Alf's field is official Battle of Bosworth site
For years, Alf Oliver thought of it as nothing more than a muddy piece of farmland.
But now archaeologists have discovered his field is the true location of the Battle of Bosworth.
The announcement came yesterday after a four-year study of the area.
It has ended years of speculation over the location of the historic clash between King Richard III and Henry Tudor in 1485.
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The site was pinpointed by the discovery of a concentration of cannonball and gun shot, remains of an ancient marsh and the star find – a small silver gilt badge shaped like a boar, which was the emblem of Richard III.
Thought to have been drained in the 16th century, the former marsh lies on land at Alf's Fenn Lane Farm, Upton, about 3km from the Bosworth Battlefield Centre at Ambion Hill, Sutton Cheney.
Alf said: "My initial reaction was one of excitement.
"I am proud to own a bit of British history."
The farm has been in his family since 1957, with the field where the boar badge was found is used to grow winter wheat.
Alf always knew there had once been a marsh on the land. He remembered his dad's tractor sinking in it one evening.
He just did not realise it was the marsh the historians wanted to find.
He is now in negotiations with the county council about how visitors can see the site for themselves, but added: "People have got to remember this is my private home. I hope people respect that."
Alf's wife, Gill, said: "I always thought how lovely and peaceful it was but now we know it was the scene of absolute butchery."
Son Rory, 12, has been watching the metal detecting operations with interest.
"It is amazing to know that hundreds of years ago there was this big battle here," he said.
Battlefields Trust archaeologist Glenn Foard led the Heritage Lottery Fund-financed study on behalf of the county council.
He said the boar badge was the most important find, discovered near the edge of a triangular field, known as Fen Hole.
He said: "The silver gilt badge would only have been given to a knight in Richard's retinue and that man would have ridden with him to his death in that last, desperate cavalry charge.
"It was found right next to the site of a small medieval marsh, and the king was killed when his horse became stuck in a mire."
The 28 pieces of gun shot now discovered there are the most ever recovered from a medieval battlefield.
Other precious finds also emerged including a silver coin from 15th century Burgundy – from where Richard drew many of his allies – and part of nobleman's silver sword crossguard.
The boar badge was found during a search which spanned seven square kilometres of rural Leicestershire and involved volunteers working alongside professionals.
The county council, which owns the battlefield centre, says finds from the study will be on show this Easter and an outdoor trail will be developed for the autumn.
The council kept the location of the battlefield secret until yesterday for fear that treasure hunters would raid the site.
A ban has now been placed on metal detecting around the farm.