In 2015, an expanded and re-designed version of the visitor's guide to Ricardian sites was added to the website. It includes information on sites within Great Britain that are associated with Richard III, his family, and with the events of the Wars of the Roses.
There are many national events in 2015 associated with the reinterment of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral. As it is not possible to include them all in this guide, it is suggested that you use this web site and the internet in general to search for more information on sites which you wish to visit.
Click the 'expand' link on the image below to view the Ricardian Britain visitors guide, or click the link in the left-hand side menu to download the latest PDF.
Detailed information on six sites most closely associated with Richard III can be seen on this below.
Ruins of Barnard CastleBarnard Castle, located on the north bank of the River Tees, is a market town in County Durham which grew up around - and was named for - the castle.
Barnard Castle: This is what remains of a Norman and 14th century castle granted to Richard in 1475 as part of the Neville inheritance. Richard probably undertook some building here as his boar badge can be seen on the slab over an oriel window which was once part of the Great Chamber, now approached by a flight of modern steps on the inside of the curtain wall just south of the Round Tower. In the northeast section of the curtain wall is the Brackenbury Tower, named after Sir Robert Brackenbury. Unfortunately, the castle fell into ruins after Richard's death. The castle is now managed by the National Trust.
Church of St Mary, Barnard CastleThe Bowes Museum collection includes the carving of a boar which was rescued from a cottage in the town when it was demolished.
Church of St Mary: Richard founded a chantry here at the same time as the one at Middleham. He also paid for extensive works within the church. The chancel arch bears corbels with portrait heads of Richard and Edward IV. On the outside of the church, there is a carved boar beside the east window of the south transept.
It was at Bosworth Field, or Redemore Plain as it was known at the time, that Richard III joined battle with the forces of Henry Tudor on 22 August 1485 and it was there that he was to be 'brutally slain', as one account describes his end.
In the five hundred or so years since, there have been a number of proposed sites for the battle. Recently there have been three in contention but it is a site near to the traditional one, about 20 miles west of the City of Leicester, and near to the village of Sutton Cheney that recent archaeological work in 2009 showed where the battle was actually fought. This is in an area straddling Fenn Lanes, near Fenny Drayton and about three miles from the traditional site on Ambion Hill. On the hill the Leicestershire County Council have established a visitor centre and a new trail between the Centre and the battlefield site (which is on private farmland) has been established.
The major features of the battlefield are Ambion Hill, held by Richard's Yorkist forces and the cairn over a well or spring where traditionally Richard took a drink during the battle. At nearby Shenton until recently there was a so-called death stone, erected to mark the site where, by tradition, Richard was pulled from his horse and killed. The death stone has now been moved to the Centre since Sandford is now thought to be on the new battlefield site.
Although the visitor centre, run by the Council, already had an excellent display area, it has been upgraded to make it more interactive and to include 'living history' displays, together with models of the combatants and a tableau of the battle, including a detailed description of the events leading up to it, and ending with a film show, where a re-enactment of the battle is shown.
The centre's gift shop is one of the best. In addition to the usual souvenirs, it offers small toys for children and a comprehensive range of Ricardian related books and memorabilia.
The facilities include a restaurant, the Tithe Barn and which provides a good range of food. Following a complete upgrade, the old 'temporary' building has been replaced, the new restaurant incorporating a timber frame taken from a 14th century tithe barn and donated to the Battlefield centre by Derbyshire County Council and the Derbyshire Archaeological Society.
To complete the facilities at the Centre, there is extensive car parking and other local attractions include the village of Sutton Cheney and the small but attractive town of Market Bosworth. The Battlefield site is bounded by the A5, A444, A447 and the B585, and is clearly signposted from all these roads in the vicinity of Market Bosworth.
Access is easy from the M1, M6, M42 and M69 and all major roads in the Midlands. From Hinckley take the A47 north and turn left onto the A447 and follow signs for Sutton Cheney and then the battlefield.
April to October - 10am to 5pm
November to March - 10am to 4pm
Re-open 1 February 2013 – 10am to 4pm
Last entry to exhibition one hour before closing.
For prices for entry to exhibition, which includes discounts for families and for groups, visit the Bosworth Battlefield centre's own website at www.bosworthbattlefield.com
Telephone: +44 (0)1455 290 429
Suggested Further Reading
The Battle of Bosworth, Michael Bennett, Stroud 1993
The Battlefields of England, Alfred H Burne, London 1950
The Field of Redemore: The Battle of Bosworth, 1485, Peter Foss, Newtown Lindford 1998
The Battle of Bosworth, Christopher Gravett, Oxford 1999
Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle, Michael K Jones, Stroud 2002
Richard III and the Bosworth Campaign, Peter Hammond, Barnsley 2010
The hall was built in Bishopsgate in 1466, and in medieval times, it was the home of Sir John Crosby, a wealthy merchant in the city of London. He rented out the property to Richard, who, as Duke of Gloucester, used it for his London base, a home for his family and retainers.
In later years, the hall was 'upgraded' but remained a dwelling. However, in 1910, it was dismantled and rebuilt in Cheney Walk on the Chelsea Embankment, where the great hall is still to be found. This new site was once part of an orchard belonging to Sir Thomas More. An irony not lost on members of the Society.
A modern banking house stands on the original Bishopsgate site, and it bears a plaque to mark the hall's existence. Just north of it, in Crosby Square, is the church of Great St Helen, with a monument to, and effigies of, Sir John Crosby and his wife Agnes. Unusual in design, the church has two naves, in keeping with it having once been a monastic and parish foundation. The church was a beneficiary of Society help following damage by a terrorist bomb.
The church is still open, of course, but today Crosby Hall is in private ownership and is no longer available to the public to visit. In past years, though, the great hall was the scene of Richard III Society banquets and commemorative talks, most notably that in 1984 during the celebration of Richard III's quincentenary, when the event was attended by the Society's patron, the present Duke of Gloucester.
The hall was the recipient of a coat of arms, presented by the Society. Representing Richard III's full achievement, it was removed after the hall was sold and is now displayed at Bosworth Battlefield Centre.
Fotheringhay is a small village in Northamptonshire, close to Peterborough. The principal Ricardian sites are the castle, the church and the New Inn.
There is virtually nothing left of the castle since it was slighted and dismantled in the seventeenth century on the orders of King James I. The parish church has been altered over the years, and is rather shorter now than it was in the medieval period. However, it is still a wonderful place to visit and is the venue for the Society's annual carol service each December.
The New Inn was the medieval hostel provided as an overspill for visitors to the castle. It is found at the bend in the road close to the bridge over the River Nene and though it is a private dwelling, it can be distinguished by a green plaque erected by the Society to commemorate the birth of Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, in the nearby castle.
Richard III was born in the castle and legend has it that he was baptised in the church, though this event may have taken place in the castle chapel.
Little remains of the castle. There is still the mound where the keep, in the shape of a fetterlock, a Yorkist symbol, stood. Because it was here that Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded in February 1587, it has been suggested that her son, James VI, slighted the castle when he became king of England and the building fell into disrepair. All that remains of the ancient stronghold today is a chunk of the outer stone wall, which is surrounded by a railing bearing two plaques with details about the royal connections.
Of the church, much more is left, though it is no longer as large as it would have been when Richard III was last known to have visited. In 1476, as duke of Gloucester, he led the cortege that brought the bodies of his father, Richard, Duke of York, and elder brother, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, for reburial in the family mausoleum. At that time, the church extended further east and there was a college and cloister attached on the south, between it and the River Nene. The college was an institution for priests and choristers who daily prayed for the souls of the House of York, past and present.
With the Dissolution, the property was sold and the roof of the choir and the cloister was stripped of its lead, allowing the rain to get in and resulting in rot and collapse. Eventually, only the nave and tower were left. As the nave was the parish church, the roof had been left alone. In 1566, when Elizabeth I saw what had happened to the tombs of her ancestors - her paternal grandmother was Elizabeth of York - she gave money for them to be reinterred in the sanctuary on either side of the altar, where they lie to this day.
The church is large, too large for the size of its present parish, and filled with light. The windows are huge and the medieval coloured glass almost completely gone. There is a modern window, the gift of the Richard III Society, which now provides a focal point for the 'Chapel of All Souls and the memory of the royal House of York', another gift of the Society. The window displays the heraldry of the first four Dukes of York, their wives and Richard III and his queen, Anne Neville.
The pulpit was restored in 1966 and it now glows with colour. It was the gift of Edward IV and bears the Plantagenet royal arms, flanked by a white lion, a black bull and a white boar, symbols of the Yorkist sons. Hexagonal in shape, the pulpit stands in a narrow plinth.
The most recent addition to the furnishing of this wonderful old church is the pipe organ, built by Vincent Woodstock and installed in 2000. It fills the church with the most glorious sounds, and at the inaugural concert, those huge windows fairly rattled!
Other gifts of the Society to the church include kneelers throughout the high fronted box pews and a cope for the incumbent. This is richly decorated with the heraldic history of the church. Financial support has also been given to the restoration of the bells, the building of the organ and the cleaning of the Decalogue behind the altar.
The remaining arches of the Church of the Mary of the
Annunciation where King Richard was displayed following his
death at Bosworth.Leicester was a town that Richard had visited, both as duke of Gloucester and as king and which lay at the very heart of his kingdom. It was not perhaps where he expected to be buried but following his defeat at Bosworth his body was interred in the choir of the Greyfriars and to be discovered over five hundred years later. Many of the buildings Richard would have been familiar with have disappeared but there are enough to have survived and to make Leicester a worthwhile destination for Ricardians.
Richard led his troops out of Leicester to Bosworth over Bow Bridge and his body was carried back over it after the battle. The present bridge dates from 1863. According to legend, an old woman prophesised that where his spur struck the bridge on the outward journey, his head would strike after the battle. A plaque, erected in 2005 by the Society close to the bridge, records that the story that Richard's body was thrown in the River Soar from there has now been discredited.
Castle Gardens, off St. Nicholas Circle, is the location of the statue of Richard III at Bosworth by James Butler, R.A. and which was presented by the Richard III Society in 1980. Originally in the centre, it now stands near to the park entrance on St Augustine Road where it is thought to be less vulnerable to vandalism.
Within the gardens is the site of the castle that Richard would have visited but by the 1480s was in such disrepair that he stayed elsewhere in the town. However, Castle Yard, the Great Hall and St Mary de Castro, originally the chapel for the castle have survived. The Great Hall, which despite its external appearance, dates back to the 12th century, and the Castel Yard is open for tours on the last Sunday of each month (contact the Leicester Tourist Office). St Mary de Castro was founded in 1107 and where Henry VI was knighted in 1426. The church is open in the week from noon to 2.00pm, and Saturday afternoons 2.00-4.00pm. The Church website features virtual tours and has a downloadable guide. The adjacent gatehouse, inaccurately named as the Tudor Gatehouse, dates from the mid-fifteenth century, and was originally known as the Turret Gatehouse.
The Guildhall is located next to the Cathedral and today is cared for by Leicester Museums. The building, part of which dates back to the mid-fourteenth century, has enjoyed a varied and interesting history. Richard would have known its Great Hall with its three bays, and the later mid-fifteenth century west end. In Richard's time the hall was used by the Corpus Christi Guild for its meetings, and also provided accommodation for the Guild's Chantry Priests who sang masses for Guild members in St Martin's Church (today's cathedral) next door. The Guild was a socio-religious fraternity, and should not be confused with the medieval trade guilds, but both were associated with the leading citizens. More recently it was the venue for the joint press conference hosted by the City Council, the University and the Richard III Society to announce the discover of the Greyfriars human remains. Admission is usually free apart from special events and is open on Saturday to Wednesday 11.00am to 4.30pm February- November, and Sundays 1.00pm to 4.30pm.
St Martin's Church, now Leicester Cathedral, was one of the larger Leicester churches in Richard's time, being built in the eleventh century and then extended in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Leicester was granted Cathedral status only in 1927, and much of what is seen today is Victorian restoration. In August 1982 The Society donated a memorial stone to Richard III to the Cathedral; the memorial stone has now been relocated to the King Richard III Visitor Centre. In March 2015 the remains of King Richard III were re-interred in the Cathedral under a tomb of Swaledale Fossil stone. For visiting information please click here.
Close by, between New Street and Greyfriars Street, are the remains of the Greyfriars, where Richard was buried after the battle of Bosworth. In 2012 the archaeological quest for Richard's remains excavated three trenches in the car park of Leicester Social Services, and it was in one of these that the human remains, now confirmed as those of Richard III, were found. The car park is along New Street, which is opposite the Cathedral's main entrance in Peacock Lane, and about 20 metres on the right. Some medieval stonework can be seen to the left-hand side of the attendant's hut. Please note that the car park is privately owned and may not be accessible to the public. Nearby in Greyfriars Street a plaque, presented by the Richard III Society in 1990, is located on the wall of a former bank in recording that the church of the Greyfriars had stood nearby where Richard was buried.
Leicester City Council has now acquired the building next to the car park, the old Grammar School, which has been developed into the King Richard III Visitor Centre. For more details click here.
The Magazine Gateway, originally called the New Work Gateway, situated close to the site of the South Gate of the town dates from 1410 and was the original main entrance into the Newarke, the 'new work' added to Leicester by Henry Earl of Lancaster in the fourteenth century. Local tradition is that Richard passed through this gate on his last visit to Leicester.
Within the Newarke, Henry of Lancaster founded the Trinity Hospital and the associated Collegiate Church of St Mary of the Annunciation. It was in this church where Richard's body was put on public display after his death and defeat at Bosworth. Today hardly anything remains of the Church, but there are two arches inside the Hawthorn building of De Montfort University, so a polite wander in has been known to work when the students are toing and froing!
The White Boar Inn, which was later called the Blue Boar, stood on the corner of Blue Boar Lane and High Cross Street until it was demolished in 1836. A Travelodge now stands on the site. Richard stayed here while mustering his forces before the Battle of Bosworth. There is the legend that when the landlord of the White Boar learnt of Richard's defeat at Bosworth he hastily repainted the inn sign blue – the blue boar being the emblem of Tudor's general the Earl of Oxford – however there is no evidence to support the story. Also in Highcross Street, number 70 to be precise, is the Richard III Public House - a traditional venue associated with Everards Breweries. The sign of which Ricardians may like to photograph.
Leicester Website: http://www.leicester.gov.uk
St Mary de Castro website: www.stmarydecastro.org.uk
The Guildhall: Tel: 0116 253 2569. e-mail: email@example.com
Close to the market town of Leyburn in the North Riding of Yorkshire, Middleham is today a centre for the training of race horses, leading to it being known as the “Newmarket of the North”, and very little remains of its medieval grandeur when, as a market town, it was a seat of one of the most powerful families in the country, the Nevilles
It has three principle sites of interest to the Ricardian visitor, the castle, the church and the market cross.
The castle keep was originally built in the 12th century as a stronghold of the Neville family and it was to here that Richard of Gloucester was sent to learn how to be a knight. It was here that he met his future wife, Anne, daughter of his cousin, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, also known as the Kingmaker. In later years, when Richard was given the governance of the north of England by his brother, Edward IV, it was his favourite residence. It was here that his son, Edward of Middleham, was born in 1476 and died in 1484.
Although ruined, much still stands, especially the curtain wall and the keep with the great hall. There is a stairway that can be climbed to get views of the surrounding countryside. Nearby is the Prince's Tower, so-called because the young Edward lived there.
A few years ago, a rather controversial statue of Richard III was erected in the bailey, close to the entrance. The sculptor, Linda Thompson, has tried to portray various descriptions of Richard, including the good king and the Shakespearian villain. A basilisk is partially visible behind Richard, its tail curling over his right shoulder to form part of the livery collar.
The church at Middleham, dedicated to St Akelda, a Saxon woman murdered for her beliefs, was embellished by Richard III. It was here, in 1477, that he founded a college, where priests were endowed to say masses for the House of York. Richard's college did not survive his death, but a college of canons under a different statute did continue, and was only brought to an end in the Victorian period. One of the last of these canons was the author Charles Kingsley. Buried in the church is the author and playwright Caroline Halstead who wrote an early biography of Richard III.
The church has been the recipient of several gifts from the Richard III Society (or its predecessor, the Fellowship of the White Boar), with a stained glass window portraying Saints Richard and Anne, and a heraldic altar frontal, bearing the Plantagenet and Neville arms.
Close to the castle is the base of the old market cross. Known as Swine Cross, it is a rather shapeless lump of stone today and thought to have been a statue of a boar, erected to commemorate a grant obtained by Richard of Gloucester in 1479 for Middleham to hold a twice yearly fair and market. However, it might equally have been a bear, the heraldic animal of the Nevilles.
Middleham is 13 miles south of Richmond on the A6108.
The small Yorkshire village of Sheriff Hutton has two sites of Ricardian interest, the remains of the castle and the Church of St Helen and Holy Cross.
To be found in the grounds of a local farm, the castle is a total ruin, with only a few turrets and the corners of the keep still standing. It has been described as looking like an upturned table.
Richard acquired the castle through his marriage and although he preferred to live in Middleham, in 1484, he made it one of the two centres that housed the Council of the North. The other was at Sandal, another property of the House of York. This Council was the administrative structure that Richard established to govern the north following his accession as King of England. As an administrative entity, it survived into the seventeenth century.
© Geoffrey WheelerThe church is to be found up a small lane and whilst it looks drab and unprepossessing from the outside, it has many fine features inside. Most important is a memorial possibly for a member of the Neville family; until recently this was thought to be a memorial for Edward of Middleham, Richard III's son, who died in 1484. However recent research has proved that it dates from the first half of the fifteenth-century and therefore cannot be associated with King Richard's son.
The artists impression of Sheriff Hutton
by Geoffrey Wheeler ©The memorial is a cenotaph, not a tomb, as the body was buried elsewhere, and its present position in the north east corner of the church is not where it was intended to stand. From past records, it would seem that the monument has had several sites within the church. Made of alabaster, it has suffered over the years and during the twentieth century, it was twice restored at the Society's expense.
The village is about 13 miles north of York on a minor road off the A64.