Bosworth Carving at Stowe School

   Posted by: Robyn Bliss   in Ricardian Places

The following article was originally published in Tertian Fever, the journal of the former Queensland Group of the Richard III Society.

The stone relief of the Battle of Bosworth Field stands over the entrance from the Hall into the Gothic Library at Stowe School.  Probably of late 16th century workmanship and certainly not from 1485, it came from Castle Hedingham, Essex, the seat of the de Veres, Earls of Oxford, reputedly via Gosford, Lord Nugent’s seat.

In the carving, Richard III can be seen prostrate on the ground, clutching his crown, beneath the hooves of the conquering Earl of Richmond’s horse.  On the left side of the relief is a statue of Henry VII and on the right one of his queen, Elizabeth of York.

Over the years many have been impressed by the stone relief.  Mistakenly Horace Walpole thought it was made of wood and is reported to have said:  “But what charmed me more than all I had seen, is the library chimney … over it is an alto-relievo in wood, far from being ill done, of the battle of Bosworth Field … You would adore it.”  King Edward VII was likewise impressed and sent specially to have the relief photographed.  In July 1921 it was sold to Mr H Shaw, the purchaser of the building, for 1000 guineas and saved for the new school in 1922.

Editors’s Note:
Many thanks to J Nichols, Headmaster of Stowe School, for sending the information and photograph to Robyn Bliss for inclusion in Tertian Fever.

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