"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Visit to Bosworth - Part 2: Battlefield Church at Sutton Cheney

After leaving Bosworth Battlefield Centre we passed through the village of Sutton Cheney and I asked if we could stop so I could have a quick 10 minute look at the battlefield church of St James.

It is believed Richard III took his last mass at this church before the Battle of Bosworth.

18th century gravestones

I couldn't find information on the font but it looks quite old.

Box Pews (or enclosed seating) - these were introduced in the 17th century and were most popular in the Georgian Period. The box pews in this church are 18th century.

There is a modern memorial to Richard III erected by the Society of Richard III. A memorial service is held here every year on the Sunday nearest to 22nd August.

The kneelers were also provided by the Society of Richard III.

The Nave dates from the early 13th century and has fine piers of the arcade which separate the nave from the aisle.

This solid piece of rough rubble wall which now supports the south wall of the church tower is probably all that remains of an earlier building.

The chancel dates back to the 14th century but was rebuilt in 1905. Thankfully gothic features such as the sedilia were retained.

This is the tomb of Sir William Roberts who died in 1633 - he was a great benefactor to the area and built almshouses near the church.

His wives kneeling above the tomb look down on him.


The East Window showing St Mary and James and the Good Shepherd is by Charles of London and dates to 1905.

This wooden item is an old bell frame.

On 22nd March 2015, the cortege carrying the remains of Richard III paused at the gates to the church for a short service led by Rev. Julia Hargreaves and attended by the Rev. Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester. During the service church wardens placed a tribute of white roses and laurel on the coffin. The cortege then continued its journey to Leicester Cathedral where Richard III lay in state until he was laid to rest on 26th March.

It really was a very interesting church and I am pleased I had the opportunity to visit.

When I got back to the car about 15 minutes later the family had disappeared. I thought they had gone a walk round the village until I spotted a nearby pub -

Hercules Revived.

That was a quick drink!

Now I don't mind missing out on icecreams when I look round a church but a swift half was too good an opportunity to miss!

Reference: "The Church of St James Sutton Cheney" Guidebook

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Visit to Bosworth - Part 1: Exhibition and Battlefield Trail

Last weekend we had a family day out at Bosworth Battle Fields in Leicestershire. We had been once before about 20 years ago when D and E were little when there was a replica medieval street at the Battlefield Centre. This has now been replaced by an excellent exhibition.


I have been interested in Richard III since I was a teenager. In fact, long before the current Visitor Centre was built, I went in search of the battlefield. At the time staring at a marshy field I believed I had found it - perhaps I did!

Just a few facts about Richard III - the last Plantagenet King.

On 2nd October 1452 Richard was born at Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire, the youngest son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville.

In 1461 Richard's brother, Edward of York, acceded to the throne as Edward IV. Richard was made Duke of Gloucester.

On 12th July, 1472, Richard married Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick (the "Kingmaker").

In 1476 Richard's only legitimate son was born - Edward of Middleham.

In 1483 Edward IV died suddenly and Richard was named as Lord Protector of young Edward V and his brother.

In June 1483 these two young princes were declared illegitimate and the coronation of Edward V cancelled. The two young princes were lodged for their safety in the Tower. They were never seen again and it is thought they were probably murdered by person(s) unknown. This in itself is a fascinating story well worth researching.

On 6th July, 1483, Richard was crowned King.

In April, 1484 Richard's son Edward dies.

In March, 1485 Richard's wife, Anne, dies.

On 22nd August,1485, Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, and then hastily buried in Leicester. He was the last English King to die in battle.

On 30th October, 1485, Henry Tudor was crowned as Henry VII - founding the Tudor dynasty.

In 2012 Richard's remains were discovered in a car park in Leicester and on 26th March,2015, Richard III was re-buried in Leicester Cathedral.

Battle of Bosworth in 1485

Henry Tudor landed with a small army in South Wales in August 1485 and advanced to Shrewsbury picking up supporters as he travelled. Richard who was at Nottingham moved to meet him. On 22nd August Henry's smaller army and that of Richard III took part in a two hour battle at Bosworth. Richard fought courageously until the end but was slaughtered. His naked body was taken on horseback to Leicester and hastily buried at Greyfriars a few days later. At the site of the battle Lord Stanley placed the crown on Henry's head.

The Battle of Bosworth ended The War of the Roses which had been a series of Civil Wars for the English throne between 2 rival branches of the Royal House of Plantagenet i.e. the House of Lancaster (red rose symbol) and the House of York (white rose symbol). Henry Tudor, after claiming the throne and being crowned as Henry VII, married Elizabeth of York thus uniting the two Houses.

This is a really hasty brief summary so please feel free to correct me if I have got anything wrong!

The exhibition is very good and extremely informative. It is far more extensive than the photos below might suggest.

Effigy of the Fallen - many of the Knights killed at Bosworth were commemorated by effigies in their local churches. This is a photo of the replica of an effigy of Sir William Harcourt.

King Richard's Stone - The stone was originally erected in Shenton in 1975 where it was believed that Richard III had died during the battle. In 2009 after research and fieldwork the true site of the Battle was discovered around Mill and Fenton Lane. The stone has since been moved to the Visitor Centre for safety and to allow more people to see it.

The Earl Shilton Coffin

At one time it was believed that following the Dissolution of Greyfriars, a Franciscan Friary in Leicester where Richard had been buried in 1485, the body of Richard III was dug up and thrown in the River Soar. It was claimed that the stone coffin seen outside public houses in Leicester had been his. The coffin which had been used as a water trough for animals was eventually taken to be part of a water feature in the gardens of a large house in Earl Shilton.
In 1612 Christopher Wren was shown a stone pillar on the site of Greyfriars inscribed with the words "Here lies Richard III - some time King of England". The exciting results of the Greyfriars project revealed that he was still buried (and not in a stone coffin) beneath the church.

It is now believed the coffin could be Roman and as old as 2000 years as similar coffins were used to bury important people in Roman times. Although it should also be mentioned that in the medieval period monks used stone coffins to bury bishops and abbots. The coffin was donated to the Battlefield Centre in 2009.

Tool marks from the Romano-British stone mason shaping the coffin can be seen.

It was time to retire to the tearoom for


We then followed the 1.5 mile long battlefield trail.

Hawthorns were flowering well and

in this picture you can see a line of them in a distant hedgerow.



The views from Ambion Hill towards Market Bosworth were stunning.

We came across a railway station and talked about the possibility of returning in the future to catch a train to Market Bosworth and then to look around the town.

We continued the walk to a canal - you can I think walk along here to what is now believed, after extensive further research, to be the site of the actual battle. Sadly, we didn't have time on this occasion.

Richard's Well

A plaque states that "Near this spot on 22nd August, 1485, aged 32, King Richard fell fighting in defence of his realm against the usurper Henry Tudor"

The cairn was erected in 1813 by Dr Samuel Parr to mark the well from which it is believed King Richard drank during the battle. It is maintained by the Fellowship of the White Boar.

Back in the car park a rather classy car had been parked.

Part 2 will include a trip to the Battlefield Church in the nearby village of Sutton Cheney.

*D Photos taken by D with the Canon Bridge SX50

All other photos taken by me with the Panasonic bridge FX330