Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Death of John Morton, a politician and cleric, at Knole House, Kent, and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

He was born in c. 1420 in Dorset.  He was appointed Bishop of Ely by Edward IV on 8 August 1479.  He was a scheming adversary to Richard III and supporter of Henry Tudor.  After Tudor came to power, he made him Archbishop of Canterbury on 6 October 1486.

Reference:  Christopher Harper-Bill, ‘Morton, John (d. 1500)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.  Date accessed online:  30 April 2011



The “Murder” of King Richard III

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Medieval Miscellany, Quotes

York House Books“King Richard late mercifully reigning upon us was thrugh grete treason of the duc of Northfolk and many othre that turned ayenst hyme, with many othre lords and nobilles of this north parties, was piteously slain and murdred to the grete hevyness of this citie”

([f.169v], York House Books, 1461-1490, Vol.1, ed. by Lorraine C. Attreed. Alan Sutton for Roichard II & Yorkist History Trust, 1991, pp.368-369)


When I read the word “murder”, I think of detective novels. One person kills someone else after careful planning trying to hide the fact that he/she is the murderer, sometimes even trying to disguise it as an accident or suicide. In the end, Hercule Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey, Miss Fisher etc clears it all up and explains what had been going on.

In the above well-known quote from the York House Books, especially as it is used in the same sentence as the alleged treason of the Duke of Norfolk and others, the word “murder” seems to suggest some kind of whodunnit.   However, was this really what the York city officials wanted to say?  After all, a death in battle, though certainly hoped for by the opposing side, is not the result of careful planning, nor would the person responsible try to hide his deed.

When the other day, a friend of mine referred to the “murder” of Richard, my literature professor at uni came to my mind. He was very strict on interpreting any work of literature, be it fiction, drama or poetry, within its historical context. To this end it was important to find out whether the meaning of a word was at the time it was written the same as its modern meaning. So we would make our way to the library, and check in the many volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary.

What applies to works of literature, certainly applies equally to historical records. Checking out “murder” in the online version of the OED first showed me the detective novel explanation: “The deliberate and unlawful killing of a human being, esp. in a premeditated manner; (Law) criminal homicide with malice aforethought (occas. more fully wilful murder); an instance of this.”

However, a bit further down there was another explanation, marked as now obsolete and recorded for the last time in 1590. Here it said: “Terrible slaughter, massacre, loss of life; an instance of this.”

“Terrible slaughter, massacre” are words which describe a medieval battle perfectly and fit in with what we know about Richard’s death. Therefore I would suggest that the city fathers of York used the word in this sense, without any more sinister connotations.

Tags: , ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

After having been imprisoned by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (‘The Kingmaker’), following the Battle of Edgecote, Edward IV is in York making autonomous decisions again.




   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Investiture of Richard III’s son Edward as prince of Wales.  After a solemn mass in York Minster, conducted by the Bishop of Durham, William Dudley, the royal family processed through the streets of York to the archbishop’s palace, where Edward was invested.

Source: ODNB on Edward, prince of Wales

Tags: ,


Two Archbishops and a King

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in News, Reburial

Leicester Cathedral - CopyIt has just been announced that both the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking part in services in Leicester Cathedral to mark the reinterment of King Richard III.  The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is the most senior clergy of the Catholic Church in the UK and the Archbishop of Canterbury is his counterpart in the Church of England/Anglican Church.

Since Richard’s remains were found two years ago, the Anglican Diocese of Leicester has worked closely with the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham, which includes Leicester, to ensure that the reburial will be handled with dignity and honour.

Anglican and Catholic clergy will celebrate at major as well as other services during the week 22 to 28 March 2015.  At the reburial service on 26 March, other Christian denominations as well as the World Faiths will be represented.

It has been occasionally been said that Leicester Cathedral is too modern for a medieval monarch.  While it is true that its modern Cathedral status is relatively new (1927), there were already Bishops of Leicester from the 7th to the 9th century.  The actual church was built by the Normans, replacing an earlier Saxon church.  The Norman church was rebuilt and enlarged during the 13th and 15th century.  So we can assume that Richard would have been very much aware of the church during his visits to Leicester.

You can find the full schedule of the planned services here.

Tags: , ,


Guest Post: Jigsaws, by Kristine Herron

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in News

Kris contacted our branch a while ago hoping we might be of assistance in her genealogical research.  We understand that Kris is especially interested in the Durnford link, so if any of readers could help Kris further, please let us know (webmaster “AT” richardiii-nsw.org.au) and we will gladly pass your message on to Kris.

Jigsaws, we have all done them. They are an excellent tool for keeping our minds active and provide challenges for people of all ages, when the pieces start to fit together to complete the picture. In solving Family History puzzles, some surprises can be unearthed!

Firstly I tackled my father-in-laws family, and being from convicts from the First Fleet, they are now known as the Royalty of Australia. That project took about 3 years and resulted in developing a website.

The next family line was my own. The lack of information at times made be almost give up, until I decided to work on my grandmother’s family, the Durnfords. There were lots of rather famous relatives among the Durnfords, many of them highly decorated in the British Military for their prowess on the battlefield, to their ability in engineering new cities in America, Canada and the West Indies.

Along the way, some of them married 3 or 4 times, and had numerous children. The Durnford family is worldwide, and has its own website. One arm of the family became known as the “Military” Durnfords. It is to the line that we Australian Durnfords are related.

While living in the past centuries and reading of their lives with the research that was available, I found that I could research their direct lineage back to King William the Conqueror. That was a shock. But to even be able to go back to the different Royals of the European countries was certainly an experience.

I loved geography when at school, but refrained from studying British History, and suddenly I was surrounded by it day in day out, as I took to the researching almost as a full time job.

Leicester Cathedral - CopyWe decided then to take a 3 month trip and “walk in our ancestors’ footsteps”. We planned a driving route that would take us to many of the towns where I knew these people had lived or died, or where they had fought in a battle or two, or where they had built amazing buildings.

Nothing could have prepared me for what we discovered.

We arrived in Leicester, and on a wet, cold and rainy day, decided to find the Cathedral, because one line of the family Herrick. The hostess an elderly lady told us that the Herrick’s were buried in St Katherine’s Chapel, and she eagerly took us there. I mentioned to her that I had discovered King Richard III was among my family ancestors. She then showed us where King Richard was to be reburied, on a spot immediately outside the chapel.

Cathdral Interior - CopyShe also told me that she didn’t think she had seen any other relatives of the Herricks retracing their lives, and was a bit impressed. She sent us off to the adjoining Guildhall where the Mayor’s offices were.

I was a bit overwhelmed, all the names of Herricks that I had no knowledge of who they all were! The memorials covered the walls of the chapel, which is at the front of the Cathedral to the left hand side (east), it has an altar and beautiful stained glass windows.

But I found the grave stones of Robert Herrick and Elizabeth Manby.

They are my 10th great grandparents.

Herrick Memorial - CopyHere lyeth the bodie of Robert Herick Ironmonger and Alderman of Leicester who had beene thrice Maire thereof. He was eldest sonne to John Herick and Marie, and had 2 sonnes and 9 daughters by one wife with whom he lived 51 years. At his death he gave away 16 pounds 10 shillings a year to good uses. He lived 78 years; and after dyed very godly the 14th of June 1618.

Then I learnt that they owned Greyfriers, the land adjacent to the Cathedral where King Richard III was initially buried after the Battle of Bosworth. Now if that wasn’t an amazing discovery

We returned from our trip with all this new information and an added research purpose to link all the ancestors and write about their lives.

In doing so, I was able to trace our lineage through the La Zouche family, who were the great grandparents (a few times) of King Richard. That line continued to the Herricks.

How ironic that while King Richard III was unceremoniously put to rest on the land later known as  Greyfriers, that he would be re-buried in the same Cathedral, just a few steps away from the owners of the same land.

I am sure they would not have been aware that a long lost King was also a long lost cousin!

The father of Christopher Wren wrote in his diary that he had seen a marker indicating that King Richard III was buried in Leicester on the Herrick’s land.

Why was he there? Because he was a tutor at Oxford and his pupils were none other than Herrick children

This is one piece of my family jigsaw that is of significant historical importance!

Notes regarding Robert and Elizabeth Herrick

From my blog www.edurnford.blogspot.com.au

Eldest son of AId. John Heyrick, mayor in 1557; born at Leic. in 1540, was one of the forty-eight councillors 1567, M.P. for Leic. 1588, a J.P. and alderman, and again mayor 1593 and 1605.

There were 5000 residents for all these councillors!

Ald. Robert Heyrick married at St. Martin’s 11 November 1567 Elizabeth, daughter of Ald. Wm. Manby of Leic., by whom he had a numerous family (vide St. Martin’s registers). For some years prior to his death, he resided in a mansion house within the precincts and grounds of the dissolved Grey Friars monastery, nearly opposite St. Martin’s church.

Here he died 14 June 1618 aged seventy-eight, and was buried at St. Martin’s two days later. M.I. there. Will dated 26 March 1617, was proved in the P.C.C., London, 30 July 1618. His portrait, with that of his younger brother Sir William Heyrick of Beaumanor Park, is still preserved in the Guildhall.

A townsman of note, and one of the most influential and active members of the corporate body of his time. In 1598, in conjunction with his younger brother Sir William Heyrick of London, goldsmith, later of Beaumanor, he obtained a confirmation of the ancient family arms, with the addition of this crest :-A bull’s head argent, the muzzle ears and horns tipped sable, gorged with a chaplet of roses leaved vert. The family motto VIRTUS NOBILlTAT being adopted by later members of the family.

Second son of Thomas Heyrick of Leic., and brother of AId. Nicholas Heyrick (No. 167). He was born in 1513, enrolled a freeman 1534-5, elected a chamberlain 1543-4, and again mayor 1572. He resided in the Saturday market at the corner of Cheapside ; married Mary, daughter of John Bond of Ward End, co. Warwick, who died in 1611, by whom he had five sons and seven daughters.

Here lyeth the bodie of Robert Herick Ironmonger and Alderman of Leicester who had beene thrice Maire thereof. He was eldest sonne to John Herick and Marie, and had 2 sonnes and 9 daughters by one wife with whom he lived 51 years. At his death he gave away 16 pounds 10 shillings a year to good uses. He lived 78 years; and after dyed very godly the 14th of June 1618.
Robert Herrick (also spelled Heyrick, 1540-1618), from a family of successful ironmongers, followed in his father’s footsteps as Mayor of Leicester, holding the position in 1584, 1593 and 1605.

Robert and Elizabeth’s home and its place in history!

Sir Robert Catlyn, Chief Justice to Elizabeth I, acquired the site from Bellowe and Broxholme, and it was later bought by Robert Herrick (Heyrick), three times mayor of Leicester. Herrick built a mansion fronting onto Friar Lane, with extensive gardens over the east end of the Friary grounds.

These gardens were visited by Christopher Wren Sr. (1589–1658) in 1611, who recorded being shown a handsome stone pillar with an inscription, “Here lies the body of Richard III, some time King of England”.

The Herrick family, who also owned the country estate of Beaumanor, near Loughborough, sold the mansion to Thomas Noble in 1711,who, like Herrick 130 years before him, represented Leicester in Parliament.

He was also a Justice of the Peace and at various times the town’s Chamberlain, Coroner and MP.

The Mayoral Roll records: “For some years prior to his death, he resided in a mansion house within the precincts and grounds of the dissolved Grey Friars monastery, nearly opposite St Martin’s church.”

Herrick built a house on the eastern part of the grounds, visited in 1612 by a young man named Christopher Wren, who was tutor to Herrick’s nephew at Oxford. (This was not the famous architect but his father, later Dean of Windsor.)

Wren wrote in his diary that Herrick showed him a stone pillar with an inscription ‘here lies the body of Richard III, some time King of England’. This was the last recorded location of Richard’s body.

Herrick’s daughter Frances married Thomas Noble and one of their descendants (also Thomas Noble, c.1656-1730, later the town’s MP) bought the Greyfriars land in 1711.

His son, yet another Thomas, divided the site into two in 1740 with the appropriately named New Street, along which houses were built, with numerous burials discovered during the building work. Herrick’s house and garden passed in 1743 to Roger Ruding of Westcotes, in 1752 to hosier Richard Garle, and in 1759 to banker William Bentley who built a fine house with the address ‘17 Friar Lane’.

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester who are leading the search for the lost grave of King Richard III announced today that they have made a new advance in their quest.

They have uncovered evidence of the lost garden of Robert Herrick – where, historically, it is recorded there was a memorial to Richard III.

Now the ‘time tomb team’ as they have become to be known has discovered paving stones which they believe belong to the garden.

The University of Leicester is leading the archaeological search for the burial place of King Richard III with Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society.

In 1485 King Richard III was defeated at the battle of Bosworth. His body, stripped and despoiled, was brought to Leicester where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as the Grey Friars. Over time the exact whereabouts of the Grey Friars became lost.


Tags: , ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Birth of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, at Greenwich Palace.  She was named after her grandmother, Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of Edward IV.

Elizabeth spent part of her youth at Hatfield House, Herts., where she was residing when her sister, Queen Mary, died on 17 November 1558.  She would reign for nearly 45 years until her death on 24 March 1603.

Illustration:  The ‘Rainbow Portrait’ of Elizabeth I, which hangs at Hatfield House.

Tags: ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Death of Katherine Parr, sixth consort of Henry VIII.  She was born in August (probably) 1512.

Her first husband was Edward Borough, whom she married about May 1529.  Edward died shortly before April 1533, and she married John Neville, third Baron Latimer, in the summer of 1534.  John died on 2 March 1543 and she was married to Henry VIII just four months later on 12 July 1543.  She also survived Henry, who died on 28 January 1547.  In May 1547, she secretly married for a fourth time, Sir Thomas Seymour, in whom she had already been interested before attracting Henry’s attention.  She gave birth to a daughter, Mary, on 30 August 1548, but died a few days later of puerperal fever.

Katherine was an influential patron of religious and educational reform, the arts in the fields of drama, miniature painting, and music.  She was the first known Englishwoman to publish a work of prose in the sixteenth century, and advocated the publication of affordable vernacular religious writings.  Politically she contributed to the re-establishment of her stepdaughters Mary and Elizabeth in the line of succession.

Source:  ODNB:  Susan E. James, ‘Katherine [Katherine Parr] (1512–1548)’, accessed:  5 September 2013




   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Birth of Isabel Neville, elder daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (‘The Kingmaker’), and Anne Beauchamp at Warwick Castle.

She married on 11 July 1469 George, duke of Clarence, Edward IV’s younger and Richard’s older brother.  Edward was against the marriage, so it took place in secret at Calais and was conducted by Isabel’s uncle George Neville, archbishop of York.

Isabel died on 22 December 1476, leaving behind two children, Margaret (born in 1473) and Edward (born 1475).

Both descendants were eventually executed by the Tudors.

Tags: , ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Events in History

Birth of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

In the Wars of the Roses both his father and grandfather fought and died on the Lancastrian side.  He was made a ward of Edward IV’s queen Elizabeth Woodville and was married to her sister Katherine Woodville (1458 – 1497), when both were still children.

He was initially the major supporter of Richard III, but soon turned against him, possibly under the influence of John Morton.  He was related to the Plantagenets and could have hoped to further his own hopes to the throne.  He is also one of the suspects for the murder of the “Princes in the Tower”, if indeed they were murdered at all.  He was convicted of treason and executed following the 1483 rebellion.