Severn saved Richard for a time
THE Battle of Bosworth Field may never have happened if Henry Tudor's first attempt to seize the throne from Richard III, two years earlier, hadn't been thwarted by flooding in the River Severn, a researcher at the University of Bristol has discovered.
The last Plantagenet king made headlines recently, when his body was discovered under a car park in Leicester.
But Ros Smith, a PhD student in Bristol's School of Geographical Sciences, believes Richard III, pictured, may not have met his end at Bosworth Field, if not for storms in the Severn in October 1483.
Miss Smith was aware of a great storm and flood in the Severn Estuary in 1483, but it wasn't until she read Shakespeare's Richard III that she realised its significance.
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Shakespeare's play, and the chronicles he used to research historical events, document a coordinated attempt to confront Richard III in 1483. Two armies set out, one led by the Duke of Buckingham and one by the Earl of Richmond (later to become Henry VII), but both failed to meet with Richard.
Shakespeare described how the Duke of Buckingham had amassed an army of Welshmen and aimed to cross the River Severn to confront Richard III at Salisbury but, due to flooding of the river, this became impossible "by sudden floods and fall of waters, Buckingham's army is dispers'd and scatter'd".
Miss Smith noted the chronicles report that the Earl of Richmond had set sail from Brittany at the same time, with a 5,000 strong army, in an attempt to fight Richard for the crown, but, due to a great storm off the South West coast of England: "The Bretagne navy [was] dispers'd by tempest".