settlement and farming pattern represented by ridge and furrow, networks of lanes, isolated farms and churches.
Land enclosure during the late Medieval and post Medieval periods was one of the most significant changes to the landscape of the study area; open fields were reorganised and defined by the planting of hedges and hedgerow trees, and settlement in some areas became more dispersed as a result. The low-lying land was also drained in order to improve it for agriculture.
The construction of the Ashby Canal between 1768 and 1804 and later, the Ashby and Nuneaton railway (which severed the low lying area of Redemore Plain in two), resulted in the growth of two small industrial centres to the east of Shenton and west of Stoke Golding.
Over the last 40 years there has been considerable change to the landscape around Ambion Hill, represented by the construction of large farm buildings, continued land drainage, planting of copses, canalisation of streams, and the creation of fishing lakes and an airfield in the Stoke Golding area. A strong conservation focus in the area was marked by the development of the Bosworth Battlefield Centre and Country Park in 1974, the listing of buildings and the designation of Conservation Areas.
Introduction4.1 A detailed chronology of the Bosworth Battlefield area can be found in Appendix 9 and a broad description of the historical evolution of the landscape is set out below.
This text has drawn on a review of the Historic Environment Record, an earlier Conservation Statement11 and the Reassessment of the Bosworth Battlefield12.
Where relevant, the significance of the historic evolution of the landscape in relationship to the events of the Bosworth Battle and its appreciation today are highlighted.
Early Landscape 4.2 Archaeological evidence of the early landscape is derived from a thin scatter of Neolithic, Bronze Age and later Iron Age finds, including spear and axe heads found by field walking and metal detecting. These finds, together with crop mark evidence from aerial survey, suggests that there was widespread activity from c.6000 to 600 BC within the study area, with a strong likelihood of Iron Age settlement also.
Chris Burnett Associates (March 2004), Bosworth Battlefield Conservation Statement Glenn Foard (2004) Bosworth Battlefield, A Reassessment Map of prehistoric to early Anglo-Saxon sites and finds from the Study Area (supplied by LCC Historic and Natural Environment Team)
Roman archaeological evidence is more substantial, including a Roman road (Fenn Lane), which once linked Mancetter Roman Town with Leicester. There is also evidence of a possible Roman villa site just north of Fenn Lane, a further Roman site west of White Moors and a possible temple complex on Ambion Hill. This evidence suggests that by the Roman period this landscape was settled and farmed. It is likely that low lying land was not drained so that areas adjacent to streams would have been waterlogged, marginal land.
Early Anglo Saxon brooch
There is currently little evidence of early Anglo-Saxon activity in the area, but pottery of this period is often difficult to find, and metalwork is usually restricted to well spread out burial sites. It is more than likely that this area of landscape continued to be farmed and settled between the 5th and 8th centuries AD. Later Anglo-Saxon activity within the Study Area is best represented by the villages of Shenton, Sutton Cheney, Upton, Stapleton and Stoke Golding, which all bear Anglo-Saxon names.
Medieval Landscape (pre 1485) 4.3 By the Medieval period there was a distinct pattern of nucleated settlement in the area set within an open field farming system. Five medieval/post medieval townships impinge upon the wider Battlefield area and four have surviving medieval villages including Shenton, Sutton Cheney, Dadlington and Stoke Golding. The fifth, Upton, now reduced in size from the medieval footprint, lies to the west. It is notable that each township extended from the surrounding hills onto the lower lying land of Redemore Plain where it is likely there was poorly drained land providing common pasture/meadow. Within the Sutton Cheney township there was also the settlement of Ambion, located on the southern slopes of Ambion Hill (Scheduled Monument), which first appears in records in 127113. It is likely that this village became abandoned as a result of the Black Death or subsequent plagues and was never reoccupied.
It is also likely that there were several isolated farms within the study area in the medieval period; including a moated site in Dadlington and possibly Apple Orchard Farm (this building may have structural evidence of 17th century date)14. There is additional evidence for a possible site of a windmill, south-west of Brook Spinney which may have been significant at the time of the Bosworth Battle, in line with the historical account in the Stanley Ballads.
Each settlement would have been surrounded by open fields for which ridge and furrow evidence has been mapped by Hartley15 and subsequently Hall (forthcoming).
It is within this context that the events of the 22nd August 1485 played out on the Battle of Bosworth Field.