Richard III tomb plans revealed by Leicester cathedral

Leicester cathedral The proposed marker would be in the same place and in a similar style as a memorial stone dedicated in 1982 which lies between Canons' stalls

Richard III could be laid to rest under a simple slab, under plans revealed by Leicester Cathedral officials.

The notorious king was killed in 1485 and his remains were found under a Leicester car park in September.

The diocese wants to put what is known as a ledger stone in the chancel and said proposals for a larger monument were "disproportionate".

A consultation will now be held, with a final design expected in October ahead of a reinterment due in May 2014.

Richard was killed at the battle of Bosworth by the forces of the future Henry VII.

He was hastily buried in the church of Greyfriars but the exact location was lost when the building was demolished in the 16th Century.

Despite an ongoing claim from York, the remains are expected to be laid to rest in Leicester, just a short distance from where they were rediscovered.

'Very disappointed'

Leicester Cathedral's governing board, known as Chapter, has drawn up a series of ideas and principles to guide architects who will come up with the final design.

It said: "(Our preference) is to mark the place of burial with a ledger stone, in line with the form of grave marker used most commonly for monarchs in the modern period.

Who was Richard III?

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral
  • Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary Queen of Scots was later executed
  • As Duke of Gloucester, Richard took a rampant white boar as his sign
  • His coronation took place in Westminster Abbey, in a ceremony very similar to HM the Queen's
  • Richard had one of the shortest reigns in English history - 26 months

Source: BBC History

"Such a gravestone might be appropriately framed with a decorative border to ensure that its place within the space is properly articulated. While other forms of grave, tomb or memorial cannot be ruled out prior to consultation; it is unlikely that large table-top tomb or effigy would be acceptable."

Officials said the cathedral was a "modest" building which might be dominated by a large monument and they were keen to avoid anything which was a "pastiche".

Canon Barry Naylor, acting dean of Leicester cathedral, said: "We hope it will be a place of dignified simplicity which will give honour to Richard by the prominent location it has, close to the holiest place in the cathedral.

"One of the things we have to do at the cathedral is to consider the whole life of the cathedral and (we need) a tomb which will fit into that and we think a ledger stone will be more appropriate rather than a big edifice."

The Richard III Society, which was closely involved in the project to find the grave, had also put forward its own design for a tomb.

Its East Midlands Branch Secretary, Sally Henshaw, said she was "very disappointed" their idea for a large, limestone table-top design had been shunned.

"There has been a ledger stone dedicated to Richard III in Leicester cathedral since 1982, before his remains were discovered.

"To simply have another stone does not, I think, really reflect his status as an anointed king, the last of the Plantagenets and his warrior death.

"I think people who will come from all over the world, who have been fascinated by the story, will be disappointed".

As part of the plans the cathedral also said it wanted to renovate its gardens and remodel the building's interior, while retaining its primary function as a place of worship.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Honestly, I thought that the tomb proposed by the Richard III society was absolutely beautiful; a ledger stone will not have the same visual impact. Should RIII be buried in York? If he had not been King, then yes, but given he was King, then I think Richard would have wanted to be buried with all the other crowned Kings and Queens - in Westminster Abbey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Seems odd,all the fussing over where he should be buried,and then want his tomb to be low key. They either want him as a tourist attraction or not.
    Can't see many people travelling to see a slab on the floor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    So the cathedral says that, "as part of its plans, it wants to renovate its gardens and remodel the building's interior".

    I see. They are already planning how to spend the big money they confidently expect to rake in from mass-marketing their prize. Richard III mugs, tea towels, T-shirts and baseball caps anyone?

    "A place of dignified simplicity"... forgive me for being unconvinced.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I see that the point has already been made that Richard was a Catholic, but that Church does not appear to have claimed him, Perhaps they are a too busy currently,

    However, what Leicester Cathedral are proposing seems very reasonable in the circumstances but with a somewhat larger
    memorial that just a "marker".

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    York are going to get him so what does it matter?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Does it matter where he is buried? Hes dead and has been for the last 700 years or so. If he is aware he is probably quite at home in Leicester after all this time.It does seem that York is jumping onto a band wagon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Gotta say I don't really care, but logically, rationally and emotionally I seems to make sense that he go to York, Leicestershire claim is very weak.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Leicester should be his final resting place in a simply marked grave as proposed. RIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    He was Richard of York not Leicestershire. Should be in the Minster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Surely Richard of York - should be interred in York. Just because someone dies away from home doesn't mean they are buried away from home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Sounds like a great way for the church to cash in on tourism to see where he's buried.

    I don't think building a new tomb would quite fit. Most in churches have hundreds of years of history and wear to them giving them character.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    A simple engraved slab in Leicester Cathedral would be great. Quiet and dignified. York are turning this issue into a circus - I reckon they don't give a fig about Richard III or what he wanted, but are thinking of the tourism lolly that this might generate. Leicester stumped up the money for the investigation, so if there's any rewards to be reaped that would be the place most entitled to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    This is precisely why the burial should not be entrusted to Leicester. As they admit, their cathedral is too modest a building. He should go to York or Westminster Abbey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Gill Leeds
    He should be laid to rest in York Minister, which is where he belongs, to the spoils the victor, the only reason he was buried in Leicester was because of the battle and the future Henry Tudor did not want a shrine or a momument for Richards followers to rally round. That is the only reason that he is there. He is a Yorkist King and should be laid to rest in a fitting place.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    There are people who feel very strongly that his final resting place should be in York.

    Whatever is decided his tomb shouldn't be made into a circus or tourist attraction to boost the economy of Leicester

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Seems appropriate to me. Leicester cathedral isn't Saint Pauls. A huge tomb would turn it into 'Richard the III cathedral' and just get in the way.

    Something tasteful on the floor which doesn't block access to half the building is significantly better than Richard has put up with for the last 500 years!


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