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Leicester or York?

(104 Posts)
FashionFail Thu 07-Feb-13 14:50:35

Reburial in Leicester?

Or in York?

(York! York! York!)

TunipTheVegedude Thu 07-Feb-13 22:08:02

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 smile

usualsuspect Thu 07-Feb-13 22:11:30

I'm looking forward to seeing the exhibition in the guildhall.

ravenAK Thu 07-Feb-13 22:16:09


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.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 07-Feb-13 22:18:19

Presumably York Minster don't have an awful lot of space for a tomb, without chucking out a few existing monuments.

ZebraOwl Fri 08-Feb-13 00:06:30

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 wink

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.

Wishfulmakeupping Fri 08-Feb-13 00:07:58


LineRunner Fri 08-Feb-13 00:11:52

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.

Chandras Fri 08-Feb-13 00:20:03

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.

Chandras Fri 08-Feb-13 00:22:54

(0h gawd... The amount of typos... Off to bed)

TunipTheVegedude Fri 08-Feb-13 08:59:34

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?

toughdecisions Fri 08-Feb-13 09:05:14

Remember your rainbow mnemonic (sp?).

ZebraOwl Fri 08-Feb-13 10:27:35

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...

Colyngbourne Sat 09-Feb-13 14:05:29

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.

TunipTheVegedude Sat 09-Feb-13 14:14:23

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?

Colyngbourne Sat 09-Feb-13 14:53:00

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.

Colyngbourne Sat 09-Feb-13 14:56:19

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.

NorthernLurker Sat 09-Feb-13 15:08:53

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.

TheMagicMumber Sat 09-Feb-13 15:18:10

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? hmm

TunipTheVegedude Sat 09-Feb-13 15:26:57

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 confused. 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....

TheMagicMumber Sat 09-Feb-13 15:32:33

Quite. And anyway, he was a child murderer. I can't imagine the remains of Ian Brady having this effect on the public!

Colyngbourne Sat 09-Feb-13 15:34:51

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.

TunipTheVegedude Sat 09-Feb-13 15:35:01


TunipTheVegedude Sat 09-Feb-13 15:37:05

(My shock was at MagicMumber accusing him of child-murder but could have been equally at Leicester being Lancastrian in his lifetime.)

NorthernLurker Sat 09-Feb-13 15:39:53

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?

TheMagicMumber Sat 09-Feb-13 15:45:32

Oh, so you want him to stay in Greyfriar's carpark? You don't want him 'evicted' moved?

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