Today is an important day in Tudor history because on this day in 1485 King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth and his troops defeated by those of Henry Tudor. Henry Tudor, of course, became King Henry VII and started the Tudor dynasty.

You can read more about the battle in the following articles:

You can also see photos from our Executed Queens Tour day trip to Bosworth Battlefield here.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1553 – Execution of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland, on Tower Hill for his part in putting his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne in place of Mary I.
    He was buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, at the Tower of London, and is thought to lie under the Chancel floor next to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, and between Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Northumberland’s friends, Sir John Gates and Sir Thomas Palmer, were also executed on this day in 1553 for supporting Northumberland.

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9 thoughts on “The Battle of Bosworth – 22 August 1485”
  1. I always felt the execution of Dudley was unfair, inasmuch as he was trying to fulfill the terms of Edward VI will. Henry had declared Mary and Elzabeth illegitimate, and Edward had every right to name Jane as successor. Jane’s beheading was a murder, and the worst thing Mary I ever did, in my opinion.

  2. I always thought that late in the day Henry restored his daughters, and it was Edward who excluded them again. According to Henry’s will the order of succession should be:

    Edward’s children

    Any children of Henry and Katherine Parr (or subsequent wife!)
    Their children

    Her children

    Her children

    The heirs of Frances Brandon, daughter of his late sister Mary – that is, the Grey girls

    Henry’s will was a fully legal document in that it was properly witnessed and, most importantly, had the assent of Parliament. Edward’s did not, and so had no legal foundation.

    Have I got this right?

  3. The succession is always something that confused me slightly (not that I’m not glad Elizabeth ended up on the throne!). Although Henry did put through his act of succession legally, Mary and Elizabeth were still not legitimate, Henry denied the marriages to their respective mothers happened (correctly or not) so I don’t understand how he could legally include them. In my mind Edward had every right to choose what he believed was the legitimate heir.

    I know that the girls were popular and wanted Mary on the throne as Henry’s children but from a sterile, legal point of view how did he justify putting children he deemed illegitimate on the throne when illegitimate children could not inherit?

    1. First, Henry had confused himself with G-d. Second, he had been given that right by Parliament … who could change the laws regarding the rights of (some) illegitimate children to inherit. Third, legitimacy wasn’t the be all and end all we think it was …. William the Conqueror, for example, wasn’t legitimate. In the case of Mary and Elizabeth, there is also the factor that their bastardy wasn’t accepted by most of the people … and anyone who thinks that a technical defect in a marriage is enough to displace one accepted as the rightful heir (properly or not) needs to remember Richard III and Bosworth. (Traditionalist James Gairdner, the Victorian historian, thinks that Richard’s claim that the children of Edward IV were illegitimate because of Henry VII’s actions in trying to suppress the law that declared them so … but the claim did not have a lot of popular acceptance, so Richard III was regarded as a usuper.)

  4. Henry restored his daughters to the succession while he was still alive, but he never officially reversed their illegitimacy. Moreover, as King, Edward VI had the right to declare his successor. Mary wanted revenge on Dudley for his Protestantism, which she associated with evil and Anne Boleyn, and then beheaded poor Jane because Phillip of Spain wanted her to. A bad business all around, I think.

  5. Just to make matters more complex, children could be considered de facto legitimate if their parents believed they were married in good faith, even if the marriage was later dissolved or annulled or considered invalid.

  6. I’m a few days late regarding the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth, but when I was reading about it on the thread, I remembered something I’d thought about for years. Here’s a very key event in English history and — until recently — they only had a vague idea as to where the battle was fought. I guess I’ve always found that puzzling; I understand about conflicting information but I guess it just always baffled me. It would be like historians discussing the Battle of Yorktown, or Gettysburg, or the Alamo in U.S. history and then announcing “But we’re not too sure exactly WHERE they actually happened; we just have vague clues and conflicting information here and there.” (Now I realize that some of the famous Texas mission still exists, but I hope my point comes across). During our Civil War, we even had a ‘small’ battle in my own state and it’s fully marked out for all to see.

    I’m thrilled to know that there is now better information. I’ve never been to the battleground and it’d be nice to add that to my next Tudor pilgrimmage.

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