Posts Tagged With: Greyfriars

The bones of a King….the fight begins…..

Richard III dig: MPs discuss cities’ claim to bones Wounds on the skeleton match what is known of Richard’s violent death at Bosworth.

A paliamentary debate has been held on where a skeleton that could be that of Richard III should be interred.

The bones were found in September by archaeologists digging beneath a car park in Leicester.

MPs from Leicester, Nottinghamshire and York discussed a permanent grave but officials said precedent meant Leicester cathedral was favourite.

DNA results on the bones are being compared to that of living descendants of the king, who was killed in 1485.

Richard died at the hands of forces of Henry Tudor near Market Bosworth, Leicestershire.

To argue on the floor of [parliament] over these mortal remains is more like medieval cathedrals fighting over saints’ relics”

His grave, in the church of Greyfriars in Leicester, was lost during centuries of redevelopment.

However, the archaeologists from Leicester university have found a skeleton, which is consistent with the known details of his appearance and death.
Campaigners from both York and Leicester have said the remains, should they prove to be the king, ought to come to them.

In the debate, Labour MP John Mann, from Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire offered Worksop as a halfway point between the two.

But Labour’s Jon Ashworth, who represents Leicester South, said: “Given it was the Greyfriars who took the body of Richard and buried him at what was then the Greyfriars’ church, a site which is today just a stone’s throw from Leicester Cathedral, and he has been in Leicester for 500 years, it would be most appropriate that he is finally laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral.”

‘Nearest cathedral’

York Central MP, Hugh Bayley, also from Labour said: “He is still very well-regarded in York. We have a museum to Richard III, we respect him enormously.

“But to argue on the floor of this place over his mortal remains is more like medieval cathedrals fighting over saints’ relics.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Tory MP Tony Baldry, answering questions for the Church Commissioners, admitted: “There is quite a lot of competition for this.

“If there is conclusive evidence that these are the remains of Richard III, the tradition is that they would be buried and reinterred at the nearest Christian cathedral, which happens to be Leicester Cathedral.

“In those circumstances, I would hope to arrange a meeting with the Dean of Leicester to see how that could happen.”

But he emphasised no final decision had been taken.

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UPDATE!!…..Battle-Bruised Skeleton May Be King Richard III

A human skeleton with a cleaved skull discovered beneath a parking lot in England may belong to King Richard III, researchers announced today (Sept. 12), though they have a long way to go in analyzing the bones to determine the identity.

The researchers note they are not saying they have found King Richard III’s remains, but that they are moving into the next phase of their search, from the field to the laboratory.

“[W]e are clearly very excited, but the University now must subject the findings to rigorous analysis. DNA analysis will take up to 12 weeks,” Richard Taylor, the director of corporate affairs at the University of Leicester, told reporters this morning, as recorded in a tweet.

The remains were hidden within the choir of a medieval church known as Greyfriars, where the English monarch was thought to be buried. Though the location of this church had been lost, historical records suggested Richard III was buried there upon his death in battle in 1485.

Two skeletons were discovered: a female skeleton that was broken apart at the joints was discovered in what is believed to be the Presbytery of the lost Church; the other skeleton, which appears to be an adult male, was found in the church choir and shows signs of trauma to the skull and back before death, which would be consistent with a battle injury, the researchers said. [See images of the Richard III discoveries]

“A bladed implement appears to have cleaved part of the rear of the skull,” according to a University of Leicester statement.

In addition, a barbed metal arrowhead was lodged between the vertebrae of the male skeleton’s upper back, Taylor said, adding that the spinal abnormalities suggest the individual had severe scoliosis, though was not a hunchback, as he was portrayed by Shakespeare in the play of the king’s name.

Even so, the scoliosis seen in the skeleton would’ve made the man’s right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left one. “This is consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance,” according to the university statement.

University of Leicester archaeologists began excavating the parking lot of the Leicester City Council building on Aug. 25, in search of the church and the king’s remains. Since then, they have turned up the Franciscan friary, a 17th-century garden thought to hold a memorial to the king and various other artifacts.

On Aug. 31, the dig team applied to the Ministry of Justice for permission to begin exhuming the two skeletons, a process that began on Sept. 4.

“We are hopeful that we will recover DNA from the skeleton,” University of Leicester geneticist Turi King said at the briefing, as recorded in a tweet by the university.

The king’s tales

King Richard III ruled for England two years, from 1483 to 1485, before dying in the Battle of Bosworth Field, part of the War of the Roses, an English civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

A century later, William Shakespeare penned “Richard III,” a play about the tragic king — the last English king to die in battle.

The king seemed to have his own following. “Richard III is a charismatic figure who attracts tremendous interest, partly because he has been so much maligned in past centuries, and partly because he occupies a pivotal place in English history,” Philippa Langley, a representative of the Richard III society, said in a statement.

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UPDATE: KING RICHARD III….Hunt for Lost King’s Grave Uncovers 17th-Century Garden

The search for the grave of English King Richard III has uncovered a garden said to hold a memorial to the medieval monarch.

University of Leicester archaeologists announced today (Sept. 7) that they have found paving stones that may belong to the garden of Robert Herrick, a mayor of Leicester who built a mansion and garden over the church where Richard III was buried. In 1612, a man named Christopher Wren visited Herrick and reported that the garden contained a 3-foot (1-meter) tall stone pillar inscribed, “Here lies the body of Richard III sometime King of England.”

“This is an astonishing discovery and a huge step forward in the search for King Richard’s grave,” Philippa Langley, a representative of the Richard III society, said in a statement. “Herrick is incredibly important in the story of Richard’s grave, and in potentially helping us get a little bit closer to locating it.”

Richard III ruled England from 1483 to 1485, until his death in battle during the War of the Roses. He was interred in Greyfriars Church in Leicester, but the location of both the church and the grave were lost.
The last known historical record is Wren’s description of Herrick’s garden memorial from 1612. In 1711, Herrick’s descendents sold the mansion. It was torn down in the 1870s and replaced by municipal buildings, according to the University of Leicester. The garden area seems to have remained undeveloped until the 1930s or 1940s, when it was paved over.
The newly discovered paving stones appear to be re-used medieval tiles, worn and of many different sizes, said Richard Buckley, the archaeologist leading the dig.

“Although the date at which the paving was laid has yet to be confirmed, we suspect that it relates to the period of Herrick’s mansion,” Buckley said in a statement. “Interestingly, the 18th-century map of Leicester shows a formal garden with a series of paths leading to a central point.”

Meanwhile, an excavation trench inside the Greyfriars Church has turned up window tracery fragments, Buckley said. These may belong to the east window of the church, near the high altar, which itself is near the choir where Richard III is said to be buried. If the King’s body is found, he will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

“Having overcome the major hurdle of finding the church, I am now confident that we are within touching distance of finding the choir — a real turning point in the project and a stage which, at the outside, I never really thought we might reach,” Buckley said.

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