On August 22, 1485, the Wars of the Roses culminated in its final battle. The Wars of the Roses were a series of civil wars fought between two branches of the Plantagenet line: The House of York and The House of Lancaster. The Battle of Bosworth saw the final showdown between King Richard III of York (b.1452 – d.1485) and Henry Tudor from the House of Lancaster (b.1457 – d.1509). Whilst Richard III fought valiantly, it was Henry Tudor who was victorious becoming King Henry VII. His subsequent marriage to Elizabeth of York (b.1466- d.1503) saw the union of the houses and an end to the power struggle. Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park commemorates this pivotal moment in history.
Situated on a site of both historical and natural importance the Heritage Centre hosts a terrific exhibition which takes its audience on a journey through time, examining the conflict in detail. Upon arrival, I was greeted by very friendly and knowledgeable staff. The first room sees an introduction to the Houses of York and Lancaster as well as context to the Wars of the Roses which, for visitors unfamiliar with its history, proves very informative. Subsequent rooms examine what Medieval life would have been like, the mystery of the Princes in the Tower (picture above), battle injuries, and the aftermath of the battle including the creation of the Tudor Dynasty and its equally memorable monarchs.
My favourite room focuses on the weaponry and armour used for battles, looking at how different ranks would have been equipped. This room gives the opportunity for interaction, from dressing a knight for battle to having a go at firing a bow. This really emersed me in the experience. The centre of the room is taken up by a digital map of the battle, explaining how the actions of key players changed the fate of the battle.
Upon leaving I had the chance to peruse the gift shop. I particularly appreciated the selection of books focusing on Medieval history, with many local authors being given a platform for their work.
There are opportunities for guided walks which take place every Saturday and Sunday. The guided walks are always a pleasure, and no two walks are the same. The passion of the staff and volunteers who conduct them always shines through. However, if visitors prefer to walk the trail themselves there are some handy reference points marked by different pieces of armour. These give snippets of information about the battle. The views are simply incredible and demonstrate why Bosworth is also a place of natural significance.
After taking in the fresh air, there is the option to grab a bite from the Tithe Barn. There is a selection of food for all dietary needs including vegetarians and vegans.
Bosworth Battlefield is also notable for hosting a variety of events. Many of them are aimed at local audiences and families who can enjoy a number of craft activities, treasure hunts and living history experiences. Additionally, the Medieval Festival, which usually takes place every August, is always a treat featuring living history groups, re-enactments of key battles, stalls, and food.
Website: Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre
Address: Ambion Ln, Sutton Cheney, Nuneaton, CV13 0AD
Ticket Prices for the Exhibition and Guided Walks can be found on the website. There are a variety of options for visitors including family tickets and concession. Parking is £2.50.
Accessibility: The Museum is fully accessible to those with limited mobility or are using a wheelchair.
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Paige Worrall is a BA history graduate and has recently completed her MA in Museum Studies which specialises in making use of co-productive practice within institutions. She currently works as a library assistant and freelance exhibition technician. Her passion for history of art has led her to set up her own blog, The Museum Inspector, where writing on her various interests can be found. She also has an Instagram dedicated to promoting some of her favourite cultural institutions. When she isn’t visiting museums, Paige can probably be found in a bookshop or curling up with a novel or two!