Mid Anglia Group, Richard III Society

Archive for the tag “Richard III”

Remembering …

this interview exactly six years ago, on Radio 4’s “Today”, between Evan Davis and John


Ricardian Bulletin articles available online

 The Richard III Society

Promoting research into the life and times of Richard III since 1924
Patron: HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO
Bringing you the latest important news and events about Richard III.

society head

Dear Members,

The Ricardian Bulletin, the Society’s quarterly members’ magazine, publishes a number of historical articles in each issue. These are invariably of high quality, often reflecting fresh research into, or new interpretations of, fifteenth century history as it relates to Richard III and his life and times. To enable these articles to reach a wider readership we are making a selection available on the Society’s website.

Too often the narrative of King Richard’s life is dominated by questions over how he became king and the fate of the two sons of Edward IV. The selection made available seeks to redress this imbalance and highlight some of the positive and less well known aspects of the king’s life: his strong belief in personal loyalty, his commitment to the fair application of the law, his abilities as an administrator and military commander and his religious faith. We also explore the influence of his father, Richard duke of York and the visit of Nicolas von Popplau to the king’s court in 1484.

Articles currently available are:
Richard III and the Men who Died in Battle by the late Lesley Boatwright, the late Moira Habberjam and Peter Hammond.
Like father, like son: Richard, duke of York and Richard III by Matthew Lewis.
Richard III and St Ninian by Sandra Pendlington
Richard III and ‘our poor subject Katherine Bassingbourne  by David Johnson
Richard III and Scotland by David Santiuste
The loveliest music and the Turkish frontier itself: von Popplau’s day with King Richard by Marie Barnfield

Over time we will be adding further articles from the Bulletin’s archive to the Society’s website.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019.
Executive Committee
Richard III Society

Alex Marchant writes:

Alex Marchant is author of two novels, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, together telling the story of the last three years in the life of King Richard III for readers aged 10+. The Order has been called ‘a wonderful work of historical fiction … altogether an enjoyable book for both children and adults’ by the Ricardian Bulletin and both it and The King’s Man can be bought as paperback or ebook through Amazon at myBook.to/WhiteBoar or through the author at AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.
Day one, first stop on my “Author Tour of Major Battlefields and Other Places Associated with my Major Character….” Barnet, Battle of. 1471.
At the end of last year, as author of a newly published children’s book about King Richard III, with a sequel due out in the spring, I realized I would have to start promotional activities if I wanted to sell any copies. Part of my planning involved identifying events where I might be able to have a stall. Middleham and Bosworth were top of my list, being festivals I’d been to at least once before. I also knew of the Tewkesbury medieval festival and, given that ‘the-battles-of-Barnet-and-Tewkesbury’ is a phrase that often trips off the tongue without much thought, I wondered whether there would be a similar event in the place that played host to the King’s first battle.
I was in luck. In fact, before I’d even begun looking in to it, I was contacted by the secretary of the newly formed Barnet Battlefield 1471 Society, Liz Bown, who’d heard about publication of The Order of the White Boar, to ask if I would supply copies for the Society to sell at its busy programme of events. And would I perhaps like to come along to the second annual Barnet medieval festival that the Society was organizing in June 2018 to give a talk and sign books?
It wasn’t a difficult decision to make (once I’d bribed my daughter – whose birthday coincided with the event – with the promise of an evening out in London afterwards). So that’s how I found myself, at an early (for me) hour of the morning of Saturday 9th June making my way through the quiet unsuspecting suburban streets of Barnet towards the Old Elizabethans rugby club.
Driving on to the club grounds was like entering a different world. Yet one with which I should have been somewhat familiar – having researched and imagined medieval battle camps when I was writing The King’s Man. But actually encountering such a camp as it was waking up was new to me. The drifting smell of woodsmoke from cooking fires, the distant clang of hammer on metal as the armourer started work, the colourful array of tents of all shapes and sizes, the flutter of standards, people clad in all manner of medieval garb, from the finest ladies and gentlemen to small children playing before breakfast. I’d been asked to come early to set up my stall before the gates opened to the public – and it was a pleasure to do that and enjoy the atmosphere lovingly recreated by the re-enactors before the invasion of modern visitors.
I’d been a little uncertain when asked to wear medieval clothing for the festival, but it wasn’t long before I was changed and ready in my page’s costume. (The leading character in my books, Matthew Wansford, is himself page at Middleham Castle to King Richard while he’s still Duke of Gloucester, so it seemed appropriate to hire such an outfit for the summer’s events.) Though I was worried about its lack of authenticity, given it came from a theatrical costumier rather than a re-enactment supplier, everyone was far too polite to make any adverse comments and I soon felt very much at home in it.
My stall was set up alongside that of the Barnet Battlefield Society, in a prime position overlooking the arena, so I was lucky enough to be able to watch the re-enactments without leaving it. These re-enactments were of the Battle of Barnet itself, and earlier in the day the second Battle of St Albans (possibly in order to offer some sort of balance in terms of victories for both sides). These were my first re-enactments and also the first at the Barnet Festival itself, and the companies involved – including the Medieval Siege Society, the Wars of the Roses Federation and the House of Bayard – acquitted themselves well. From the first sounds of the drums announcing the muster and the parades of troops, through the powerful cannonades and arrow-storms, to the fierce hand-to-hand fighting – all described for the watching crowds by a lively commentary – it was a stirring experience for the audience. And somehow the soldiers managed it all in the growing heat of the afternoon despite their full armour.
As well as the battles, there were of course a variety of other displays of hand guns and archery, the re-enactors’ camps and plenty of stalls selling authentic (and some less authentic) wares to occupy the many visitors, and medieval music group La Trouvère travelled down from Yorkshire to perform. My own talk – combining a passage from the start of the Battle of Bosworth from The King’s Man with a description of King Richard’s role at Barnet and the development of his ‘black’ reputation under the Tudors – was well attended and received, despite the competing attractions. I hope that a few people went away from the Festival with a different view of the King – or at least questions in their minds about what they thought they knew about him.
Overall, the weekend seems to have been a great success. Upwards of 5,000 people attended what was a free festival, organized in a remarkably short time by a very hardworking group of volunteers. Visitors came from far afield and all appeared to have a fantastic time. I certainly enjoyed it and have put the dates in my diary for next year (8th and 9th June 2019).
Some of my favourite memories are from the latter part of each day – when the dogwalkers who usually frequent the fields arrived for their evening strolls to find battles still going on – among the many children who had bought wooden swords, shields, helmets and bows from the stalls. At one point, the children even banded together into two smallish armies, with one streaming down from their vantage point at the top of the arena field to engage with their enemy below. This perhaps isn’t the way they learn history in school – but I think the festival may well have kindled an enduring interest in the medieval period in many of them.

Many thanks to Alex for writing sharing her experiences with us. Many of you may have met up with her at Bosworth last month or, indeed at Barnet.


We know Richard III was first buried (and exhumed many years later) on 25 August and it seems logical, although we don’t know exactly, that John Howard, Duke of Norfolk was interred on the same day. So, it seemed to be the ideal date to visit the 1107 Cluniac Priory, which lies only five minutes from the station. It was a dry day, which is very helpful because Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners were ruthless in implementing the Dissolution and so is the Priory today. The foundations and first foot of the walls remain as well as more at the north end, away from the entrance gate. Norfolk was moved here to join his family a few years after 1485 but before about 1540, when they were taken to St. Michael’s, Framlingham.

The local Wetherspoon, in the market place, bears the Howard heraldic name of the Red Lion and I lunched in there. The walls were festooned with local history – from the Iceni, the Priory building to the Dissolution and the local factories – but I couldn’t photograph these because there were diners in the way. There was a poster about Ayrton Senna, who lived in Attleborough during his Lotus days.

Just round the back was the Dads’ Army Museum, which gave me two ideas about Edward IV. He had a brother with an apparent drink problem and, whilst married, had feelings towards a widow named Grey, both of which apply to Captain Mainwaring.

Will they dig down for St Edmund, do you think….?


abbey gardens, bury st edmunds

Searching for historic remains seems to be the thing now. More than ever since Richard III. I hope that the work of the folk who went to the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds on International Dowsers Day will lead to another great discovery.

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An obituary


Here is the BBC’s official post about Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, who died last Friday. However, his permanent legacy includes these Powerpoint presentations, originally devised so that he can still educate you about Richard, his life, family and era when he first became unwell enough to do so in person. Alternatively, this is the East Anglian Daily Times’ take.

Image: Riikka.

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Newsletter June 2018

MAG Newsletter June 2018

The Court of Requests and Thomas Seckford


In 1484, King Richard III created a minor equity court to deal with minor disputes in equity; these are disputes where the harshness of common law would be acknowledged by those appointed by the Crown. Equity courts were mostly seen as the Lord Chancellor’s remit, and the split of the Chancery Courts from the Curia Regis happened in the mid-fourteenth century. By the time of King Richard III, the Chancery Court had become backlogged from cases pleading the harshness of the common law, and the Court of Requests was no doubt and attempt to remove minor equity cases from the backlog and free up court time – Richard’s attempt at reducing bureaucracy and better administration.

So successful was the Court of Requests that it survived Richard’s reign, and was formalised by the Privy Council of Henry “Tudor”, the usurper. It was a popular court, because the cost of cases was…

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Colwell Wood Cottage

Thought you might be interested in the following received from Pam Benstead, Worcester Branch


This cottage in Devon once belonged to Richard Duke of Gloucester. It was featured in The Times on 29 September 2017 and many thanks to Judith Sealey who spotted it and gave me the photo.

The Court of Richard III

As some of you are fans:

On October 2nd the new version of Court of King Richard III by The Legendary Ten Seconds was released. Here are some links to it:-



Thanks very much to Ian Churchward for the links.

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