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whitehound
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PostSubject: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:25 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-26819086

Plans for Leicester Cathedral to substantially rework its interior to make way for Richard's tomb have been approved. It sounds as though they have also fiddled with the tomb design, about which I have mixed feelings - I rather liked it, except that I felt that the rose on the floor was over-stylised and not really recognisable as a rose.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:42 pm

The rose was a Yorkshire Rose and not a Yorkist rose ( the former only existed as a symbol from the C17th). The original tomb design is execrable, and approval for this part of the re-ordering application should not have been given whilst the matter is still sub judice, as it may materially prejudice any independent consultative process that the JR judges may recommend. Approval of any privately-amended design which the public has not had chance to comment on, is not an open and consultative process either.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:07 pm

"Execrable" is purely a matter of opinion - personally, I liked it.  I thought it elegant, austere and stylish - whereas I strongly disliked the version proposed by the Society, which was very generic and imo a bit naff.  I would have liked it better without the gold leaf, but with it it just - in my opinion - looked like a cross between a bit of video-game scenery and the sort of bog-standard, slightly tacky tombstone you'd find in any modern cemetary, as well as the gold being an invitation to metal thieves.

The modernist sculpture of Leicester's proposal may not be to everyone's taste (though it is to mine), but at least it's individual and shows real effort on somebody's part.  And Richard himself, if he was sincerely religious, would probably like its Christian emphasis.  We know he was something of a modernist for the time - he was into cannon and printing presses and large glass windows - so his preference might well be for ultra modern sculpture.


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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:44 pm

Did anyone notice this in the article referenced above:

Quote :
"But details of a redesigned tomb for the king, a major source of argument, are being kept secret while a legal case about his reinterment is ongoing."

Redesign, huh? With a, "Shhh! This is sekrit, you can't be allowed to see it"? Why is the redesign a secret when they proudly revealed their former design?

I have snarky suspicions dancing in my head: "Yes, we redesigned Richard's tomb because so many of you didn't like it, and you told us so, and you humiliated and embarrassed us. We're no longer taking opinions. (It saves us needing to delete nasty opinion posts on our site, the uni's site, the city's site.)  If we're awarded the king's bones, we're going to rebury him as we wish. You'll take the redesign and like it. It won't matter if you don't like it. Because WE will own Richard forevermore, and OUR uni will be able to sample him and analyze him forevermore, and there's not a thing you'll be able to do about it, so nyah!"

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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:19 pm

Or they haven't fixed the design yet and there's no point doing so until the court case is reviewed. I hope they don't change it too much. OTOH I'm not too keen on that metal sculpture they chose for the garden - OK, it's very clever, but it's kind-of ugly.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:28 pm

whitehound wrote:
Or they haven't fixed the design yet and there's no point doing so until the court case is reviewed.  I hope they don't change it too much.  OTOH I'm not too keen on that metal sculpture they chose for the garden - OK, it's very clever, but it's kind-of ugly.


I don't get the metal garden thingie at all.

Then again, when someone over on Facebook announced that she was going to Middleham and Fenn Lane, I thought: "Oh, I'd like to go to Middleham and Fenn Lane. Oh...wait. ::pause:: I'd like to go to Middleham." So I think I'd pass on the garden thingie anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:47 pm

Iirc it's a stack of silhouettes; of negative cut-out spaces which portray scenes from Richard's life and death and which stack up like theatrical flats to form a scene in depth. Very clever if you're standing in front of it looking through it, but from a distance and from the side imo it looks a bit like an upended cutlery drawer. I think it would have been better done in glass or stone, then it wouldn't have looked so municipal.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:03 pm

Wednesday wrote:


I don't get the metal garden thingie at all.

Then again, when someone over on Facebook announced that she was going to Middleham and Fenn Lane, I thought: "Oh, I'd like to go to Middleham and Fenn Lane. Oh...wait. ::pause:: I'd like to go to Middleham." So I think I'd pass on the garden thingie anyway.

Which garden thingie? Do you have a link?
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:24 pm

http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/pound-75-000-sculpture-celebrate-Richard-III/story-20510507-detail/story.html

Click the arrows and you'll get an alternative view of it. It's been described as "innovative" which is a code-word for "peculiar", but at least a lot of thought seems to have gone into it.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:33 pm

What on earth? It's ghastly! I don't see how anything of the sort can "celebrate Richard" as the URL says. He would be dumbfounded if he saw it, I suspect.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:44 am

It seems to have been the best of a bad bunch. Bearing in mind that they already have an actual statue of Richard (even if it doesn't look much like him) I suppose they were looking for something a bit different. Out of the three front-runners I've totally forgotten what one of them was, which I guess shows it wasn't very memorable, and the other was an attempt at a cenotaph and iirc was basically a coffin on top of a phallically-proportioned pole, with some very Victorian-looking boars at the foot. Very death-related, anyway. At least the weird metal thingy shows him as a brave soldier rather than just a dead one.

It would look (slightly) better imo with some bushes and greenery around it, instead of that sterile gravel. But aesthetically the best one can say about it imo is that if metal theives come along in the night and nick it it won't be too big a wrench.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:52 am

Yes, opinions of the design are personal opinions but I think a tomb design ought to reflect the significance of the person buried - the last Plantagenet king of England, sometimes described as a warrior king, a king of good legislature. This tomb design reflects nothing of that.

And moreover and importantly, because it is so neutered in design, and does not contain the remains of the king, and all the "detail" (limited and poor as it has been designed) is on the floor - I think it extremely likely that in some future year when the cathedral needs further redesigns or alterations, it will be very easy to obtain permission to remove the tombstone and leave simply the marker on the floor as the memorial. If it were a significantly sculpted or ornate tomb with detail that referred to Richard actually on the stonework, this would be less likely. I believe the neutrality of the design is partly intentional for this purpose.

I agree, Wednesday.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:14 am

Colyngbourne wrote:
snip

And moreover and importantly, because it is so neutered in design, and does not contain the remains of the king, and all the "detail" (limited and poor as it has been designed) is on the floor - I think it extremely likely that in some future year when the cathedral needs further redesigns or alterations, it will be very easy to obtain permission to remove the tombstone and leave simply the marker on the floor as the memorial. If it were a significantly sculpted or ornate tomb with detail that referred to Richard actually on the stonework, this would be less likely. I believe the neutrality of the design is partly intentional for this purpose.


With the best will in the world, we cannot constrain the future actions of people as yet unborn. On that basis, whatever tomb is organised in whatever location would be available for removal, change, destruction or anything else. It may be harder to accomplish or easy, but in the end, if future people decide to remodel or change any building, there is nothing we can do today to prevent it. You have only to think of the Dissolution.....
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:09 am

This is true, but I believe redundancy has actually been built into this design deliberately - no commemorative decoration at all - in order that one day it may be conveniently removed without anyone making a huge fuss over the great loss of an aesthetic piece of commemorative stonework. Remember that actually Leicester Cathedral were all very keen on having a flush "slab" rather than a raised tombstone.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:45 am

It is true that the then Acting Dean of Leicester talked about a ledger stone, but that has changed and the new Dean of Leicester has different ideas and views. You might be pleased at that because it shows the authorities took account of public opinion, not the least of which came from the people of Leicester themselves who voted overwhelmingly for a tomb.

I can't see the logic in a Cathedral deliberately creating a tomb, changing the layout of the Cathedral etc all with a view to 'conveniently' removing it at a later date. To what end? I know you support York over Leicester, but saying that there is a deliberate plot to take it all away at a later date is going rather far.

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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:54 am

I don't think there is a plot to take away the tomb but I think it has been conveniently designed to be anonymous. Logic or not, there is great potential in decades to come that if the interment is in Leicester, that the tombstone will not always be there: just the memorial rose on the floor (and that an anachronistic Yorkshire Rose, not a Yorkist rose).

I think Leicester had to take account of the outcry over the flat ledger stone vs. raised tomb issue because 90-odd percent of people were against the former. Also I consider that the opinion of the people of Leicester(shire) should not be held above or valued above wider consultation of the nation. That is what has led to the current situation.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:04 pm

Thibault wrote:
It is true that the then Acting Dean of Leicester talked about a ledger stone, but that has changed and the new Dean of Leicester has different ideas and views.  You might be pleased at that because it shows the authorities took account of public opinion, not the least of which came from the people of Leicester themselves who voted overwhelmingly for a tomb.

I can't see the logic in a Cathedral deliberately creating a tomb, changing the layout of the Cathedral etc all with a view to 'conveniently' removing it at a later date.  To what end?   I know you support York over Leicester, but saying that there is a deliberate plot to take it all away at a later date is going rather far.


We might also remember that Leicester Uni wants perpetual access to the king's bones, to continue sampling and analyzing until...what? There's nothing left at all? I also remember that Leicester Cathedral's original attitude was pretty much, "Pray for this murderer" rather than, "Let's remember the king."

I keep remembering that historically the bones in graveyards were systematically moved to a charnel house when there was no more room in the graveyard...specifically to make room in the graveyard for newcomers.

I wouldn't put anything past them. As long as he makes money for Leicester, they'll want him around. But I really think that's the only reason they want him around. It's certainly not because they want to honor him or appreciate him otherwise. Yes, I know they're "designing things," but I'm not seeing any effort to actually honor Richard in their designs. "Exit Through the Gift Shop" is what I'm seeing.

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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:01 pm

Wednesday - please do not conflate the Cathedral and its designs with a remark by someone in the University of Leicester - they are two separate organisations.  This thread is about the Cathedral's plans.

Christian teaching says all men are sinners and it is a requirement to pray for people after death recognising that fact.  Leicester Cathedral did not say ',,,pray for this murderer....' it talked about honourable and dishonourable acts - something every human being on planet has done to a greater or lesser degree.  Or are you saying that somehow Richard was a saint who never did a dishonourable thing?  

Charnal houses - that would apply then to ALL Christian religious establishments, including York - or are you saying only Leicester would suddenly set up its own charnal house in the 21st century?

I thought the debate had moved on from the frankly ridiculous idea that somehow only money-grubbing Leicester is interested in tourism, whereas the York (which incidentally charges people to enter the Minister) is above such impure things.  Tourism is a very large part of York's economy, as it is with any city in the UK and in the US too, I assume.  Why is is only bad if Leicester promotes Richard III as part of improving its tourism offer?

I have been to Leicester several times since the bones were confirmed as being Richard's.  There is a huge effort in the city to honour Richard.  Their tourist information office is full of books about him from all sides of the debate, as well as postcards with Richard's prayer, his portraits, and other suitable images.  The Guildhall exhibition has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors.  The Cathedral is full of display boards about Richard's life and times, and their plans for the memorial garden and the interior of the Cathedral.  Across the road, the Visitors' Centre is taking shape and which will contain a variety of things to do with Richard and his life.

Are you saying all this is wrong?  It is bringing Richard to the population in a way Ricardians only dreamed of a few years ago.

Yes, Leicester will make money out of the increased tourism - but so would any city or town where Richard's remains were discovered.  Equally so will any city or town where he is reburied.  You cannot escape that fact, whether it is Leicester, York, Gloucester or wherever - tourism will follow and the civic authorities will make money.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:07 pm

Colyngbourne wrote:
I don't think there is a plot to take away the tomb but I think it has been conveniently designed to be anonymous. Logic or not, there is great potential in decades to come that if the interment is in Leicester, that the tombstone will not always be there: just the memorial rose on the floor (and that an anachronistic Yorkshire Rose, not a Yorkist rose).

In other words, it is your view/assumption that at sometime in the future the Leicester Cathedral authorities will take it into their heads to remove the tomb, just leaving the rose on the floor. You have no evidence for this, it is simply a '...feeling.....' Well you are entitled to that feeling, but please don't present it as a statement.

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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:55 am

It's not being presented as a "statement" - and it's not just a "feeling" either: it's a considered opinion. I think there is within the design the potential for its removal because it has nothing physically on it to link it to King Richard (and - even more an opinion - I consider it has very little artistic merit (which is not the same things as it being a lovely block of stone)).

It's not an assumption - it's a valid consideration which ought to be seriously considered. Churches these days do not like to install things that will be, literally, "set in stone" for the next few centuries to come because it militates against change and the redevelopment of the building; and yes, even Leicester Cathedral would be subject to those considerations, particularly so since they are a smaller building and any solid structure being introduced into the available space makes a huge difference to the lay-out and how the building is used and develops. This is partly which I imagine the thinking (once Dean Faull had left) was in terms of a flat, flush ledger stone. I believe from Philippa Langley's book that the initial idea in Dean Faull's time was a table-tomb but set by the northern wall in the sanctuary (where I imagine it would not have 'interfered' with the day-to-day useable footprint of the building).
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:31 pm

Thibault wrote:
Wednesday - please do not conflate the Cathedral and its designs with a remark by someone in the University of Leicester - they are two separate organisations.  This thread is about the Cathedral's plans.

They may be two separate organizations, but the Cathedral, the city, and the university have been working together from the moment it was determined the bones were Richard's and needed to be re-interred. The architect's brief for the original design of Richard's tomb states:  

Quote :
"The (Leicester Cathedral) Garden plans will now be tested in conjunction with the creation of a new visitor centre focussed on Richard III located on the south side of Peacock Lane (in a former grammar school building) and the development of the Guildhall as a visitor attraction."

That means they're working in conjunction with the City.

As regards the university, the Cathedral would be the one to accommodate the university's request that their personnel be afforded perpetual access to Richard's bones. I've seen no statement from Leicester Cathedral that they are unwilling to do this.

I suggest that the interests of these three separate organizations entwine on certain points, and they are working together of a necessity.

You can download and review the original architect's brief from the Diocese of Leicester in the article HERE, released by the diocese. The link to download the brief is at the bottom of the article under, "Architects Brief."

Quote :
Christian teaching says all men are sinners and it is a requirement to pray for people after death recognising that fact.  Leicester Cathedral did not say ',,,pray for this murderer....' it talked about honourable and dishonourable acts - something every human being on planet has done to a greater or lesser degree.  

Or are you saying that somehow Richard was a saint who never did a dishonourable thing?

I don't think Richard was a saint. But if miracles follow tourist visits to his "shrine" in the future, perhaps the Vatican will further narrow the differences between Anglican and Roman Catholic and consider making him one.

Christian teaching also says only God can judge men. Below are judgments the Cathedral laid on Richard in their brief:

Quote :
Despite his superior forces (Richard is estimated to have mustered 8,000 followers in comparison to Henry’s army of 5,000), Richard seems to have become demoralized – perhaps by recognizing a number of his former supporters among the opposing forces.
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.
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While the remains of an English King are of historical significance – and experience from the Royal visit for the Diamond Jubilee demonstrated how people are attracted to the mystery of royalty – it should not be forgotten that Richard demonstrated both the honourable and dishonourable characteristics of human beings. Opportunities for prayer and reflection should focus on themes of sin and redemption, justice and peace, as reflected in our history and our present.

Later in the brief they say:

Quote :
Richard III should be recognised as a significant figure in English history with a complex story which includes both laudable and problematic elements.


So what I see is that they're trying to balance the king with the reputed tyrant. Difficult job, I don't envy them.

Thibault wrote:
I thought the debate had moved on from the frankly ridiculous idea that somehow only money-grubbing Leicester is interested in tourism, whereas the York (which incidentally charges people to enter the Minister) is above such impure things.  Tourism is a very large part of York's economy, as it is with any city in the UK and in the US too, I assume.  Why is is only bad if Leicester promotes Richard III as part of improving its tourism offer?


It's not bad; Leicester needs the money desperately. But Leicester et. al.'s ongoing attitude of ownership as evidenced in: (1) the unprofessional tone of "nanny, nanny, we've got him and the rest of you are all idiots" published in a university employee's ongoing blog; (2) their initial determination to boot Philippa Langley and John Ashdown-Hill's efforts aside as if they had never existed, to make it seem as if the bones of Richard had sprung forth from the ground solely from the uni's efforts; (3) the blustering of Leicester city officials over the months and instant dismissal of the Plantagenet Alliance's efforts to look out for the king in ways Leicester didn't like; (4) the city officials refusing to take the judge's initial advice and consult in committee; (5) the cathedral's latest announcement that they have design approval but will not share that revised design... to me it all adds up to an ongoing arrogance between all three organizations that does not further the argument in any way that Richard "belongs" in Leicester. It's unprofessional. It lacks sensitivity. And I've not exactly been impressed by the designs that have been announced for tomb, reflection/picnic garden (is that what those standing metal thingies are supposed to stand in?), or visitor's center ("Let's put a mockup of the MRI and Dickon's bones just inside the front door, yeah?").

Quote :
I have been to Leicester several times since the bones were confirmed as being Richard's. There is a huge effort in the city to honour Richard.  Their tourist information office is full of books about him from all sides of the debate, as well as postcards with Richard's prayer, his portraits, and other suitable images.  The Guildhall exhibition has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors.  The Cathedral is full of display boards about Richard's life and times, and their plans for the memorial garden and the interior of the Cathedral.  Across the road, the Visitors' Centre is taking shape and which will contain a variety of things to do with Richard and his life.

Are you saying all this is wrong?  It is bringing Richard to the population in a way Ricardians only dreamed of a few years ago.


I'm not saying it's wrong. Leicester can make as much money on him as they want, that's not wrong. They can license tour busses to Bosworth and Fenn Lane like Sedona, Arizona licenses jeep tours to energy vortexes. They can sell books, postcards, posters, tea cozies, keychains, mock swords and bows and arrows for children, boar badges, jaunty Richard caps, portrait reproductions, miniatures of Richard on White Surrey, chess sets featuring him and Anne and their knights with a tiny, squished up Middleham Castle as the castle, DVDs of the documentaries and Olivier's Richard... more power to them that Richard will get to go home with people.

Commercialize him just as hard and fast as they can.

Quote :
Yes, Leicester will make money out of the increased tourism - but so would any city or town where Richard's remains were discovered.  Equally so will any city or town where he is reburied.  You cannot escape that fact, whether it is Leicester, York, Gloucester or wherever - tourism will follow and the civic authorities will make money.

I also cannot escape the fact that, deep in my heart, I feel that Leceister does not deserve to keep his bones. They knew where he was. They didn't bother to go and get him until an international effort made them look.

Leicester can still profit from Richard if he's not laid to rest there. You appear to want the king to stay in Leicester where he was thrown by the Tydder. I want him to go home to York because Yorkshire was his home and presumably -- at least part of the time -- he was at peace living there. There was no peace for him in Leicester; there was only death.

Anyway, both of us have made up our minds. Neither one of us is going to change our minds. Maybe one day I'll visit Leicester as you have and see how they're honoring the life of the king rather than focusing on his death. Right now, admittedly from a great distance, I'm just not convinced.

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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:03 pm

Yes, we are unlikely to change each other's mind  Very Happy  People are entitled to a personal opinion as to where they would like to see Richard reburied. However, I am saddened by the fact that people who have a view of Anywhere but Leicester tend to denigrate any aspect of the City, its people, its organisations, etc, often in the most intemperate language.

However, there is one thing from your post which I would quibble further over. You say:

I also cannot escape the fact that, deep in my heart, I feel that Leceister does not deserve to keep his bones. They knew where he was. They didn't bother to go and get him until an international effort made them look.

I would point out that NO-ONE from anywhere in the country or from abroad looked for him before PL started her campaign- not from York, not from Gloucester not from any other place which is now so agitated by the fact that (on the urging of PL) Leicester organisations got together and looked for him.

In the UK - organising and funding archaeological research is not restricted to the area where an investigation is to take place. There was nothing, for example, preventing Yorkshire folk or foreigners such as Americans, from raising the funding and carrying out the investigation. But in the end it wasn't anyone else but PL and the City of Leicester authorities and ULAS that did the deed.

I went to the Richard III Weekend Conference organised by ULAS in February. I met all the team involved in the dig (except Jo Appleby who is on maternity leave). They spent a lot of time with us socially as well as giving the lectures. Without exception, they were all deeply affected by the discovery and for some, humbled by it. All were very supportive of PL and her efforts to get the dig underway. They all spoke of the value of JAH's research in finding the Ibsens. They acknowledged the debt they owed to the 'amateurs' of the RIII Society, and of course especially PL and JAH. They did not give the impression that they 'owned' Richard III, but they were proud of their achievement in finding him.

Mathew Morris, the Field Director, said that had his trench been 30 cms to the right, he would have missed Richard entirely - they were that close to not finding him.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:35 pm

I think the thing that bothers me the most is the lack of consideration of where RICHARD would have wanted to be buried. Isn't it written down somewhere that the wishes of the dead should be taken into consideration? I don't think Richard ever imagined being buried in Leicester. Westminster, yes after anointing, St. George's, maybe, Yorkminster probably before anointing, Leicester????
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:43 pm

It is difficult to give consideration when the wishes of the deceased are not known. Unfortunately Richard's will has disappeared and he left no written record or evidence of where he wished to be buried. As he was only 32 at the time of his death, it is understandable that he would have assumed death to be many years away.
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PostSubject: Re: cathedral plans approved   Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:34 am

Just knowing what we do of Richard, I don't think Leicester would have made the top ten.  It was a small market town with no cathedral at that time.  I'm also pretty sure there would have been a will as death came suddenly in the 1400's.  Plague, illness, violence.  The will was probably disposed of as it would name his heirs.  The fact he buried his wife in Westminster indicates that would have been his choice.  Of course, I realize Westminster has no room, or so the say.  I'm sure there is room in the vault with Henry VII, and Elizabeth I.
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