Now for some very interesting news: Arthur Kincaid’s The History of King Richard the Third is set for a new edition, based on forty years of further research. Kincaid has managed to distinguish the forensic research of Sir George Buc (1560-1622), whose great-grandfather fought at Bosworth and whose grandfather was at Flodden, from that of his great-nephew George Buck, who tried to hijack his fame and greatly over-egged the pudding. His mangled 1646 version, The History of the Life and Reign of Richard III, is frequently assumed by modern historians (including Kendall) to be the original, thus adversely affecting Buc’s credibility, with particular reference to the Elizabeth of York/ Norfolk letter about the plans for the Portuguese marriages. Though it was somewhat damaged in a 1731 fire at Sir Robert Cotton’s library, Buc’s British Library original (fragment below) was available to Kincaid in other ways.
Buc was an authentic and original antiquarian, as well as a contemporary of Shakespeare, whose work he knew to be unreliable. He had rediscovered, through the Crowland Chronicle, a reference to Titulus Regius 1484, that had apparently been totally suppressed two years later, attesting to the pre-contract.
So now we know what Sir George Buc wrote during his lifetime, unblemished by his near namesake great-nephew. Thanks to Annette Carson, in the same year, we know precisely what Domenico Mancini wrote rather than what CAJ Armstrong thought last century. What now of More, whose manuscript escaped eight years after his execution, but whose family and followers may similarly have distorted it?