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New trail brings past back to life

A new history trail will be unveiled at East Stoke on Saturday giving visitors an insight into the Battle of Stoke Field.

The battle, in June, 1487, took place two years after the more famous Battle of Bosworth, and is regarded by historians as the place the House of York’s challenge to the English throne ended once and for all.

Five oak panels will describe the background to the battle, the bloody events of the day and the aftermath, and will bring the untold story of the battle to life.

Visitors will be able to download videos, starring re-enactors in historical costume, who tell harrowing, first-hand accounts of people who experienced the battle.

The Battle of Stoke Field trail has been a joint project between Nottinghamshire County Council and the Battlefields Trust.

Mr Kevin Winter, of the trust’s East Midlands branch, said: “In 1987 there was a major re-enactment and battlefield trail created, but the information panels were long ago moved into the bell tower of St Oswald’s Church.

“We have had a long-term aim to install new panels that will inform people about the events that happened on the ground they are walking on.”

Laura Simpson, the county council’s heritage tourism officer, said: “This battlefield deserves to be remembered as a piece of local history that has national significance and as the final resting place of thousands of people who gave their lives for their cause.

“Had the battle gone the other way, our nation’s history would have been very different.”

The chairman of the council’s communities and place committee, Mr John Cottee, said: “Visitors will be encouraged to visit our area, stay longer and enjoy our sites and scenery, which all play a part in telling the story of who we are and the role Nottinghamshire has played in shaping the history of our nation.”

The chairman of the council, Mrs Sue Saddington, is due to attend Saturday’s launch.
It takes place 531 years to the day that the battle happened and will feature a gunpowder salute from re-enactment group the Beaufort Companye.

Around 20,000 men from the Houses of Lancaster and York were involved in the battle. An estimated 7,000 men died.

It was the last major engagement of the Wars of the Roses (1455 to 1487) between contenders for the throne, from the houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose).

The Battle of Bosworth had established King Henry VII on the throne, ending the last period of Yorkist rule and initiating that of the Tudors.

But Stoke Field was the final, decisive engagement in the subsequent, ill-fated attempt by leading Yorkists to unseat him in favour of Lambert Simnel.

Henry’s victory at Stoke Field was crushing and decisive, with almost all the leading Yorkists being killed.


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