Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Reburying King Richard III - a sensible decision

I was pleased to hear on the radio last night that the High Court has ruled that there is no case for intervention in the matter of interring the remains of King Richard III in Leicester cathedral. Given that he has lain in the city since 1485, although lost from the 1530s until a couple of years ago, it seemed a perversely sentimental idea to move him now to York. In that sense he should now be left in peace - though whether he is out of Purgatory is presumably beyond the competance of the High Court or the Plantagenet Alliance

There is a BBC News report on the court case here,and another piece from them about the continuing debate about the bones and their authenticity here. From what I have read I would have though  the evidence as conclusive as could be wished as to the identity of the skeleton.

As I have commented prieviously, there remains the question as to the liturgy for the reburial. Leicester is an Anglican cathedral, but King Richard III died a Catholic. Doubtless the Leicester Greyfriars celebrated Mass for him at the time of his burial, but one suspects he may need quite a few Masses saying for him. As Desmond Seward points out in his book about him Richard III: England's Black Legend the King was anxious to placate the soulds of his victims with requiems.I gather when he was Bishop of Nottingham the now Archbishop of Liverpool offered to celebrate a Requiem for the King at the time of his reburial. Pontifical Sarum Requiem for a Monarch anyone....


John F H H said...

Full judgement here:
worth reading.
Kind regards

Celia said...

As you say, a sensible decision. The clamour for him to be reburied in York, in so far as it wasn't to do with tourism (which is why Leicester has been so keen to hang on to him) was mostly orchestrated by people who regard him as a much-maligned hero as opposed to a particularly ruthless medieval monarch. They seem to have the strange idea that finding his bones has in some way vindicated him and I was told in all seriousness by one woman (it's always women) that because 'Tudor propaganda' was wrong about the exact nature of his deformity that showed that everything negative said about him was wrong.
Members of the 'Plantagenet Alliance' seem remarkably insouciant about the fact that he executed their x17 or whatever great-grandfather, his brother-in-law Sir Thomas St Leger.