The Wars of the Roses were caused by the protracted struggle for power between the reigning dynasty of the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the competing House of York (white rose).
In August 1485 Henry Tudor, the would-be-King, sailed from France to Wales and gathered an army of 5,000 men. He was confronted by King Richard III and an army three times that number camped on Ambion Hill near Market Bosworth. The forces of Henry's stepfather, Lord Stanley, remained uncommitted to either side until late in the day.
Henry's forces attacked from the south-west and began to prevail. King Richard, in an effort to rally his troops and save the day, rode directly for Henry Tudor's standard 'to make an end either of war or life'. Almost face-to-face with Henry, King Richard was killed as Lord Stanley's forces entered the fray against him. After the battle, Henry was proclaimed King on Crown Hill at Stoke Golding.
Among battles in English history Bosworth is second only in importance to Hastings. Richard was the last Plantagenet king, and the last English king to be killed in battle. After Bosworth the Tudor dynasty reigned for more than a century.
The modern landscape differs markedly in appearance from that of 1485. The former open fields have been enclosed by straight hedgelines and the marshes have been drained and improved. The canal was opened in 1804 and the railway in 1873. Nevertheless, the lie of the land allows an appreciation of the course of the battle.
Bosworth has a dedicated interpretation centre on Ambion Hill and a signboarded battlefield trail. In addition, the canal and railway embankments afford good views of the battlefield areas at specific points and the chapel at Dadlington was built to commemorate the battle.
A Conservation Area covering the battlefield has been proposed. The battlefield lies in an Area of Particularly Attractive Countryside in the Local Plan. The Ashby Canal and the village of Shenton are also Conservation Areas. The Site of Special Scientific Interest at Kendall's Meadow lies on the edge of the former marsh.