Richard III and the Bosworth Campaign

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in

Peter Hammond, Richard III and the Bosworth Campaign.Pen & Sword Military, Barnsley/GB, 2010.  ISBN 978-1-84415-259-9.

We all know respected medieval historian Peter Hammond as the President of the Richard III Society and most of us will have read his previous works on the period. So when this one was published I had to order it immediately.

This book covers more or less the same period as John Ashdown-Hill’s recent The Last Days of Richard III.  John examined thoroughly the political and personal issues of the period and of Richard as well as his fate after his death.  In this new book Peter – as the name of the publisher indicates – concentrates on the military aspect of the period as a lead up to the Battle of Bosworth and then the battle itself.  Therefore both books complement each other.

Peter shows the preparations for the coming conflict on both sides, Richard III and the English government on the one side and Henry Tudor and his rebels on the other, and assesses the military experience of both sides.  He then looks at the battle itself and outlines the probable strategies both sides used, based on the available sources.   It is a great advantage that this is the first book to be published after finding the exact location of the Battle of Bosworth, I believe,  and Peter uses these new findings fully.

Even to a general reader like me, his analysis is highly readable and explains the rather complicated military side in a way that can also be understood by someone who is not an expert in this field.

The book contains four Appendices with interesting background information.  Here Peter evaluates the sources for the battle, explains the system of Commissions of Array, assesses the Act of Attainder against Richard and his supporters and also looks at the legends that surround this famous battle, and what truth there might be in them.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in the period, irrespective of whether you are a Ricardian or Tudor supporter.