Why Leicester’s position is so key to the Wars of the Roses


My comment in The Independent today:

“It’s not quite correct that the Battle of Bosworth, where Richard III was slain, brought to a close the Wars of the Roses. Two years later at the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487 the Yorkists fought their last stand. The two battlefields are just 44.6 miles from each other. This adds to the historic importance of the city of Leicester, which lies between them, and where the body of Richard III was found.

“So far the debate about where Richard III should be buried has not considered the importance of Leicester in this strategic context, at a pivotal location between the final battles of the Wars of the Roses, and where the last English King to die in battle was buried.”

King Richard III: the manner of his death

The wounds inflicted in battle, and post-battle ‘humiliation injuries’ inflicted on King Richard III highlight the manner of his death, the last English king to die in battle:

“Ten peri-mortem wounds have been identified on the remains, eight on the skull and
two on the post-cranial skeleton. Two large wounds underneath the back of the skull,
consistent with a halberd and a sword blow, are likely to have been fatal. A third, smaller,
penetrating wound to the top of the skull is more enigmatic, but may have been caused by a sharp blow from a pointed weapon, such as a dagger, on the crown of the head.

“Other wounds were more superficial and none of the skull injuries could have been inflicted on someone wearing a helmet of the type favoured in the late fifteenth century. Two wounds, a cut on a right rib and a cut to the right pelvis typical of a thrust through the right buttock, are again unlikely to have been inflicted on someone wearing armour. These, along with two wounds to the face, may be ‘humiliation injuries’ delivered after death.”

(‘The king in the car park’: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485: Full article PDF)