More blinkered traditionalist mumbling about Richard….


I quote” “This controversial study argues that although Richard was indeed guilty of, or implicated in, most, if not all of the crimes of which he has been accused, this ruthless, inscrutable man was also very religious, an austere practitioner of a chivalrous code of ethics, a public benefactor and protector of the Church, a founder of chantries and a follower of a strict, puritanical code of sexual morality. He emerges in part a conventional figure of his time, but also, in part, a very unusual, little-understood man, as compelling and yet more complex than Shakespeare’s mythical anti-hero…”

The quote above, by the author Jonathan Hughes, appears to tell you all you need to know about the book in question. “The Religious Life of Richard III”, published 2000, is yet another wearisome and unsuccessful attempt to meld the myth with the truth. The author wants to believe all the bad things about Richard, but then comes up against the quandary of what to make of the few actual facts he’s prepared to face. The two viewpoints just will not meld, I fear.

The facts point to Richard being the very opposite of the remorseless, conscienceless tyrant the traditionalists insist upon. So Hughes concludes, conveniently, that Richard was an even more complex man than Shakespeare’s monster. Why not just concede that Richard III was an honest man who was forced into a situation that eventually cost him his life. He adhered to the law and did everything that was right, and if he chopped off a few heads, their owners well deserved it! He was a good king who would have been great. Instead his memory has been ‘got at’ relentlessly for centuries. Until now!

We’re on to these numbnuts! One day, they will be seen for the utter fools they are, digging a hole that is slowly getting deeper. One day it will collapse upon them. And serves them right.

So, Mr Hughes, you’ll have to forget all the gruesome murders and other lies cooked up by the Tudors, More, Morton and Shakespeare, and just accept what your own research has clearly indicated. Take off that blindfold! Richard III was a far better man than Henry VII, but was hideously murdered through treachery.


  1. So the author really believes Richard the Third killed Henry the Sixth’s son and George Plantagenet? Some of these writers are flat earthers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So it would seem, especially now that Kendall, Barrie Williams, JA-H, Carson et al have torn the traditionalist case apart. Some make money by quoting sources that have been proven to be unreliable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are exactly right ,super blue, the traditional case is weak even without any counter argument from ricardians. Does anyone seriously believe Richard manufactured a precontract in a matter of days and terrified a parliament into accepting it after failing to get their acceptance of Edwards bastardy just three days earlier!!!!!! Why were they not afraid then? They knew about the troops from the north and hastings execution already.
        The killing of the princes was supposed to have been to prevent them escaping and leading a rebellion so he buries them under the stairs and gives no explanation for their disappearance !!!!! Lo and behold perkin warbeck returns and tells everyone he is prince Richard and he “escaped” from the tower with the help of a lord. ” Oh no you didn’t .you’re not him and I know you’re not because Richard is under the stairs ….. oops!” He has no way of proving this lad an imposter
        There are many other absurdities including arguing that Edward and richard were legitimate because Eleanor had died in 1468. Apart from being incorrect on canon law at the time it surely begs the question of why he should make up such palpable nonsense in order to bastardise them without checking if it actually would! Surely stillington was a canon lawyer and would have known this
        I could go on and on but I think the problem is credibility. In order to have any career in academia you have to “toe the line” which means accepting with some room for movement that he was a usurper and a child murderer , It has been left to amateur or non historians to seriously question and they have been known as mavericks or eccentrics that they do not want to be associated with or they may be penalised . It is subtle but I think it is the reason academia changes so slowly and accepts such absurdities although I think revisionists are making progress

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Exactly as Esther said , in regards to Margaret. Many of the male historians of course seem so mired in a rather sexist viewpoint that they cannot conceive of a woman being embroiled in dangerous politics (unless she is a noted ‘She-Wolf’, naturally, and to be derided for her bad behaviour). People accuse Ricardians of making Richard ‘saintly’…but that could likewise be said about some writers on Margaret, who gloss over her unpopularity with foreign ambassadors and rather extreme behaviour in the confessional. If Richard’s confessors had written that he would go to them with a sombre demeanour then fall sobbing and writhing on the floor, the fingers of guilt would be sternly pointing! MB did exactly this, and history shrugs…mainly because she was female.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Warbeck’s letter to Isabella states that he was handed over to a lord to be killed, but that the killer took pity on his youth and let him go. This is a very different scenario from the one you describe. Margaret’s letter to the same person on the appearance of Warbeck states that everyone had told her the Princes were dead.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Could someone explain to me why Richard’s status as “very religious, an austere practitioner of a chivalrous code of ethics, a public benefactor and protector of the Church” is consistent with his guilt, but Lady Margaret Beaufort’s religious piety is usually taken as evidence of her innocence? I know that, at the time, religion was not inconsistent with ruthlessness, but what goes for one should go for the other.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I’m struggling with the idea that Richard was particularly ‘puritanical’ in his belief system for the times in which he lived. He had fathered two illegitimate children (at least) and according to the isotope analysis of his remains had eaten and drunk a rich and kingly diet in the years before his death. His Christmas celebrations were criticised for their lavishness and exuberance so this image of a dour and sinister murderer, hunched over his prie dieu doesn’t hold up. I think most Ricardians would acknowledge that the tone of the Titulus Regius sounds very moralistic to our ears but is not out of step with similar proclamations and official documents of the time. He clearly had a personal grudge against Jane Shore but his brother’s court had slipped, increasingly, into licentiousness and it had done much to destroy their mandate which he probably felt pretty angry about considering his whole life had been spent in service to the cause and his father’s memory. Jane may well have been acting as a spy and go-between amongst his enemies and he hit her where he could, as a woman. She was embroiled in a dangerous game and paid the price but even then he let her marry again and his rather wry letter concerning the request to marry her shows a dry sense of humour, even about someone he didn’t like or trust.

    His care for the souls of the dead – re-interment of the Towton dead and his father and brother speak of a genuine concern for the proper observance of Christian ceremony and are hardly a vice compared to leaving the fallen to rot in mass pits or failing to honour his own family members.

    As for the enormous York foundation – it seems highly likely that he intended to make York another capital in the North and to extend his programme of educating priests and setting up chantries on a bigger scale. I’m not sure that I can be compelled to see it as a sinister manifestation of personal guilt for crimes committed but rather more as a grand vision for the future and a means of venerating the Yorkist bloodline and praying for their souls which seems perfectly understandable given the violent nature of their deaths in a civil war. Henry VI is not usually criticised for his endowments based on the idea of repentance for terrible sins committed.

    There is a deep inconsistency running through this attempt to see Richard as anything particularly ‘odd’ for his times. He was a Renaissance prince with an interest in religion and surrounded by pious ladies – mother, sisters, wife. He needed divine protection and he suffered from a physical impairment. His father were butchered or mired in political corruption and under attack from hostile forces for the whole of his life and piety was the commonly held response to adversity and suffering so what’s to make a fuss about?

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Yes. If an historian or even a novelist shows no women of any consequence, or shows them as passive victims, he/she is sexist. If he/she shows a woman who is as strong, as ambitious, even as conniving, as a man, he/she is sexist. Women just don’t do that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gabby, my points are valid although rushing to put them to paper at 1am may not be the best way of expressing them. They are these
      1. Traditionalists and I am particularly thinking of Alison Weir state that Richards claim to the throne changed from one of Edwards bastardy to that of the children. A speech by Dr Shaa on the 22nd of june was not well received and therefore the pre contract was fabricated in haste.
      This pre contract allegation was not received well either and was only accepted due to fear and coercion which begs the question why did this fear and coercion not work the first time. Hastings execution had been on the 13th of june and news of his sizeable army approaching from the north was out. It may have been easier to “persuade” them of that rumour as it was longstanding. What on earth caused this change in attitude in three days?? Traditionalists deny that the speech ever contained accusations of a previous marriage

      2. One leading historian stated that he would have killed them because there was a risk that they may escape. Again what would be the point in killing them and NOT TELLING ANYONE OR SHOWING THE BODIES . Indeed it would be ridiculous as some people may cling to the hope of their escape and it has to be noted that Perkin Warbeck did state that he had “escaped” with the help of a lord. Richard has now lost the ability to confirm him as an imposter as it is unlikely he could prove a skeleton dug up from under the stairs was Richard!!!

      3 The argument put forward by some is that they were young children and children had a high status therefore he risked an uproar by publically showing their bodies but disappearing them whilst under his care is an absolutely brilliant way to convince the general public of his innocence. He would have arranged a plausible cover story

      4. Professor Ross claimed that the two sons would be legitimate as Eleanor butler died in 1468 before they were born so the marriage to Elizabeth would be valid. It would appear that he is incorrect in this statement but let us assume he genuinely believed it to be true. I find myself asking why he did not think that Stillington , who was a canon lawyer, would not have realised this and also the lords spiritual on the council they have to convince . So why on earth did Richard and stillington totally fabricate a story around Eleanor who they KNEW died in 1468 and would not have actually succeeded. What on earth did professor Ross think Richard was doing? It is like faking an A level certificate to show a grade B when a grade A is the entrance requirement

      As you can see my argument is that many notable historians actually have weak arguments when examined closely and in many disciplines, including the medical professions, do not change due to orthodoxy and tradition until forced.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Come now, David. The”Perkin” letter was either forged or signed under duress, and then witnessed by a Bishop who hadn’t been born.


  6. I think – mind you, this is only speculation – that Richard knew about the pre-contract before Edward IV’s death. (From George? who named Stillington as the eyewitness?). But he may have decided to do nothing about it, since there was a case to be made that EW was the innocent, ‘good-faith,’ victim, and therefore her children would be regarded as legitimate by a church court. Events at Stony Stratford, and the Queen’s going in to Sanctuary, led Richard to consider that his life and Protectorship were in danger, so he sent for Stillington. The whole affair seems suspiciously quick and convenient, because it was quick and convenient, being known beforehand.
    I know that there are holes in this scenario, but there are in all the scenarios, no?


    1. That exposes yet another gaping canyon in the traditionalists’ case. The Duke of Gloucester was spending money for Edward V’s coronation and keeping his retainers in Yorkshire whilst the Woodville and Hastings factions had soldiers around the capital, both of which were highly illogical and counter-productive for anyone who expected or intended himself to be crowned instead. It was surely not until the 1940s that artillery with a two hundred mile range was developed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are right SB, but by using a term like ‘traditionalists’ you assume beliefs in the people so described that might not be the case. I am happy to accept that many of the deeds ascribed to Richard are done so wrongly. Setting off from Yorkshire with a retinue of 200 men is not consistent with a man who was determined to seize the throne. I am convinced that he set out on his jouney south with the intention of seeing his nephew crowned.

        However, what happened next highlights the massive hole in the revisionist narrative. If, as Richard claimed later, the Woodvilles and Edward V’s household had murderous intent towards him, how did he survive Stony Statford?

        We know the size of Edward’s escort, it outnumbered Richard by 10 to 1. It had men of military experience at its head, the Woodvilles held all the best cards – the king and the heir.

        So it seems any murderous intent by the Woodvilles could easily have succeeded at that point. They would leave the king safe, ambush Richard and claim he had attacked them.

        So how did he manage it? How did he walk away with the king and and his head household in custody if they intended his destruction?


      2. I am sure that the Wydeville plotters were not yet ready to activate their coup d’etat at that stage, particularly as the two Dukes could have escaped and re-established their position. Then again, perhaps they were respecting the authority of the Lord Protector and Defender of the Realm/ Lord High Constable of England or feared the Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles Richard kept at Middleham.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. David… point is still valid. I agree that Warbeck was alleged to have stated that he had been handed over to be killed however there is a proclamation recorded in 1496 that does not mention any murder but simply describes him being taken abroad.
    My argument is not whether he was taken abroad, rescued by the woodvilles or abducted and killed by the rebels, it is that he stated he had “escaped” or “got out” of the tower and because Richard had them secretly murdered and buried he left himself open to this imposture without the ability to prove it was one . He cannot dig up the body and ask everyone to accept it as Richard! I have no opinions either way if perkin was genuine


  8. No one ever remembers that Von Poppelau who met with Richard in the last year of his life said they were alive.


      1. The slow chipping away won’t wash, David. This is the wrong blog for you. We know we’re right, you see.


  9. And if the Woodvilles didn’t pounce on Richard at Stony Stratford, might it not be that they were rumbled? He outmanoeuvred them. End of story.


    1. Plenty of attempted coups or assassinations didn’t come off throughout history. It seems plausible that Richard and Buckingham could have been in danger on the journey South but their intelligence sources pre-empted the attack. The Croyland chronicler said that Richard was always quick to act and never sleepy in his reaction – perfect really for explaining how he managed to avert the potential risk to himself and take decisive action to neutralise the threats – the subsequent arrests of river et al. Hastings had already warned him to be on his guard before he even left Middleham. He decided not to take a large force with him – in order to ally fears but also to move quickly and achieved just that at Stoney Stratford – he was able to take control with a smaller and more mobile force. It was a calculated risk but paid off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. it is quite obvious they were planning an ambush but did not do it very well!!! Their behaviour was suspicious and as they offered to go in the morning to stoney stratford straight past grafton regis ,which was their manor, it was possible Richard sent his spies up the road to check…… Quite simply they were thwarted


      2. I think it was possible that, in the early stages, it was a tussle between the Richard/ Buckingham party and the Woodville faction to see who could be seen at the new king’s right hand. Richard wanted to assert his authority and position, as a Prince of the blood, to escort Edward into London and to claim his role as undisputed Lord Protector of England. He felt under threat because the queen had not formally informed him of his brother’s death and Hastings had warned him of attempts to take power in the capital, control the treasury/ fleet etc… He probably guessed that the queen’s party would try and bar him from becoming LP as well, from these occurrences. He was, then, already suspicious of Rivers et al when they agreed to meet and no doubt had spies on the roads and probably within the Woodville entourage to gauge what was happening. How far Rivers was along the route of aiding and abetting a coup is debatable. He may have just agreed to bring the prince to London and had no further part in the intrigue as he had been in Ludlow and out of the way. Everyone was jumpy and suspicious of each other and the result was a decisive move by Richard/ Buckingham to neutralise a perceived threat and take control of the young king. You can see it from everyone’s perspective. Transitions of power are never easy and fraught with suspicion and alarm. I genuinely believe that Richard was reacting to events during this period but keen to assert his position because he felt he had not been treated with the respect and deference due to a prince of the blood.


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