Where possible, a PDF version of press releases will be made available via awith this symbol next to it.
Saturday 4th May 2013:
This statement is a response to the declared preference of Leicester Cathedral to commemorate King Richard III with a ledger stone. In the Architects' Brief, the authorities state that it is unlikely that a large table tomb would be acceptable either to the Chapter or to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.
It is the opinion of the Richard III Society and many others, including the citizens of Leicester itself, that King Richard should be given a table tomb. He was an anointed king of England and has been unfairly treated by history.
Following his defeat at the battle of Bosworth, Richard III was hastily buried in Leicester's Grey Friars church and in a grave so hastily cut, it was too small to contain his body. In time, that grave was lost with the dissolution of the monasteries and for nearly half a millennium the remains of Richard III lay in obscurity. It is time to see the king honoured with a proper memorial, reversing the treatment meted out by his successors.
The Society's reasons for wanting the king to have a tomb are clear:
The Society's proposed design is modest in scale, being 7' x 3'6" and, at only 2'3" high, will neither constitute a physical obstruction nor block sight lines within the Cathedral.
We are not asking for an effigy and whilst it is understood that the design suggested by the Richard III Society does not fully satisfy the Cathedral Chapter, we strongly feel it has many merits, not least its use of symbolism that would have been known to King Richard - the white boar, the white rose and the cross of St Cuthbert.
Richard III must now be brought out of the darkness and obscurity of an unmarked grave, and brought into the light of honour in a tomb that befits both him as a man and his status as a medieval king. Whatever the final decision of the Cathedral and the architects, it will always remain the conviction of the Richard III Society that a table tomb is the only fitting monument for King Richard.
The finding of the lost remains of a fifteenth-century king is a unique occurrence that provides an equally unique opportunity for their interment in a manner that reflects their royal status and historical importance. The public today and the generations to come will expect nothing less.
'Richard III was the last of the Plantagenet line which ruled England for over three hundred years. It is only fitting that he be honoured with a table tomb' said Dr. Phil Stone, Chairman of the Richard III Society.
'The search for Richard III was always about honouring the last warrior King of England with a tomb. This was at the heart of the project, and, indeed, was the reason the search to find him began. It is my fervent hope that we will not allow history to be repeated, and that King Richard will be honoured with a tomb' maintains Philippa Langley, the Originator of the quest to find the King.
'We have been asked to work with the Cathedral authorities and hope that Richard III will be honoured with a fitting and dignified tomb, as per the expectations of Ricardians around the world' said Dr. David and Wendy Johnson, designers of the Richard III Society proposed tomb.
'I am working with the Fabrics Advisory Group at the Cathedral and am hopeful that the authorities will honour Richard with a tomb fit for a medieval king' added Sally Henshaw, Secretary of the East Midlands Branch of the Society.
e-mail Dr Phil Stone,
e-mail Philippa Langley, or call 07752 567370, or
e-mail Sally Henshaw, or call 0116 243 3785.
Wednesday 13th February 2013:
Richard III's tomb—proposed designFollowing confirmation that the human remains of King Richard III are to be reinterred in Leicester, the Richard III Society today reveals plans for how it would like his tomb to look.
The tomb design was commissioned by Philippa Langley in September 2010 at the very beginning of the Looking For Richard III project. It is based on Richard's life, and what was important and meaningful to him, and the design was undertaken by a team of specialists with over 40 years of research into Richard III.
The Richard III Society is working in partnership with Philippa Langley, the Originator of the search for King Richard III, together with Sally Henshaw (secretary) and Richard Smith (chairman) of the East Midlands Branch, under the leadership of the Society's chairman Dr Phil Stone.
The objective of the proposed tomb is to honour the king's mortal remains with a memorial in keeping with the cathedral's interior space and ambience, while reflecting mediaeval royal tomb designs.
The proposal includes the following:
Proposed Tomb for King Richard III
The tomb is Magnesian Limestone. Its smooth, bright, honey-coloured appearance enshrines the light and optimism of a new future for Richard, but also because it is the stone in which York Minster is built, and is still used to this very day for repairs, maintenance, and rebuilding. Thus Magnesian Limestone represents Richard's journey from darkness to light and also his important connections with Yorkshire and the City of York.
The design incorporates the medieval past and the present day, acknowledging Richard's life as a fifteenth century nobleman and king, but without being inappropriate in a twenty first century cathedral. The design incorporates features representing Richard's family (White Rose of the House of York), Richard's devotion to the Christian faith (Cross of St. Cuthbert), and Richard's personal emblem (White Boar). These personally significant motifs are depicted in medieval style, decorating the sides and end of the monument, and creating the impression of a fifteenth century tomb in both feel and appearance.
A more modern aspect has been attempted with the upper surface of the monument. The design presents a smooth open plane of bright honey-coloured stone, punctuated by a royal coat of arms inlaid in gold metal at the head, and a gold metal plaque and carved motto at the foot. In addition the gold metal plaque serves to bridge the gap between the king and the man by including Richard's full name as well as his title as duke of Gloucester.
The cost of the proposed design is £28-30k and will take four months to construct. The CGI images of the tomb design are produced by Joseph Fox of 'Lost in Castles'.
The full details of the team behind the design will be made available at the Society's Conference in Leicester on Saturday 2nd March when photographs of the tomb design will be displayed.
Leicester Cathedral have issued a press release.
Tuesday 5th February 2013:
©GettyThe Richard III Society today unveiled the world's only facial reconstruction of the human remains found at the Greyfriars in Leicester, yesterday confirmed as belonging to Richard III. The reconstruction project, led by Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Professor of Craniofacial Identification at the University of Dundee, was commissioned and funded by the Richard III Society.
To those who have seen so many portrayals of Richard III with contorted body and facial features, this calm and apparently thoughtful face could be a shock. After his death, many portraits deliberately added narrowed eyes and mean lines. We have already discovered he had no kyphosis or withered arm - now we know he had a warm face, young, earnest and rather serious. How many scales will drop from how many eyes! This likeness is so real, it is a remarkable tribute to Professor Wilkinson and her reconstruction team. Congratulations and thanks are in order, but these words somehow don't seem adequate to recognise such art, skill and loving craftsmanship.
Dr. Phil Stone, Richard III Society Chairman, said: "It's an interesting face, younger and fuller than we have been used to seeing, less careworn, and with the hint of a smile. When I first saw it, I thought there is enough of the portraits about it for it to be King Richard but not enough to suggest they have been copied. I think people will like it. He's a man who lived. Indeed, when I looked him in the eye, 'Good King Richard' seemed alive and about to speak. At last, it seems, we have the true image of Richard III - is this the face that launched a thousand myths?"
Monday 4th February 2013:
Today's news confirmed what until this morning members of the Richard III Society had hardly dared believe, that The Greyfriars human remains are indeed those of Richard Plantagenet, the fifteenth-century English king, known to most as Richard III: the last warrior king of England.
9th January 2013: THE SEARCH FOR KING RICHARD III: Announcement of date for media conference
The University of Leicester has today announced that it plans to reveal the results of a series of scientific investigations into human remains—which are suspected of being those of King Richard III—in the first week of February.
The University of Leicester is leading the search for King Richard III, in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society. At a press conference in September, the University announced that it had found human remains with evidence of what was believed to be scoliosis and battle trauma. The University said that these remains would need to be subjected to rigorous scientific analysis in order to confirm their identity.
The University is expecting results of the series of tests in the next few weeks during which period the results will be analysed. The University aims to announce the conclusions of its investigations at a press conference provisionally scheduled for the first week of February.
Details of the date/time/venue for the conference and other logistical arrangements will be announced in due course.
8th January 2013: With the announcement of the results of the tests on the Greyfriars skeleton only weeks away it is a timely opportunity to focus on Richard III's achievements during his short reign of twenty-six months.
27th December 2012: A facial reconstruction is currently in progress aimed at revealing what may be the features of King Richard III. In August 2012, the search for King Richard's grave, led by the University of Leicester in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, excited world attention.
In September, a male skeleton was unearthed at the Greyfriars site in Leicester. Although the identity of the skeleton is not confirmed, the Richard III Society has commissioned a facial reconstruction , based on a CT scan taken by the University of Leicester, to be carried out by a leading expert in craniofacial identification, Prof Caroline Wilkinson, at the University of Dundee.
The resulting reconstruction is expected to feature in a Channel 4 programme early in 2013, which will document the life of King Richard and the search for his grave. Following transmission the Society will make the reconstruction available to the media.
30th October 2012: It is time to end the lazy acquiescence with the Tudor and Shakespearean myths about Richard III. If the body found at the Greyfriars dig is Richard III, it proves he was no hunchback and if he suffered from scoliosis that is no reason to denigrate him.
8th October 2012: The Richard III Society has placed on record its unbounded admiration and appreciation for those involved in the phenomenally successful search for King Richard III's last resting place.
The Society at its recent AGM honoured the project's prime mover and motivator, Philippa Langley, with its Robert Hamblin Award , which was established in 2002 to recognise work of outstanding service by a member. Ms Langley was also awarded honorary life membership in recognition of the particular merit of the Greyfriars Dig.
Following the recent archaeological dig at Leicester , the finding of Richard's remains and the ensuing worldwide media interest, one could be excused for thinking that this was the first time that the character of Richard III had been subject to public scrutiny.
This however is not the case; in fact Richard has been in the public eye since Elizabethan times when Shakespeare wrote his play Richard III in which he painted the king as a dastardly character. The play was based on contemporary chronicles which drew on the writings of Thomas More and Polydore Vergil, and reflected the Tudor 'spin' on Richard's reputation. This was followed up over the decades with pamphlets and tracts, the media of their time, continuing to decry Richard's character and then of course by newspapers and magazines beginning in the nineteenth century.
With the start of the twentieth century, the media was achieving a wider circulation and more interest was being shown in the character of Richard. Unfortunately not all in a favourable light since most reports covered performances of Shakespeare's play, which was the most performed, and regrettably actors, in general, love to play villains. It was also unfortunate that the only knowledge that the majority of the public had of Richard was via the play which many took to be actual history. An example of this mistaken reliance on Shakespeare was that it was alleged that the Duke of Marlborough 'took his history from Shakespeare'. It was later in the twentieth century that another medium came into being, movies, although this still did nothing good for Richard's reputation since movie makers stuck rigidly to Shakespeare's version of events. While on the subject of movies interestingly the first ever full length one made in 1912 was based on Shakespeare's Richard III. A major movie that reinforced the view of Richard as an evil monarch was released in 1955 and starred Sir Laurence Olivier; unfortunately this is the one that many members of the public, of a certain age, still remember well.
However in the early twenties a group of like minded people, begging to differ from the views expressed by Shakespeare, got together to found a fellowship to study academically the true historical facts about Richard and then to try to bring them to the public's attention. In 1956 this fellowship was revived and in 1959 became the Richard III Society.
In 1973 an exhibition was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London when several portraits of Richard and artefacts from his time were displayed; the exhibition proved very popular and helped to generate new interest in the historical Richard III.
In 1984 the Richard III Society managed to bring the matter of Richard's character to much wider public attention via a major television production – 'The Trial of Richard III' which was possibly the first television reality show. This was one of the highlights of the 1983-85 Quincentenary celebrations, and most importantly gave a not guilty verdict.
Following on from this, exposure in the media continued to grow via the Society's publicity efforts, albeit at a slow rate with most media comments still being reviews of performances of the play. It should be remembered that the media, be it electronic or printed, only want stories that they consider to be of real interest, they are in business after all and are, not as many people think, a public service.
We then came to what is termed the 'noughties' in other words the current century. Media interest in Richard started to pick up with the discovery of the true location of the battle of Bosworth, a little distance from the previously identified site. In looking at Bosworth many in the media realised they needed more background information on Richard and his times and enquiries directed to the Society started to pick up. This was then followed a couple of years later by the project originated by Philippa Langley a Society member, who not only believed in the possibility of Richard being buried under a car park in Leicester, but also took real action to initiate an archaeological search for his remains. Philippa worked with the historian John Ashdown-Hill, and then in conjunction with the archaeological department of Leicester University and the City of Leicester, to successfully locate the remains in the autumn of 2012.
This opened the media flood gates and requests came in not only from all over the UK but also from all parts of the world. In the UK the dig was covered not only by major television stations, both national and local, but also local radio stations and of course the national press. There were many requests for interviews with nominated Society spokespersons; suddenly everybody wanted to know about Richard.
Modern copy of SAL portraitAt the same time interest was being generated internationally with many requests for interviews; telephone interviews were conducted with television and radio stations from Australia, South Africa, the USA and of course from across Europe. Two particularly interesting requests came in, the first from the French National Radio network who actually conducted a face to face interview with the Society's Chairman in London which lasted for over three hours! The other request was from Ukraine State Television who wanted to send a film crew to the dig site as well as conduct an interview. The Society also received requests from major US newspapers, the New York Times, Washington Post and the LA Times who all sent reporters to the site and requested interviews.
Now that the remains have been DNA analysed and deemed to be those of Richard III the worldwide media interest has not died, indeed if anything it has increased.
In addition to handling all the media requests the Society itself has been very proactive in not only putting out press releases in order to keep the media abreast of developments but has also placed a number of double page advertorials in some of the most widely-read history magazines. It has also commissioned a facial reconstruction of King Richard's skull by one of the UK's leading experts in this field; seeing the real face of Richard III will no doubt generate even more interest.
The Society has been fortunate to have a team of knowledgeable spokespersons available for interviews, often for live broadcasts at very short notice due to world time zones. This has greatly helped our interaction with the media in all its forms.
In dealing with the media the Society's website has played an important role through providing direct access to reliable sources of information. To meet the challenge of this greatly increased influx of requests the website has been redesigned and re-launched to make it even easier for users to navigate quickly and efficiently.
The Ricardian is the academic journal of the Richard III Society and it contains articles, based on original research, on topics relating to Richard III, his life and times, and on late medieval history and culture. It also contains review articles and reviews of recently published books, together with notices of new books and articles.
The Garters and the Garter Achievements of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
(With an Appendix on Edward IV's Additions to the Statutes of the Order of the Garter.)
by Livia Visser-Fuchs
In 1468-69 Edward IV of England and Charles, Duke of Burgundy (1433-77), elected each other to their respective orders of knighthood, the Garter and the Golden Fleece. When political problems and issues of status had been resolved Burgundian ambassadors bore the collar of the Fleece to the king and received his oath, and English envoys carried the garter and other insignia to the duke (the duke's letter of acknowledgment with his seal is illustrated in colour). Charles received two garters from England and had a third made by his own goldsmith at around the same time; all three cost less then £10. Later he had yet another one made at great expense. He was seen wearing this at his famous meeting with Emperor Frederick III at Trier in 1473 and it was estimated by the emperor himself at 60,000 gulden. This jewel, together with other costly objects, fell into the hands of the Swiss in 1476 and is known only from a detailed drawing made in 1504 (illustrated in colour).
The accounts of the duke's household also contain descriptions of the large banner, ornamental helmet with crest and armorial plate that were made by his goldsmith and sent to Windsor to be displayed in the Garter chapel; the armorial plate survives to this day (illustrated in colour).
The duke was informed of his election to the Garter by a signet letter of 13 May 1469; the letter was accompanied by a document bearing the text of two additions to the Garter statutes set down on the same day. As this is the only surviving copy of these additions the text is printed as an appendix at the end of the paper.
'Pondre the universalle wele of the cuntre': Richard III, Bridges and Floods
by Anne F. Sutton
Some general background is given on the medieval problems of flooding and the maintenance of sea and river defences, with examples especially from or near the Yorkist period, such as the compensation ordered to be paid by Richard III to the inhabitants of the marches of Calais whose lands had been flooded during the defence of the area against the French army. Three examples of floods during Richard's reign, in which he interested himself, have been found: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire; Bewdley Bridge, Worcestershire; Bridgend, Lincolnshire; and Highbridge, Somerset. All the known details are given and there is a discussion of who might have brought these floods to Richard's attention.
Bosworth at Redemore: Focus and Context
by Peter J. Foss
By examining a Leicester Abbey demesne terrier of c.1480, the author, enlarging on work he did in the 1980s, focuses on the area of the 'Redemore' (1283), the name by which the battle of Bosworth was known at the time. He shows how fifteenth to seventeenth century local records (many of them not previously researched, such as the Dadlington court rolls from 1426) reveal the extent of the wetland system in the valley between the parishes of Shenton, Dadlington and Stoke Golding. This is the area said by William Burton (1622) to be the site of the battle, and undoubtedly incorporated the 'great marresse' described by Holinshed as lying between the two armies. Identifying significant wetland features such as the 'holow' and 'fenmore pytt', he shows also that 'the brown heath' (another name associated with the battle) was part of a furze and scrub waste on the boundary of Stoke, Higham and Upton, that Crown Hill was most likely the 'hill of the thorn trees' of c.1480 and that the 'fennes hole' (identified by the author in 1986) was one of several such bogs in the vicinity. He further reminds us that Dadlington, so often disregarded by historians, was indeed the chapel designated by royal warrant as a battlefield chantry (endorsed by the authority of Sir Howard Colvin in 1987), and that the burials there were likely to have been re-exhumations at the time of agricultural changes after 1509. Recent archaeological interpretations are re-assessed and a critique of the Battlefields Trust survey and its methodology is provided.
Eight Lives of Remarkable English and Scots Women from the Reigns of Henry VI to Henry VII by Petruccio Ubaldini
by H.C Carron
An examination of a relatively unknown work printed in 1591 by an Italian named Petruccio Ubaldini. His work in its entirety comprised seventy-five biographies of notable women. This article concentrates on the last eight biographies, women who were living within the lifetime of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, in particular that of Elizabeth Woodville. Ubaldini's career is discussed, possible sources for his biographies, and the interest in his work in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
'A Pugnacious Yorkist'
by Alison Hanham
Friar John Brackley's letters offer a unique picture of political affairs from late 1459 to 1461. They have been studied mainly for the light they throw on the dispute between John Paston and William Worcester. By contrast, this article concentrates on Brackley's ardent support of the Yorkist cause in that period.
There is an on-line archive of the 'Summary of Articles' - and other selected articles - of recent editions of The Ricardian.
Volume 13 special 'Festschrift'
edition front cover.The Ricardian was originally published quarterly in March, June, September and December but since 2002 it has been published as an annual journal. Volume 13 was a special Festschrift edition in honour of Anne Sutton's twenty-five years as editor of the journal and contained thirty-seven articles.
Indexes to subjects, people and places have been published for Volume 3 (1974) through to Volume 12 (2000-2001) and are available for sale. There is an integrated index from Volume 16.
There is an index for all articles published 1974-2012.
Back copies of The Ricardian are available for sale to members and non-members as follows:
The Ricardian Bulletin is the Society's lively and informative members' magazine published quarterly in March, June, September, and December. Every issue includes topical news and features about the work of the Society and other items of interest which have relevance to Richard III and his times, including media coverage. There are also historical articles focusing on the late fifteenth century; exploring new subjects or re-examining old ones and always based on new research or fresh interpretations. Every issue carries at least one article relating specifically to Richard III.
The magazine aims to keep all members fully informed about Society services and activities at both national and local level. There are regular reports about our library resources, research projects, visits programme, and membership benefits. The magazine also has reviews of Society and other events, a busy letters page and regular reports from our network of branches and groups both in the UK and overseas.
… and much more.
Here is the September 2012 Ricardian Bulletin. © Richard III Society 2012
All articles and items to be considered for publication in the Ricardian Bulletin should be sent to the editorial team. Dates for submission are as follows: