Leicester or York?(104 Posts)
Reburial in Leicester?
Or in York?
(York! York! York!)
York, of course.
Seriously, do you think there is actually any chance they will change the existing plans? The e-petition to the government here is getting stonking numbers of signatures. I suspect if it had been Tony Blair in charge he would definitely go for whatever he thought would win votes, but I'm not sure Cameron's as likely to intervene.
(And yes I know in theory it's nothing to do with the PM, but it could be if they decided to make it so, I am certain.)
If York had wanted him so bad, maybe they should have raised £30 000 to come and find him.
I live in Leicester so am slightly biased.
Don't live there but think I may have parked in that car park.
Mass in York, bury in leicester.
Normal archaeological practice is nearest consecrated ground to where found.
Or treat him like a mediaeval saint and pop bits of him in any church that bids enough.
Handy that the Leicester Cathedral was so close
Leicester. Sorry York. But you were on the losing side at the time...
Isn't that rather rubbing it in though Betty?
When I try to discuss the issue with my dcs they are simply scandalised that anyone should consider anything other than what Richard himself wanted. Thing is, he would be much more use to Leicester - York doesn't need any more tourists and the Minster certainly doesn't, whereas Leicester Cathedral must need the money. But Leicester City Council has such a poor record in looking after its museums and heritage. Soulsby makes me very cynical
so I want Richard to go to York just to annoy him.
My heart says York
but then I am from Yorkshire and live not far from Middleham
my head says it will probably be Leicester
"Leicester City Council has such a poor record in looking after its museums and heritage"
That'll be the sympathetic setting of Jewry Walls then How did the Roman's manage to build it right in the middle of a ring road next to a four laned underpass?
Still say Leicester though <biased>
aaargh at random apostrophe and use of the word ... laned
oh you're so lucky to live around there Magrathea
DH harbours an unrealistic desire to move to Coverdale. It is a bit too far from his work.
Iknowbecauseiwasthere - because the romans used to stay in the holiday inn, don'tcha know!
Anyway, Leicester should have the bones. The guildhall next to the cathedral could have a cracking Tudor exhibition to complement the Richard exhibition.
Leicester, they did all the hard work, they should benefit!
Or indeed London, for a monarch.
I'm not enamoured of normal archaeological practice for burials being the driving force, partly because that practice has changed so much over the decades in various countries for contingent reasons, and also - related to the former - because I think there has to be a democratic agreement on what is right and proper for the final visible burial of a historical figure so bound up in a nation's sense of heritage.
He was a reigning monarch.
York. It should be somewhere where he was loved not hacked to death on the battle field <sentimental>.
Leicester!! Coming home on the train last night, a man across the aisle from me was chatting, he was one of the archeologists who found him! And he lives in my town! Frankly I am amazed.
Why not London? I'm an East Midlander from childhood and I live in Yorkshire so I think I have about equal allegiance to both
Leicester. (I've signed the online petition as well).
London can sod off, we need all the tourist attractions we can get in Leicester.
You have loads of dead monarchs in London.
Let's face it though UsualSuspect, they will waste loads of taxpayers' money on the museum then in 10 years there will be no visitors and they will stop funding it and it will rot and be an embarrassment. No-one is going to want to see the carpark in a year or two once the fuss dies down.
The cathedral will be fine though, and its fundraisers will have their lives greatly improved
I'm looking forward to seeing the exhibition in the guildhall.
York stuck up for him when he was killed. 'King Richard, late lawfully reigning over us, was through great treason . . . piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city'.
Although York Minster have said 'no ta' so that's that.
Presumably York Minster don't have an awful lot of space for a tomb, without chucking out a few existing monuments.
Is the usual archaeological practice not something of a moot point in this case because he's A Special Packet Of Biscuits? (Or collection of bones. Or, well, whatever.) We know who he is & that grave site wasn't exactly in line with his wishes, so it shouldn't be a case of just picking the nearest bit of consecrated ground.
I think he should go to York as it is Where He Belonged. I think the original burial site & any accompanying exhibition would be a huge draw regardless of where the reburial took place. Most people wouldn't be wanting to weep at his tomb & the ones who WERE wanting to weep would bother themselves to trek to Leicester as well to try to steal some asphalt from the carpark as a sort of holy relic
As I understand it it's literally standing room only in Westminster Abbey & we do have any awful lot of Famous Dead People already. (And the memorial statue to Shakespeare in Southwark Cathedral that someone in my ballet company thought was "a naked man on a bed!" when they were going through the photos on my phone before Christmas. But I digress.)
So yes. I think Richard III's remains should go home to York. Also think it should definitely be a Catholic service, with the bit where Richard was Catholic. Obviously Catholicism now is different from Catholicism then, but am sure the Pope/a Papal Minion could sort something suitable out. At the very least there are enough settings of the Requiem Mass kicking about that (some of the) Right Words For Him are readily available even now.
I would like to attend the Latin mass for a the Special Packet of Biscuits performed by the papal minion.
I would like to be in the cheap seats with ZebraOwl. In York.
Aparently... If we respect the practices if the time it should be Leicester, but the Queen has the right to have the last world and send him ti Westminster Abbey.
I think he should be in York, though.
(0h gawd... The amount of typos... Off to bed)
Surely it wouldn't matter about Catholicism being different, because part of Catholicism then would be the pope always being right, so whatever the pope now said would be fine?
Remember your rainbow mnemonic (sp?).
Sadly, LineRunner, I fear that is an ambition that will have to go unrealised. Awesome as it would be. Lesigh.
Whether or not Richard III be prepared to accept the authority of our current Pope is an interesting question...
In lots of ways it doesn't really matter because Richard III is very very dead indeed, but it feels as though he deserves Familiar Things. Not least because it's quite possible he'd be more likely to understand a Latin Mass than a modern English one... I'm not exactly meaning someone at the Vatican should knock out a historical re-enactment script for proceedings, but that there should be some thought given to his own faith. Like how I think we should consider burial traditions of other cultures when re-interring any remains: if you'd want to be buried standing up because you're a warrior you shouldn't be bunged in supine head west, feet east...
Like someone else who said this earlier - "I think there has to be a democratic agreement on what is right and proper for the final visible burial of a historical figure so bound up in a nation's sense of heritage " - I think it has to be York, but if not York then somewhere nationally significant and meaningful to the person whose remains they are.
ZebraOwl states above that the archeological practice of re-interment close to the place of exhumation is 'good practice' but in the event of finding a nationally important historic figure - which to be honest, the University were really not expecting to find: only Philippa Langley and her Looking for Richard project and John Ashdown-Hill pushed them into doing this, along with the one-third emergency funding by Society members - in the event of finding a nationally important historic figure and anointed king, the exhumation licence terms should be set aside for a process that should take into account lots of other factors.
I think Leicester feel as if the long-term tenure that happens to have occurred with his remains (as with any remains buried in a place) means they have the moral right to assert the remains should stay there.
But surely the most important thing is - where would this King wish to have been buried? And the answer is NOT LEICESTER.
He might have wished to have been buried in York Minster - his endowment to the Minster to found a College of 100 priests to say masses for him and his family, suggests this may well have been his intended mausoleum. It cannot be proven - he left no known will - but since it is the church he spent most money on (and the churches he spent significant money on regarding Collegiate status were all in the north), it is suggestive that he wished to be buried in the north and in York in particular. If not York, then he might have wished or expected to be buried in Westminster Abbey alongside his wife (where now there is no precise location for her burial-site and standing room only alongside Henry Tudor), or possibly St George's Chapel Windsor, alongside his brother Edward.
What he would not have wished is to be buried in the place where he was slaughtered, his body despoiled and displayed for shame and mockery and maliciousness, and then hastily buried in an inadequate grave, naked, with no coffin or shroud and quite possibly with his hands tied.
This should not be a question of which town or region loved him more, which one is more deserving of tourism or whether Leicester is in the heart of his kingdom: it is a question of where do his remains belong? Where is it most respectful and honourable that they be re-interred, possibly taking into account what he might have wished for himself? As a king who spent much of his childhood and adult years in or associated with the north, it makes good sense to bring him back to the north.
Some people claiming descent from his family-line are stating for York publicly and may well (I hope) mount a legal challenge to the archeological licence, on which a coroner might decide. The Mayor of York, an MP for York, the City Council are determined to press ahead for their case, even though York Minster are acquiescing with the Leicester option (it's not exactly seemly for cathedrals to be setting themselves against each other). Yet York Minster has some responsibility not just to itself as an edifice (a big challenge financially etc to take on Richard being re-interred there), but also as the cathedral church of the entire northern province of England, it has a duty to respond to the desires of the people it serves. If many people in York and Yorkshire and the north of England (let alone all those from the southern province and from Wales, Scotland etc) are requesting that York be the place where this lost king is laid to rest, I don't think it is reasonable of them to simply refuse.
Considering that it is only five days since the remains were publicly identified as Richard III, I find it disheartening and patently wrong that all the decisions about his remains have been wrapped up as a fait accompli by the involved parties, with no public or wider consultation.
Anyone who wishes to continue supporting York as the place for re-interment, please sign the e-petition and ask anyone you know to sign it too. Anyone with an email address and a residential address in the UK can sign it, ie several members of one family.
Colyngbourne, I agree that wrapping it up as a fait accompli without wider discussion, and the insisting on the terms of the excavation license, are inappropriate.
But why do you think York Minster is saying no? Do you think they are merely trying to avoid unseemly squabbles? Or do you think there is actually a practical reason like it being extremely difficult to find space for a new significantly sized tomb in what is after all a Grade 1 listed monument (I assume) and quite chokka with historically important things already?
I think they are not wishing to be drawn into unseemly squabbles.
I think there shouldn't be (well, one would hope not) any undue influence in York "ceding" to Leicester because their new Dean used to be Dean of Leicester until last year.
I think if a Grade 1 listed building was "offered" a king to bury within its precincts, they would think it was a logistical headache, yes, possibly even a nightmare - although they should have no worries on the money front: I reckon the money for such a project would come pouring in. But it would still require "time-as-money" input, with architects employed, project managers, etc etc which would presumably involve money and dedicated time that the Cathedral Chapter might not feel it could oversee very easily.
However, I don't think this should be the grounds for refusing to be a place which could accept his remains. If it is right and desirable that he should be buried there, then I think not only have they a duty to try and make it happen but I think they have to go forward with the possibility, in Christian faith, that it is perhaps part of their Christian service. If another King or Queen was allocated to York to be buried (with no arguments with other cathedrals), would they refuse, on the grounds that it's a lot of hard work?
I really think it has to be a Cathedral for significance's sake - which in terms of Richard's own familiarity and connections means York. I know both Barnard Castle and Middleham have strong links to Richard but neither church is important enough to house a King. For this reason, I personally wouldn't choose Fotheringay either, even though his brother Edmund and his parents were re-interred/buried there.
With reference to the Dean of York above, I will clarify that I don't think the coincedence of the Dean having come from Leicester, has had any influence on the Chapter's position. But it is an unfortunate coincedence.
If it were possible to plonk a living, breathing Richard III down in York today he would recognise the layout of many of the streets. He would probably be a bit confused by the road and theatre built over the site of St Leonards Hospital but broadly the city would have a familiar feel as a place he knew and where he was loved. Do the same for Leicester and he'd be looking for the first horse out of town. We'll have him back thanks Leicester. It's time he came home.
Of course it should be Leicester.
The man died so long ago that his feelings really needn't come into it. (Of course, were he a victim of some awful abuse/mass grave type scenario that would be different.) This is about the best outcome for the country now.
Standard practice would have him buried in Leicester.
Leicester need the tourism. Neither York nor London do.
And if we really needed a further reason to back this up, there is always the stupid quote from that councillor from Scarborough: "To be perfectly blunt, the people of Leicester misplaced him for more than 500 years. Would we really wish to entrust his remains to them again? I think not." Are we really seeing cities as single, human, long-living entities now?
MagicMumber I agree that quote is stupid but then I have seen several Leicester people say he should stay in Leicester because York was late sending reinforcements to him at Bosworth . There are shaky arguments on both sides, and also it's interesting how both sides deny they are concerned about tourist income, and accuse the other side of only being interested in that.
I think you have hit the nail on the head though, this is about pragmatics versus respecting the wishes of the dead.
He would have more utility for Leicester but it is fairly clear he would have preferred York. But he is, as you say, dead....
Quite. And anyway, he was a child murderer. I can't imagine the remains of Ian Brady having this effect on the public!
So at what point after burial do a person's wishes cease to be important, TheMagicNumber?
He was the victim of ritual bodily abuse after his death in battle close to the location, of the display of his naked body in public over some days, and of a hash job of a burial. Anyone in their right mind would want to get him away from such a place and to a place where he would have wished to be laid to rest.
At what point was it decided that tourism should play a part in someone's burial/re-interment? No location should be chosen on the grounds of tourism, but on grounds of dignity and honour (this is a King), on his own wishes so far as they can be understood and on a nationally significant memorial which chimes in with elements of his life (strong association with York and the north, his wife at Westminster, his brother at Windsor, but no=one, no-one at all at Leicester...)
No-one is seeing cities as entities: well, a few individuals maybe are, but equally there are silly comments from folk in Leicester too, saying "we have looked after his body for all this time, and you lot didn't care, so you can't have him back now". How does "forgetting where his tomb lay, as quickly as eighty years after his death and the Dissolution of the Monasteries", and his lost remains happening magically to have stayed put in the Leicester soil where they were squished - how does that equate to the people of Leicester 'looking after him'?
It was the Society who paid for one-third of the archeological dig; who paid for the memorial stone in the Cathedral, who paid for the statue in Leicester Castle Gardens. It was not the people of Leicester.
Another point is that, as a letter in the paper says today, Leicester was actually proud of being a Lancastrian stronghold during Richard's lifetime.
(My was at MagicMumber accusing him of child-murder but could have been equally at Leicester being Lancastrian in his lifetime.)
I don't think he was a child-murdered at all. If we are ging to say he is suspect - which he is then we can say the same for Henry VII too. Shall we evict him from his terribly nice grave just in case?
Oh, so you want him to stay in Greyfriar's carpark? You don't want him
Colyngbourne who paid the other 2/3 of the dig costs?
York, of course, has had a Richard III Museum for over 20 years.
It was Leicester Uni and City Council, yes, but my point was that it is not the "community" of Leicester that has been looking out for Richard/looking after his remains - it was in reference to the silly quote from the Scarborough councillor. Towns as entities can't claim "they" have done anything.
Whereas the Society has definitely specifically kept Richard's memory alive in Leicester (and in other places).
But nothing to do with the financing means that any of these bodies should have a say in what happens to the remains. ie it should not be Leicester Uni's decision as to where this king is laid to rest. Nor should it be the City Council's decision, nor the Society's.
The exhumation licence doesn't actually stipulate that the remains "have to" be buried as close at possible to where they were found but that "the bones can be buried in any consecrated ground where interments can take place". It doesn't have to be Leicester by any means.
Am very much in agreement with Colyngbourne's excellent posts. Apart from where she said I'd said "the archeological practice of re-interment close to the place of exhumation is 'good practice'" because, um, I didn't.
And yes I have just reread things several times Just In Case.
Sorry, ZebraOwl - must have got my posts confused! And also the inability to edit posts here means I couldn't correct it.
Please don't even mention the Richard III museum, it doesn't deserve to be called a museum and I am dead sure they didn't put a penny towards that venture.
Having said that... I still think that the " we found him we keep him" from the University of Leicester' is a disgrace, talk about espolio...
They didn't want him there, the remains have been found in the 21st Century so it id not as if he has to be buried near the battleground for health and safety issues.
IMO, he should be re interred in York because of his connections to the city, or sent to Westminster Abbey because he was a King (this is, historically, the current monarch's prerrogative so I hope she decides to make a call...
No worries Colyngbourne: was really REALLY confused for a bit though (fail, self, fail)
How about under the theatre in Stratford to haunt all the impersonators blackening his name?
He's going to haunt Leicester, for not burying him at York.
Which will increase the tourist revenue no end!
Trust me , we need the tourist revenue.
Is the tomb of a dead king really much of a tourist draw though? TBH I doubt it. They're sort of interesting if you happen to be in a cathedral anyway, but not something I could imagine many people making a special trip for.
It might boost the numbers a bit to somewhere that was worth going to for other reasons.
I think there is indirect value too, like
making it feel a bit less like nothing's every happened in Leicester raising the city's profile, and getting the city council to take archaeological heritage a bit more seriously.
I think once you were already visiting Leicester it would encourage you to go to the cathedral where previously you might not have bothered.
I feel all protective over my hometown, reading this thread.
This is a big thing for Leicester, please let us have some of the glory.
The thing is the Bosworth Battlefield site and (now discovered not to be quite on the same spot) the Battlefield Heritage Centre are in Leicestershire as well, so I think people interested in the battlefield would go to look at the king's tomb in the city as well.
But it shouldn't be about the tourism. There should be no element of 'tourism' in how this decision has been made/should be made. A king's remains should be laid in a place of great national significance, and in a place significant to the king in question, preferably in a place that he would have wished for his burial - in the event of there being no will, the location should be surmised by those with expertise (medieval historians, experts on Richard III) from all available evidence. And everything points to York, and nothing points to Leicester, at that point.
Other than the licence, there is no reason for him to be buried in Leicester, and even the licence allows for him to be buried elsewhere if Leicester University decided that could be the case.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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...
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.
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.'
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.
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.
Westminster with his wife. He was a monarch.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Colyngbourne, can I read the Chapter's new statement anywhere? I can only find the 7th Feb one on the Minster website.
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/
This book of loyalty to Richard welcomes contributory "signatures" of Ricardians and their family members, or in memory of others who were loyal to Richard III during their lifetimes. Donations are in support of the Richard-to-York Plantagenet Alliance Legal Challenge but Ricardians of all opinions, in the UK and abroad, are warmly invited to register their allegiance in this document.
Slightly late, but update in the guardian today saying permission has been granted to challenge the burial in Leicester...
Seriously good news about the judge's ruling on the JR appeal - reading Mr Justice Haddon-Cave's comments, it is quite evident that major procedures were omitted and there were significant failures in consultation. Hopefully that will now be remedied and to the satisfaction of the collateral descendants and the overwhelming public view that Richard should be interred in York.
The Petition to bring Richard III back to Yorkshire page works directly with the Plantagenet Alliance. We believe that the remains of Richard III should be returned to York Minster for re-burial.
Known as Lord of the North Richard was based in Yorkshire and loved by its people and in his letters to York he referred to impending visits as a 'homecoming'. After his death on Bosworth Field the city mourned him, stating, '"King Richard late mercifully reigning upon us was, through great treason . piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city".
It is agreed by most Ricardian historians that his likely wish or expectation would have been to be buried in York Minster, where he was establishing a foundation that would have been his future mausoleum.
Join us as we endeavour to have him accorded the honour he deserves. Please like and share our page. This is the last month for the UK petition, please sign and share one of the e-petitions listed below. Thank you for reading this.
For UK resident to sign: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38772
For our Overseas friends: kingrichardcampaign.org.uk/r3wp/welcome/sign-the-petition-global/
Petition page: https://www.facebook.com/PetitionToBringRichardIiiBackToYorkshire?fref=ts
Good luck Colyngbourne
News today that the Minstry of Justice, far from supporting the idea of having an open and consultative independent panel of experts to help decide on the re-interment location, are challenging Mr Justice Haddon-Cave's decision. The MoJ should have no vested interest in any particular location, and earlier this year were advocating (in parliament) that they would set up arbitration talks between the various parties. Now it seems they are reluctant to allow the national interest to be served by having an independent panel on the matter.
I was subjected to a long lecture by someone connected with Leicester Cathedral as to why they should have him and why those supporting York were misguided.
I was almost persuaded. Then my Yorkshire blood kicked in (so not biased at all) and I'm back firmly in the York camp.
Leicester stands to gain from the hoped-for tourism and revenue increase (Leicester Cathedral is the poorest English cathedral ,I think)but York seems a fitting and proper place to me.
What arguments did he make, Campion? Was it mainly the utilitarian ones about the value of the remains to Leicester?
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