Leicester or York?(93 Posts)
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Reburial in Leicester?
Or in York?
(York! York! York!)
The chapter hasn't issued a new statement publicly but if you write to them, this is their form reply at the moment - "Thank you for taking the time to write to York Minster about King Richard III. The subject has stimulated a great deal of debate, with people expressing strong opinions both for and against his remains staying in Leicester. We are currently collating feedback, and also liaising with City of York Council and the Richard III Society."
Which I hope is not a delaying kind of thing - "we're collating....collating....until such time as we might have said 'Yes, York Minster do want him actually' but oh goodness, it's too late now, as Leicester have got everything organised already".
I had written to them via the Chapter Clerk - but the Chapter is pretty reduced in number at the moment as well. It does cause wondering as to how many people actually formed the chapter when the statement was decided upon - when one of them was the Dean, ex-Dean of Leicester who had welcomed the remains as early as Sept (when she was still in post in Leicester) and hoped they would be re-interred in the cathedral there.
Tunip, I think your last point is a key one. How long can they insist Leicester is the right place, when they didn't openly consult on the issue (presumably it all was decided sometime in the autumn)? And now so many people are publicly saying "York Minster", and the licence does allow for "elsewhere", they are going to look very mean-spirited in the least if they insist on Leicester. I don't see the virtue in insisting on Leicester anyway - for convenience's sake, yes; for tourism's sake, yes; but if you're considering the remains of a king who had no connections with Leicester other than his terrible death and post-mortem treatment and frankly horrendous burial (regardless of its location in the chancel), why keep pushing Leicester as the desirable or needful choice? It makes no sense in the context of this king, this person they have found.
I would still recommend that anyone who hopes Richard III's remains are re-interred in the place he was most connected to, emails their MP, and York Minster Chapter, and Leicester Uni, and signs the petition epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38772 or emails support for the descendants' demands via their webpage www.kingrichardcampaign.org.uk/
Colyngbourne, can I read the Chapter's new statement anywhere? I can only find the 7th Feb one on the Minster website.
Good to see the thread is still going.
Do we know anything of the role of the city council in the stitch-up? They're the ones I can imagine being very keen to make a Leicester burial a condition of them helping to fund the dig. I can't see the university being that bothered about where he is buried except insofar as it puts them in a good light with the council. I mean, it is a bit good for them that it makes Leicester look a more interesting place, but I'm not sure the retention of the remains in the city will be a big issue for them the way it is for the city council.
It makes me sad that the University is going to look bad over this. The discovery of Richard's body was a massive publicity coup for them which they handled superbly (ie they squeezed every last drop of brand value out of it....) but by letting themselves be aligned with the people who are openly playing finders keepers they risk looking a bit shallow and cynical.
They can't keep on with the ridiculous 'we have to bury him in Leicester because that's what the excavation licence says' claim when it is so clearly not true.
How thrilling to be a living descendant of King Richard! It will be very interesting to see if anything happens after their statement.
The TV programme on the scientific side of the dig is on More4, not Channel 4 on Weds 27th Feb, not Thursday 28th as I posted in my previous post.
For anyone still interested, there will be a public statement issued tomorrow at noon by living descendants of RIII regarding the remains and their re-interment. It is looking very interesting as to where this might go....
What has been discussed of late, amongst those hoping for a re-interment somewhere other than Leicester, is the wording of the exhumation licence which is issued for "persons unknown" to be exhumed and reburied. But once found, the remains were no longer unknown but a named individual - I think there are legal stipulations about consulting living descendants if the remains found can be identified as a named individual.
I agree with everything you say, sieglinde. I suspect we might know each other under slightly different names from elsewhere, as I am also involved in campaigning for York. We could compare notes via PM?
Very impressed with your husband making a FoI request. I hadn't thought of that. The nearest I could think of was requesting a judicial review of the terms of the exhumation licence - which does actually allow for re-interment somewhere other than Leicester Cathedral.
My impression is that PL pushed for the dig to happen - Leicester Uni were reluctant for a long time, and also doubtful: I read today that funding from the Society began some of the deskwork which convinced the Uni to begin proper investigation into the Greyfriars site (as suggested by PL and JAH). As with any archeological dig which might find human remains, they had to state where they might be re-interred but the licence issued to allow them to dig allows for three "locations" - the Jewry Wall Museum, the Cathedral, or any other consecrated place suitable for re-interment. Leicester University Archaeology Dept did not have to choose Leicester at this point - they could have held off on a decision and actually handed the decision over to national authorities rather than a university dept consulting a few individuals totally bound up in the dig itself. The laying-to-rest of a nation's monarch should not be in the hands of a uni dept, or a few individuals, even ones as passionate and committed as PL.
I don't quite know why the Royal Family or the Offices of the Crown are not taking an interest: presumably they would if it were Queen Victoria who had been found; and I don't think you can pick and choose your royals to get concerned about. Richard III deserves as much national debate and a nationally important location for his remains, as much as any king or queen. Yes, John is in Worcester and others elsewhere but the issue with Richard is that he was lost and now has been found: to be re-interred in the place of his death and public humiliation and terrible burial, because it is convenient to Leicester Uni (and profitable to the town and cathedral), is a profound dishonour, and any Ricardian historian worth their salt would state that Leicester is the last place Richard should be buried.
York Minster Chapter (which is presently incredibly reduced in number - how long has this been the case?) made their statement but the Chapter may have consisted of only a handful of people, one of whom being the Dean who until 12th Dec was Dean of Leicester. She was Dean when the remains were found and she welcomed the idea of them being interred in her cathedral at Leicester, so she would have a hard time at York, changing her tack and arguing for York instead. It is interesting though that since people have written to York Minster Chapter requesting that Richard come to York, the Chapter have issued a slightly more open statement in their reply, saying that they are collating people's opinions and working with York City Council (who are definitely pushing for York with a petition to the Queen) and with the RIII Society (no names mentioned).
The Society seem to be in a cleft stick but are doing themselves no favours, I think. I am a Society member - a few decades worth! - but often I feel in conflict with the "feel" that comes from Society HQ - which is very London-based (until recently, many of the exec were London or very southern-based), and pays very little attention to Richard's connections in the north - tours, focus in articles. There is a great focus on commemorative services being in London (Anne Neville's anniversary of course), and in Fotheringhay (lots of Society fundraising for Fotheringhay), and Sutton Cheney. Not so much attention paid to York, to Penrith, to Middleham itself, or other northern locations connected to Richard. It's left to the Yorkshire Branch of the Society or The Friends of RIII (1978 breakaway group based in York) to focus on the north of the country. So it doesn't surprise me that they are not making a stand for anywhere but Leicester. Having agreed to the dig (and the licence) they must feel that they can't really argue against it now. But it does surprise me that they say they can't have an opinion at all - they surely must consider that it is appropriate for Richard to be buried in a location appropriate to him, or to his status - ie a nationally important place. They could surely state that? And they could suggest that being the place of his terrible death, public naked display and hurried and unfeeling burial, that Leicester is not actually the best place for his remains to remain!
I know there is an Early Day Motion apparently but they have to be really quick about it: Leicester is on a roll with their preparations. The debate for elsewhere has to be made very loudly and publicly by big names, and as many MP's as possible. Anyone who is concerned about the appalling lack of consultation, misappropriation of a King's remains, or as sieglinde says, lack of attention to the discernable wishes of the deceased, should write to their MP pronto, or one of the MP's at York who are currently helping carry the torch. Also write to York Minster Chapter, via the Chapter Clerk, and also to the Ministry for Justice. Even if the "decision" cannot be reversed at this point, it is important that voices are heard, and that the "process" as it has been thus far, is questioned and held up to account.
Oh, should also have said there's supposed to be an Early Day motion about it in the Commons soon. Write to your MPS!
I'm late to this thread, but have been involved with a group campaigning for York. Here is what I've learned.
I'ts really obvious that a deal was done behind the scenes. DH has made a Freedom of Information request to try to establish how the decision was made - looks like there's NO legal basis for Leicester's grab for the site of the reburial, though they keep saying there is.
Question is why everyone else has gone along with it.
Of the interested parties, I presume the R3 Society likes the idea of proximity to Bosworth, though I don't really know - any R3 Soc people here?
The Royal Family has been completely silent. Which is odd.
Other churches seem to have been persuaded to cooperate - the Minster Chapter's refusal was especially strange.
Frankly, the whole thing stinks bigtime. No consultation, no investigation, no attention to the rights of the deceased. I've been quite shocked, really.
Thank you so much for all the info Colyngbourne. I'll definitely look out for the Ashdown-Hill book on Eleanor Butler.
There's another programme about the King in the car park next Thursday on C4 focussing on the archaeology, science and forensics of the dig. Should be fascinating. The last programme got 4.9m viewers, so there is obviously an interest in RIII
Depends what you would call "contemporary evidence" - most pro- and anti- Ricardians agree that it was Stillington who revealed evidence of a pre-contract to Richard. Morton is reported in Grafton's publication of Hall's Chronicle as stating that "At a meeting of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in the Council Chamber at Westminster on June 9, Bishop Stillington 'brought in instruments, authentic doctors, proctors, and notaries of the law, with depositions of divers witnesses.
This was the four hour long "extra-ordinary" meeting of the Great Council that day. Robert Catesby who was also Eleanor Butler's family lawyer might also have known of the pre-contract, and he was at the Council meeting that day. Before her death, Eleanor Butler bequeathed her property to her sister but under legal terms that imply she still considered herself a married woman, and not a widow. (John Ashdown-Hill's book on Eleanor - "The Secret Queen" - might be a useful read here.)
The only contemporary writer to mention the source of the pre-contract as Bishop Stillington of Bath and Wells is Philippe de Commynes, a chronicler from France, writing in the late 1490s In the end, with the assistance of the Bishop of Bath, who had previously been King Edwards Chancellor [he] revealed to the duke of Gloucester that King Edward, being very enamoured of a certain English lady, promised to marry her, provided that he could sleep with her first, and she consented. The bishop said that he had married them when only he and they were present. He was a courtier so he did not disclose this fact but helped to keep the lady quiet and things remained like this for a while.
The fact that the Council accepted Richard's claim to the throne in the June/July and ratified it in writing in his Parliament of 1484 suggests there was sufficient evidence of its rightness. Also the fact that after Henry Tudor took the throne he made every attempt to destroy every last copy of Titulus Regius (but failed!) and erase all memory of what it contained - this might suggest it contained legitimate reasons for Richard to have been king.
Croyland and Mancini both write accounts of the public announcement of the princes' illegitimacy at the end of June 1483.
In 1461 [the supposed year of the pre-contract] Edward IV granted Stillington a substantial annual salary; in 1464 [the year he married Eliz Woodville] he made Stillington a bishop.
At the time of Clarence's attainder and subsequent execution (Feb 1478), Stillington was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower for 'uttering words prejudicial to the King and his State.' He was pardoned in June 1478. [Quote is from a letter from Elizabeth Stonor to her husband, dated March 6, 1478.]
In November 1485 Henrys first parliament denounced Stillington for horrible and heinous offences imagined and done . . . as well against your Highness as otherwise and although Stillington was pardoned for unspecified offences, he joined the Lambert Simnel conspiracy, was recaptured, and remained under house arrest for the rest of his life.
Probably should start a new thread about this but...is there any contemporary evidence for King Richard's assertion, in Titulus Regius, that Edward IV was already married when he married Elizabeth Woodville, hence making EIV's children bastards?
Have been googling, but, as is common with so many arguments regarding Richard's 'seizing' of the crown, most of the information I've found appears to be biased, depending on whether the author is a Ricardian, or anti-Richard.
Westminster with his wife. He was a monarch.
It is weird I agree. It makes sense for a statue in a park, not for a tomb.
Re the display - well, archaeologists are usually quite relaxed about displaying bones. In Leicester there's the Glen Parva Lady in Jewry Wall Museum, and IIRC various mummies at New Walk. And I wouldn't think archaeologists would want to take a different approach just because it was a king.
It might be that because people see him as a person first and bones second, (whereas when all we have of someone is the remains, it is easier to forget the person), there would be more public hostility to the idea of display than there usually is. The context of his body having been already deliberately dishonoured after death might increase the sense it was inappropriate in this case.
I can see why they might come to the conclusion it was acceptable but they might end up misreading public opinion if they do, and also handing ammo to the anti-Leicester side if they go with the idea.
I have no idea, really, but what is this "gift to the people" idea? It's a tomb for Richard, not for the people of Leicester. It's a gift for Richard - that's why people have donated money to the Society for it. Not to give a gift to Leicester. I think the wording is terrible and ill-thought out.
Then, this phrase - "as a tribute to them"... to the people of Leicester? Why? Richard's remains happened to be buried there because he died there - it's no credit to any town where a person died and was buried, that they "had him there". In this case it was Richard's bad luck.
I am writing to the Society to ask exactly why they had decided to not request somewhere fitting (ie somewhere Richard might have wanted) for his re-burial, whenever the talks were held. And why they engaged in these talks and made a decision on it - to support Leicester - when they had not engaged with their own membership on the matter, let alone a wider public who deserve to have their opinions at least noted before decisions were taken. I will also be mentioning the wording of the above statement about the tomb and gift/tribute notion.
I am also intending to write to my local MP (or meet with her at her next surgery) to ask her to support any parliamentary Early Day Motion on this and to support the motion to bring Richard back to the north. I'm more or less "outed" here anyway, but I live in a very Ricardian town in the north, which if smaller town churches were open to having his remains reburied, we would be in the running for definite. My church has a very strong Ricardian connection. But I am not for Richard being in a parish church - I believe he would have wanted York Minster, or Windsor or Westminster. He would not have wanted Leicester.
I wonder if there were deals done Colyngbourne - 'the uni and city council will support the dig on condition that the Society supports a Leicester burial.'
And actually, what does this mean?
From the Society press release about the tomb today:
"The tomb is a gift to the people of Leicester and as a tribute to them following the earlier gifts by the Society of the Richard III Statue in Castle Gardens (1980), the memorial stone in the cathedral (1982), and Richards standard and banner, proposed to hang above the tomb (2013)."
Surely the tomb is a gift, yes, because the Society's members will fund it, but it's not for the people of Leicester any more than the other things were - they were for the public remembrance of Richard in that place for anyone visiting, just like there are windows and altar frontals in other places.
Yes, it's 100,000 signatures - so at the speed that Leicester are moving, the petition doesn't stand a chance. But people should still sign! Both here and elsewhere I am asking how come this is all decided behind the scenes? (And yes, I do know the exhumation licence says that reburial in Leicester is an option but only an option - the remains can be chosen to be buried in any consecrated ground of the licence-holder's choosing.)
How come the Society had already pretty much decided with the University that Leicester was going to be the location? Without asking a wider public - about the remains of a national king? How come the Society which claims to be, and indeed is knowledgeable about Richard - has totally acquiesced on the location of Leicester when they know that there are far more appropriate places for Richard's remains to lie - a variety of places. They needn't have stated which one they preferred - just that Leicester (the place where he was killed, publicly displayed and rudely buried) is not the place at all and Richard had no connections there and no affinity there. How come this is done and dusted already and probably decided upon some weeks, if not months, before it was announced to the public? Professors Pollard and Ormrod (the latter is a Trustee of the Yorkist History Trust) have both signalled that York was Richard's likely mausoleum (and anyone who knows anything about Richard would agree) but because there isn't a piece of paper with that written on it in Richard's writing, those who are happier with Leicester are not listening to this point.
Anyway, as soon as the public gets to hear, they begin to make their feelings felt but because of the stitched-up plans, they are immediately impeded by a decision by York Minster (apparently agreed upon some time ago) that they wouldn't stand in the way of Leicester's claim. It is like trying to stop a ten-ton lorry that has been secretly buidling up speed and suddenly appears over your shoulder.
Re the tomb, it looks nice enough but as someone remarked on Facebook, it would look very nice indeed in York Minster. And Leicester Cathedral have already stated that they would possibly prefer some alteration of the design to reflect "2013-14-15" and the time that the remains were discovered. Sounds potentially a clash of designs or styles or emblems - I don't know but I don't feel hopeful about it.
And then the possibility being aired that Leicester Uni are considering displaying the actual remains in the interim. I think it's very questionable already that a model of the skull is on display and possible models of the entire skeleton might be on future display. Richard's naked, abused body was displayed for shame in the marketplace in Leicester and this is no different (even though it would be claimed this is for educational purposes). This is the body of a king being pored over. His actual bones should not be on display to anyone at all ever.
He should rest in peace somewhere dignifed until the re-interment, and when that day comes it should be in a place appropriate to HIM and his interests and his attachment to the north.
Edit: there is a link somewhere on the FB page to a piece in the York daily paper today saying that George Galloway MP and at least three other MP's from the north are going to raise the subject of the York/Leicester burial in the Commons of their own accord, which stands a small but a better chance than the petition. Although I would still encourage everyone, their cousin and their great-aunt to sign the petition... What would really alter things is if one of those descendants mentioned on Minster FM/York press, managed to lodge a legal claim to the remains...
Ha, that's excellent, Ilovemyteddy!
There was a man in the York Press trying to get him buried in Sheriff Hutton.
I like the tomb design, very elegant
and would look lovely in the Minster
I'd better repost the link to my FB page then!
Am just about to read Rosemary Hawley Jarman's The White Rose turned to Blood. In her foreword she says that Richard's remains were disinterred from Greyfriars during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and were thrown into the River Soar. Oh no they weren't!
When it reaches 100k they have to consider it for a debate. Only consider it, though.
When most of the petitions reach 20k they get some kind of formal response, but it's usually a fobbing-off type response that just annoys people.
It did get a lot of sigs remarkably quickly but I can't see it making 100k unless there is some kind of tv publicity for the campaign.
Loving your work on this thread Colyngbourne
Although I spent many happy years in Leicester, my vote also goes for York, because of the treatment of Richard's body after Bosworth, and because of all the contemporary evidence that points to the respect that the people of York had for Richard, and he for them.
The online petition to have Richard buried in York has now reached 21k signatures. At what point/number does the Government have to acknowledge the petition, and what do they have to do about it? Debate in the House? Some kind of lip-servie paid to it at PMQs?
As Tunip said, I can't imagine Cameron will spend too much time on it, but 21k signatures is a lot.
I agree in part, tunip. I think there is disingenuousness. I also think the statements "concurring" from York Minster and the Society are just some fumble at not kicking up a fuss after a fait accompli - in some ways, it's hardly their fault that they are deciding to go along with what the University already decided months ago. The Society is saying "please don't make this a controversy" as if it isn't one already. People (myself included) feel very strongly about this. The Society says "it's okay to re-bury Richard in the city where his body was treated so abominably and we are not going to be to be an advocate for re-burying him somewhere appropriate to his possible wishes" - this is the Society which purports to support King Richard? The Society is not speaking for a good many of its members in this. Every time I ask "if Richard were asked where he wished to be buried, in Leicester or somewhere else (York, Windsor etc), he would not say "Leicester", it is pretty much disregarded by anyone who supports Leicester. I get that some people want Leicester, and I get some of the reasons, but I don't think they stand up against reasons for York/Windsor/somewhere Richard might have actually wanted to be!
If he ends up buried in Leicester - as it seems will be the case - it will be just another case of terrible injustice against a king who has had more than his share. So we shouldn't be surprised.
You know what, I think what's bugging me is the disingenuousness of the official statements on the matter.
I'm not even convinced deciding it by which city will benefit most is the wrong thing to do, but I would prefer it if they came out and said that was what they were doing, rather than 'oh the terms of the excavation license said Leicester so it's got to be there' when that is clearly bollocks.