This year marks the first anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth since the mortal remains of King Richard III were reinterred in Leicester Cathedral, back in March. So, I thought I would try my hand at a week’s countdown to the 22nd August. This is based on John Ashdown-Hill’s “The Last Days of Richard III, and the fate of his DNA”, which I read shortly before the funeral services. I know the funeral was nowhere near the date of Richard III’s actual date, but as I had been lucky enough to get a place at Compline, it seemed one of the most appropriate pre-event reads!
So, where was Richard on this day 530 years ago? Well, thanks to the mists of time, it isn’t perhaps as clear-cut as we would like, but evidence suggests that after leaving Nottingham on the 9th August, Richard and his entourage travelled to Bestwood, staying there between the 11th and 17th (making rather a mockery of the next few days of my countdown!). In the heart of Sherwood Forest, Bestwood Park was a royal deer park, with a lodge and 3,000 acres of hunting grounds.
Richard was spending some time hunting with his friends, and spent several days at the lodge, but politics cannot have been far from his mind – on the 15th, the royal summons to arms arrived at the City of York, with, oddly, no sudden action on this, the Feast of the Assumption. He also received a messenger from Lord Stanley, stating that he would be unable to attend the royal array, as per the royal summons.
We shall wait and see how that turns out…