1485 Revisited

Five hundred and thirty years, 14 days ago two men met in battle; one would emerge as King. The outcome determined the history of a nation and ultimately, both a republic and an empire.

To this day, the battle is remembered – particularly in the Midlands. Every year these days, it is re-enacted on the official site of the battle (although the actual fields on which the events of the re-enactment occurred was some two miles to the south, it is now known). It was the defining battle of the War of the Roses, the Battle of Bosworth, where Richard III was killed and Henry Tudor was crowned the king of a new dynasty that would last 116 years. From that dynasty would emerge some of the most known stories of royal England, some of the most renowned rulers – Henry VIII and his six wives (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived) who broke from the Catholic Church and created the Church of England declaring the ruler of England to be the head of the church; Queen Jane, born Lady Jane Grey who ruled for nine days after her cousin Edward, Henry’s son died of illness, and was beheaded for it a year later at the age of about 16; Queen Mary, the Catholic Bloody Mary, who killed her cousin Jane to secure her claim to the throne and married a Spanish prince in hopes of uniting the two countries in peace through an heir that was never born; and Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, Mary’s Protestant sister who’s persecution of Catholics knew no bounds and who never married so that no-one could ever try to steal the throne through the alliance such a marriage might create.

Today, this is Bosworth Battlefield.

Onlooker begin to wander the tent town that has sprung up.
Onlookers begin to wander the tent town that has sprung up, mingling with people from 1485.

Of course, where there are people gathered in one spot, a market is bound to appear.

The parasols have come from far away, the flower garlands are local.
The parasols have come from far away, the flower garlands are local.

A few tents down, a medieval camp site. Is that a shaving brush?

A camp table, ready for someone to partake.
A camp table, ready for someone to partake.

A short way along, a demonstration of medieval fire power is about to start. The gunners prepare

A gunner pauses for a moment to adjust his belt.
A gunner pauses for a moment to adjust his belt.

The man in charge calls out his orders.

Organising the Guns
Gunning teams work to prepare the guns, loading them to be ready to fire on order.
I love this shot with its story. Is he an apprentice? Is he a novice? We'll never know.
I love this shot with its story. Is he an apprentice? Is he a novice? We’ll never know.

I wonder what he’s thinking.

He really does look like a peacock.
He really does look like a peacock.
On the other side of the arena, knights talk about the upcoming joust.
On the other side of the arena, knights talk about the upcoming joust and the battle that will follow.

I feel like I’m looking through a time portal.

Preparing for Battle

I took 500 photos on this re-enactment day. There were so many that I wanted to share that there will be three more posts, the last of which will be the battle itself.

Everyone attending, watching the birds of prey, attempting archery long bow style, buying items crafted in the old ways, enjoyed the day with its bright cloud-studded sun and 28C temperature – except the knights in their armour perhaps. You wouldn’t know they were uncomfortable, though. They are knights, after all. Or perhaps it was the wind that brought in the storms later in the day that cooled them down.

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