Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Tomb For The Lost King

I’ve presented several updates on the search for and discovery of the remains of Richard III in past blogs.  Since his recovery and positive identification, a legal battle as ensued over where his last resting place should be.  I’ve followed this story closely because of my interest in British history and because my alma mater the University of Leicester led the archaeological effort to recover the remains.  The University and the City of Leicester want Richard to be reburied in Leicester.  After all, it was the Grey Friar monks of Leicester who secured his body after his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and respectfully buried him the Grey Friar’s church choiry where he lay (even though the church was destroyed) until February 2013. 

However, Richard was from York.  That city and the Plantagenet Society, a group of distant relatives, want him reinterred in his home town.  The law suit has not yet been settled, but plans and designs for Richard’s new tomb have already been revealed.  As you will see, a gracious nod to his Yorkshire roots is included in the design.
Re-bogged from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2425609/Richard-III-receive-burial-fit-king--raised-tomb-York-stone-positioned-large-white-rose.html#ixzz2riznxyOg

Richard III will receive a burial fit for a king under a raised tomb made of Yorkshire limestone positioned on a large white rose

By Sarah Griffiths
Richard III will be buried under a raised tomb made out of Yorkshire limestone, cathedral chiefs have announced.

King Richard III (pictured) was killed
at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485
 bringing to a close the period
of English history known as the Wars of the Roses
Leicester Cathedral said it wanted the tomb to have links that would reflect the last of England's Yorkist kings and the stone will be quarried close to where the king grew up.

The news comes amid a legal challenge by distant relatives of the King, who have questioned the decision to make Leicester the final resting place for his remains.
Plans for the raised tomb, which will be carved out of finely worked Swaledale fossil limestone and feature a deep carved cross, will now be submitted to planning officials for a final decision.

The limestone is quarried in Swaledale, Yorkshire, near to Middleham, where Richard III underwent his boyhood training in knighthood and later made his home.
Set within the cathedral's chancel, the £1.3 million project will see the tomb placed on a floor inlaid with a large Yorkist white rose.

The Dean of Leicester, the Very Reverend David Monteith (centre) and The Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens (right) pose with plans for the tomb of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral
The name of the King, his date of birth and death, along with his personal motto Loyaulte me Lie (Loyalty binds Me) and his boar badge will also be carved into a dark circular band around the tomb.

The project will also see changes to internal layout, windows and lighting in the cathedral.
The plans revealed today will now be reviewed by the Cathedral Fabric Commission for England, with a decision expected later this month.

If all goes to plan, the cathedral hopes the king's remains can be re-interred in a ceremony full of pomp next year.

But the plans also rely on the outcome of a legal challenge from a group of distant relatives of the king, who call themselves the Plantagenet Alliance.

They have applied to the High Court for a judicial review into the decision to grant the city cathedral licence as the final resting place for the King's remains and want to see the remains placed in York, where Richard had strong links.
Richard's remains were discovered by archaeologists from the University of Leicester after a dig in a city centre car park following a campaign by the Richard III Society and with the permission of Leicester City Council, which owned the plot of ground.

The Dean of Leicester, The Very Rev David Monteith, said: 'We fully respect the process of the Judicial Review which will ensure the procedure leading to the re-interment is correct.
'While this takes its course, we must, as would any Cathedral in this position, seek planning permission for the detailed and costly changes which need to be made to the building.

'The overall concept is regal and respectful in its elegant simplicity, as befits the final resting place of a king of England.
'By placing the tomb in our chancel, we are giving king Richard the same honour as did those friars more than 500 years ago.'

Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 bringing to a close the tumultuous period of English history known as the Wars of the Roses.
Richard's remains (pictured) were discovered by archaeologists from the University of Leicester after a dig in a city centre car park following a campaign by the Richard III Society and with the permission of Leicester City Council, which owned the plot of ground
Side Bar:

Richard III not only had a hunchback but he also suffered from roundworm infection, research recently revealed.

Scientists found roundworm eggs in a soil sample taken from the pelvis of the skeleton of the king.

Since the body of King Richard III was found, scientists have been undertaking careful analysis of the remains, in an attempt to shed further light on the attributes and history of the controversial king.

A team of researchers led by Dr Piers Mitchell, of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, used a powerful microscope to examine soil samples taken from the skeleton’s pelvis and skull, as well as from the soil surrounding the grave.
The microscope revealed multiple roundworm eggs in the soil sample taken from the pelvis, where the intestines would have been situated in life.

However, there was no sign of eggs in soil from the skull and very few eggs in the soil that surrounded the grave, suggesting that the eggs found in the pelvis area resulted from a genuine roundworm infection during his life, rather than from external contamination by the later dumping of human waste in the area.

Dr Mitchell said: 'We would expect nobles of this period to have eaten meats such as beef, pork and fish regularly, but there was no evidence for the eggs of the beef, pork or fish tapeworm. This may suggest that his food was cooked thoroughly, which would have prevented the transmission of these parasites.'
Dr Jo Appleby, lecturer in human bioarchaeology at the University of Leicester, said: 'Despite Richard’s noble background, it appears that his lifestyle did not completely protect him from intestinal parasite infection, which would have been very common at the time.'


  1. Hi Mark I had not seen this post or I would have re blogged. Do you know if this Richard lll s burial has in fact yet taken place ? If not I would like to re-blog this post if that's o.k. with you.

    1. Thanks Rita,

      As of April 2014 the reburial has not taken place. My understanding is that there is a law suit between the City of Leicster and a Plantagenet descendent organization who want him reburied in York. I have heard nothing new about a resolution to the case. You are always welcome to re-blog! I do it myself on occasion with proper attribution.