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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Rhys ap Thomas and the fatal blow that killed Richard III on Bosworth Field






One of my responsibilities as People’s Collection Wales Officer is to respond to enquiries by members of the public who want to know more about the items we’ve uploaded. Yesterday morning, beneath our photograph of the effigy of Rhys ap Thomas in St Peter’s Church, Carmarthen, was the following highly topical question: ‘Is this the man who felled Richard III?’

In the news and on Monday night’s Channel Four documentary, we had confirmation that the skeleton, recently discovered under the car park in Leicester, was that of Richard III, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Not being an expert myself, I asked around my medievalist colleagues and was told that although there is no firm evidence that he was the man who killed Richard, Rhys ap Thomas was an important Welsh magnate who closely supported Henry Tudor. He and his retainers would have formed the close guard around Henry during the battle of Bosworth in 1485. That, together with the fact that he was knighted by Henry on the battle field, and later claims that he used a poleaxe to kill Richard, certainly make him one of the prime candidates to have delivered that fatal blow.

By Helen Rowe.

See Rhys ap Thomas’s effigy on People’s Collection Wales.

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