Richard III - What next?

6 February 2013

The Battlefields Trust congratulates Richard Buckley and his team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester on their excellent work to discover the remains of Richard III and identify the remains as definitively his. This is a triumph for archaeology. This find comes hard on the heels of the discovery of the true topography of the battlefield at Bosworth (1485) by archaeologists from the Battlefields Trust and Leicester County Council in 2010. That work pinpointed the spot where Richard was unhorsed in a (since drained) marsh and where he then received the wounds that can now be studied on his skeleton. Putting the two pieces of archaeology together means that we can reconstruct in detail the events that led to the end of the Yorkist dynasty and the start of the Tudors. They reinforce and inform each other.

The Trust has no views on the next stage – Richard III’s reinterment - other than to make some observations. Richard was buried in hallowed ground with Christian rites even though – several times over– it was not the funeral he had intended. His burial site, although not his actual tomb, was desecrated later. He should be reinterred now according to the proper rites obtaining in 2013. The important point is for a dignified and appropriate commemoration.

The Trust makes the proper commemoration of the fallen one its obligations. To this end the Trust collaborated with the Church of England in 2011 to celebrate a requiem mass for the 2,500 men killed at the Second Battle of St Albans in 1461, who were deliberately buried in unhallowed ground without Christian rites. The mass was modern liturgy but with music contemporary to the battle. The Trust would be happy to share this experience if it is relevant now

The Battlefields Resource Centre