Von der Richard III-Society-Site, http://www.richardiii.net/leicester_dig.php
The Historical Story of Richard's Death and Burial Site
In 1485 King Richard III, fighting courageously to defend his crown, was defeated and killed by Henry Tudor's invading forces at the battle of Bosworth. Following his death Richard's body was stripped, despoiled, and brought to nearby Leicester to be put on display to show that he was dead.
At this point the intrigue begins. There is some evidence that his body was placed in the Newarke at Leicester, i.e. the Church of the Annunciation of Mary the Virgin. There is an eighteenth century tradition that the Franciscans – The Greyfriars – asked for permission to bury the late king in their friary church, where he was afforded a place of honour in the choir, i.e. the area before the holy altar.
The church at the Newarke had long-standing Lancastrian associations. So perhaps the new King Henry VII (who considered himself a member of the House of Lancaster) moved Richard's body because he thought it an inappropriate place for a member of England's ruling House of York. Certainly it was at The Greyfriars, ten years later, that Henry VII decided to have a tomb erected marking Richard's burial site.
In 1538, the Tudor king's grandson Henry VIII decreed the Dissolution of the Monasteries. England's beautiful abbeys and other religious houses were destroyed, among them the Leicester Greyfriars.
Their valuable sites were sold off to swell the royal revenues, and in due course The Greyfriars site, now named Beaumanor, came into the hands of Alderman Robert Herrick. A reliable account by the father of the architect Christopher Wren in 1612 records that Herrick had a handsome stone pillar in his garden, marking the spot where the body of King Richard III lay.
All this was pieced together and published by Ricardians over the years, demonstrating that although Richard's memorial tomb had obviously disappeared by then, Alderman Herrick's garden still contained a commemoration of his grave site. This garden (quite a large one) was to be seen on old maps of Leicester, and indeed it lay within the general area still known as The Greyfriars.
By great good fortune, only parts of this area had actually been built on over the years. Three separate sections of what was once Herrick's garden had now been covered in tarmac and were used by the city council as parking areas. It was here that the archaeological dig would be concentrated.
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