On the 20th August 2022, I attended the yearly Medieval festival held at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage and country park, sadly absent for the last two years due to Covid not making it practical. The event I feel, is very well organised with clear areas and signage, there is also a tannoy system that keeps the good people up to date with what is currently going on and what is about to take place. While walking the field, re-enactors for both the battles and as examples of day to day life and jobs set up camp there in as authentic manner as they can. There are also many medieval style shops where you can purchase mead, arrows, leather, woodwork, cloth, sheepskins and all other wondrous items.
There was also a range of fascinating talks available each day. One the Saturday that I attended, Julian Humphrys talk went through how to capture a castle, this looked at selected castles such as Rochester and Beaumaris and the design, position and defences that they offered. He spoke of the tools and tricks used during a sieges and the negotiation methods employed with examples and the advancement of siege warfare. Nathan Amin spoke about Henry VII and the various pretenders to the thrones, he gave in-depth discussion about both attempts to place these children on the throne. He also addressed the theories of them potentially being the princes from the tower, giving of course his own view as a fan of Henry the VII. After the talk was done he mad himself available for a chat and signed his. Annie Garthwaite, author of the excellent book Cecily which she discussed in her talk, and also was available for book signings. Also the speakers, joined by Philippa Langley (the amazing lady who sought and found the nobody of Richard in 2012 to which there is a film out soon. “The lost king” trailer on youtube) all got together for a question and answer session. This turned into a heated debate at times but each speaker respected the others and gave them time to speak without interrupting. This is becoming a rare thing these days as so many people appear unable to stand contradiction. It was nice to see and a lot of debate was had mainly focuses on the princes and Henry VI.
One of the main draws to this event is the mass scale re enactments. To which I felt they handled very well. First there was the battle of Towton recreated and, following some minor events such as mounted skill at arms, falconry, events for children, artillery showcases and much more. The last major event was of course the Battle of Bosworth which concluded the day. This featured full melee, archery duels, cannon and handgun fire and a cavalry charge. There was also a number of living history sessions going on such as Arming a knight, authentic lunch and fashion of the 15th century.
You really do get a sense of it even though there is only a fraction of the forces present. The noise the confusion and the heat. Cannons going off when for many of the soldiers the loudest noise they would have heard previously was church bells and thunder.
Coming here is about more than just watching a scrap. This is an important moment and whether your a fan of Richard or Henry. Men died, a dynasty ended and England changed. This would bring Tudors into the throne held by Plantagenets for many years. To remember the lives lost both here and other conflicts, the battle started with a two minute silence where the soldiers knelt in respect of those they represented. However much we study and recreate it. There is no denying that war is hell. It inflicts misery and steals young lives.
The actors and the elements of the living history people are always more than happy to talk to the the visitors. This is a great way to learn more about the every day tasked that were performed by the people of the day. It also allows the young to engage with history in a more visual manner than usual.
This was a two day event. It’s been a while since it was last run sadly due to covid. I have to say I am glad to see its return and will be attending next year. Thank you for reading and I hope to see more there next year. To keep an eye out for future events and to see more of the weekend events, follow bosworthbattlefield on instagram and visit http://www.bosworthbattlefield.com