Why did the Greyfriars of Leicester make such haste to bury Richard III….?


This link reveals an interesting account of about the discovery and archaeology of Richard’s original resting place in Leicester, and the modern techniques used to find out all that could be learned.

I confess I was a little dismayed to hear the Blue Boar described as a “coaching inn”. Really? In 1485? I hoped this wasn’t a portent of what was to come. But as the talk  progressed it became more and more interesting, albeit without Philippa Langley being given a name on the mugshots of all the people involved. Good job we know what she looks like. Indeed, to me it looked as if her picture had been added as an afterthought.

Blue Boar Inn – T. Brown Chapman, 1840. From the collections of Leicester Museums

The implication about Richard’s hasty burial in Greyfriars is that the monks wished to have him safely interred before Henry Tudor’s men came to haul him off to London. I don’t know if that’s true. I hope so, as I’d loathe Tudor even more if he’d proceeded to further mistreat Richard. Heaven alone knows what further humiliations would have been visited upon the dead king in a capital now take over by his usurper.

Anyway, this talk is well worth a watch.


  1. Hmmm. Henry and his men arrived in Leicester on the day of the battle. Tudor’s men brought Richard’s body with them, and first placed it in the Newark before transferring it to the Greyfriars for burial.
    Where burials were delayed there was some emblaming involed.We’re pretty sure Richard had not had the benefit of any embalming. It was late August and probably very hot. It was suggested at one of the talks I attended after the discovery that the burial could not have been delayed any longer than 3 days (which is what it was) because nature would have been taking its course (the speaker had been in the army in war situations had direct experience of this sort of thing and described the problem quite graphically). So no prospect of taking him down to London, it would seem.
    What I did hear suggested in those talks is that the friars may have gone ahead and quickly dug a space in the choir, put Richard in it and replaced the flooring before Hnry’s men could stop them, in order to ensure they didn’t place him in a less prestigious spot, or even a less prestigious church, and that this may be explain why the hole was dug too short.
    Another suggestion, though, is that the hole was prepared whilst the Greyfriars were awaiting the arrival of Richard’s body from the Newark, and they lacked correct information about his height, and once he’d arrived they just had to get him buried immediately because of what I’ve said above.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. P.S. I think the Blue Boar was a coaching inn in later centuries. I’ve 99% sure there’s no direct evidence of its existence, under either colour of boar, in the 15th century. Just that 17th-century tale, which seems to have grown up around the bed, which definitely can’t have been Richard’s as it is not old enough. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I started listening to this lecture, but then gave up. I got to the bit about Shakespeare writing his so called ‘history’ play and the lecturer said ‘there may have been a slight exaggeration’ in the way the play was written! I couldn’t listen to any more after that. Until we can make people understand that Shakespeare didn’t write history, people will generally carry on believing what he wrote is true, and we’ll never get anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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