King Richard III

King Richard III

The Plantagenet Alliance’s claim for a judicial review was finally dismissed by Britain’s High Court on Friday.

“We are naturally disappointed at the decision reached, but we are grateful to have had the opportunity to raise this nationally significant matter before the courts.” the group said in their official statement, closing with “whilst the outcome is disappointing, we believe that we have put forward the best legal case that we could, in order to attempt to persuade the decision makers to reconsider public consultation regarding the final resting place of the last Plantagenet King of England. The Plantagenet Alliance will be making no further statement until it has considered the judgement in full.”

This morning the Looking for Richard team sent us an official statement “The members of the Looking for Richard project are not unanimous about where we would like to see Richard III reburied. However, we are unanimous in believing that Richard III should be treated honourably, and not as a scientific specimen. We hope that his remains will soon be removed from the university to a prayerful environment. We also hope that his bones will not be subjected to preservation, or piled in an ossuary box, but will be laid out anatomically for reburial in a proper coffin, and given a suitable and fitting monument to honour the last warrior king of England.”

Sadly even after twenty months the remains of King Richard III have still not been removed to a sanctified place of rest as requested by Philippa Langley, who spear-headed the search for Richard III. Whether or not this will happen before reburial remains to be seen.

The Richard III Society’s Chairman, Phil Stone, released an official statement ‘I am very pleased that there has been a clear cut decision. It means that we can now move forward and reinter King Richard with the dignity and sanctity that is due to an anointed king of England. Understandably, the judgement will be a disappointment to the Plantagenet Alliance and its supporters, and indeed to many of our own members, but I hope that we can now all put the disagreements behind us and join together to honour King Richard when he is laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral.’

An oil copy of the Paston portrait of Richard III - donated to Leicester Cathedral by John Ashdown-Hill

An oil copy of the Paston portrait of Richard III – donated to Leicester Cathedral by John Ashdown-Hill

The backlash against the decision was of course inevitable. There are many who are not only disappointed, but furious that King Richard III will remain in the city he was first buried in in 1485. What many have been calling a “second Wars of the Roses” and an “undignified battle” has not really been waged between the Plantagenet Alliance and the City of Leicester however. Much of the battle for King Richard III has taken place on the internet, with an unprecedented level of vicious, spiteful and antisocial behaviour. If we want to muse on things King Richard III would have ‘wanted’ then I am perfectly confident to hazard a guess that the Dean of York receiving death threats would be on Richard’s undesirable list.

We should probably dispel a couple of myths, one being that Richard was “murdered” and “humiliated” in Leicester, and that “he would have wanted” to be buried at York Minster.

Richard III was not murdered at Bosworth Field, he fell defending his crown in battle, what Polydore Vergil famously described as “fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies”. The displaying of his naked body before burial was not unusual. As Dr. John Ashdown-Hill told us in a lengthy discussion “Edward IV, was also laid out naked (his corpse covered with a cloth from navel to knees) for about 12 hours before his preparation for burial, so that people could come and see the body. Usually, of course, exposing a royal body naked to public gaze was a good way of making sure that myths about a murder didn’t start to spread. If the bare body had been on display, any wounds would presumably have been spotted.”

Read More: Fit for a King: The Burial and Reburial of Richard III with John Ashdown-Hill

Richard certainly did not have a lavish funeral befitting a King of England, but the fact is he was laid to rest in sanctified ground. He did have a hasty burial, the grave was too short and the Franciscan monks who buried him and read his funeral rites clearly had no time to rectify this. “I can see no reason for suggesting (as some people have) that he was shoved into it in a violent way,” Dr Ashdown-Hill told us. “I think the friars just laid the body in place with the head slightly up.” As for the claims that his hands were tied, the University of Leicester provided no scientific evidence. Dr. Ashdown-Hill added “His arms were crossed over his genitals, but that too was a normal and proper way for a Christian body to be laid out.”

It was no state funeral, something that the City of Leicester and St. Martin’s Cathedral is eager to rectify. “He will now be finally led to rest with the prayers of God’s people in a manner fitting to his story and with dignity as befits a child of God and an anointed King of England,” wrote the The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester.

James Butler statue donated by the Richard III Society

James Walter Butler statue donated by the Richard III Society

Once Richard’s remains are removed from the University of Leicester, the coffin will arrive in the Cathedral gardens, currently being re-designed, and which will feature the James Walter Butler sculpture, commissioned and donated by members of the Richard III Society in 1980, and the new modern panel sculpture Towards Stillness. From there it will proceed into the Cathedral where it will be formally received in the setting of the medieval service of Compline. The coffin will then lie at rest for a few days, covered by a hand-crafted pall, where the public will be able to come and pay their respects. The service itself will “involve prayers in memory both of Richard and of all who died at Bosworth and in warfare, and will commend his soul afresh to God’s merciful judgement.” Dr John Ashdown-Hill’s special funeral crown will also have a central place in the ceremonies.

Read More: Leicester Cathedral will Bury Richard III “With Dignity and Honour”

The King Richard III: Dynasty, Death and Discovery exhibition will be housed in the old Alderman Newton’s Boys’ School, the Victorian-Gothic building that overlooks the Greyfrairs site and Richard III’s first grave, the site of the city’s new Richard III visitor centre. The University of Leicester now offers a free online course, England in the time of King Richard III, for Richard III enthusiasts worldwide. And St. Martin’s Cathedral is currently renovating the interior to accommodate Richard’s new resting place in front of the altar. Leicester is ready to receive Richard III in a royal fashion.

While York Minster initially rejected the idea that Richard III be buried there, the subsequent hate-mail and eventual threat of violence against the Dean forced them to take a dutiful “neutral” stance along with everyone else. While it was repeatedly been stated the Minster is full, many were still insisting that it is the rightful place for Richard to be buried. It is certain he would not be able to have a place of honour in front of the altar, he would also be sharing the space with another rather famous military figure, Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy. The Micklegate Bar Museum runs a “Henry VII Experience” alongside the Monk Bar museum’s “Richard III Experience”. Perhaps what Richard actually deserves is a cathedral and a museum all to himself.

As for the claims that Richard would have wanted to be buried in York, but no actual evidence of this survives.As historian Amy Licence points out in her Richard III: The Road to Leicester book:
“No will was ever found, even if he had made one; after all, at the young age of thirty-two, he had not planned on losing the Battle of Bosworth. He may have founded chapels and left instructions for masses to be said in his name, but this is not an explicit declaration of intent. The plans that he made survive in the Fabric Rolls of York Minster, and include instructions for a college of 100 priests, with six altars, and a grant for those priests to sing in the minster.  However, this is similar to the establishment he intended to found at Middleham’s Church of St Mary and Alkelda, as well as at Barnard Castle. If the numbers involved are larger in the York Rolls, this simply reflects the relative size of the cathedral in relation to the churches. No reference was made in Richard’s plans to a tomb or chantry chapel.”

The call for Richard III to be buried in York Minster is less of a reflection of Richard III’s actual wishes, and more of a reflection of where some of his admirers, and descendants, think he should be buried. He was no longer Richard Duke of Gloucester when he died, he was King of England, and more likely than not he would have thought he would be buried in Westminster, where he had laid his own wife to rest. Perhaps alongside his second wife, he was after all planning a new marriage in 1485.

Details from the tomb of Richard Duke of York and Cecily Neville - the oroginal tomb was replaced by Elizabeth I after it was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Details from the tomb of Richard Duke of York and Cecily Neville in Fotheringay – the original tomb was replaced by Elizabeth I after it was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Richard’s own father Richard, Duke of York, and his eldest brother Edmund Earl of Rutland, were horribly humiliated in York. After their death in the Battle of Wakefield their heads were placed on pikes by the victorious Lancastrian armies and displayed over Micklegate Bar, the Duke of York’s wearing a paper crown. Edward IV later removed their bodies from Pontefract Priory and had them reinterred in the family vault in Fotheringay Castle. Richard was the chief mourner and accompanied them on the journey. It is clear Edward IV thought the family had closer ties to Fotheringay, and the family connection with Fotheringhay had begun when Edward III gave the manor to his son Edmund Langley, the first Duke of York.

Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville, never sought to have him moved from Greyfriars. Cecily was now related to Henry VII by marriage, being the grandmother of his wife and much respected and admired by Henry’s own mother, Margaret Beaufort. There is no reason to believe that had Cecily asked for Richard to be moved that Henry would not have granted her the favour. As it happened Cecily must have thought that Sir Reynold Bray and Sir Thomas Lovell’s job on Richard’s tomb, commissioned a decade after his death, was satisfactory. In The Last Days of Richard III John Ashdown-Hill writes “within a year of their being charged by Henry VII with supervising the construction of her son’s tomb – she named them amongst the executors of her will.”

That Richard III spent much of his life in the North is a fact, but that he had no ties to Leicester at all is false. During the Readeption of Henry VI, he spent a great deal of time in Leicester and other southern towns with his brother Edward IV. Leicester was the base from where they planned their strategy against the Earl of Warwick. Edward IV would later grant a request to John Mason in Leicester for the “good service he had done to Richard Duke of York”. Twelve years later Leicester was one of the towns Richard visited on his first royal progress, en route to York where his son would be invested as the Prince of Wales. Leicester would be the town Richard mustered his troops in against the Duke of Buckingham in his rebellion. It is no coincidence that Richard chose to stay in Leicester the night before the Battle of Bosworth, it is a town he knew well and was likely comfortable in, having spent much time there in his younger years. While it is obvious that King Richard III would not have been planning on being buried in the town of Leicester, there is no evidence that he had an especial loathing or indifference for it.

It would be nice if we could now move on and look towards the reinterment ceremony. As the Dean of Leicester said “Bosworth was a bitter battle with different branches of the same family at war.  Five hundred years on we can learn a little and my prayer is that we might travel now together to finally lay King Richard to rest.”


55 Responses

  1. Mary Walker

    It is my personal regret that thanks to a mixture of Shakespeare and ignorance (and apathy) not enough people in England really cared about King Richard’s discovery or the reinterment of his remains.

    Of course he didn’t leave instructions on where he should be laid to rest. As a King of England he would have expected this to be taken care of with great respect in the event of his death on the battlefield.

    There seems to be a lot of political correctness going on now with the Looking for Richard team and the Richard III |Society, which I understand is dignified. What is undeniable is that Richard’s naked corpse, when paraded around Leicester for three days after his death face down on a horse was stabbed in the buttocks.

    All I can hope and pray now is that the Church Commission revise Leicester Cathedral’s proposed tomb design, which is far better suited to a1960’s fashion designer than our last Plantagenet King.

    • Olga Hughes

      The Richard III Society was not forced to take a neutral stance on the location of his burial because they were being polite Mary, it is because they were receiving disgusting hate mail, and they have been constantly forced to close and remove comments from their Facebook page because of all the fighting that has been going on.
      The amount of abuse that has been directed at individuals involved in the rediscovery of his remains has been not only undignified, but disgraceful. It is not a fitting tribute to his memory.

      I have a very brief update on the tomb here, but they are keeping it under their hats of course

  2. Lyn

    Thank you for a reasoned, considered response to the judicial review. I hope that everyone can now move on to the (hopefully) smooth planning for the reinterment ceremony & the nasty, spiteful commentary on various blogs & Facebook pages can stop. I think the RIII Society’s neutral stance has been appropriate as many members would have been unhappy no matter what the decision had been. The Chairman’s only course was to stay above the fray & let the squabblers on both sides make fools of themselves – which they have done! Unfortunately I don’t have any real hope that the fighting is over as the Alliance may be planning an appeal.

    • Olga Hughes

      Nice to hear from you Lyn. I am not at all sure what would happen if the Plantagenet Alliance went for an appeal but I imagine Leicester would keep on with their plans. The CFC was initially waiting to approve the Cathedral redesign until the judicial review had been heard but then approved them early in April anyway.
      I don’t know, but another delay would be really dreadful. It has already been delayed a year now.

  3. M Simpson

    Excellent summation of some very important points, well expressed. Sadly, a few sensible blogs like this can do little to stem the barrage of pro-York misinformation. One of the biggest British newspapers reports this as “Richard of York’s relatives gave battle in vain: Former king to be laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral after family lose fight to fulfill his wish to be buried at York Minster” which by my count contains three claims which are either untrue or highly arguable.

    Nevertheless, clearly the right thing has been done (and was done originally) in the plan to reinter Richard III as close as possible to his original Christian grave.

    • M.Dickinson

      Firstly,as the younger son of a Duke, Richard was born Lord Richard of YORK.
      Secondly, The Privy Seal Registers contains 5 separate entries on the subject of Richard’s Chantry at York from a Grant to the Minster to support the 100 priests it would employ,to rent’s levied for it’s income, to 6 altars which were already being constructed. So much paperwork of plans,rents etc was being generated that Richard instructed that it should be sent and centralised by John Harrington. That for me is FACT that R’s plans were far advanced . I do not see the 3rd thing you claim is untrue. Edward. IV needed 10 years to finish his Chantry,time which Richard was not given, but in the time allowed his plans were far advanced.

      • M Simpson

        M Dickinson – The reason why the proposed York chantry is not convincing evidence is that you are looking at it in isolation. As the article makes clear, Richard was planning the same thing at Middleham, and Barnard. And indeed at numerous other places all around England. The York chantry would have been unusually big, but that’s because it would have been attached to an unusually big church.

        Medieval kings founded chapels and chantries and colleges of priests all across their realm as a matter of routine to curry favour with (a) locals and (b) God. Richard in particular needed to curry favour with the citizens of York because they were Lancastrian sympathisers who hated the Plantagenets and had chopped his father’s head off.

        York MInster was not his local church when he lived in Middleham, over 30 miles away. It wasn’t even his local cathedral (Ripon is closer). In his entire life he spent less than five weeks in York. So burial in York would have put him over 100 miles away from any member of his family, more than 200 miles from any other English King, in a less prestigious church then his first wife, surrounded by strangers. That doesn’t sound very likely.

        The arguments in favour of York rely on this sort of cherry-picking. If you decide a priori that he wanted to be buried in York, then look only for evidence which supports your theory and ignore everything else, of course it looks like he favoured York. But the truth is he didn’t. He was King of England, travelled throughout his land, and his main place of residence when not in London was Nottingham.

        Leicester was the town where he chose to muster his army in both 1483 and 1485, a town he knew well and trusted completely. Henry VII (who was, incidentally, much more closely related to Richard than anyone alive today) chose Leicester as Richard’s burial place out of all the towns where he could have put him. Richard’s family never made any attempt to move him throughout the centuries that the grave was marked, and if they had done they would have moved him 30 miles south to the family home at Fotheringhay, not 70 miles north to York, the town that contributed to his death and defeat by refusing to send the 400 soldiers he asked for.

        No arguments will ever persuade those who have a dogmatic belief that York is the only possible burial place (in defiance of good Christian tradition) but articles like this one at least make it clear to those with an open mind why burial in Leicester is ethically, morally and historically right as well as legally right.

        Also, there is absolutely no record ever of Richard being referred to, at any age, as Lord Richard of York. His son, born to the Duke of Gloucester, was not called Edward of Gloucester, he was called Edward of Middleham after his birthplace. It is therefore likely that, as a small child, Richard would have been ‘Richard of Fotheringhay’.

        And even if he had been called ‘Richard of York’, that name has abolutely no connection whatsoever with the city of York. None at all. Henry Tudor was from the House of Lancaster but he was a Welshman who lived most of his life in France and never went anywhere near Lancaster. Certainly wasn’t buried there!

      • M.Dickinson

        I did not say there was a record of him being called Lord Richard of York. I said as the younger son of a Duke he would be referred to as Lord. As his first name was Richard , he would be Lord Richard , and as son of the Duke of York , when born he would be Lord Richard of York.
        Nor as anyone ever claimed Richard lived in York .It was his power base the second city in the land.We all know his married home was Middleham and Sheriff Hutton.Indeed when in York he stayed with the Friars at Lendal. His life was by nature peripatetic as Duke and King. I merely put forward facts objectively in the belief that some readers may not have known about the Privy Papers. You have decided to tell me what and what not I should be thinking. That people with ‘open minds’ will think this. That certain people ‘cherry pick information’. That people have a ‘dogmatic belief’.By which I can only conclude you mean me. Sir or Madam you do not know me.

      • M.Dickinson

        M.Simpson . As Richard spent a whole 9 days of his life in Leicester could you let me know where I can find the written Sources for the ‘knowledge and trust’ he had in the Town.
        York did not cut his Fathers head off, Lancastrians did at Sandal.
        It is unlikely the citizens of York hated’ Plantagenets’ as that was a name his Father assumed after years of it being unused.
        Richard mustered his Army at Leicester, as he did at Nottingham , just as Charles 1 did because both places are fairly central to be ready for an attack from any direction.
        You forget he was a Neville, and they are buried in the Minster.
        There was no family left who could remove him, by 17thC his burial place was lost.
        Those again are just facts.

  4. Lyn marie

    I think the decision is appalling ,there seems to be a misunderstanding as to why the battle was fought ,despite media bias trying to suggest it was another “wars of the roses”.the fight has always been to provide a dignified and honorable burial and safe place of rest in a pace appropriate to a king of England who was also a resident for the greater part of his lfe in the North.While I realise to southerns York may seem remote and a backwater in Richards day this was not the case ,from his actions while lving its clear he felt a close affinity to the area ,he also arranged chantry chapels.Despite cherry picking the facts connected to Richards death he was indeed shamefuly humilated in death ,he died a brave death as even his enemies agreed and was an anointed king so being striped naked slung over a horse and having his corpse manhandled and abused,,its unlwn how extesive the abuse was but marks that show he was stabbed in the backside brutaly enpugh to leave marks on the bones suggest rough handeling ,Yes it was entirely justified to lay the corpse out so people could see he was dead ,but not bloodied and dirtied completly naked.Even by the standards of the day that was obscene.
    Richard spent the greater part of his life in Yorkshire ,its common pratoce to call him Richard of York or lord of the north ,theres a long folk memory of Good King Richard in the area and hes spoken of with genuine affection ,many people in Yorkshire helped fund the excavation,Very liitle money or effort was put in by Leicesters university or council until they knew they had found a king,,anyone interested can check the universities public records ,their excavation expenditure only really started after the excavation.They have behaved in a apalingly bad way ,academicaly they have refused to give due credite to the academics and resreachers who both did the research and raised funding ,the way they have claimed credite for achievments of others would have been considered a scandel nd brought them a flurry of international condemnation had they treated officialy employed academics the same way.They have illegaly ignored their undertakng to keep the bones in a place of rest,storing them in a cardboard box under. Broken kettle ,,this is their own words and they can be found easily online.The university have also made repeated efforts to hold onto the bones anting to publicaly display them until widespread outrage made thm rethink the idea,they have also made clear they would likevthe remains in an osserie so they can be more easily removed for study .despite blaming the delay in burying RIchard on the appeal the university did infact insist on keeping control over the bones so they could do further tests ,create a replica skeleton ,allow press coverage ,filming etc so the appeal has made only a few weeks difference if any.Planning was well under way for the funeral and has been for some time and the main delays in reburial were due to the universities reluctance to hand over the bones even without the appeal they disagreements about reburial would be gong on,the catherdral itself is at odds with the university with regard to making the remains availible for disinterment when they are considered to be needed by e university.The change to a more acceptable form of burial service was only made due to an epetion and despite the form of burial the fact remains for roman catholics richards body has been removed from consecrated ground and will be placed in unconsecrated ground for his reinterment as Leicester was not a catherdral unti after the reformation and was extended .THe postioning of the tomb makes little difference the body of the church is so small theres no alternative,The monument is likely to be a slab despite promises of a traditional tomb ,,for which money was raised by Richards supporters not the city or university.However the slab tomb is likely to succed as the Catherdral houses flea markets and a big tomb will limit stalls space and revenue wereas a slab can have stalls over it or at least provide a throughfare without people needing to walk around it.

    • M.Dickinson

      Agree Lyn with all you write. In this whole business I keep thinking if it were George VI what would happen. Would a science department in a Midlands university be allowed to say where he would be buried? Would his family be deprived of a say? Would he be dis-interred when a second year Archaeology student wants a look?Yet both Kings were crowned and anointed Monarchs. In years to come there is going to be so much revealed about what went on behind the scenes and the nation will be appalled they let it happen without a fair and open Public Consultation, but by then Richard will have been ground away to dust, I could not have that on my conscience.

    • Olga Hughes

      There will definitely be a tomb Lyn, and a coffin. The tomb design will be revealed in a few weeks I think.

    • M Simpson

      Lyn Marie – Almost nothing that you say in your post is true. It is a mixture of misinformation, misunderstanding and paranoid conspiracy theory. I have no doubt that nothing I could say would sway your thinking, but I would like to pick you up on this: “the fact remains for roman catholics richards body has been removed from consecrated ground and will be placed in unconsecrated ground for his reinterment as Leicester was not a catherdral unti after the reformation and was extended.”

      You seem confused over the definition of consecrated ground. The site of St Martin’s Church was consecrated ground when the building was begun in the 11th century and remained – like most English churches – consecrated ground when the reformation occurred. All active churches are consecrated ground – it’s nothing to do with being a cathedral.

      Also, I think you’ll find that the CofE and the RC Church have exactly the same definition of consecrated ground. It’s either consecrated or it’s not. There’s no such thing as Anglican consecrated ground vs Catholic consecrated ground. From a Catholic PoV, St Martin’s is just as consecrated as any Catholic church – which is what it was for 400 years, hence the number of Catholic burials there.

      Perhaps this statement from the Bishop of Nottingham in August last year might clarify things: “The Bishop is pleased that the body of King Richard III has been found under the site of Greyfriars Church in Leicester, in which it was buried following the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and that it will be reinterred with dignity in the city where he has lain for over five hundred years. Richard III was one of the last Catholic monarchs of England and his death was a decisive moment in British history, but the ultimate decision as to what form the interment takes lies with the Government and the Church of England, since he will be buried in Leicester Cathedral.

      “In accordance with long-established ecumenical practice, Bishop Malcolm will be happy to take part in any form of ceremony which takes place to mark his final burial.”

      So there’s one happy Catholic at least…

      • M.Dickinson

        I have to say that this is one Catholic who believes that Catholics should be buried in ground consecrated by a Catholic priest . This is our belief. This is why we have designated area in Graveyards and Cemetries.We know they have been consecrated according to our rites.

      • M Simpson

        Then you shouldn’t have a problem with Richard being laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral as that ground was consecrated the best part of a thousand years ago. Or did the reformation involve deconsecrating then reconsecrating every parish church in England?

        The whole Catholic thing rears its head in every R3 discussion and it’s irrelevant for two reasons. (1) He is not going to have any sort of funeral service as he has already had one (however brief) so the question of Catholic or Anglican rites does not arise. (2) As demonstrated above, the local RC Bishop is entirely happy with the whole affair and furthermore willing to help out with the reinterment.

      • M.Dickinson

        M.Simpson . You chose to write that there is no difference between Catholic and Church of England consecrated ground. I merely stated as a Catholic that there are Rites which we have ,and one of those is that we are buried in ground consecrated by a Catholic priest if we choose.Which is why many cemeterys have R.C areas.
        If you read my comments at all I have never mentioned a view about your Cathedral or if I regard it as consecrated ground. ( I do.) Any feelings I have about the unsuitability of St.Martin’s for the burial of a King I have so far kept to myself.

  5. M Simpson

    M Dickinson – My point is that all the details of the chantry are irrelevant since there is no indication whatsoever of his wish to be buried there, in preference to any of the other many similar ecclesiastical building projects he initiated around England. It is this continual harping on about the chantry which fuels the pro-York arguments and leads many to simply accept the blatant lie that “he wanted to be buried in York”..

    Richard did not pick Leicester as his mustering point because of a central location. He was already in Nottingham which is similarly central. He knew where Henry’s army was, but as defender Richard got to pick the place where they met – Henry had to simply follow him around the country. The idea that an experienced military leader, given a free choice of where to gather his troops and prepare for battle (in a civil war) would pick anywhere where he was not absolutely certain of loyalty and support is bizarre. And Richard was not preparing for defence, he was preparing for battle in open country so your reasoning is flawed. (In any case, basic military tactics state that a spot which can be attacked from any direction is the absolute worst place to be!)

    Also, his burial place was not lost by the 17th century. Yes, the only post-reformation record of it is 1612 but that doesn’t mean that it disappeared shortly after. There were no detailed maps of Leicester until the late 19th century. Part of the friary wall survived into the 1920s (a photo exists) and as late as the 1950s there are unidentified historical ruins on maps of Greyfriars of which no detailed record exists.

    You may want to reconsider your definition of ‘facts’.

    • Mary Walker

      M Simpson – No. Excuse me. Where is your evidence that Richard III “had knowledge and trust” in Leicester?

      There are, thankfully, many historical facts available about the King’s reign and his alliances. The grey areas will forever be shrouded in supposition.

      Why did Leicester not bother to find him (aside from in the reign of the usurper Tudors) until the Richard III Society funded the dig?

      What is your ‘defence’ of Leicester founded on?

    • M.Dickinson

      M.Simpson.I have been trying to be objective while you insist on being subjective. A Chantry is a place inside an exsisting Church, or added to where the dead have their Priests pray for their souls, and where the dead have their tombs. While Richard planned an earlier Chantry, when he became King he started planning a huge one at the Minster and the first halted.Too large for one person, it must (subjective) have been for his wife,child, and as he was in marriage negotiations 2nd wife and future children.Using the adjective ‘blatant’ lie does not make your argument any more valid.There were no rules for ” I’m the attacker I get the best ground” it was the 1st there tried to get the best ground.Do I take it that in answer to my request to point me in the direction of the written Sources for R.’s trust in Leic. you are saying he picked a field for battle and because that field was a few miles away from Leic. then Leic. was loyal. When did I mention military tactics? No thank you I will not reconsider my facts. Would you like to reconsider mine about Richard’s family already being in the Minster? The Duke dying in Sandal? The Duke assuming the name Plantagenet ? You don’t seem to have questioned those or implied I have a closed mind again.

      • Olga Hughes

        I ask you all settle down now thank you.

      • M.Dickinson

        Certainly I would like to. But I hope you can see I merely added some historical facts which I hoped readers may not have known. The response by M.S.was not appropriate.

      • Olga Hughes

        I’m happy for everyone to have their say, just as long as everyone keeps calm please.

      • Mary Walker

        Agreed, M.D. M.S is using extraordinarily aggressive tactics to try and counter almost anyone who posts on Olga’s webpage.

        When counter-challenged, he doesn’t even bother to reply.

        I’m afraid that those of us who are simply pro Richard III and care about him being finally laid to rest – almost regardless of location now – are being attacked by some ‘pro-Leicester at all costs and be damned troll’.

      • Olga Hughes

        I don’t like that term much Mary try and keep it polite.

  6. Lyn Marie Cunliffe

    I am afraid that M Simpson has a poor grasp of some of the facts relating to the case and the views and opinions of “on the ground” church goers and our opinions on most matters obviously differ however while I accept he may be mistaken I will do him the honour of not calling into question either his morals or his intellect and I feel that he ought to accord the same honour to me.I can verify all the statements I made in my post ,I am careful of my sources always using primary sources and mindful of the permanence of statements made on the internet careful not to make statements which impinge on the academic reputation or moral character of individuals without being certain .My source for most of the university comments is the university , my source for the Cathedrals attitude to Richard is the cathedral , the source for the city news is the cities own newspapers and citizens ,,among whom I have good friends .I have no I wi towards the city ,its people have shown themselves to be proud of Richard and have been outraged by some of the suggestions made by their council and university

    • M.Dickinson

      Well said.L.M.C.The sources speak for themselves.

    • M Simpson

      Lyn Marie – Okay, let’s just take a few of your points:

      “Very liitle money or effort was put in by Leicesters university or council until they knew they had found a king,,anyone interested can check the universities public records ,their excavation expenditure only really started after the excavation.”

      That would be these records here: which show that the excavation cost £48,500, of which the R3 Society (whose members extend far beyond Yorkshire) contributed £18,000. The other £30,500 came from Leicester Uni and Leicester City Council.

      “They have illegaly ignored their undertakng to keep the bones in a place of rest,storing them in a cardboard box under. Broken kettle ,,this is their own words and they can be found easily online.”

      No such undertaking was made and in fact the terms of the exhumation licence state that Leicester Uni must keep the bones safe until they are handed over for reinterment so to put them in a “place of rest” would be illegal.

      “The university have also made repeated efforts to hold onto the bones anting to publicaly display them until widespread outrage made thm rethink the idea”

      A journalist asked if the bones might be publicly displayed after several letters in the Leicester Mercury called for this to happen. The uni initially said the idea had not been discussed so could not be categorically ruled out.

      I could go on.

      • Olga Hughes

        Lyn is probably referring to Philippa Langley’s agreement with the local authorities to take custody of the remains once the scientific testing was complete.

        The ministry granted the exhumation licence to the UoL rather than Philippa or the the council, which means the UoL is not doing anything illegal. But LFR thinks the UoL should not have gotten the licence (I have looked at this in detail in another article). I support their stance too, they had a fully secured location organised and that was outlined in an initial agreement and there is no need for the UoL to keep them at this point if their testing has concluded.

        Then again if there is an appeal there is time for more tests.

      • M Simpson

        Olga – However much some individuals may wish it otherwise, the law is unequivocal on this point. A licence to exhume human remains is granted on the condition that the licence holder takes responsibility for those remains and keeps them secure until they are placed wherever is specified on the licence. There is no room for the licence holder to hand them over to a third party, even if some agreement was made beforehand. (As far as I know no actual evidence of this agreement has been produced and since it was between two parties, neither of whom is the licence holder, it’s irrelevant. That would be like an agreement between me and my brother that he can borrow your car.)

        The other over-riding factor is security. Priceless doesn’t begin to describe these bones. At the university, they are protected by 24-hour security which is part and parcel of having a campus that already contains many valuable items, from high-tech equipment to ultra-rare books in the library. Any ‘place of sanctity’ would not have anything similar. If a security firm were employed to guard the remains 24 hours a day until next spring – who’s going to pay for that? And if the bones were subsequently found to be damaged or partly missing – who would be at fault?

        I know some religious individuals think R3 should be in a place of sanctity, but the Bishops of Leicester and Nottingham both seem fine with him staying under lock and key, safe and secure at the university, who are his legal guardians until he is handed over to the cathedral next year.

      • Mary Walker

        On the issues of ULAS being legally obliged to protect the King’s remains and the security of those remains being of paramount importance – we are in absolute agreement.

      • Olga Hughes

        “Privately and decently” is clearly a matter of opinion

  7. M Simpson

    Alas, it’s characteristic of those who do not have any sound arguments to feel set upon when anyone tries to engage them in genuine debate. Olga, once again thanks for your excellent, fair and accurate coverage of the matter, and I’m sorry that it has attracted the sort of commenters who only want to hear from those who agree with them and characterise anyone who politely points out that they’re wrong as “aggressive” and a “troll.”

    Unfortunately when people believe absolute fairy-tale nonsense like “Richard’s naked corpse, [was] paraded around Leicester for three days after his death face down on a horse” and even claim it is “undeniable”, they are starting from a position of dogma which no debate or discussion is ever going to change.

    I know that people treated animals differently in the Middle Ages but wow, that must have been one tired horse. I wonder why they didn’t just lay Richard out respectfully on a slab in the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary for three days and let the population of Leicester come to him.

    Oh, wait…

    • M.Dickinson

      M.Simpson . The quote you use about Richard’s naked corpse is wrong so I do not use it , and never have. But from the Primary Sources I have I presume you mean the description from Polydore Virgil about1503 -1513 when he says Richard’s naked body was slung over a horse naked with his arms and legs dangling? He was face down because there had to be no damage to his face as Henry Tudor wanted everyone to know for certain Richard was dead, and disfigurement would make that difficult.The humiliation injuries on the rest of his exposed body show attacks on his face would have happened unless he were face down..

      • M.Dickinson

        Thank you Mary Walker for your calm comment.

      • M Simpson

        M, I am quoting Mary. Up there. Not you. It’s not all about you, honey.

        No-one denies that Richard was carried naked on the back of a horse. (Apart from anything else, it’s difficult to see how else you can get a body ten miles across the countryside from Bosworth to Leicester except by stripping off the armour and strapping it over a horse. What else might they have used? An airship? A 47 bus? Motorbike and sidecar?)

        But the pro-York lobby are so keen to trash Leicester at every opportunity that this has been deliberately exaggerated into the ludicrous idea that he was paraded through the streets, which is nonsense. And not just for a day, but for three days!

      • M.Dickinson

        Nor Sweetheart, is it all about Leicester.Why do the pro York lobby want to trash Leicester. An Exhumation Licence for 6 unknown people had the name Richard 111 added. When a named person is exhumed there is a duty to respect their wishes for place of burial, followed by the wishes of the family and descendants. St.Martin’s was put on the Licence and St.Martin’s happens to be in Leicester. We would fight for Richard to come home if the Parish Church of Little Muckrake had been on the Licence. Believe me we have no interest in Leicester.

      • Mary Walker

        Yeah! M.D. & M.S,

        I think we should all declare a truce. In King Richard’s interests.

        I wish him peace, as do you and many others. I sincerely hope that despite all the contention about his final resting place and abuse of his remains, he might be amused – or even pleased about all the belated attention and concern he has finally achieved.

        God rest his soul and I’m glad that Leicester Cathedral have researched into Catholic services which would have been appropriate in Richard’s time to perform at his reinterment.

      • M.Dickinson

        You write so well of Richard Mary, so for your sake I will stop replying.
        Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
        May he rest in peace ,Amen.

      • M Simpson

        “An Exhumation Licence for 6 unknown people had the name Richard 111 added.”

        No it didn’t. You’re just making stuff up. Scans of the License and the original application form are both publicly available. R3 was specifically named on the form and the license as issued.

        “When a named person is exhumed there is a duty to respect their wishes for place of burial, followed by the wishes of the family and descendants.”

        Again, you’re just making this up. That would only apply if the body had been lost (eg. on a battlefield) and never given a burial. In the case of a body exhumed from a grave, the duty is actually to minimise disturbance to the remains by reinterring them as close as possible to the original grave. In any case, we have no record whatsoever of Richard’s wishes and there are no family or descendants close enough to have any legal standing as such.

        “St.Martin’s was put on the Licence and St.Martin’s happens to be in Leicester. We would fight for Richard to come home if the Parish Church of Little Muckrake had been on the Licence. Believe me we have no interest in Leicester”

        The fact that it’s Leicester is immaterial. Anyone with a respect for history, for Christianity and for Richard III would fight to keep him in Little Muckrake if that was the place where he was originally given a Christian burial because where he was buried and commended into God’s care is where he should stay, not where a few people 500 years later like to think he should have been buried (in a greedy-for-tourism town where he spent less than five weeks of his life, over a hundred miles from his family and his real home).

        The York argument is all about York. The Leicester argument is all about Richard III. Thank you for proving my point.

  8. M.Dickinson

    To anyone who read MS claim I had made the claim up about a persons wishes for burial being taken into account, followed by those of their family and descendants could I say I was quoting English Heritage:Ethical Treatment of human remains,and C.F.C.E.guidance on treatment ofHuman Remains which is based on Eng. Heritage.With further reading of Dr.Pocklington’s writing in his U.K Law blog.
    To anyone who read M.S claim I am making the Application form up, I wish to make it clear I did not quote the form, but made the point the form is for 6 unknown people,and as the Looking for Richard team, by definition, were ‘looking for Richard’ his name was added.
    As I am no longer discussion with MS I cannot reply to the last paragraph with his views on what a person with respect for history and Christianity thinks, nor is it my place to do so.

    • Olga Hughes

      The same guidelines also state there is no legal obligation to inform next of kin M. Dickinson. Richard’s collateral descendants were not known at the time of exhumation, and when they came forward later they were granted a hearing.
      I don’t see the relevance of your point about Richard’s name being “added” to the application for exhumation. ULAS were commissioned by Philippa Langley to look for his remains, they knew who they were looking for and in order to ensure they had the licence approved they used the Greyfriars building and other possible remains to give it weight.

      Now as you don’t seem to have read the article I have written – seeing as you directed your first comments towards another reader and not any of the points I made above- or the many other articles on Richard III and the Looking for Richard team I have written previously I will need to tell you that we are not paid journalists here who do a quick check on Wikipedia and churn out quick history articles because Richard III is in the news.

      All of the points you are making on Richard’s death in Leicester have been covered in the above article, albeit in a more concise fashion. With counter-arguments. You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.

      The points made on the treatment of Richard’s body after his death are taken from Dr. John Ashdown-Hill’s comprehensive book The Last Days of Richard III, and from several lengthy interviews were have conducted here on this website. Considering John is a respected historian, a Ricardian and a founding member of the Looking for Richard team I am perfectly comfortable referring to his research when we are discussing Richard’s last days in Leicester. He is also a regular and valued guest on our website so perhaps you might want to take the time to search for some of the interviews we have held with him.

      • M Simpson

        Thanks Olga. Reasoned arguments. Again, I’m sorry your comments section has been subjected to all this – sadly it’s what happens any time somebody tries to discuss this matter in a way that doesn’t accord with the pro-York dogma.

      • Jasmine

        It is sad that in the arguments over where he should be reburied, people seem to have lost sight of Richard and the impetus of Ricardians to work towards a re-evaluation of his life and times.

        The vitriol which has enveloped most Ricardian/Medieval English History sites since confirmation that his remains had been found has led to a serious split in the very group which should be working to change perceptions of Richard’s life and reign.

        The decision has now been made. Now is the time for all Ricardians to devote their energies towards the ceremony next year.

      • Mary Walker

        I agree with you. It’s time to bury the hatchet. There has been contention between ‘followers’ of Leicester and York – which I find very odd because York Minster have not made any claim on Richard III’s remains whatsoever.

        No court of law is going to revoke a licence granted by the Ministry of Justice. I think that’s called biting the hand that feeds you.

        Leicester Cathedral and ULAS representatives have behaved with the utmost dignity and respect. I’m afraid it is some of their citizens who have behaved with less decorum.

        My only issue all along has been a desire for broader consultation but since that isn’t going to happen I give Leicester my full support.

        Long live the King’s memory.