Monday, September 17, 2012

The Resurrection of Richard III?

The discovery of a skeleton which could be the remains of Richard III (picture from here) is incredibly exciting. A team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester conducted a dig in a Council car park which was thought to be the site of the Greyfriars church where Richard's body was buried after the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485. Amazingly, the archaeologists found not only the church but the choir where Richard was said to have been buried. Then, they found a male skeleton with wounds to the head & scoliosis of the spine. It's almost too good to be true. DNA testing will be carried out as a descendant of Richard's sister, Anne, has been traced thanks to the research of  historian John Ashdown-Hill.

The Richard III Society has been instrumental in making the dig a reality with members carrying out extensive research & convincing the University team that there was enough evidence to prove or disprove the stories about the Greyfriars church which was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s.

The Richard III Society website has a very informative article on the news here (click on What's New & scroll down a little for the press release). There's also news of a Channel 4 documentary to be shown later this year. Fingers crossed it's shown here as well. Richard is one of the few Kings of England whose burial site is unknown (not counting Edward V which is another story altogether!) but maybe this discovery will change that. More information on the discovery & links to other articles can be found here. I've been fascinated by Richard since I first read Josephine Tey's novel, The Daughter of Time, at high school. I'm a member of the Richard III Society & I've read countless books, both fiction & non-fiction, on the period & the personalities. I can't wait for the next instalment!

14 comments:

  1. I'm hoping to visit the dig site on Wednesday. There's a real buzz around the city about it all.

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    1. How exciting! Can't wait to hear about it.

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  2. It's very exciting isn't it? Like you, I got hooked on Richard III thanks to Josephine Tey and my Middle Child is studying in Leicester - so I'm hoping to get all the news from her!

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    1. Hopefully we'll hear more details soon. I think they're extending the dig as they've had such great success so far. Who knows what else they might find?

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  3. Gosh I had no idea. How tremendously exciting!

    Josephine Tey has a lot to answer for!

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    1. It is exciting, especially when you think that most people thought Richard's remains were scattered at the time of the Dissolution. Of course, that could still be the case but the evidence looks quite hopeful. It would be good to be able to prove it one way or the other.

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  4. It is very interesting to watch this all play out! I got hooked thanks to Sharon Kay Penman's book and haven't really look back since.

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    1. I read SKP's books too as well as many other historical novels. Jean Plaidy & co started my love of history so I'll always be grateful.

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  5. Amazing! I also read the Josephine Tey as a teenager and have re-read it since with great enjoyment. I heard a BBC radio programme not long ago in which some "experts" completely debunked her theories but it didn't convince me!

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    1. I love Tey's book but there were definitely some pieces of evidence like the Mancini document that she completely ignored.However, she was writing fiction & I find it amusing that some historians feel the need to debunk her work. That's what happens when a book like TDOT has influenced so many people's views.

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  6. It was Josephine Tey for me too! That is such a fabulous book.

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    1. I don't know where the RIII Society would be without Josephine Tey!

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  7. The dig is fantastic and I do hope that they can prove it is Richard.
    Having Yorkshire roots (on one side anyway) I have always had a sympathy with him and it would be great if his remains could be brought 'home' and he could finally have the burial at York Minster that he wanted (and yes I am a romantic at heart!)
    I love Sharon Penman's books about the period and I have the Josephine Tey on my bookshelf so I must finally get around to reading it!

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  8. Liz, I think Leicester Cathedral may have dibs on Richard's bones - if that's who this is. I think York Minster would be more suitable too but we'll let the bishops & archbishops fight it out, I think!

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