The Kendalls at the Battle of Bosworth


Orate pro animabus Thomœ & Ricardi Kendal


Battle of Bosworth Field

St James’s Church, Twycross was used by the Kendalls well into the 18th century. With regard to the church, in his work of 1622, Burton states that “In a South window the portrait of two men, kneeling the one having an arrow fixed in his head; the other, an arrow in the middle of his body; under which is written, Orate pro animabus Thomœ & Ricardi Kendal. The inhabitants report, that these two Kendals were slain with arrows at Bosworth Field, 1485”1.


This description is referenced by HJB Kendall in his 1909 work and he states that the window only had a few piece of coloured glass remaining when he visited in around 18902. The latin translates to “pray for the souls of Thomas and Richard Kendall”. The Thomas and Richard mentioned were the sons of Bartholomew Kendall of Twycross, with the manor at Twycross being only 6 miles from Ambion Hill near the battle site.

There are various other references to a Sir Thomas Kendall of Smisby being present at the battle. Such as a souvenir map at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre representing  Thomas Kendall’s coat of arms with a crescent marker which may denote cadency as a second son.  However, the primary source for this is not known and there is no mention of Thomas Kendall in the Ballard of Bosworth Field which is the only near contemporaneous source of the order of battle. Thomas and Richard’s father came into the possession of Smisby with his marriage to Margaret Shepey the daughter and heir of John Shepey of Smisby. However, she was the heir of her brother, Edmund, and did not inherit until June 1509 so it is not possible that he referred to himself as a Kendall of Smisby at the time of the battle of Bosworth.  In addition there are no records of Thomas Kendall being knighted.

In his 1838 work Burke provides that John Whatton of Long Whatton was at the Battle of Bosworth “in which contest the two Kendalls, his companions in arms, were slain” 3. As well as being a Member of Parliament for Leicestershire under King Henry VI, John Whatton was married to Margaret Woodford who was a granddaughter of Sir Robert Woodford, who fought at Agincourt and was herself a descendant of King Ethelred II. The closeness of the families is confirmed as John’s eldest son and heir, Robert (born 14 Edw.IV c.1446), married a daughter of William Kendall of Smisby and Twycross, the brother of Thomas and Richard.

Another Kendall ancestor who fought at Bosworth was John Sacheverell.  In St Matthew’s Church, Morely, Derbyshire, is a memorial with the inscription  “Hic jacet Johnes Sachevrell Armig fili et heres Radi Sachevrell Armigi dni de Snetterton et hopwell Et Joana ux eju’ filia et unica heres heres herici Stathum Armigeri dni de Morley qui quidem Johnes obiit in bello Ricardi tercij juxta bosworth anno dni M ccc lxxv Quorum aiabus propicietur deus Amen.”  this translates to “Here lies John Sacheverell esquire, son and heir of Ralph Sacheverell esquire, Lord of Snitterton and Hopwell and Joan his wife, daughter and sole heiress of Henry Stathum esquire, Lord of Morley, the which John died in the war of Richard III near Bosworth AD 1485 on whose souls may God have mercy. Amen.”  John Sacheverell’s descendants were the Lords of the Manor of Ratcliffe on Soar and his great great granddaughter, Eleanor, married Henry Kendall of Smisby (1546-1592).

John Kendall, the secretary to King Richard III, fought and died at the battle of Bosworth. He was also attaindered by King Henry VII. Although HJB Kendall makes the claim that he was probably a son of Bartholomew Kendall there is no evidence to support this lineage and it is unlikely that John Kendall was related to the Twycross Kendall’s family4.

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[1] Description of Leicestershire containing matters of antiquity, history, armoury, and genealogy, William Burton, 1622 , folio version 1777 (W Whittingham) p.487.
[2] The Kendalls of Austrey Twycross and Smithsy, A Family History, Henry John Broughton Kendall (Private Circulation, W. P. Griffith and Sons) 1909. p.10.
[3] A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial possesions or high official rank, but uninvested with heritable honours, John Burke (Henry Colburn, London) 1838. vol. 4, p.227.
[4] The Kendalls of Austrey Twycross and Smithsy, A Family History, Henry John Broughton Kendall (Private Circulation, W. P. Griffith and Sons) 1909. pp.10-11.

The information given in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of writing. No liability is accepted or warranty given in relation to the information contained therein. If you feel that there is an inaccuracy you are encouraged to comment or contribute. Thank you for your interest.

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