Britons confuse real-life history with fiction – as more than a third admit to knowing more about Game of Thrones than The Wars of the Roses.
One in ten mistakenly thinks Jon Snow was a real-life historical figure – while some believe King Arthur (40%), Robin Hood (29%), and Count Dracula (12%) all existed.
Another in 20 believed the Lannisters and Starks (from Game of Thrones) contested the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century – not the Houses of York and Lancaster.
The study of 2,000 adults found that seven in ten consider themselves knowledgeable about British history.
But only 32% knew that the War of the Roses took place in the 1400s, and only 36% knew that the Black Death occurred in the 1300s.
Eric Vandeville / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images)
And nearly half didn’t know how many wives Henry VIII had, with a tenth thinking he had eight, rather than six – and the same proportion believed Joan of Arc was one of them.
More than a third hadn’t realized that Henry VIII had created the Church of England – showing how, for many, history classes in school really are history.
Another 54% had no idea that William Shakespeare was alive during the Tudor period, and one in twenty believes that Gandalf the Gray, from The Lord of the Rings, really existed.
The British seem to at least be aware of some of the most famous battles in history, with just over six in ten having heard of the Battle of Hastings (67 percent), the Battle of Waterloo (66 percent), D-Day (63 percent) and Sum (62 percent).
However, other “famous historical battles” that the British thought they remembered included The Battle of Hogwarts – which took place in the Harry Potter universe – and The Clone Wars, from Star Wars.
A spokesperson for Sky HISTORY, which commissioned the research as part of the launch of its new Royal Bastards: Rise of the Tudors television series on Monday at 9 p.m., said: “British history is littered with so much ‘Important stories along with iconic myths and legends, it’s no surprise that people’s memories are a bit hazy.
“What is clear is that the British are proud of their history and thirsty for information and knowledge about it. Our role is to show them that history is alive and well, and that fact is just as exciting and dramatic as fiction. “
The Battle of Bosworth Hill, in which the future Henry VII defeated and killed Richard III, was recognized by 43% of those surveyed.
But the Battle of Townton, in which Edward of York routed the Lancastrians, was only known by one in ten – two key battles in the Wars of the Roses.
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More than seven in ten adults believe that the achievements of many women throughout history have been overlooked and need to be heard.
Marie Curie has been named the most inspiring female figure in history, chosen by 51% of respondents to the survey, carried out via OnePoll.
She was followed by Florence Nightingale (48%), Emmeline Pankhurst (38%) and Rosa Parks (30%).
But only 21% of those polled knew that Margaret Beaufort was the mother of the first Tudor monarch and that she was instrumental in ending the War of the Roses – less than one in ten felt she was the woman. most inspiring in history.
Sky HISTORY spokesperson added: “We wanted to highlight the role Margaret Beaufort played in founding the Tudor dynasty and ending the bloodshed of the Wars of the Roses.
“It’s a vital story that explains how, as the dominant males killed each other on the battlefield and stabbed each other in the back, it was the steadfast and courageous women who came out on top.”