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New Battle of Bosworth Field site revealed

19 February 10 11:31 GMT

The true site of one of the most decisive battles in English history has been revealed.

Bosworth, fought in 1485, which saw the death of Richard III, was believed to have taken place on Ambion Hill, near Sutton Cheney in Leicestershire.

But a study of original documents and archaeological survey of the area has now pinpointed a site in fields more than a mile to the south west.

A new trail will lead from the current visitor centre to the new location.

The battle ended decades of civil war, which is now known as the Wars of the Roses.

The death of Richard ended the Plantagenet dynasty and ushered in the first Tudor king, Henry VII.

The traditional site has a flag at the crest of the hill, a stone to mark the spot where Richard fell and a recently renovated visitors' centre.

A long-running debate over the true location of the battle prompted a £1m, four-year project, led by the Battlefields Trust, to be set up.

Evidence such as cannon balls - now the largest collection of that date in Europe - and pieces of armour have been used to confirm the site.

Cannon balls

Of the most recent, and important finds made, was a gilded silver badge in the shape of a boar - Richard's personal emblem.

Experts believe this would have been given to one of the doomed king's closest companions and lost in the final stages of the battle.

Pete Riley, one of the team which surveyed the area, said: "The main part of this project was to identify where the battle was - and we have done that.

"Now we have got to understand the evidence we have picked up."

The original announcement was made in October but the exact location was kept a secret until now to protect it from treasure hunters.

Researchers also believe they have identified the medieval marsh where Richard III was dragged from his horse and killed.

Richard McKinder, operations manager for the site, said the visitors' centre will not have to move.

"A lot of American battlefields have had to move their interpretation centres because they are actually destroying what they are trying to interpret," he said.

"We are within walking distance of the battlefield, therefore they can use us as the main area for interpretation and then go and see the field itself."

Leicestershire County Council is now in negotiations with a number of landowners to gain full access to the area.

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