Last weekend marked the 528th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field. A battle I learnt about at school, and a school field trip we took at least twice as we are so local.
I always LOVED history as a child, especially medieval history. I chose history over geography at GCSE (that explains why I have literally no idea where anywhere is in the world) and even took a history A-Level. My interest in history has waned over the years to watching the odd documentary and dramatisation on TV and occasionally reading the odd historically inspired book.
Recently though I have been rather taken by the BBC series The White Queen, a drama set during the War of the Roses, one of the bloodiest wars in English history and this has sparked my interest again.
Bosworth Battlefield re-enactment anniversary weekend is something I have always wanted to attend and with the recent exciting rediscovery of the mortal remains of Richard III just down the road in Leicester it made this year even more interesting and relevant.
What with the discovery of the remains and all the documentaries and reading I’ve done on that, AND The White Queen fresh in my mind I was really excited to be going to the re-enactment.
When we arrived with Daddypinkwellies and Grandma and Grandad I was quite taken aback at how large the event was. I knew it would be big (not least because of the £15 per person entrance fee) but was surprised at the huge field filled with medieval tents and all the people in costume. It truly was like we were stepping back in time to the days of the Cousins Wars. We really enjoyed exploring the living history encampments and experiencing medieval life.
On the way in you were encouraged to choose your team. Team Richard or Team Henry. Daddypinkwellies insisted we be Team Henry so we were going to be on the winning side. That raised a few eyebrows on our way around the field as most were Team Richard (as was I, secretly!)
One particularly interesting bit was when we got to try out the armour. How many men must have died from sheer exhaustion before the battle even began in the weight of that stuff. It’s amazingly heavy!
We were thrilled to see fully armoured knights jousting for glory (Doña Joana – a female rider – was by far the best), we got close up and personal with a range of birds of prey in the falconry area and then watched Hector the hawk and Angus the owl in a brilliant display of falconry, we watched and covered our ears for the firepower display (this was the only part Littlebit didn’t like – it was rather loud though) and we shopped in a medieval market.
We witnessed a mass of re-enactors on foot, on horseback and manning roaring cannons re-fighting Wars of the Roses battles. We watched two battles including the re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth Field, the battle in which the fatal wounds to Richard were made.
It was made even more fun for Littlebit when her best friend Babyzoid arrived unexpectedly. I love Facebook check-in for that. I saw them check in and text to tell them where we were sat so we could enjoy the battle together. In addition to all of this older children could get hands-on with children’s activity sessions including juggling, tightrope walking and face painting. They could even learn to dance to medieval music.
There were also expert talks about the battle and Richard III, and guided walks around the site you could join in on, though we opted not to with a toddler in tow.
We attended the re-actment weekend last Sunday and the last episode of The White Queen, in which Richard III is killed at the battle of Bosworth field was aired that night. Brilliant!