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On Tuesday 25 September, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council voted 12 to 5 in favour of allowing the car test track on part of the site of the battle of Bosworth. The Richard III Society has sent a letter together with protests from numerous historians and authors against the scheme.

An open letter to the Planning Committee of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council from the Richard III Society:

The battle of Bosworth was one of the most significant events in English history. It is remarkable for the fact that it featured the final cavalry charge of the last English king to die in battle. This event led to the end of over three hundred years of Plantagenet rule, and the beginning of the Tudor era.

Despite being a Society with a research focus firmly on events of the past, we are in no way opposed to technological progress. It was indeed more recent advances in genetics and DNA fingerprinting which allowed King Richard himself to be identified once his remains were located beneath the Social Services car park in Leicester in 2012. However, we are concerned that something as historically and culturally important as the battlefield, which has a direct relevance to the king now buried in Leicester Cathedral, will be adversely impacted by this development. We appreciate the need to test this new technology but by its nature, and bearing in mind the speed of future technological advances, it is likely to become quickly obsolete, whereas the damage done to the battlefield will be irreparable. We are therefore concerned that the battlefield will be lost for a project which may be important in the short term, but is unlikely to have a significant lasting value across centuries to come. This being the case, surely an alternative site can be found, where our heritage will not be destroyed?

We appeal to the Councillors on the Planning Committee of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council to listen, not just to us, but to many of the local residents who have recently commented publicly and signed a petition against this development along with other groups who feel as we do and whose work supports important local tourism in the area. Amongst those are the Battlefields Trust, the Richard III Loyal Supporters, the Henry Tudor Society, and the many, many other experts in their fields who hold such strong opinions on this issue they have sent us the statements of support that are included with this letter.

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council are the custodians of this unique and historically important place. We implore you to make the right decision and protect the battlefield for future generations. Our trust is in you to ensure that the site can be enjoyed in years to come, as it has been over its long and revealing history.

Statements in support of the campaign to preserve Bosworth Battlefield can be accessed here.

The Telegraph covered the support against the car test track in articles on the 22 and 24 September.


There was a Parliamentary Debate on Wednesday 12 September at 4.30pm led by Chris Skidmore MP to discuss the proposed building on Bosworth Battlefield.

Chris states: "The battle site is remarkably well preserved - as recent archaeological investigations have shown, there is still much evidence buried beneath its fields. As the discovery of Richard III's remains under the tarmac of a car park in Leicester demonstrate, our hidden past can unearth remarkable finds. Yet this planning application for a huge driverless car testing track due to be decided on 25th September threatens to tarmac over a historic battlefield - setting a dangerous precedent for battlefields and archaeological heritage across the country that deserves to be protected for future investigation."

A report on the debate.

Here is the Hansard transcript of the debate.

Map of the battlefield showing the area in question.

The Battlefield Trustís argument:
The planning application building proposals will not allow the proper presentation of the wider battlefield in the future. In particular it will not be possible to stand where Henry Tudor stood when he first saw Richard IIIís army, ponder the decision he then made and from there to walk in his footsteps to the point where the armies engaged, to where Richard III tried to attack him, to where Richard III was himself killed and the hill where Henry Tudor was crowned Henry VII. England could lose a precious educational heritage and tourism asset, which would combine beautifully with the Richard III Visitor Centre and Leicester Cathedral.

Press release from the Richard III Society about the proposal to build on part of the site of the Battle of Bosworth.

There are plans to build a driverless car testing site on part of the historic Bosworth Battlefield site, where King Richard lost his life 533 years ago.

The public consultation period for this has ended. The planning meeting regarding this application on Tuesday 28th August deferred a decision for one month. If you wish to contact the council and raise an objection, please email the following -
helen.knott@hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk (Case officer)
and copy to
planning@hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk

PLEASE QUOTE PLANNING REFERENCE 18/00425FUL

Please also sign this petition to try to save the battlefield site from being built on.

More articles on the proposed building on the site of Bosworth Battlefield, as major groups dedicated to preserving our heritage register their protests.


John Ashdown-Hill was buried at the green burial site of Oakfield Wood, Wrabness, Essex. If you would like to make a donation to Oakfield Wood in his memory please make a cheque payable to Oakfield Wood Wrabness and send it to The Estate Office, Wrabness Hall, Manningtree, Essex CO11 2TQ. Please write RIII Society on the reverse of the cheque. All donations will be used for the planting of new trees in memory of John.


Part of Tewkesbury Battlefield is under threat from an extension to the Aldi carpark.
At the planning committee meeting on 30 August, the application to extend Aldiís carpark into an undeveloped area of the battlefield was passed unanimously. The carpark extension is onto a patch of land which has had nothing done to it since it stopped being part of a field in the mid-seventies beyond having trees planted on it.


The National Portrait Gallery is to send 50 portraits to places most closely associated with them, so the portrait of Richard will go to Leicester, to the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.


York Dungeon has set up a petition asking for the supposed remains of the Princes in Westminster Abbey to be re-examined.


Out now, John Ashdown-Hill's book The Mythology of the Princes in the Tower in which he reveals the mtDNA of the bones.

Philippa Langley's research into The Princes in the Tower.

Another report on the mystery.


St Mary's Church Barnard Castle is embarking on a major restoration project to include the church tower, the clerestory windows installed by Richard III, and other stained glass. You can donate here


Richard Victorious, a new novel about Richard III by Shirley Hall, accompanied by a video and new song by Ian Churchward. The book is now on sale.


2021 sees the 900th anniversary of the consecration of Tewkesbury Abbey and the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Tewkesbury. Big events are planned!


A song about Edmund Mortimer during the reign of Henry IV, to promote On The Trail Of The Mortimers, a book written by the chairman of the Mortimer History Society.


John Ashdown-Hill has a book about Cecily Neville out now.

Joanna Laynesmith has written an important and impressive account of the life of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. Itís available from the publishers.
A copy is in our branch library.


Richard III's National Portrait Gallery portrait built in Lego.


A document from Richardís time, detailing his income from the Duchy of Cornwall has been found.
It was sold at Bonhams on March 21st for £20,000.


Richard III's gravesite has been given protected status by Historic England.


Saturday 29 June 2019
Joint Mortimer History Society and Richard III Society conference in Ludlow.
Three speakers are booked already - Ian Mortimer on the Mortimer claim to the throne; Prof Chris Given-Wilson on the rebellions against the Lancastrian kings in the name of Mortimer; Joanna Laynesmith on how Cecily Neville and Edward IV used the symbolism and mythology of the Mortimer inheritance.
The focus for this event will be the later Mortimers, Earls of March, and the importance of the Mortimer inheritance for the House of York. It will be in Ludlow as the town provides a strong physical connection between the Mortimers and the House of York.


John Ashdown Hill has put his talks onto his website and Facebook page for everyone to use.


John Ashdown-Hill's latest research into why Richard III's Y chromosome is different to others known to be descended from Edward III.


John Ashdown-Hill's full itinerary of Edward IV is on his section on the Amberley Publishing.website.


Members of the Richard III Society now receive a membership card entitling them to the following discounts:

Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle: discounted rate of £7 per person for groups of 12 or more.

Ludlow Castle: discount of 10% for groups of 10 or more.

York Archaeological Trust - Barley Hall and the Richard III and Henry VII Experiences: individual discounts of 15%.

King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester: individual discount of 25%. Tickets are valid for a year for free return entry.

Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre & Country Park, Sutton Cheney, Nuneaton CV13 0AD - 20% off

Donington 1620s House and Garden, Manor Road, Donington Le Heath, Coalville LE67 2FW - 20% off

Haddon Hall - individual discount of 10% on full ticket price.

Sudeley Castle no longer offer a discount, as from August 2018.


Following recent discussions with English Heritage, the Richard III Society is pleased to announce that it has donated a new Richard III standard to Middleham Castle (scroll down to 7 September 2016 for the report). It will be flown on the following dates. The standard was officially donated to the castle on behalf of the Society on 2nd October 2016 at 2.30pm by Susan Wells, Deputy Chairman.

1st February - Richard marries Anne 1473
16th March - Queen Anneís death 1485
26th March - Reburial in Leicester of Richard III 2015
16th April - Edward of Middleham died 1484
29th June - Richard granted the Neville strongholds of Middleham, Sheriff Hutton and Penrith 1471
First weekend in July - Middleham Festival
6th July - Richard III crowned 1483
22nd August - Richard III died 1485
2nd October - Birth of Richard III 1452

Where exact dates are not known for certain events in the aforementioned list, the dates chosen are symbolic and as close to the likely date as we can ascertain. In addition, it has been agreed to fly the banner during the Middleham Festival each July.


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Page last updated on 26 September 2018