Published on April 14th, 2015 | by Bill Dargue0
Local man killed at Bosworth with Richard III
On 26th March the mortal remains of King Richard III were reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. The discovery of the king’s body beneath a car park in the city made national headlines in August 2012.
In 1444 the marriage had taken place between Walter Devereux and Anne Ferrers. Anne’s father was a man of importance whose titles included the lordship of Castle Bromwich; Walter’s father was the Chancellor of Ireland. At their marriage Walter was aged 13 and Anne was just 7 years old. With Anne’s death at the age of 34, the lordship of Castle Bromwich passed to Sir Walter.
These were dangerous times. The Wars of the Roses were being fought across England by the houses of Lancaster and York battling for the throne. Walter Devereux was for York and had been knighted for his bravery on the battlefield by Edward IV.
On the morning of 22 August 1485 Henry Tudor’s 5000-strong army faced 12,000 of Richard’s men in fields near the village of Market Bosworth. Sir Walter had a band of his own men with him, retainers and tenants of his manors. And there is every likelihood that Castle Bromwich men fought on the side of the Yorkist king that day.
Richard had the better position on a hill top while Henry’s men were in the marshy valley below. However, Henry had brought a troop of Welsh archers whose deadly arrows killed and injured many of Richard’s soldiers before the battle proper began. For three hours the battle raged and many were injured or killed on both sides. Among those struck down was Sir Walter Devereux fighting by the side of the King.
Richard decided to put an end to the battle by killing Henry himself and charged directly at him. He killed Henry’s standard-bearer and came within a sword’s length of the usurper when he was killed ‘fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies’. With the King dead the Yorkist army fled. Richard’s crown was found where he fell and Henry Tudor was crowned on the field of battle King Henry VII of England.
Richard’s body was carried on a donkey to Greyfriars’ church in Leicester where it was displayed to the public before being buried in an unmarked grave.
As for Sir Walter, his body was taken with a thousand others to St James’ church at nearby Dadlington and buried in a mass grave. Somewhere in that churchyard his remains still lie in an unmarked resting place.
One of Henry VII’s first acts was to confiscate the lands and titles of those who had fought against him. Fortunately for the Devereux family, Sir Walter’s son John was a boyhood friend of Henry’s and was given back all he had lost, including the manor of Castle Bromwich.
The family connection with Castle Bromwich remains over 500 years later. Sir Walter’s descendant, the Viscount Hereford, 16th baronet of Castle Bromwich is the patron of the Castle Bromwich Bell Restoration Project.
You might be interested in ‘The History of Castle Bromwich for Young People’ website which can be found at – http://historyofcastlebromwich.jimdo.com/.