Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors

Written by Chris Skidmore
Review by Ray Taylor

If there is only one thing known about the Wars of the Roses it’s that they’re very complicated! The period of rivalry between the Houses of York and Lancaster is characterised by constantly changing allegiances, marriages, betrayals, treachery, feuds, disagreements and full-scale battles. Skidmore explains that the origins of the conflict that would culminate at Bosworth lay in the relationship, in the early 1420s, between Katherine of Valois, the widow of Henry V, and Owen Tudor, her Welsh Master of the Household. The two actually married and produced a number of sons, one of whom would eventually father the future Henry VII – the victor at Bosworth and the progenitor of the Tudor dynasty.

Skidmore’s narrative style is engaging, and he sets out fair arguments for both sides when this is called for. The book includes a generous selection of colour plates and a very exhaustive bibliography. I think both the student of this period and the first-time reader would gain a lot of knowledge and enjoyment from this book.