The Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre today posted an unusual picture of the famous Bosworth Boar badge in advance of the centre’s closure until February. They’re undertaking maintenance and took the opportunity offered by changes to the exhibition to photograph the back of the badge.
(Photo copyright Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre)
The badge is made of silver gilt (i.e. gilded with a layer of gold over the base of silver) and was found in 2009 by metal detectorists employed by Leicestershire County Council to help search for the site of the battle in 1485.
It’s believed that the badge was owned by a supporter of King Richard who lost it during the battle – or perhaps threw it down afterwards? Such badges, depicting a man’s personal symbol, were given by kings and noblemen to their followers. This, being of precious metal, most likely belonged to a nobleman or knight. Others would have been made of copper or even cloth, like the thousands of hessian boar badges given out at the time of King Richard’s coronation. These badges are far less likely to survive because of the less-durable material – although they are perhaps also likely to have been more easily lost…
A similar boar badge was found in Stillingfleet in Yorkshire in 2010 and is now on display in the Yorkshire Museum in York.
At the risk of getting ahead of myself, Matthew Wansford becomes the proud possessor of such a boar badge in recognition of his services to Duke Richard of Gloucester in 1482/3. He wears it proudly to show his loyalty to Richard – for as long as it is safe to do so.
Could one or other of these badges have belonged to him? Now, that would be telling …