Tamworth's role in downfall of the 'king in the car park'
The global spotlight may have focused on the identification of Richard III's body in Leicester this week, but few are aware of the key part Tamworth played in the downfall of the last king of England to be killed in battle.
Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who went on to become Henry VII after defeating Richard at the Battle of Bosworth, passed through Tamworth on his way to battle – and at least two Tamworth noblemen fought at Bosworth – one on each side.
So while Leicester may lie over 30 miles away from Tamworth, the links we have with the battle that ended Richard Iii's life have kept local historians and students fascinated with the story.
Henry Tudor, a Lancastrian claimant to the throne, landed in South Wales and marched east, stopping in Tamworth en route to Bosworth.
Henry Tudor's army is said to have camped on the Staffordshire Moor (now the Lichfield Road Industrial Estate) and he is believed to have attended Mass at St Editha's church before the battle.
While in Tamworth, he was also keen to enlist extra support, as Richard's army was greater in number.
Among his supporters were local man Sir John Stanley, who is buried in Elford.
It is said that at the end of the bloody battle, Stanley found the defeated king's ringlet – the small crown from the top of his helmet – in a thorn bush and used it to crown the victor, Henry Tudor, as Henry VII.
Meanwhile, another Tamworth nobleman, Earl Ferrers, fought for Richard – and died. His family lost lots of land but managed to keep their home, Tamworth Castle.
One legend suggests that Henry visited Ferrers at the Castle on the eve of the battle to ask for his support, but was turned away.
Herald history writer John Harper said: "The identification of Richard III's remains is a fantastic discovery which has opened up a window on a fascinating period of English history in which Tamworth played a huge part, with at least two local noblemen fighting on opposing sides at the battle of Bosworth.
"Henry Tudor and his army camped at Tamworth on the night before the battle. Henry worshipped at Tamworth church and the following day they fought a battle which changed for ever the course of English history and the destiny of the English crown."
Councillor Richard Kingstone, who teaches at Rawlett School and is chairman of Tamworth Heritage Trust, said: "I am overjoyed to find a Tamworth link with Richard III, it reinforces Tamworth's importance in history – Tamworth has always been at the heart of England.
"The Richard III story has already interested our students, it has really brought history to life for them and we will most definitely be doing more work on the subject in school because of the Tamworth links.
"Richard III was portrayed as an evil figure, but he was actually an educated man who introduced the system of bail to protect suspected offenders from imprisonment before trial as well as a great many other positive things," he added.
Shakespeare's Richard III also makes reference to Tamworth, with one scene set in the camp near Tamworth. Both Ferrers and Stanley are mentioned in the play which, in Act V, Scene 2, includes the line: "Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn From Tamworth thither is but one day's march."