Battles and SiegesLancastrians

Henry Tudor’s Fleet Embarks from France, 1485

The first of August 1485 was a significant date. A fleet of ships set sail from France. It carried an army comprised of mercenaries, exiled nobles and what remained of their supporters, some French and Breton soldiers, and Henry Tudor. It was the beginning of the Bosworth Campaign.

Henry Tudor’s invasion fleet embarks for Wales.

Meanwhile, King Richard III and the Earl of Lincoln are in Nottingham.

Events in England in 1484 transformed the fortunes of Henry Tudor. Now he was the main rival to the crown held by Richard III. To boot, he had acquired substantial backing. From England came exiles, including notable men such as Edward Woodville, brother of the widowed Queen Elizabeth; the Marquis of Dorset and Bishops Courtenay and Morton. Attainders had swollen the number of disgruntled exiles. Henry Tudor had suddenly become a star attraction.

That fact had not been lost on the French. Eager as always to meddle in the affairs of England, King Charles III was willing to back the inexperienced Henry Tudor. He financed 2000 French soldiers to campaign with the want to be King for 4 months. In addition he provided a fleet to transport the Tudor invasion force across the Channel. A further 50,000 crowns was loaned for the expedition.

Mercenaries could be hired. With support also coming from the Bretons, who had been his hosts during his long exile, a force of anywhere between 2000 and 3000 men was ready to sail. The summer had been spent planning and scheming. Family loyalties had been called upon. And on 1st August 1485 the plan was put into motion.

Captained by Guillaime de Casemore, the flagship Poulian de Dieppe was made ready to sail. The various groups boarded, under the watchful eye of the experienced French Commander Philibert de Chaudee. And with all on board, they set sail with the tide, with a long and potentially perilous voyage to the Tudor homelands of South Wales as the destination.

Note: sources don’t agree on numbers

Related Content: Henry Tudor’s invasion

Henry Tudor’s aborted landing of 1483

The Buckingham Revolt

Richard III’s response to hearing of Henry Tudor landing in Wales

The Stanley Brother’s importance in August 1485

Image Credit

Medieval English fleet – Harley 1319 f 18

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