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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:06 AM   #1
jeremy h
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A horse, a horse, my kingdom for...

Ok, it's not about beefburgers or even guns .

But buried in a car park in Leicester they have found...


Drum roll...



Richard III ...

Ta Dah!



(Apparently he owes a fortune in car parking fees...)

There's a nice graphic here showing the location
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jeremy h View Post
Ok, it's not about beefburgers or even guns .

But buried in a car park in Leicester they have found...


Drum roll...



Richard III ...

Ta Dah!



(Apparently he owes a fortune in car parking fees...)

There's a nice graphic here showing the location
Yes, I read about this when it was first mentioned - sometime last autumn. An absolutely fascinating story, with impressive research, guesswork, thought and work put into working out where the remains actually lay.

Apparently, the BBC did a documentary when the remains were uncovered and plan to broadcast it sometime later this year. I look forward to seeing it.

Well done, too, to Leicester City Council, who were apparently very supportive of the whole research project and allowed the car park to be dug up in order for the search for the remains to be carried out.

I like your remark about owing a fortune in car parking fees........me, I'd send that particular bill to Henry Tudor, although you might have difficulty extracting said money from him as he was famously tight-fisted......
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:42 AM   #3
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Channel 4 tonight - 9pm...

The car park fee joke is doing the rounds at the moment - everyone is working it out at the NCP day rate.

I'd just direct NCP to look for a thorn bush - they should find the fee hanging there.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 07:45 AM   #4
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couldn't the fees be directed to the crown? (and I'd hate to see what they are with interest added and late charges)...
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:48 AM   #5
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Channel 4 tonight - 9pm...

The car park fee joke is doing the rounds at the moment - everyone is working it out at the NCP day rate.

I'd just direct NCP to look for a thorn bush - they should find the fee hanging there.
Why, thank you for that information. I'll certainly make a point of watching that documentary. Absolutely fascinating.

I've just been reading today's papers further - apparently the remains have been conclusively identified as being those of Richard III - whereas last autumn it was strongly felt, rather than finally proven, that these were his.

I doubt that that particular thorn bush would yield any sort of dividend, unfortunately; grasping Tudors were well able to grab what lay within arm's reach (along with that which should not have lain within their greedy grasp.)
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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This is a pretty amazing story. Thanks for the info, OP.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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Do you think his funeral will be Anglican or Catholic?
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 01:10 PM   #8
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Do you think his funeral will be Anglican or Catholic?
Ooooh... don't start that one.

Like Mr Scribe I've been following this and a few months ago they were arguing about where he should be interred on the radio. (Even some MP's got in on the act.) But I think it's going to have to be Leicester cathedral. So I guess it'll be Anglican.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 01:12 PM   #9
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Just saw it on the news.

Now to see the Channel 4 documentary tonight.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:40 PM   #10
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Saw it on the news as wel. Incredible, and fascinating to say the least.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 06:53 AM   #11
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I watched the Channel 4 documentary last night ("The King In The Car Park"); an absolutely fascinating evening's viewing, and simply wonderful to see history 'come alive' in this way.

Thanks, jeremy h, for mentioning it - otherwise I might have missed it. An extraordinary story.

The Tudors (and Mr Shakespeare) weren't the only individuals busily spinning in this tale; it also seems saintly Sir Thomas More (when commissioned by newly crowned monarch Henry VIII) also wrote a report which purported to investigate the circumstances of the disappearance, and presumed deaths, of 'the Princes in The Tower'. Obviously, at that time, Sir Thomas had a future career to think of and drew his conclusions accordingly.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 06:57 AM   #12
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I watched the Channel 4 documentary last night ("The King In The Car Park"); an absolutely fascinating evening's viewing, and simply wonderful to see history 'come alive' in this way.

Thanks, jeremy h, for mentioning it - otherwise I might have missed it. An extraordinary story.

The Tudors (and Mr Shakespeare) weren't the only individuals busily spinning in this tale; it also seems saintly Sir Thomas More (when commissioned by newly crowned monarch Henry VIII) also wrote a report which purported to investigate the circumstances of the disappearance, and presumed deaths, of 'the Princes in The Tower'. Obviously, at that time, Sir Thomas had a future career to think of and drew his conclusions accordingly.
It's always been said that history belongs to those who write it.


It's why the vikings got a very bad press, the monks were not their number one fans.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 12:04 PM   #13
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I'd love to see that family tree to the Ibsen family, that provided the DNA. Seventeen generations - all well documented.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 01:25 PM   #14
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It's why the vikings got a very bad press
In my opinion, it was the Norsemen (Normans) who settled in Northern France who caused us the most problems...

Anyway back on topic of that child murdering, deformed monster *

There's some nice stuff on the University of Leicester's website. One bit I really liked is where they guess what he might of sounded like. To me it sounded like an odd cross between sing song old English and modern English.

* It was interesting how many of the non-academic people featured took such passionate sides on the subject. I remember once seeing an interview with the leader of an (English) civil war reenactment society. He was asked how they assigned people to each side. He burst out laughing and said if they did that there would be a real war - people just knew what side they would have been on.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 01:42 PM   #15
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It's always been said that history belongs to those who write it.


It's why the vikings got a very bad press, the monks were not their number one fans.
Why else do you think I became an historian? Seriously, though, you have a point. History tends to be written by the victors, or, at the very least, the more literate....

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I'd love to see that family tree to the Ibsen family, that provided the DNA. Seventeen generations - all well documented.
Yes, agreed. That would be fascinating.

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Originally Posted by jeremy h View Post
In my opinion, it was the Norsemen (Normans) who settled in Northern France who caused us the most problems...

Anyway back on topic of that child murdering, deformed monster *

There's some nice stuff on the University of Leicester's website. One bit I really liked is where they guess what he might of sounded like. To me it sounded like an odd cross between sing song old English and modern English.

* It was interesting how many of the non-academic people featured took such passionate sides on the subject. I remember once seeing an interview with the leader of an (English) civil war reenactment society. He was asked how they assigned people to each side. He burst out laughing and said if they did that there would be a real war - people just knew what side they would have been on.
I, too, was struck by the passion of some of the non-academic people for their subject. Mind you, given the atrocious press Richard III has received historically, some may have come to The Cause simply because there was a (somewhat well founded) sense that his reputation was so proverbially and satisfyingly evil, that maybe, it had been a little too categorically over-emphasised, and that an alternative version (as local contemporary sources in the York region seem to attest) may well have existed and ought to be acknowledged as having at least an equal validity.

The comparison between the (well known) portrait painted in the century immediately after Bosworth (which, as the documentary pointed out, subtly altered his features, and not for the better) and the facial reconstruction crafted by the experts (whose normal work lies in supporting criminal police investigations) was absolutely extraordinary.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 03:24 PM   #16
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The next challenge is to find the remains of Alfred the Great.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 04:05 PM   #17
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The next challenge is to find the remains of Alfred the Great.
Personally, given a choice, I'd much prefer to undertake a search for the remains of Harold Godwinson.

However, the circumstances of the reign of Richard III, along with the manner of his death, (and the subsequent spinning by the Tudors who themselves had no qualms getting rid of individuals deemed inconvenient), make this a gripping tale.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 08:17 AM   #18
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The next challenge is to find the remains of Alfred the Great.
Aren't the DNA bods messing about in Winchester at the moment on this one?

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The comparison between the (well known) portrait painted in the century immediately after Bosworth (which, as the documentary pointed out, subtly altered his features, and not for the better) and the facial reconstruction crafted by the experts (whose normal work lies in supporting criminal police investigations) was absolutely extraordinary.
Yes, that was amazing - particularly how they'd altered the painting.Who needs Photoshop eh?

One thing that 'disappointed' me was there was talk of a bodkin in his spine before the program. Had it not been a Roman nail and actually a bodkin (that had managed to penetrate his top quality kingly armour) then an awful lot of longbow types would have collapsed with over-excitement about the implications.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 01:04 PM   #19
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How could he fight effectively with that spine problem? Seems stupid for a crippled royal person to go up against actual tough warrior types in close, physical battles. The 8 wounds to his head seem to prove that point. Oh, and one to his arse...

A great story, terrific detective work.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 01:57 PM   #20
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How could he fight effectively with that spine problem? Seems stupid for a crippled royal person to go up against actual tough warrior types in close, physical battles. The 8 wounds to his head seem to prove that point. Oh, and one to his arse...

A great story, terrific detective work.
Actually, perhaps strange to relate, he was regarded as an extremely good military leader, and started military training in his early teens, holding command roles by his late teens (and apparently, actually held them rather than relying on others instead). For quite a while, he was his brother's (who reigned as Edward IV) right hand man, both administratively and militarily.

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Aren't the DNA bods messing about in Winchester at the moment on this one?



Yes, that was amazing - particularly how they'd altered the painting.Who needs Photoshop eh?

One thing that 'disappointed' me was there was talk of a bodkin in his spine before the program. Had it not been a Roman nail and actually a bodkin (that had managed to penetrate his top quality kingly armour) then an awful lot of longbow types would have collapsed with over-excitement about the implications.
Yes, that was funny; you are quite right - the 'longbow types' would have been consumed with excitement had this been a bodkin, never mind that longbows were well regarded as virtually obsolete by 1485 as a serious weapon in warfare.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 03:08 AM   #21
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The scoliosis looks rather severe but the experts suggest it would not have been particularly obvious when he was clothed and, as scepticalscribe notes, he had quite the military career. One contemporary (a lady) danced with him and said he was the most handsome man in the room. He may have had an asymmetry to the shoulders and rib cage but neither seem to have interfered with his physical abilities. Skeletal-related changes ascribed to the use of high draw-weight bows during the period include scoliosis so whilst the king's was pretty extreme, he was not alone in suffering it.

I'm not sure I'd agree archery was regarded as obsolete by 1485, particularly not in English armies of the time. I'm not one of the 'longbow types' but they were (and would remain into the sixteenth century) an inherent part of the English tactical system.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 08:30 AM   #22
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The scoliosis looks rather severe but the experts suggest it would not have been particularly obvious when he was clothed and, as scepticalscribe notes, he had quite the military career. One contemporary (a lady) danced with him and said he was the most handsome man in the room. He may have had an asymmetry to the shoulders and rib cage but neither seem to have interfered with his physical abilities. Skeletal-related changes ascribed to the use of high draw-weight bows during the period include scoliosis so whilst the king's was pretty extreme, he was not alone in suffering it.

I'm not sure I'd agree archery was regarded as obsolete by 1485, particularly not in English armies of the time. I'm not one of the 'longbow types' but they were (and would remain into the sixteenth century) an inherent part of the English tactical system.
Yes, the facial reconstruction (rather than the subtly doctored portrait) does suggest that he was quite a handsome man. (I'm curious as to the source you mentioned, who was the lady with whom he danced?)

Re longbows, I suppose that what I was trying to say is that while they did indeed continue to be a part of the English tactical system until into the 16th century, and retained an affectionate hold on the English historical & military imagination on account of their decisive role in a number of well known (to the English, that is) battles, such as Crécy and Agincourt, (the French historical memory and myth tends to prefer to place an emphasis on other battles, naturally enough), by the late 15th century, the French had begun to develop tactics to begin to deal with the longbow, and it was no longer the fearsome weapon (along with democratising the battlefield) that it has become in the English imagination.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 09:42 AM   #23
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Yes, the facial reconstruction (rather than the subtly doctored portrait) does suggest that he was quite a handsome man. (I'm curious as to the source you mentioned, who was the lady with whom he danced?)
It does seem quite a benign, thoughtful face, doesn't it? Amusingly for myself and some friends, he's the spitting image of someone we all know, so he's (our friend) currently getting a lot of stick about it! Quite a few of the girls I know are quite taken with the reconstruction. Great work by Prof. Caroline Wilkinson (as ever) and she helped produce the face for Towton #16 with Richard Neave.

IIRC it was the elderly Countess of Desmond who claimed that she had danced with Richard (as Duke of Gloucester) and Edward IV when she was young - come to think of it, she may have said he was the second most handsome man in the room, after Edward. I'm not sure as to the veracity of her statement (as she's supposed to have been one of the oldest ladies of those times she died late in the 16th/early 17th c if memory serves.)

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Re longbows, I suppose that what I was trying to say is that while they did indeed continue to be a part of the English tactical system until into the 16th century, and retained an affectionate hold on the English historical & military imagination on account of their decisive role in a number of well known (to the English, that is) battles, such as Crécy and Agincourt, (the French historical memory and myth tends to prefer to place an emphasis on other battles, naturally enough), by the late 15th century, the French had begun to develop tactics to begin to deal with the longbow, and it was no longer the fearsome weapon (along with democratising the battlefield) that it has become in the English imagination.
Yeah, it's a bit of a thorny subject and one of those divisive issues in military history. Certainly, by the mid-fifteenth century the French had revised their tactics (partly by avoiding pitched battles) and French successes were one of the sparking factors of the Wars of the Roses, of course.

English sources were bemoaning the decline of archery (one came out shortly before Agincourt!) but it was still central to English armies and tactics for some time to come. The Earl of Oxford used his archers to great effect on Lincoln's lightly-armoured men at Stoke in 1487, for example and archery was also an important factor of the English victory over the Scots at Flodden in 1513 and it remained a key arm under Henry VIII. By the mid 1540s, the French were much more dismissive of the longbow (see Blaise de Monluc's Commentaries) although some question his apparent disdain for this weapon of 'little reach.' One academic (Michael Harbinson) believes that the bow became a much more close-quarters weapon by the end of the fifteenth century but I'm not so sure of that conclusion...

Anyway, nice to meet a fellow medieval warfare nerd/geek/enthusiast!

Last edited by pollaxe; Feb 7, 2013 at 09:55 AM. Reason: dropped a hyphen and added enthusiast
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 11:51 AM   #24
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Interesting that archers suffered spinal problems. Makes sense. Surely their bows were as strong as possible for obvious reasons and they had to practice continuously if they wanted to win and live.

From the article it seemed that the king was killed with hand weapons, not arrows. Would he have been wearing armor? Were bows and arrows used in this battle? It would seem armor would be so clumsy in fighting with axes and such and would be avoided unless armor was effective against arrows and so they had to fight hand to hand with crude weapons in order to kill anyone.

Just envisioning things, here is a very tall king dressed in finery, if not some fancy king-grade armor, really standing out on the battlefield. Probably surrounded by the biggest and toughest bodyguards, lots of flags, nice horses...all that. Just a nice big target and the soldier who killed him was not only really happy to do so, but probably got rewards, perhaps enough to attract a decent wife, sturdy yet hot...

Tactically, with the king out there on the battlefield and with the enemy all rushing in to kill him, the whole battle would revolve around saving the king and likewise the opposing forces would spend their efforts saving their leader and so this would skew the tactics, be a huge distraction, take the focus off of the battle plan in general. The king, then, would end up being the problem and not helpful.

He may have been a great military administration, but that would not make him necessarily the best hatchet man or knifer in what must have been horrific hand to hand battles.

Of course King Tut was the freaking sun god of all things, and he was hurt in battle and died from that and you would think he would have higher duties to perform than to ride around in a golden chariot and be the target of every enemy soldier.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 12:26 PM   #25
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He would have definitely been armoured, almost certainly in full plate armour. Rich men could afford the finest harness, custom made to fit them and as king, you can bet he had a damned good armour on him at Bosworth. According to some sources, he wore the crown on his helmet too.

Bows and arrows would have definitely been used, alongside firearms (from handguns to larger field pieces) and they recently discovered the real location of the battle and have already recovered quite a number of shot. It seems, though, that the soil conditions on site are not conducive to the survival of ferrous metals so they've mainly found bronze, brass, lead and some precious metals in the form of coins and badges. I think efforts to find more metallic objects are ongoing, so hopefully, more artefacts will be found.

Nearly all medieval battles are poorly documented and understood but Bosworth is particularly so (they only found the correct site within the last two years or so) but what seems to have happened is that Richard III led a mounted charge in a direct attempt to kill Henry Tudor. This may have happened after the Duke of Norfolk (a sixty-year old friend of the king and his principal commander) was killed by an attack by the Earl of Oxford (Henry's principal commander & a fine soldier) which drove a 'cuneus' (a wedge-shaped formation) through Norfolk's line.

Richard probably got very close to Tudor, he is said to have killed his standard bearer Sir William Brandon (whose son Charles would go on to be Henry VIII's brother in law & closest friend) and unhorsed Sir John Cheney who was reputedly a giant of a man. It seems as though the charge may have stalled, perhaps getting mired in a marsh and then Richard's band was overwhelmed and he was unhorsed and killed. Even his enemies say he died fighting bravely and refused the offer of a horse to escape (something else Shakespeare seems to have got wrong.) Manual weapons would have been used, armour bought you time but it could be removed and defeated. My own belief is that Richard's helmet was forcibly removed (it was a known technique) in the close quarter fighting and the fatal blows would have come from a halberd (a Welsh tradition records that it was) or a pollaxe or a weapon of similar design. The head trauma is not unusual for the period and is probably tacit evidence for the efficiency of armour of the time...

Edit: he may have been expected to have been supported by the Earl of Northumberland but for reasons which aren't known - either through treachery or a problem in deploying due to the terrain - he was not. He may also have been attacked by men he thought were on his side (the horrible Stanley family, Google them, they were scumbags!) but I'm not so sure about that either. Henry VII's historian says Richard died shouting "Treason! Treason!" so he quite possibly felt let down (how's that for understatement!?) but I'd be willing to bet he died hard and took quite a few men with him at the end.

Last edited by pollaxe; Feb 7, 2013 at 12:35 PM. Reason: Northumberland
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