The Rout and Aftermath

It is uncertain whether Norfolk’s vanguard was already near collapse before Richard’s cavalry charge or if it was a direct result of Richard death that they broke and fled. The death of their commander typically led to the flight of medieval armies. Northumberland’s troops also took to their heels, having apparently not engaged at all, but in the flight some may have been cut down. Certainly many from the vanguard were killed, some perhaps by Lord Stanley’s forces which, at least one source suggests, were involved in the pursuit and ‘execution’.

Finally, with Richard dead, his army dispersed and the rebels in command of the field, Henry addressed his victorious troops on the slopes of an adjacent hill, traditionally Crown Hill in Stoke Golding. Richard had ridden into battle with a crown on his helmet. Whether it is true that the crown was really found in a thorn bush is difficult to say. Shakespeare has Stanley pluck it directly from Richard's head to crown Henry, on the slopes overlooking the battlefield. But the image of a crown in a thorn bush became and enduring image captured in contemporary Tudor stained glass and stone.


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