Local Historic Battles
The Cave and Braye families have links with two historically important Battles fought nearby.
In 1485, at the Battle of Bosworth both Sir Reginald Braye and the Caves were present on opposing sides. As steward to Margaret Beaufort and her husband Sir Henry Stafford, Sir Reginald Braye was tasked by the Duke of Buckingham to secretly meet as many of the English nobles with potential allegiance to Henry Tudor and the Lancastrian cause as possible. His role was to persuade them that Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond at the time, although in exile in France, had secretly been betrothed to the Yorkist Princess, Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Edward IV. It is because of the legacy of his role in creating the ultimate union of the Houses of York and Lancaster, Sir Reginald was referred to as Braye the ‘Queen Maker’, offsetting the Yorkist legacy of Warwick the ‘King Maker’ and thereby bringing an end to the Wars of the Roses or the ‘Cousins War’, as it is sometimes known. Therefore, when Henry returned to England and defeated his uncle Richard III, this ended the Wars of the Roses, as the two houses were finally united by marriage. During the battle of Bosworth, Sir Reginald was present at the death of Richard III and rescued his battle crown from a thorn bush (hence public houses being called the Rose & Crown as the Tudor Crown rose from a thorn bush).
Sir Reginald rode back to Henry Tudor, and in the presence of Lord Stanley, showed them the crown proving that the King was dead and crowned Henry Tudor King Henry VII on the battlefield. At the age of 28 he became the King’s Privy Councillor and later, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. There are several portraits of Sir Reginald, the first Lord Braye, in the Old Dining Room at Stanford from whom the Braye Baronacy descends through the family. During his service to Henry VII, Sir Reginald rebuilt the king’s treasury and was himself involved in the building of several churches, the most famous of which is the Royal Chapel at Windsor Castle, where he was ultimately buried. His grandson was the first Baron Braye of Eaton Braye in Bedfordshire and was Almoner at the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. John, 2nd Lord Braye, who after a brief disgrace and imprisonment because of his involvement in the Dudley Plot, served Mary Tudor in the wars in France and died in 1557 of wounds received at the battle of St Quintin. His portrait hangs at the foot of the Flying Staircase.
Local Historic Battles
In the days before the Battle of Naseby in June 1645, according to Glenn Foard in his 1995 book “The Decisive Campaign”, King Charles 1st took his midday meal with Sir Thomas Cave in the old manor house at Stanford on Avon. Sir Thomas Cave had been a Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and had shown himself a strong supporter of the Royalist cause, having supplied arms and ammunition earlier in the campaign. It is also said that King Charles 1st crossed the now recently restored bridge over the Avon at Stanford, when escaping from the battle.
On the King’s return from the field of Naseby, the family records show that Sir Thomas and his son helped the King escape by ordering the church bells to be rung, brandishing a fowling piece from roof of the Manor House and encouraging the village to “repel the parliamentarian visitation with pike, musket, pitchforks and staves”. His actions may have allowed the King to get away but Sir Thomas was imprisoned in Northampton until his release at the Restoration of Charles II, where he in turn imprisoned his captors and became High Sheriff of Leicestershire.