Mid Anglia Group, Richard III Society

Archive for the month “July, 2016”

Review of The Mythology of Richard III by John Ashdown-Hill


I have read several of JAH’s books and always find them thoroughly researched and informative. That’s not to say that I always agree with his conclusions, but mostly I do.

His latest book concerns both the ancient myths surrounding his life, death and burial and more modern, newer myths which have begun since his remains were discovered.

He is systematic and clear in his explanations and his arguments are always logical. He also includes many photos and illustrations to clarify his points.

I am an avid reader of anything Ricardian and I thought I knew most of the mythology surrounding Richard, but there are in depth analyses of myths in this book which I had not been aware of or which give more detail with well-documented evidence.

One is the claim that Richard was not legally married to Anne Neville because of the lack of a suitable dispensation. I remember…

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More on “The Accidental Traitor”


EHFA Arthur_Capel,_1st_Baron_Capel_by_Henry_Paert_the_ElderCapells

Last year, we posted an essay about the life and death of Arthur Capell, Baron Hadham. Now, thanks to Anna Belfrage of EHA  we can add two portraits (above); one of Hadham alone, and one with his family.



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Evidence suggests Bury St Edmunds had a key role in Magna Carta


Magna-Carta-front-coverA fascinating new book reveals evidence that Bury St Edmunds played a more crucial role in the build up to the sealing of Magna Carta than anyone previously thought, according to one of the UK’s leading historians.

David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History of King’s College, London, says research for his book, Magna Carta, has revealed new evidence which not only proves that the meeting of rebellious barons did take place in the town’s Abbey in 1214 – but also much earlier than previously suggested.

This argument has never been presented before.

Professor Carpenter, who is one of UK’s leading authorities on the revolutionary 1215 document, is also one of a team of prominent historians working on the national three-year Magna Carta Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Magna Carta, published by Penguin Classics shortly, is set to become a standard text for students of the Charter…

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Colchester Castle

A small group of us met at the front of the Castle, at the southern end of Castle Park, on Saturday afternoon. We first viewed the outside of the present Norman structure, as well as the Lucas-Lisle memorial around the back, marking the spot that these two local Royalist leaders were shot in August 1648 after the siege. It is said that grass never grows there as a result.

Memorial at Colchester Castle


The inside of the Castle is arranged chronologically. The upstairs is devoted to the Iron Age and Roman eras. The many artefacts include some Iron Age tools and then illustrate the arrival of Claudius’ army (43 AD), the Temple of Claudius now laying under the Castle, Boudicca’s revolt (60), the later Roman period after Constantine’s conversion and their departure. We saw, by chance, a depiction of a boar among the Iron Age artefacts.


Iron age boar

The rest of Colchester’s history is displayed downstairs, starting with the Anglo-Saxons who abandoned towns for their first few centuries. Under a Viking threat in the North and Midlands, Edward the Elder and other Wessex Kings reurbanised the parts of England they still ruled. The Castle and other town landmarks such as St. John’s Abbey date from soon after the Norman Conquest. Several town charters, from the reigns of Richard I to William III, are on display. John Howard Duke of Norfolk, Francis Viscount Lovell and the Stafford brothers of Grafton  are glossed over a little here but the two centuries after Bosworth are not. The final exhibit in order is the siege and prison department, which names twenty-three people held here and then burned during Mary I’s short reign, amounting to eight per cent of her national total. Matthew Hopkins, the “Witchfinder-General” caused several mostly harmless people to be hanged between Bury St. Edmunds and Chelmsford during the 1640s although he died before the siege. Sir Charles Lucas, whose family bought St. John’s Abbey after it was dissolved, was a Royalist leader during these three months as was Sir George Lisle. Arthur Capell Baron Hadham, descended from Richard’s sister Anne of Exeter, was beheaded on Tower Hill the following March. James Parnell was a teenaged Quaker preacher imprisoned here until he died of starvation in 1655.

Colchester castle

In the century following the Restoration, Colchester Castle was intended to decay entirely but was purchased and rescued so, from the outside, looks like the complete article, although it may originally have been a little taller.


An update



Thankyou to those who read our post “The explorer and the Clarence descendent”. We now know that, just like Richard III himself, there is a facial reconstruction of Bartholomew Gosnold.


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Arthur Capell, Baron Hadham – the accidental traitor


The middle of the seventeenth century was a turbulent time and it would be very surprising were not some remnants of the House of York involved. Indeed, Ashby de la Zouch Castle, property of Ferdinando, Earl of Huntingdon, was slighted during this time as a result of his participation. Another Royalist partisan was Arthur Capell, an MP and warrior with a strong East Anglian connection, Plantagenet blood and a sense of honour that was to lead to his downfall.

The Capells had originally been wealthy merchants from Stoke-by-Nayland in Suffolk – a connection with the eponymous village is highly probable – and also owners of Rayne Hall, near Braintree. Sir William (c.1428-1515) was an MP and Lord Mayor of London, buying Hadham Hall in Hertfordshire in 1504. It had a large garden and a deer park, being visited by Elizabeth I in 1578.
His son, Gyles, was knighted…

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