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 217.

    Of course Richard should be in York or Westminster Abbey

    At least he will find peace in Leicester Cathedral, no one will ever go there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    -2, really? Facts hurt that much? Well here, somemore. His brother Edward IV was actually the Duke of York at that time, Richard the III was, before he became King, the Duke of Gloucester. But I suppose it hurts your cause to call him "Richard of Gloucester" instead of "Richard of York".

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    For the last freaking time, "Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, 6th Earl of March, 4th Earl of Cambridge, and 7th Earl of Ulster", commonly known as "Richard of York" is not the same person as Richard III. It's been posted like what? Five times now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    Richard of York was killed and his body apparently maltreated. He then received an extremely modest burial under the eyes of hostile soldiers - hardly suitable for the last Plantagenet king. The people of York mourned. His grave was then forgotten, eventually becoming a municipal car park.

    Bring him back to York and give him a proper funeral. I would be very happy to contibute to a fund.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    1. Richard of York wanted to be buried in . . . York.
    2. His existing relatives want him to be buried in . . .York.
    3. Most of the population want him to be buried in . . . York.

    So he'll be buried in . . . Leicester.

    It's just wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    Leicester? Oh dear. Should be York.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Left to me, I'd have Richard buried in Westminster Abbey or at York, complete with effigy. As the last Plantagenet King, he deserves more than a ledger stone after where his remains've been for hundreds of years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    This whole saga has shown how pathetically parochial we Brits really are. Yorkists lost the battle to have him buried in York 500 years ago. The proposal by the Richard III Society for the huge table top had all the subtlety of a sledge hammer and spoke more of their own ego than anything else. I think that the cathedral authorities have got this just right and hope he can rest in peace soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Its good archaeological practise to rebury people as close as possible to where they were found.
    Richard was found in Leicster, that is where he should remain,. dont try to rewrite history.
    Personally i dont really care either way, the level of whining on both sides is annoying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    2nd point:
    Since he was of the House of York, he should be buried in York Minster. That, at least, would comply with his wishes and acknowledge that wherever he was born, as a King of the House of York he belongs there and not in the area where he was done to death and subjected to a shabby burial.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    I appreciate that Leicester University carried out the dig-but they would not have been successful without the hard work and research of the Richard lll Society. It is patently both wrong and unprofessional to ignore the wishes of that Society. Further, King Richard was betrayed and murdered in Leicestershire and there was evidence that his body was maltreated during transport to Leicester.MORE...

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    York Minster is probably a more befitting place for a Yorkist King than the somewhat austere Leicester cathedral. But as noted he had a dignified buried near the alter at Gray Friars in what seems to have been a very low key ceremony. After Henry VIII had Grey Friars demolished and Richard III remains were forgotten it makes sense to move him across the road and bury him in Leicester cathedral.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    "But he seized power ruthlessly, with extra-judicial executions, and deposed the lawfully designated heir."

    Sounds precisely like Henry Tudor to me...

    Except that Henry Tudor didn't merely depose any lawfully designated heirs of the House of York but killed them all. (Proven and documented, unlike anything that may or may not have happened to the Princes.) And look at his tomb.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    All that's needed is a plaque on a floor or wall somewhere. He's just a bloke that died a long time ago, recorded history is the only monument required.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    In fairness to some comments re Leicester - RIII was not dumped or buried in car park - he was hurriedly buried with dignity in consecrated ground by monks. I think he should be buried in York but the arguments are getting silly. He was a young man killed in battle and not just bones - please remember that and show respect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    So the lies of the Tudors continue. It has been proven that Richard had nothing to do with the Princes demise and that it was probably Henry who had them murdered."
    This has not been proven at all! Conversely, there is no definite proof that he murdered them, either. But he seized power ruthlessly, with extra-judicial executions, and deposed the lawfully designated heir.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    If Richard of York, later King Richard III, is not to be buried in along with most other English monarchs, in Westminster Abbey, then he should lie in York Minster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    Has Buckingham Palace been consulted ?. Surely they should have been asked for their opinion. Despite his reputation a King is still a King and who knows what the truth about him really was.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    I am not sure the decision should be up to the local Anglican priests. It would be nice to have a simple consensus between the Church, academic historians and probably Buckingham Palace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    @ 190.Manuel Hung
    American tourists should also please note that cockney rhyming slang for an american is a "septic". Note the second word in a ryming slang is not normally used,.... except by tourists..


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