Sunday, 6 October 2013

Deciphering fact from fiction.

There has been much written and debated about King Richard III and whether he should be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral or moved to York Minster - who, as you may remember, do not want him!
If anyone is in any doubt as to whether to sign the petition to keep Richard here in Leicester, please check out the actual known facts, and not the hype and conjecture put forward by certain factions of the pro York lobby to try and drum up support for their cause and that of the mysterious Plantagenet Alliance.

For example, the fabrication of the truth, conjecture, suppostion and lies stated below, are among some of the popular myths expressed. They are not actual quotes from any one source, but a collection of some of the many implied 'facts' which I have seen over the past few months.

Richard III was a Northern king and was raised in Yorkshire. He spent much of his young adult life there and this proves he loved York and Yorkshire above anywhere else.

Richard was murdered in Leicestershire, his body stripped and mutilated , then displayed to the public by the people of Leicester, before being unceremoniously dumped in a hastily-dug, shallow grave in a lowly Friary, with no suitable pomp or religious ceremony befitting a King of England.

The people of Leicester have not seen fit to look for him previously, having believed the story of his body being dug up and thrown into the River Soar after the Dissolution. Even when it was revealed he may still be buried in the ruins of the Friary, Leicester did not go looking for him before Philippa Langley and the Looking for Richard project turned up.

His wishes were to be brought 'home' to Yorkshire and buried in York Minster! Just because he was killed at Bosworth and buried in Leicester does not mean he is loved by the people of Leicester, they never cared before he was found, and only want to keep him for the money generated by the tourism he brings into the city! It does not matter that the Leicester petition has received more signatures than the York one as it will make no difference to the outcome of the judicial review. 
Also, the Leicester petition relied heavily on the local press campaign to rally support.

I must stress here that I neither support nor agree with any of the above statements! 

The following account of myth-busting true facts, answering the above statements relating to Richard III, and previously posted elsewhere, is reproduced here with my grateful thanks and the full permission of the author.

 Richard was not a 'Northern' king. He was born in the Midlands at Fotheringhay and spent his childhood there and at other family residences in the south. He wasn't raised in Yorkshire; in fact there's no evidence he ever was in the north until taken into the household of Warwick, as befitting the king's brother, at age 13/14 until 16/17 when deemed to have come of age. Richard had no choice in this. He probably spent some time at Middleham castle but not exclusively so. During Edward IV's reign Richard was given governance of the northern lands by the king, mainly through the inheritance of his Neville wife. He spent much time and energy building up his powerbase, which suggests he used the north rather than loved it. Naturally he and York had to be on good terms; it was for their mutual benefit. Saying 'he loved Yorkshire' is pure conjecture.

 Richard was not a northern King. He was the King of all England when he was killed. He was killed in battle, not murdered. Killed in a battle, defending his kingship, in a place of his choosing. He didn't choose York, or London or anywhere else. He chose to defend his throne in the heart of his kingdom. in the Midlands, from Leicester. Naturally York was upset - they had lost their kingly support! Also they wouldn't be getting the huge chantry they had been promised. Rather than be 'evidence' of his burial wishes it could also be seen as Richard's plan to maintain their support while he was king in the south!
The revenge meted out on his body was done by his enemies - the Tudor army, not the people of Leicester. He was not given burial in a 'poverty-stricken friary'. The friary and its church were substantial buildings at the time and had received beneficiaries from the York family in the past. The grave was hastily dug but we don't know that he was 'thrown in'. Probably not, as the legs were carefully positioned together and straight, the arms crossed over the front. Tied, perhaps, but this could have been for practical purposes too, to keep the arms together. 'Without pomp and ceremony' is from a dubious source and could describe a mere lack of any royal ceremony as befitting a defeated king. The position of the burial in the church is one of honour and the friars most certainly conducted burial rites.

 In all the 528 years Richard has been buried in Leicester not one member of his family claimed him. There were several members of Richard's family, his mother, sisters, nephews and nieces, who could have made representation to move his remains, perhaps to the family mausoleum at Fotheringhay. Henry VII had allowed other families to reclaim their dead after Bosworth, notably the Howards, and there is no reason why he wouldn't have allowed this. After all Richard's own niece became Queen! Possibly they were content to let him lie in that honourable place. Likewise at the dissolution, his family - ancestors of the very Plantagenet Alliance who are claiming him now - could then have done so too.
Historical fact: in 1485, again 50 or so years later and right up to 2012 when he was found - his family made no attempt to claim him. Even the Looking for Richard project, instigated by Philippa Langley, had no support from any member of the Plantagenet Alliance, who claim to be his only family, to have a say in his reburial.
So why all the fuss now, centuries later, when Richard III has been found? 

 His story is part of the History of Leicester. He has lain in the shadow of St Martin's all these years. The cathedral is planning an honourable reburial, even redesigning the interior to accommodate the remains of a King. The people have kept his memory alive in naming a street and a school after him, with plaques and a statue. They have voted and have shown their support. To denigrate the petition is to denigrate the people of Leicester who are rightly proud of their city. There is no reason, logically or historically to move Richard III elsewhere.

I think much of the myth has been busted by the author of the above, however I expect it will continue to be a constant bone of contention until the whole process has been resolved. And I must reiterate that much of the fiction declared as fact, and the criticism of Leicester itself, is not made by the vast majority of the good people of York, Yorkshire, or most of the rest of the country! It is only a small minority of people from a variety of locations, who basically just don't care where Richard is buried, as long as it is not in Leicester!
Thankfully, we in Leicester know that good sense and justice will prevail, and we will just ignore the name calling and downright derogatory insults of our much loved city. We will keep our dignity as we will keep our King! The King of England that is...not the King of York!

Please remember to sign our petition. There is a second link for those of you supporting us from outside the UK. You can find both links at the top right hand side of my page under the photo of the statue in Castle Gardens.

If you are on Twitter you can also click on the Twitter link on the petition to share it with your followers.

A vote for Leicester is a vote for the undisturbed continuation of British medieval history.


  1. Excellent presentation of the facts.

  2. Thank you Carole. I think it is important that the facts are made clear to everyone who may have been misinformed or misled elsewhere.

  3. The campaign to bury him in York aren't troubled by facts, as we have seen. They have an unflinching dogma and nothing will sway their minds. However, hopefully posts like this will alert people with no axe to grind who simply believed what they were told and can now see how they have been duped.

  4. @Leicester loves Richard: I think that is the most important thing. People should know all the established and true historical facts, and then make up their minds. I also recommend anyone in any doubt about where Richard III should be laid to rest to read your own excellent blog.

  5. You can hardly call that a ‘fact’ that York do not want Richard’s remains - that statement you highlighted from York Minster was a statement issued by the Rev Dean Faull - fresh from her post at LEICESTER Cathedral. I know many people who work at the Minster and who live in York who were absolutely devastated by this statement and who dearly wish him to be there. I find it a very strange coincidence to be honest that she was posted there at such an opportune moment.