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The History Group

Leader:  Jane Harris - history@ashbyu3a.co.uk - phone 01530 838025

Any U3A member is welcome at our meetings.

All meetings with speakers will be held at Packington Memorial Hall.
Doors open for Packington meetings at 2pm, with a start as soon as possible after that, hopefully by 2.10pm.

Details of visits will be advised closer to the time.
The following dates have been arranged, but may be subject to changes which will be announced on a rolling monthly basis.

Future programme

Thu 25th Jul2:00 pmPackington Hall. Brian Johnson - 'Made in Leics'
Thu 22nd Aug TBADonington-le-Heath Manor
Thu 26th Sep2:00 pmPackington Hall. Stephen Flinders - 'The Old Curiousity Box'
Thu 24th Oct2:00 pmPackington Hall. Janet - 'A History of the World from the bottom up'
Thu 28th Nov TBA'Tissington Hall at Christmas'

Thursday 23rd May

35 turned out on a lovely day to hear John Whitehead's talk on Richard III.

He has a rare ability to expound a very complex subject very clearly and took us through the convoluted and sometimes quite deadly manoeuvrings that led to the culmination in 1485 at Bosworth. But it wasn't at Bosworth at all!

He started way back in 1327 when Edward III ascended the throne and initiated the 100 Years War 10 years later.

The story became very convoluted with potential heirs being killed off and scheming wives marrying their children off to wealthy men or women as the case might be. It all ended with Henry Tudor (set to become Henry VII) facing off against Richard III. One interesting note is that the choice of battlefields was mainly dictated by the fact that only the old Roman roads were really fit for marching armies along, so where they crossed was where the swords, war hammers and bucklers came out.

John showed us some of the weaponry used to butcher your opponent, and explained the way cannon were used almost for the first time in battle in England. He took us neatly through the action, showing how Henry picked his site with care in order to maximise the tactical advantage of the local marshes, and how Lord Stanley played a long game, sacrificing one son in the process.

Richard had this son in his entourage, and told Stanley he would die if Stanley did not support the King. Stanley saw which way the battle was going and is reported to have said 'I have more than one son' before joining in on Henry's side.

John is a Guide at the Bosworth battlefield and outlined how the position of the site was originally derived from old maps which had not been verified, and which anyway perpetuated earlier cartographical errors. It wasn't until after an academic argument that began in 1985 and continued for 20 years that detectorists managed to pin down the site from locating cannon balls.

The next project for the team will be to try and establish the truth of the Princes in the Tower story. We await with interest. A cracking good presentation, enjoyed by all.

Earlier history meeting