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An oss! An oss! Me fode for an oss!

By john workman  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

A 2D model made by Arthur Workman depicting King Richard III and his men at the Battle of Bosworth field.

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The bones of King Richard III are the talk of the town, an incredible discovery made in a Leicester car park in the past six months that almost rivals the uncovering of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009.

But it wasn't until several tests were carried out on the remains, including matching DNA with living descendants of Richard's sister, that it was confirmed that the remains of the last Plantagenet king and the last king of England to die on the battlefield had been found, nearly 528 years after being roughly laid to rest.

Accent The archaeological find of the decade so far has no tangible connection with the Black Country, and yet research into letters belonging to Richard, one when he was Duke of Gloucester and another when he was king, seem to suggest that he could have spoken with a West Midlands accent; a mixture of Black Country and Brummie, forsooth. One ofthe most famous lines associated with that particular king was of course written by Shakespeare in his play about Richard III: "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse". But perhaps he may in reality have asked for an ‘oss ...

Richard III's reign was short, less than two years in total, and came to an abrupt end at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire where he was defeated and killed by Henry Tudor (Henry VII) on August 22, 1485. This is one of the most crucial dates in English history, and in effect brought the medieval period to a close. To reflect its importance commercial artist Arthur Workman, who hailed from Smethwick, invented a board game that carried the name ‘Aug 22’. It was back in the late ‘70s after a visit to the battlefield site that Arthur got to work on his idea. Two opposing armies, one from the House of Lancaster, the other from the House of York, facing each other across an open field, a farmstead located at the top of Ambion Hill at the centre of the action. There was an assortment of weaponry available to both armies, and both Richard and Henry took up their positions.

But the outcome of each battle didn't only depend on the roll of a dice.

It also depended on the outcome of a face-to-face confrontation between Richard and Henry, and the winner immediately brought into play Lord Stanley's men, who historically had waited to see which side was winning before committing themselves to the battle.

Aug 22 wasn't necessarily historically accurate, but as a board game it had all the thrills and spills of a close contest which either side could win. For those who had the opportunity to play the game, it was indeed a treat on a Sunday afternoon when there was nothing on the box.

Unfortunately, despite the idea, the design and the artwork that Arthur managed to create, Aug 22 was unable to attract interest from the great board-game makers of the age, like Waddington's, and now all that is left are some of the remnants; like the bones of Richard II

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