Posts Tagged ‘Contemporaries’


13 JUNE 1483

   Posted by: Michael    in Events in History

Execution of William, 1st Baron Hastings.   He was not attainted and his widow Katherine was placed under Richard’s protection.  With Hastings were arrested John Morton, Bishop of Ely, Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of York, and Thomas Lord Stanley.  The reasons  and circumstances for his sudden execution remain controversial.  Peter Hancock’s theory that it was because Richard discovered that Hastings knew about the precontract between Edward IV and Eleanor Talbot, but had kept it secret from him, is certainly interesting.


Peter A Hancock, Richard III and the Murder in the Tower.  The History Press, Stroud, 2009.  ISBN 978 0 7524 5148 0 (hardback)

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   Posted by: Michael    in Events in History

Death of William Hobbes, royal physician to Richard III.   Hobbes had a long career in the service of the House of York, first to Richard, duke of York, then to his sons Edward IV and Richard III.

He obviously remained proud of this service, even after Henry Tudor claimed the throne, as he asked for the following inscription on his tombstone:

Here lies William Hobbys, formerly physician and surgeon of the most illustrious duke of York, and his sons the most illustrious kings Edward IV and Richard III, whose souls may God protect, amen.

He was buried in Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate, London.


ODNB on  ‘Hobbes, William (d. 1488)’

His will can be found in:  Calendar of Wills Proved and Enrolled in the Court of Hustings, London, A.D. 1258-A.D. 1688, Volume 2, Reginald R Sharpe,  London, 1890, pp.590-591

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   Posted by: Michael    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.


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



25 AUGUST 1485

   Posted by: Michael    in Events in History

Execution of William Catesby by Henry Tudor.  Catesby was Chancellor of the Exchequer under Richard III and Speaker of the House of Commons of the Parliament of 1484.  He fought for Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and was one of very few men of note who were executed afterwards.  It has been suggested that he expected a different treatment from the Stanleys because in his will he asks them “to pray for my soul as ye have not for my body, as I trusted in you.”

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Events, Events, Events

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

There is more happening in the UK than the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics later in the (northern hemisphere) summer.

This coming weekend, the Red Wyvern Society will hold a medieval event of ‘Living History at Skipton Castle’, North Yorkshire, 2 to 4 June 2012.  This historical re-enactment society usually portrays the Clifford household, who were Lords of Westmorland and Craven.  The venue, Skipton Castle, belonged to the Clifford family, but for ten years it belonged to Richard, duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, before it was returned to the Cliffords after 1485.

The event is set to include many aspects of medieval life, including arms and armour, there is a trebuchet, there is a ‘Knight School’ and ‘Dinner is served’ at 14h00.  Members of the public will be able to mingle with medieval people, see and handle reproductions of medieval equipment and take part in some of the demonstrations.  To view the full programme, click here.

The following weekend, there is a two day academic symposium at Wingfield, Suffolk, ‘1362:  Celebrating 650 years of Wingfield Church and College’, on 9 and 10 June 2012.  The aim is to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the foundation of Wingfield Church and College and explore the history of Wingfield, Sir John Wingfield, and the de la Poles.

Richard III’s sister, Elizabeth, duchess of Suffolk, is buried in Wingfield church together with her husband, John de la Pole, duke of Suffolk. Their son, John de la Pole, earl of Lincoln, was Richard’s heir presumptive after the death of Richard’s son, and was probably born at nearby Wingfield Castle.

The speakers are all well-known, including Dr Rowena E. Archer, Sally Badham, Professor Mark Bailey, Professor Eamon Duffy, Dr John Goodall, Dr Robert Liddiard, Edward Martin, and Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch.  Dr Archer will be talking about the always fascinating Alice Chaucer; and Dr Goodall, whom we know as the author of The English Castle: 1066-1650 and God’s House at Ewelme, will concentrate on the architecture of Wingfield.  The complete programme can be viewed here.

Unfortunately we just missed a weekend of Anglo Saxon activities, ‘Hands on Saxon’, which took place in Verlamium Park in St Albans, Hertfordshire, 26 and 27 May 2012.  The reason for the event was to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the first written recorded use of the word “Hertfordshire” in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.  In 1012 the town had approx. 500 inhabitants.  It was dominated by the Saxon Abbey and three churches marked its boundaries, St Michael’s in the west, St Peter’s in the North and St Stephen’s in the South.

1000 years later, some 4,000 people enjoyed historical displays depicting Saxon times, discovering what people wore, how they cooked and what their homes were like.  You can read a review here.

The above photograph shows Skipton Castle (© Dorothea Preis)

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The Questionable Legend of Henry Wyatt (c.1460 – 1537)

   Posted by: Annette Carson    in Medieval People

An abridged version of this article appeared in the September 2011 Ricardian Bulletin.  We are grateful to Annette Carson for making the full version available to us.

From time to time the exploits of Sir Henry Wyatt crop up in books, both fiction and non-fiction, for he was a fascinating character whose career encompassed espionage as well as military action and high office. Most writers, however, concern themselves mainly with grisly tales of imprisonment and torture in the cause of Henry VII, which grew to become Wyatt family legend. In recent years a flurry of interest was created by Hilary Mantel’s characterization of Wyatt in her novel Wolf Hall, and a biography by Nicola Schulman of his son, the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, has again rehearsed the same old legends. The true facts of Henry Wyatt’s capture and incarceration may never be known, having been buried under an accretion of myths over the years, but this article addresses some versions of the story that we can certainly clarify, and some we can probably debunk.* Valuable background for all this can be found in Agnes Conway’s Henry VII’s Relations with Scotland and Ireland, 1485–1498.1

The different versions of Henry’s story are too numerous to catalogue in all their glorious variety, but the most popular tales may be summarized thus: Read the rest of this entry »

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Blood and Roses – Special Interest Weekend

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

Recently I had the pleasure to attend the Special Interest Weekend on ‘Blood and Roses:  England 1450 – 1485’, which took place at Christ Church College Oxford from 24 to 27 March 2011.  This is the eighth Special Interest Weekend Christ Church is hosting, past events included a variety of topics.

A group of overseas Ricardians – US, Canada and Australia – who had arrived early, met on the Wednesday evening prior to the official start for a highly enjoyable pub crawl and dinner at The Trout.  A big thank-you goes to Dave for organising this.  It was great that Christine, a Ricardian from Stroud in Gloucestershire, could join us for the evening.  Wherever Ricardians meet you can be sure they will have a lot to talk about and enjoy themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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He contents the people where he goes …

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Medieval People, Quotes

During Richard III’s short reign there were only three vacancies for bishops, and it is remarkable that two of these went to Thomas Langton.  Langton ticked all the right boxes with Richard:  Richard preferred Cambridge men to those from Oxford – Langton had studied at Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, though he also was provost of Queen’s College in Oxford; Langton had studied further in Italy, in Padua and Bologna, and shared Richard’s interest in learning and humanistic scholarship.

St David’s Cathedral (© Isolde Martyn)

In May 1483 the Bishop of St David’s, Richard Martin, died and Richard as protector suggested Thomas Langton for the vacancy.  He must have proved a very able man and, when in February 1485 the see of Salisbury fell vacant, it was again Thomas Langton who was promoted [1]. Read the rest of this entry »

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Book Review: David Santiuste, Edward VI and the Wars of the Roses

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

A new contribution for the bookworms among our readers:

David Santiuste, Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses.  Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2010.  ISBN   9781844159307 (Hardback)

As the title indicates the aim of this book is not to offer a comprehensive biography of Edward IV, but as the author says “to illuminate Edward’s personal role during the Wars of the Roses”.  So the focus is on Edward’s military career.   I have to admit military matters do not normally interest me much, but I found this book very rewarding and interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Rous on Richard III as Builder

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Quotes

Richard and his family (from The Rous Roll)

We have recently looked at a few of the collegiate churches founded by Richard while Duke of Gloucester or later as Richard III and will continue with a few others.

One chronicler who tells us about this is John Rous (1411-1491). Rous spent most of his life under the patronage of the Beauchamps and – after the marriage of Anne Beauchamp to Richard Neville (the “Kingmaker”) – the Nevilles.   During Richard’s reign Rous wrote The Rous Roll, a history of the Earls of Warwick, which is full of praise of Richard, the son-in-law of Richard Neville.

Once Henry Tudor was king he changed his tune completely and went on all out attack in his Historia Regum Anglie (History of the Kings of England).  This is origin of the legend that Richard’s mother was pregnant with him for two years and when he was born he had teeth and shoulder-length hair.  He also accuses him of personally killing Henry VI and poisoning his wife.

Unfortunately for Rous, copies of both texts have survived, which brought him “the distinction of being the most despised of the chroniclers”.  However, even among all the accusations of his later work, he sometimes can’t help himself and praises Richard, like in this passage where he talks about Richard’s building programmes:

This King Richard was praiseworthy for his building, as at Westminster, Nottingham, Warwick, York, and Middleham, and many other places, which can be viewed. He founded a noble chantry for a hundred priests in the cathedral of York, and another college at Middleham. He founded another in the church of St. Mary of Barking, by the Tower of London, and endowed the Queens’ College at Cambridge with 500 marks annual rent. The money which was offered him by the peoples of London, Gloucester, and Worcester he declined with thanks, affirming that he would rather have their love than their treasure.

I would not have thought that a Richard who would rather have his subjects’  “love than their treasure” fitted in well with the Tudor world view.  This is hardly a sentiment that Henry VII, with whom Rous wanted to ingratiate himself at that time, would have shared.


Antonia Gransden, Historical writing in England, Volume 2. Routledge, 1982.  ISBN 978-0-415-15125-2, pp.309-316

Jeremy Potter, Good King Richard?  An Account of Richard III and his Reputation.  Constable, London, 1994 (pbk).  ISBN 0 09 468840 0, p.88 (incl. quote from History of the Kings of England)

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