Monday, August 3, 2015

Leicester - Richard III

25 July was a free day and tours relating to Richard III and also of parts of the old city had been organised. It was a great day.
Statue of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral
In August 2012 an excavation was undertaken in a car park near Leicester Cathedral to locate the exact location of Grey Friars friary thought to be the burial place for Richard III. The excavation was undertaken by staff from Leicester University in collaboration with the Richard III Society and Leicester City Council. The archaeological dig proved to be more than successful as during the excavation a skeleton was found which was later proved to be the skeleton of Richard III. In March 2055 the skeleton of Richard III was reinterred at Leicester Cathedral.
In the morning we visited The Richard III Visitor Centre.
This museum was opened in 2014 and has excellent displays portraying the events of Richard III's life and death as well as information about the discovery of the body and identification of the body as that of the king.
The actual grave site has been preserved and it is possible to view part of the excavation site through a glass floor.
In the afternoon we went on a guided tour of Leicester Cathedral.
Above the entrance to the cathedral are sculptures of seven figures associated with Leicester including St Guthlac, St Hugh of Lincoln, Robert Grossteste, John Wycliffe, Henry Hastings, William Chillingworth and William Magee.
The cathedral is a church dating back to Norman times. It is dedicated to a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity in the fourth century, St Martin of Tours. It is possible that there was originally a Roman temple on the site and later a Saxon church. The church was designated Leicester Cathedral in 1927.
The body of Richard III has been buried in the cathedral crypt but a monument to Richard III is now in the cathedral. It is made of stone from North Yorkshire and the coat of arms of Richard III plus the symbol of a boar are incised into the memorial. The words, Loyaulte me lie, are the motto of Richard III.
Throughout the cathedral are signs providing information about Richard III.
The embroidered pall that covered the coffin before the reinterment is also on display along with a replica of a crown.
On the east wall of the cathedral is a window dedicated to those who died during the First World War. The window was installed in 1920.
The Sanctuary was relocated in 2014 with a new stone altar and wooden cathedra (bishop's chair).
I later located the area where Richard III is believed to have crossed the river on his way to Bosworth Fields.
Bow Bridge was built in 1863 replacing the bridge that existed in medieval times.

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