LEICESTER’S claim to the remains of King Richard III seems to be based on little more than ‘finders keepers’, and it is tragic Leicester should be aided and abetted in its cause by the Dean of York, who has made the most bizarre pronouncement that the Plantagenet King should be reinterred in the 20th century cathedral in Leicester.
The Dean’s allegiance to her former stomping ground is regrettable in that it dismisses millions of pounds in tourism revenue which would accrue to York Minster and to the city of York from additional visitors. I would hope that a better decision will be sought by The Dean and Chapter that works in our interests and theirs.
Moreover, it denies the monarch’s own wishes, and those of his descendents. Let me ask, if a visitor to York were to be found tomorrow, brutally dispatched in one of our car parks, would anyone in their right mind insist the victim’s body should remain in the city? We would wish him to be repatriated as soon as is reasonably possible, and so it should be with the remains of Richard III.
Coun Dave Taylor, Former Heritage Champion for the City of York.
• HOW short-sighted of the Dean and Chapter of York Minster to say that they do not want Richard III’s remains buried in the Minster. A burial in York would have helped to put right all the wrongs done to this much-maligned king. He was loved in York and was a ‘good lord’ to its citizens. York was the only city brave enough to express sorrow at his death.
It is historical practice to move kings and queens to a place more fitting to their status. In support of a burial in York the council’s chief executive, Kirsten England, has written to the Queen, the Lord Mayor and Council have contacted the Ministry of Justice, our MPs have shown their support, but York Minster says no, Leicester can have him. Would Richard have wanted to be buried in Leicester?
An increase in tourism is not the reason why 14,000 people (to date) have signed a petition for a burial in York but it undoubtedly would have been the result. If the Dean and Chapter can afford to throw away such an opportunity then perhaps all those who spend their time fund-raising for the Minster should think again about how they spend their time.
Verna Campbell, Fulford Park, Fulford, York.
• THE state of his spine and the manner and place of burial of King Richard III ends a controversy which has been going on since his death. The York City Minute Book of 1491 records in extraordinary detail the appearance before the Mayor’s Court of the men involved in a near-fracas in the house of a city official.
A certain John Payntor is quoted as saying to the schoolmaster of St Leonard’s Hospital that the Earl of Northumberland died a traitor to the king (the Earl had refrained from committing his troops at Bosworth until he had gauged the winning side). Payntor denied this remark, but stated that the schoolmaster had asserted that King Richard “was an ypocrate a crochebake and beried in a dike like a dogge”.
Whereupon Payntor accused the schoolmaster of lying “for the Kynges good grace hath beried hym like a noble Gentilman”. Witnesses to the occasion include various chaplains and the Prior of Bolton in Craven. The Prior in a letter denied the remarks and said Paynter was “besy of language… we supposed he was distempide awther with aill or wyn”. The city fathers refrained from pressing the matter and bound over both men over to keep the peace.
It would seem from many entries in the council minutes that York’s “moost famous prince of blissed memory” was revered and admired for the quality of his administration, so much so that Henry VII’s representative “durst not for fere of deth come thrugh the Citie” to proclaim him. The intended foundation of his chantry for 100 priests demonstrates his intention to remain for ever in the city and in the north where he had spent most of his life.
Rita Freedman, (Retired York City Archivist), Egton Grange, Whitby.
• I WISH to express my dismay at the attitude displayed by the York Chapter over the reinterment of Richard III at York Minster. To support the position assumed by Leicester Council and University is as despicable as it is disloyal to people of their community.
Notwithstanding the Ministry of Justice’s early involvement, how can it be correct for his remains to be retained in Leicester? There is considerable strength of feeling about this in York and across Yorkshire. This is another illustration of the Church of England’s lack of touch on the feelings and opinions of the community it allegedly serves.
Is this another manifestation of the prejudice and bigotry so recently shown by the Church towards women and homosexuals because Richard was Catholic?
The arbitrary nature by which the Chapter have washed their hands of this matter only serves to strengthen the ‘don’t care’ attitude shown about community issues by the Church.
Yorkshire people are not known for taking things lying down and this will only increase the gap between the Church and the community.
The campaign for Richard’s remains to return to York continues to grow. The Chapter and the Church are going to have serious egg on their faces if they do not reconsider their position.
Jonathan CD Pridmore, York.
• WHO are the people, the generally unknown members of the Chapter of York Minster, who have made a decision among themselves to decline the remains of King Richard III?
This surely is an issue that merits being mulled over by the Archbishop of York and the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
What a blessing, however, that the House of Lancaster is staying out of it.
One wonders what the Bard would have had to say.
Ron Willis, First Avenue, Mt Lawley, Western Australia.
• THE identification of the remains of Richard Plantagenet was a triumph of scientific archaeology, but is of slight importance historically.
Had Richard won the battle of Bosworth, it would have changed little. His character, either good or bad, is of no greater significance. All he represented, the political ideas and assumptions of his age, have happily passed into oblivion.
Of course, story-book history has its place.
I look forward to these old bones being reburied in York attended by all the pomp and flummery customarily associated with such public occasions.
It is, after all, the stuff of tourism, York’s last viable and sustaining industry But let’s be serious for a moment: he was only a king.
William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.