THE MISSING PRINCES-LOOKING IN LINCOLNSHIRE & DEVON
Philippa Langley has recently been on the road with ‘The Missing Princes Project’ making inquiries in Lincolnshire as to any local legends or folklore (such stories can often hold a tiny grain of folk memory) relating to King Richard or the two boys.
Interestingly, author Sandra Heath Wilson in her novels has the princes hidden at Friskney, which is in Lincolnshire. There is more to her choice of location than a random place name chosen by an author ( but I will leave Sandra to do the telling, if she wishes to reveal!)
During Philippa’s recent talk, it was also mentioned that Richard, as Duke of Gloucester, overruled the choice of a mayor in Grimsby during 1474, and replaced the incumbent with his choice, Robert More. An unusual tidbit, as we do not generally think of Richard as being ‘active’ in this area of Britain. Where was this More in 1483 or 84?
Several legends from different parts of the country seem to be emerging. Could this be because one or both of the princes were frequently moved to different locations, perhaps remote and unlikely ones, to avoid detection or possible rescue? Although mostly held in Sarum, Eleanor of Aquitaine was moved to other castles during her imprisonment; even more frequently shunted about was the unfortunate Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany, first prisoner of King John and then his son Henry III. Her exact whereabouts were hard to trace throughout her long years of imprisonment, though we know she may have been at Corfe castle and she definitely spent some time at Gloucester. It was only when she was too old to bear children and was allowed to enter a convent that her location became generally known. Later on, Mary Queen of Scots had many different places of imprisonment before her final date with destiny at Fotheringhay.
Another intriguing site I stumbled upon is that of Coldridge, a small village in Devon. In the church is a chantry chapel to one John Evans, who was keeper of the park and yeoman of the crown. Beyond that, nothing is known of his origin, although his name appears to be Welsh. Evans leased the local manor from Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, the half brother to the princes, in the reign of Henry VII. In his own chapel, Evans lies in effigy, gazing towards a particularly rare stained glass window depicting Edward V with the crown suspended over his head as a symbol to acknowledge he was never crowned. Some guidebooks wrongly describe this glass as being of Edward VI, Henry VIII’s son, but it is clearly from an earlier period by clothes and hair, and then there is the matter of the crown. Although not confirmed, some sources state that Evans, whoever he was, attended the funeral of Henry VIII’s first son, Henry, which is intriguing indeed.
(There is also a fragmentary section of a scowling man’s face just below the glass of Edward V, which has been thought to represent an evil Richard, but that is possibly a more recent attribution, and it may have been part of another scene completely unrelated to the Edward V one.)
Postscript from viscountessw (Sandra Heath Wilson):- I lighted on Friskney in Lincolnshire for two reasons. Firstly, research revealed it to have been held by the Earl of Lincoln, and secondly it was occupied by the Kymbe family, one of whom, Thomas, became the third husband of Cicely/Cecily, younger sister of Elizabeth of York. This marriage was apparently a love match – if it wasn’t, I can’t think why she would have risked losing everything in order to make such a “low” marriage.