Wars Of The Roses: The Southern Battles

Wars Of The Roses: The Southern Battles

From Barnet to Bosworth

Battlefield ToursHistory

13th - 18th September 2021
(6 Days)

Expert Historian : Dr John Sadler

Tour price: £2,095

click here to book

Wars Of The Roses: The Southern Battles

From Barnet to Bosworth

Battlefield ToursHistory

Your Holiday Essentials

13th - 18th September 2021
(6 Days)

3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert historian throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Dr John Sadler

Tour price: £2,095

Single supplement: £325
Deposit: £200

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

Based upon his successful book, “the Red Rose and the White”, John Sadler leads this, the first of our two Wars of the Roses tours, in which we explore the battles and events that took place in the south of England: St Albans, where two battles took place the first in 1455 which traditionally signals the start of the wars; Tewkesbury (1471), which saw many leading Lancastrians killed or imprisoned; castles such as the Tower of London, Warwick and Kenilworth that played important roles; and the decisive battlefield of Bosworth where Richard III was felled and Leicester Cathedral and the car park which served as his final resting places.

Background

On a hot summer’s day in August 1485, Richard III died on the field of battle. He was the last the last Plantagenet king and reigning British monarch to be killed at the head of an army, his short, controversial reign ending in a Wagnerian flourish. Of his three immediate predecessors, two had likely met their deaths through foul play. Indeed from 1455 the Wars of The Roses split the country in two, a bitter dynastical struggle for supremacy between the houses of York and Lancaster. Lasting for 30 years they culminated in those dramatic events on Bosworth Field when Henry Tudor’s triumph established a new royal dynasty that radically altered the course of British history.

The Wars of the Roses have captured the imagination of the English for centuries, from Shakespeare’s historical plays such as Henry VI and Richard III, to the stark comparisons in George RR Martins fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, popularised by HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’.

Highlights

  • The resting place of Richard III and the battlefield of Bosworth
  • The Tower of London, Ludlow, Warwick and Kenilworth castles
  • The battles of Tewkesbury, Barnet, St Albans, Mortimer's Cross, Northamptom and Blore Heath
  • Westminster and Tewkesbury abbeys 

"I was looking forward to my tour, but it exceeded all expectations. John Sadler and the tour manager were both superb."

Itinerary

Day 1 – London

Meet at our London hotel and head to the Tower of London where Henry VI was held prisoner before his death shortly after the battle of Tewkesbury. It is also where the sons of Edward IV, known infamously as ‘The Princes in the Tower’ were held before their mysterious disappearance. We visit Westminster Abbey, the site of coronation for all English monarchs since 1066, and the burial site of many including Henry VII. Overnight in London.

Day 2 – Barnet and St Albans

Today we explore four battles in one day. We start at the battle of Barnet in 1471. A decisive Yorkist victory that went a long way to securing the throne for Edward IV. It also saw the death of one of the Wars most influential characters, the Earl of Warwick, also known as the Kingmaker. At St Albans we’ll explore two battles that took place in the town itself, both decisive. And finally at Northampton (1460), we’ll hear of a brief but important battle that saw the first use of artillery in England. Check-in to our hotel near Northampton.

Day 3 – Tewkesbury

We move westward and explore the battlefields of Edgecote Moor and Tewkesbury. Edgecote saw Warwick’s change of allegiance from Edward IV and his rebel force defeating a Yorkist army. The decisive Yorkist victory at Tewkesbury was one of the most crucial of the Wars of the Roses and signalled the end of Henry VI reign with many leading Lancastrian’s including the Prince of Wales, and Henry’s wife Margaret of Anjou killed or imprisoned. We also visit the abbey where many of the dead from the battle are buried. Check into our Gloucester hotel for two nights.

Day 4 – Mortimer’s Cross, Ludlow and Blore Heath

The battle of Mortimer’s Cross (1461), gives us our first sight of that famous name ‘Tudor’. A Lancastrian force led by Owen Tudor (Henry VII’s grandfather) came up against a much stronger Yorkist army and were routed. We move onto Ludlow Castle which Richard, the Duke of York, inherited in 1425, and it became an important symbol of Yorkist authority during the Wars of the Roses. Finally at Blore Heath (1459), we hear how the Yorkist’s managed to defeat a far greater Lancastrian force in one of the first major battles of the wars.

Day 5 – Warwick and Kenilworth Castle

A break from battlefields today sees us visit two of the country’s grandest and historically most important castles. Firstly at Warwick Castle we see where the Kingmaker imprisoned Edward IV before his death at Barnet. Then Kenilworth Castle, which became a Lancastrian base of operations throughout the conflict, but has played an important role throughout English history. We move onto Leicester where check-in to our hotel.

Day 6 – Bosworth

After a morning visit to Leicester Cathedral where we will see the new resting place of Richard, we move onto the final and decisive battle of the war, Bosworth. It was at Bosworth Field in 1485, that the Lancastrian, Henry Tudor and his army brought an end to the Yorkist’s rule by slaying Richard III. His marriage to Elizabeth of York (the daughter of Edward IV) in 1486, united the two houses and the Wars of the Roses came to a timely end. Return to London and disperse.

Recommended Reading List

Dr John Sadler

Dr John Sadler

Dr John Sadler is a lawyer, a lecturer in war studies at the University of Sunderland Centre for Lifelong Learning and an experienced battlefield tour guide, widely published on the themes of the Border and Scottish Wars. He is an acknowledged authority on armour, weapons and fighting styles of the period and adopts an interactive approach with his audience with demonstrations of swordplay, musket drill and the odd dash of drama! He sees delivery as much a performance as a lecture!

Photo Gallery

  • The Battle of Edgecote Moor
  • Tewkesbury Abbey
  • The grave of Richard III
  • Ludlow Castle
  • Kenilworth Castle
  • Kenilworth Castle
  • John Sadler on the Battle of Mortimer's Cross
  • Group at the Tower Of London
  • Bosworth Battlefield Today
  • Battle of Bosworth memorial

Your Holiday Essentials

13th - 18th September 2021
(6 Days)

3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert historian throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Dr John Sadler

Tour price: £2,095

Single supplement: £325
Deposit: £200

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Reviews

View images of our most recent Wars of the Roses tour here

Take a look at some independent reviews of this tour by previous participants here

Photo Gallery

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