Being at the other end of the world has its problems.  We sometimes hear about talks and presentations given in the UK, when we would just love to jump on the next plane to be able to be there and money and time were of no concern.

This is the case when Dr John Ashdown-Hill will present the ‘ 2013 Dudley White Local History Lecture’ at the University of Essex in Colchester on Wednesday 8 May 2013 under the title ‘The Search for Richard III and his Cousin John Howard, Duke of Norfolk’.  Both Richard III and John Howard were killed in the Battle of Bosworth and John is looking at the question what “what was done with their bodies – and where are they now?”

John Ashdown-Hill is the obvious choice for a talk like this.  His research was instrumental in finding Richard’s remains under the now famous car park in the former Greyfriars church in Leicester.  He had demonstrated that the story that Richard’s bones were dug up at the Dissolution of the Monasteries was a later legend, not supported by contemporary evidence.    His success in finding a direct line female descendant of Richard’s sister Anne was what clinched the DNA evidence on the remains.  His research and much more was outlined in his 2010 book The Last Days of Richard III (new edition The Last Days of Richard III and the Fate of his DNA: the Book that Inspired the Dig including information from actually finding Richard’s remains was published earlier this year).  He was leader of genealogical research and historical adviser to the ‘Looking for Richard’ project.

John Ashdown-Hill also has had a long interest in John Howard, duke of Norfolk, resulting in his 2009 book Beloved Cousyn’: John Howard and the House of York.  It explains that John Howard was at first temporarily interred in Leicester, before his family had him buried at Thetford Priory, Norfolk.  However, also in his case the Dissolution of the Monasteries caused a problem.  While it has now been confirmed that Richard’s remains were simply left where they were in the ruins of the former church, it is not clear what happened to John Howard’s remains.  They might have been removed to Framlingham Church along with those of other family members, where an account of an examination of various remains in 1841 offers tantalizing possibilities.  It should be fascinating to hear John talk about these possibilities.

Again, we heard about this event came via the Ricardian grapevine.  According to information received admission is free, but you will need to book your tickets in advance via the Lakeside Theatre website (though at this stage I could not find a link to it).

Note: You can find reviews of The Last Days of Richard III and Beloved Cousyn’: John Howard and the House of York on the ‘Book Shelf’ of this page.

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