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.


More on This Story

Richard III: Return of the King

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  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    It seems opposed to diversity awareness that we discriminate the rights of the living from the rights of the dead. Richard III was a devoted Catholic, there was no protestant church in his lifetime, he would have seen Leicester Cathedral as unconsecdrated ground and would not have wanted his remains to repose there. What justification can there be to bury him there?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Did he have murdered the princes over in that tower? These are timeless crimes and unspeakable acts of evil not put right by centuries or culture. There needs to be a thorough debate before we give him anything near a decent burial. Put him on exhibit in a glass case if he is proven to be the heinous murdering scum everyone, up until last week, claimed he was?

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    'Under the terms of the exhumation licence granted to the archaeologists the decision over the location of the king's reburial rests with the University of Leicester.'

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    He wanted to be buried in york, he is from york. the finders keepers mentality by leicester is immature, they care nothing for him or have any interest just a way of boosting tourism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I'll bet he gets buried near to the gift shop!

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I think they all have good claims for his remains. My preference would be for him to be buried where he fell.

    As befitting a king he should have something a little more than a slab to mark his resting place, but nothing too ornate to distract from the surroundings. It just seems a little ironic that a compromise needs to be found when he ruled in such uncompromising times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    I couldn't give a Richard the 3rd myself, in the present day they can't organise a proverbial in a Brewery & Charlie boy is in Jordan you've got OAPs freezing to death and disabled people being removed from the Dole so Flashman the drayman can reduce his unemployment figures, alas poor Yorik so did Richard as I understand it, off with your head. TaTa.PS how is Leicester? Good Curry old boy

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I think the Leicester authorities are showing good taste- there will probably be a display in some museum to cater for the tourist interest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    it does sound a bit like Leicester Cathedral aren't really that interested

    ...buried with all the other crowned Kings and Queens - in Westminster Abbey.

    actually only 17 out of 62 English (then) British monarchs are buried in Westminster Abbey

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    I think Richard would have wanted to be buried with all the other crowned Kings and Queens - in Westminster Abbey.


    Edward VIII is not buried in Westminster, regardless of his abdication, he was still a Monarch

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    "All the other crowned monarchs" aren't in Westminster Abbey, many are in France - because they were French. Cardboard box in a museum is fine for most archaeological remains so why not these?

    Mrs Windsor (the current holder of this office) seems not to have expressed an opinion. You'd have thought she might be interested.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    he was part of an era who ruled over the poor with an iron fist and anyone who didnt agree with his church law or with his monarchy was burnt at the stake. People like him oversaw brutality and oppression which makes modern day dictatorship look like a democracy.

    They didnt call it the dark ages cause it was dark

    He should not have the honour of a burial, should be tossed in a ditch somewhere...

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    He was born in Norhamptonshire, bury him in Fotheringay his birthplace.

    There is a superb church there and very little else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    @Bruxical 16
    Yes, I see what you mean, but I was very moved by Jane Austen's slab on the floor of Winchester Cathedral. I suppose it depends who is underneath?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    They should have just left the bones in the car park and saved all this bother.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Even when a human is long dead, it is only fitting to treat their remains with respect and dignity, whoever they are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    This is obviously a gimmick to attract more tourists to the cathedral.
    I suppose it make perfect sense, it must be the only industry we will have left soon enough!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    @9 He was Richard Duke of Gloucester and actually born in Northamptonshire.

    York didn't seem to want or look for him for 500 years so it's a bit rich that now they want him back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Richard himself said he wanted to be buried in York.

    To my mind that is an end to the argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Really don't care where he goes although I will not be happy if the expense of a state funeral is gone to, shouldn't we look after the living rather than pampering some 700 hundred year old bones.


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