Why Leicester is so key to the Wars of the Roses

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My comment in The Independent today:

“It’s not quite correct that the Battle of Bosworth, where Richard III was slain, brought to a close the Wars of the Roses. Two years later at the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487 the Yorkists fought their last stand. The two battlefields are 44.6 miles or so from each other. This adds to the historic importance of the city of Leicester, which lies between them, and where the body of Richard III was found.

“So far the debate about where Richard III should be buried has not considered the importance of Leicester in this strategic context, at a pivotal location between the final battles of the Wars of the Roses, and where the last English King to die in battle was buried.”

King Richard III: the manner of his death

The wounds inflicted in battle, and post-battle ‘humiliation injuries’ inflicted on King Richard III highlight the manner of his death, the last English king to die in battle:

“Ten peri-mortem wounds have been identified on the remains, eight on the skull and
two on the post-cranial skeleton. Two large wounds underneath the back of the skull,
consistent with a halberd and a sword blow, are likely to have been fatal. A third, smaller,
penetrating wound to the top of the skull is more enigmatic, but may have been caused by a sharp blow from a pointed weapon, such as a dagger, on the crown of the head.

“Other wounds were more superficial and none of the skull injuries could have been inflicted on someone wearing a helmet of the type favoured in the late fifteenth century. Two wounds, a cut on a right rib and a cut to the right pelvis typical of a thrust through the right buttock, are again unlikely to have been inflicted on someone wearing armour. These, along with two wounds to the face, may be ‘humiliation injuries’ delivered after death.”

(‘The king in the car park’: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485: Full article PDF)

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Thinking of renting a holiday home in Leicester?

Sunday Mirror

Stuart Hall, 48, a digital marketing all-rounder with an entrepreneurial streak lives with his partner Shirley Prudencio, 46, an accountant, in a former Cotton Mill converted apartment in Leicester. To help pay for their holidays, they’ve decided to rent their home out whilst they are away.

“We live in a Grade II listed converted textile factory right in the centre of Leicester. We have one bedroom, a bathroom and a huge living area with the original Victorian wooden floors.

“Shirley is from Brazil and the idea first came about because we are saving up to go to Brazil for the World Cup next year. Shirley suggested we look into renting our place out to provide some extra income whilst we’re away.

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“Then, I saw an ad on the Tube whilst I was in London, promoting the fact that Holiday Lettings is encouraging people to think about renting out their home whilst they’re away, so we decided to go for it and list our home on the site as we believe it is one of the best places to stay in the centre of the city.

“We had a look at the other properties on the Holidaylettings.co.uk site to gauge what to charge for our place. We realised we are not as posh as the country cottages on there and so we made this place cheaper than those and settled on £258 a week or £35 a night.

“We’re super excited it’s already been rented out for three weeks in June, a French professor has taken it for a month whilst he’s lecturing at the university and another lady has taken a week next January.

“We’re going to try and ensure that we don’t spend as much as we are being paid on holidays that we take when this place is rented so that we can put some of the money towards our Brazil trip next year. And, my parents live nearby so if someone wants to rent here and we don’t want to go away at that time, we can always stay with them for a few days.

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“It’s been fun getting the place ready for letting out. We’re writing up a guide to using everything here and we aim to be here to give the tenant a key and walk them around the place.

“We’re a bit nervous about letting a stranger stay here, and we may lock a few of our more personal items away, but I think sharing your belongings is part of the fun of it. We’ve got a huge bookshelf of books and videos and I’d be happy for our guests to browse through it. It will help to give them a flavour of the people they are renting from and hopefully this will mean that they are more likely to treat the place well if they feel like they know us.

“The Holidaylettings.co.uk site website is really helpful and it has advice for property owners on how to prepare your home for paying guests, insurance implications, etc. We already have a handy man who will be on call whilst we’re away if any problems occur with the property. We think we have everything covered. So we’re really looking forward to welcoming our first paying guests.”

To find out about renting Stuart and Shirley’s apartment, either as a holiday apartment or for business, when you stay in Leicester please visit http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/330258

Written by: Anna Tobin

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Images of Richard III’s grave and skeleton

It’s official, the body is that of King Richard III. Congratulations to the team at the University of Leicester. Plus congrats, to Philippa Langley who persuaded Leicester City Council to go ahead with the excavation in the first place, and the Richard III Society (who’s website is being updated, no doubt to take account of the tremendous news).

The Mayor Peter Soulsby also confirmed the remains will be interred in Leicester Cathedral, which is likely to be early next year. There will be a temporary exhibition in the Leicester Guildhall on 8th February.

Key to establishing the identity beyond reasonable doubt was the results of the DNA test. Dr Turi King, project geneticist, said there had been concern DNA in the bones would be too degraded:

“The question was could we get a sample of DNA to work with, and I am extremely pleased to tell you that we could.”

She added: “There is a DNA match between the maternal DNA of the descendants of the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Greyfriars dig.

“In short, the DNA evidence points to these being the remains of Richard III.”

Note: It was suggested by Jo Appleby, an osteologist at Leicester (pictured below), that King Richard III lost his helmet in battle, due to wounds to his head, and wounds also included post-mortum ‘humiliation injuries’. This included wounds to the buttocks, maybe to his body as carried by horse to the city of Leicester from the Battle of Bosworth. Here are a few pics taken live from the press conference, but you can also see the University of Leicester pics in full on Owly.

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I played a very small part in this process, after being contacted by the Leicester Civic Society I was one of many who contacted Channel 4 to suggest they run with an idea for a documentary, which they eventually agreed to, and which shows tonite as a “world exclusive” at 9pm. Oh, and in true #thinslicing manner I set up the FourSquare check-in for ‘Body of King Richard III’ before the dig was announced. Though that hasn’t got much traction as yet, that may change once the visitor centre is open.

My email with reference to my own documentary attempt with a more modern historical figure (Dr Martin Luther King), above and the story of how the site of his death and it’s use as a means of urban regeneration become a controversial story in itself in Memphis.

Leicester’s history revealed by Google Street View

According to the Daily Mail today Google is extending its Street View service to peer at 95 per cent of homes in the UK.

GreyfriarsPhoto by Stuart Glendinning Hall

In honour of this I’ve uploaded (above) a pic taken from a screen-grab of Street View of the spot in Leicester where a memorial plaque to Richard III, who some say is buried beneath the streets of the ancient city, is mounted. Except it’s covered up (Google Street View pic taken in 2009). By a lettings advert. For a building which is still vacant. And which is surrounded by barbed wire.

Fortunately the advert has gone now, and the memorial is now visible, though it still appears covered on Google Maps Street View which is a shame.

There’s a nice article from the Leicester Chronicle, donated by the Richard III Society, on clues to where exactly Richard III might be buried. Personally my favourite plaque is round near the old castle, which says something like ‘back at the time of the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 the people of Leicester met two kings in two days’. Or words to that effect.

The exact location of the battle between the two kings of England is now on show to the public:

The precise location of one of Britain’s most famous lost battlefields has been revealed today (19th February 2010).

The latest discoveries, announced by Leicestershire County Council pinpoint the exact location of Bosworth Battlefield, where Henry Tudor and King Richard III clashed on 22nd August 1485, and shed new light on the way the battle was fought and where King Richard III died.

The exact location, which has been the topic of much debate amongst historians for years, was discovered as part of a groundbreaking archaeological survey to locate the Battle of Bosworth, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Holy Bones, Leicester

The news that Amplified Leicester is now looking for participants came through today. Sign up below if you want to get involved..

Holy Bones, LeicesterPhoto by Stuart Glendinning Hall

Holy Bones, Leicester
Originally uploaded by Stuart Glendinning Hall

Brighten up the winter in an exciting Leicester experiment and learn some 21st century skills. We’re looking for people who are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious.

Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment to

- explore diversity and innovation

- build a network across diverse communities

- create, share and develop new ideas

- use social media like Facebook and Twitter as an amplifier

This is an opportunity to work with people you might otherwise never meet and learn how to:

- benefit from Leicester’s huge diversity of people and cultures

- generate lots of new ideas quickly

- think like a futurist and see the bigger picture

- organise and collaborate better

- be persuasive in different social situations

- share and develop creative ideas

- manage the stream of information which bombards us every day

- choose the best people to collaborate with

- make the most of different kinds of resources – social, economic, creative

Participation is free of charge but places are limited. Deadline for applications Friday 11th September 2009.

Find out more and download an application form from http://www.amplifiedleicester.com

For an informal chat, please contact Sue Thomas or Thilo Boeck:

Sue Thomas t: 0116 207 8266 e: sue.thomas@dmu.ac.uk
Thilo Boeck t: 0116 2577879 e: tgboeck@dmu.ac.uk

Amplified Leicester is managed by the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University in partnership with the DMU Centre for Social Action and Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre. The project is commissioned and supported by NESTA, an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

“A group that thinks in diverse ways will address a problem from many angles.” Charles Leadbeater, The Difference Dividend