army was just under 12,000 strong, but 4,000 of his troops were
commanded by the Stanley brothers, whose loyalty was suspect.
Richard was at Nottingham, and marched from there to Leicester
on 19 August, and by 21 August the two armies were facing each
other about two and a half miles south of Market Bosworth.
took the superior position, but did not take advantage by attacking
Henry while he was still deploying his troops. He was unsure of
Northumberland's allegiance and positioned him in a supportive
role only, perhaps to watch over the Stanleys whose allegiance
was even more suspect. The Stanley's though commanded a third
of his troops, Richard had to rely upon them, so placed them to
the north, near to Shenton to enclose Henry's army to the North.
1485, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, set sail from the port of
Harfleur in France with 2000 troops, aiming to seize the English
throne. He landed at Milford Haven in Wales on August 7 and gathered
reinforcements as he marched through Wales, then through Shrewsbury,
Stafford and Atherstone. On the day of battle he commanded an
army of 5000 men. Marching eastwards to meet his adversary, King
Richard III, Henry had qualms about the task ahead. Between Lichfield
and Tamworth he spent a night away from his soldiers contemplating
the wisdom of his mission. It is said that he even considered
deserting. However, a secret meeting in Atherstone with Lord Stanley,
a leader of the enemy forces, restored his nerve. What was said
at the meeting, we do not know, but its outcome decided the future
the battlefield before Richard and took position at the base of
Ambion Hill rather than the seeming advantage of taking the hill's
crest, perhaps hoping that the marshy ground to his south would
hinder any attackers.
through the War of the Roses the Stanleys had switched allegiances
depending on political expedience and which house would provide
them with the most power. Before the Battle of Bosworth, Lord
Stanley was considering switching his allegiance to Henry, who
happened to be his stepson. Stanley's forces had pitched their
tents in a dale north of Atherstone, perhaps at the confluence
of the Rivers Sence and Anker, near the place somewhat inappropriately
marked on the map as 'King Dick's Hole'. Stanley heard mass in
St Mary's chapel on Sunday 21st August. Possibly that night, under
cover of darkness, Henry crept down from the woods, across the
town and met his supposed adversary.
stepped out the next morning with all the appearance of joining
Richard's formations, but neither Henry nor Richard could know
for certain which side the Stanleys' 4000 troops he would take
in the battle.
Although the Earls of Northumberland fought for the Lancastrian
succession, Richard had assisted them in reestablishing their
lands and rule against the Scots. It was with this legacy in mind
that Lord Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, bought his 3000
strong army on to the battlefield in support of Richard. Under
orders from Richard, his troops were situated to Richards' Flank
and to the East of the Stanleys.