15
Oct

Annual General Meeting of the NSW Branch

   Posted by: Judith Hughes   in Branch News, Meetings, News

Last Saturday, 13 October 2018, the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society held its Annual General Meeting.  After the official part was concluded, Marnie and Christopher entertained us with an interesting talk on Richard III’s re-interment.

Annual General Meeting of the NSW Branch

Marnie and Christopher

Here is the Annual Report, which our Chairperson, Judith Hughes, delivered to the AGM.

Chairperson’s Report to the Annual General Meeting 2018

As Chairperson of the New South Wales Branch of the Richard III Society, it is my privilege to present the annual report for the 2017-2018 Ricardian Year.

Our enthusiastic membership continues to increase, enjoying the erudite and well researched talks and the friendly social contact at our Society meetings.

We continue to meet at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts at 280 Pitt Street, which has proved a convenient venue for our Ricardians in spite of Sydney’s present shambolic transport conditions.

Particular thanks to our wonderful committee, who keep our society running so efficiently. Rhonda as secretary and Judy as treasurer have facilitated so much great work throughout the year.

Leslie continues to publicise our activities through the Affinity newsletter, while Lynne, our vice-chairperson, has proved willing to step up to lead as well as to collect meeting fees. Joan continues to prepare delicious afternoon teas and to donate special raffle prizes, while Rachel has selected our book raffle prizes. Dorothea is our membership secretary and liaises with the English headquarters.

Very special gratitude must be extended to Laurence, who has run our website, and to Mike who will take over from Laurence as he retires. Mike supplies the sound system, which so greatly enhances the enjoyment of listening to our guest speakers.

Welcome to the committee to Marnie, who is so helpful and enthusiastic.

Once again we have contributed to the Bosworth wreath in the UK, while in Sydney we have been welcomed as usual to the Anglican Church of Australia, St James King Street, to commemorate Richard III and those who were lost at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Afterwards members met for lunch at the Vanto Restaurant in the Queen Victoria Building.

In November, we are looking forward to attending our Ricardian Conference which will, once again, be held at Albury. By meeting near the state border, it allows members, who cannot because of distance attend our bi-monthly meetings, to join us. The conference has been organised by Denise and Helen, Julia and Kevin to whom we are truly grateful.

For activities throughout the year, we have been delighted to rely on some very well-motivated speakers to share their research in most interesting talks and activities. Denise and Helen presented an amusing talk about Richard earlier in the year.

Our own Robert Hamblin awardee, Julia, talked to us about “Midsomer Murders”. She believes that many high-profile murders historically took place in the months between April and September She had researched the background of these murders. An example was the killing of the Scottish king Duncan by Macbeth as recorded by William Shakespeare as for the revenge killing of Lady Macbeth’s uncle years before.

Dorothea provided us with a beautifully illustrated talk about the Ewelme Alms Houses of the de la Pole family, which are still in use today.

Guest-speaker Rob Shipton told us about clocks throughout the ages.

Kevin constructed a quiz which explored Richard’s family. Each section highlighted a part of Richard’s life and served as a review of Richard’s life, a lively discussion ensuing.

At this October meeting, Chris and Marnie will discuss research into a recently discovered manuscript which elucidates the mystery of Richard’s burial, while Lynne Foley will present the talk “Christmas Rites and Customs” at our December meeting.

During the year we have been able to assist and encourage several Higher School Certificate students to research their History extension about Richard III. We wish them good luck for their HSC and look forward to greeting them at our meetings in the new year.

Thanks to all our members for their support. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

(We thank Jennie for the above photo of our speakers.)

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13
Oct

13 OCTOBER 1453

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Birth of Edward of Lancaster, only son of King Henry VI of England and Margaret of Anjou, at Westminster.  He was the Lancastrian Prince of Wales.  He was baptised on 14 October by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester.

On 13 December 1470 he was married to Anne Neville, who was 14 at the time, as part of an agreement between his mother, Margaret of Anjou, and Anne’s father, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (“The Kingmaker”) to return Henry VI to the throne.    Edward fell at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471.

The picture shows the Palace of Westminster, how it supposedly looked in the 16th century.

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12
Oct

12 OCTOBER 1492

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

12 OCTOBER 1492

Statue of Christopher Columbus in Barcelona (D. Preis)

12 OCTOBER 1492

Replica of the Santa Maria (D. Preis)

Christopher Columbus arrives in America, or more exactly one of the islands in the Bahamas.  A group of three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Niña, left Spain on 3 August.  They first sailed to the Canary Islands.  From there, the journey across the Atlantic took 5 weeks.

In October 1977, I visited a replica of the Santa Maria, the largest of  the three ships, in Barcelona – and was amazed how small it was.  In the photo on the right you can see Columbus pointing the way over my head.

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12
Oct

12 OCTOBER 1459

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Ludford Bridge (© Mr M Evison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Battle of Ludford Bridge/Ludlow, Shropshire, won by the Lancastrians.

Warwick’s re-inforcements from the garrison of Calais under Andrew Trollope defected to the Lancastrians.  The Yorkist leaders fled, York and Rutland to Ireland, and Edward, Earl of March (York’s eldest son), Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, and his son Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, to Calais.  After the battle Cecily, Duchess of York, and her three youngest children George, Margaret and Richard, were taken prisoner by the Lancastrians and placed into the care of Cecily’s older sister Anne, Duchess of Buckingham.

A short description of the various battles of the Wars of the Roses can be found on the website of the Richard III Society.

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10
Oct

10 OCTOBER 1483

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Richard III hears of an uprising in Kent, followed the next day with the news that Henry Stafford, second duke of Buckingham, had turned against him.  Buckingham’s rebellion mainly failed due to lack of support for him and bad weather.

Reference:

  1. S. L. Davies, ‘Stafford, Henry, second duke of Buckingham (1455–1483)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. [accessed online 3 Feb. 2011]

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10
Oct

10 OCTOBER 1460

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

At a meeting of Parliament Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, claims his right to the English crown.  A compromise is reached and sworn on in an Act of Accord, according to which the Duke of York is the heir to the throne instead of Henry VI’s son Edward.

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8
Oct

8 OCTOBER 1463

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Truce of Hesdin between Edward IV of England and Louis XI of France. In it, Louis renounced all aid to the Lancastrians.

Reference:

Diana E. S. Dunn, ‘Margaret (1430–1482)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.   [accessed online 20 Jan. 2011]

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6
Oct

6 OCTOBER 1476

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Birth of Richard, the infant son of George, duke of Clarence, and Isabel Neville.  His mother had died on 22 December 1476, two and a half months after his birth.  Richard died a few days later on 1 January 1477.

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2
Oct

2 OCTOBER 1452

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Happy Birthday, Richard!

2 OCTOBER 1452

Fotheringhay Castle (photo by Smb1001, through Wikimedia Commons)

Richard, the youngest surviving child of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, was born at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, on 2 October 1452.  He would ascend the throne in 1483 as Richard III.

 

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29
Sep

Battle of Bosworth lost again

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in News

Battle of Bosworth lost again

It doesn’t happen often that supporters of Richard III and those of Henry Tudor share the same view, but the latest battle of Bosworth, where Richard III lost his live and throne to Henry Tudor, achieved just that.

In the early evening (local time – thus in the middle of the night for us in Australia) of 25 September, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council’s planning committee had to decide whether to approve a planning application for a driverless vehicle testing track, which would intrude into part of Bosworth Battlefield.

The application had first been on the agenda a month ago, on 28 August, nearly exactly 533 years after the decisive battle. An automotive company, Horiba Mira, plans to build a “track [that] would include a 150 metre radius circle attached to a 350 metre long approach road”[i].  Part of the plan are also a two-storey control tower and communications masts.  The company has a technology park on adjacent land at Higham on the Hill.  At that meeting the decision was deferred for four weeks by 12 to 2.

The problem is that a part of this facility would be within the registered battlefield site.  According to Horiba Mira the test track only affects only 0.5% of the battlefield.  This may not sound like much, but as Mike Ingram[ii] points out, this is somewhat misleading.

There is the issue of this setting a precedent.  If building on this battlefield is okay, it would follow that building on any other is equally okay.  The same argument was made by others, among them Richard Mackinder, who had been closely involved with the research at Bosworth Battlefield.  He said “is this the thin end of the wedge for Bosworth and other battlefields?”[iii]

The measure of 0.5% is misleading.  The complete battlefield also includes outlying areas such as Sutton Cheney and Ambion Hill.  These are important to the story of the battle, but not the actual area, where the fighting took place.  However, the part which will be covered by the test track is potentially of much more importance.  As Ingram points out: “the site of the development could yet prove to be a key part of the actual battlefield, but it might not only be taken from public access, the development would also destroy any hope of further research as well.”   Indeed. cannonballs, a silver gilt boar badge probably worn by one of Richard III’s supporters and a leather bag were found nearby.[iv]

It is very disconcerting that Historic England – rather than opposing the plan – supported it.  And this although its own guidelines say “registered battlefields are designated heritage assets of the highest significance. They, and their setting, should be protected and enhanced, and the granting of permission for developments causing substantial harm should be wholly exceptional.”[v]

Unsurprisingly, those supporting the construction of the test track argued that it would create jobs.  This always seems to be the argument when debating any issue in the political sphere, when other – less measurable – interests speak against it, may it be historical significance like in this case, or for instance environmental concerns.

At the second meeting, only one person was allowed to speak against the development.  That person was only given three minutes to make his/her case.  From among various applicants, Richard Smith was selected.  He is the Education Officer of the Richard III Society as well as the chairperson of the Leicestershire Branch.  He did not just represent the Society though, but also other interested parties, from the Loyal Supporters of Richard III to the Battlefield Trust and even the Henry Tudor Society.  This shows once again that when it comes to the preservation of Bosworth Battlefield the supporters of Richard III and Henry Tudor are united.

Richard Smith stressed that the site was extremely important historically. He also disagreed with Historic England’s assertion that ‘less than substantial’ harm will be caused.  He reminded councillors that they are custodians of a rare asset and asked: “What will future generations think of the decision you make tonight if you are the officials who facilitate the vandalism of the site?”[vi]  We would like to thank Richard for fighting for preserving this important site.

One of the councillors asked the obvious question whether MIRA couldn’t buy a couple of fields on the other side of the A5 and build the track there.  Another councillor stated that 450 years of history where more important than short-term economic gain.

A petition against the proposed test track has got at the time of writing this post got 15,564 signatures, also from members of our branch here in NSW.   In addition, more than 450 letters of objection had been sent to the council, again some of the by members of the NSW Branch.

Unfortunately, in the end it all did not help and the council voted with 12 votes to 5 for the test track.  Horiba Mira plans to start building in December.

On a more positive note, the original plan included a new access road off Fenn Lane.  According to the company its main entrance off the A5 did not have the capacity to accommodate the volume of big trucks.  However, Leicestershire County Council objected to this plan because of potential damage to Fenn Lane and safety issues.

Notes:

[i] Martin, D., ‘What happened when councillors met to debate £26m MIRA track plan at Bosworth Battlefield’, Leicester Mercury (29 Aug. 2018).  URL:  https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/live-councillors-meet-debate-26m-1945400 [last accessed 31 Aug. 2018]

[ii] Mike Ingram, ‘Bosworth planners quote misleading percentages & unenforceable promises says battlefield author’, The Pipeline (31 Aug. 2018).  URL:  http://thepipeline.info/blog/2018/08/31/bosworth-planners-quote-meaningless-percentages-unenforceable-promises-says-battlefield-author/ [last accessed 1 Sept. 2018]

[iii] Quoted in Martin, D., ‘Live: Councillors decide whether to permit £26m testing track on Richard III’s Bosworth Battlefield’, Leicester Mercury (25 Sept. 2018).  URL:  https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/live-councillors-debate-whether-permit-2042715 [last accessed 26 Sept. 2018]

[iv] Neil Johnston, ‘My kingdom for a car? Bosworth track approved’, The Times (26 Sept. 2018).  URL:  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/my-kingdom-for-a-car-bosworth-track-approved-hx63sx3rw [last accessed 27 Sept. 2018]

[v] Quoted in Ingram

[vi] Quoted in Martin, ‘Live: Councillors decide whether to permit £26m testing track on Richard III’s Bosworth Battlefield’

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