The Tower of London is holding an event of interest to Ricardians. Between December 27 and 31, you will be able to enter King Richard III’s court as it celebrates Christmas 1484.
Court intrigue and plotting takes place amidst the pageantry, glorious costumes, and revels, all under the eye of the traditional Lord of Misrule.
Events begin at 11 A.M. with the King’s Arrival, then progress to ‘Court and Conspiracy’ at 11:30 and 14:30, and ‘The Hunt’ at 1:30 and 15:30.
It is nice to see Richard’s reign getting some recognition, although we do not yet know how fair a view the entertainment will take. It is too easy (or should that be lazy?) for someone au fait only with Shakespeare or bad documentaries to imagine that such a short time was spent in nothing but warfare and misery, with the Tower a sinister symbol (which it was generally not, being a royal palace, not just a place of imprisonment). Richard liked a good party!
Richard wouldn’t recognise it…but Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, which he owned briefly and probably stayed at prior to the battle of Tewkesbury, is being lit up in spectacular fashion this December. Gardens, buildings, the ruined banqueting hall (most likely built by Richard) and the little chapel containing the tomb of Katherine Parr, are all included in the light up.
The event runs until December 23. Please check the times on the castle’s page, as the event is not on every night.
No illustrations of Richard’s coins, unfortunately. The above is a Henry IV groat, estimated price of £3-4,000). But Richard’s coin(s) are in this auction today. Get your plastic cards out, ladies and gentlemen…
THE LEGENDARY TEN SECONDS ~ performance at Exeter’s Picturehouse – 6th November 2016
As always, it was a pleasure to sing with Ian Churchward, founding member of The Legendary Ten Seconds at the Picturehouse in Exeter – a wonderful, arty location that always provides a warm welcome.
We were joined by lovely staff from the Somerset & South West Scoliosis Association UK who brought balloons, cakes, sweets and donation pots. It was great to help raise awareness of the charity and perform Ian’s well written songs about Richard III. An author called Philip Photiou also brought along copies of his Wars of the Roses novel to sell at the event.
Rob Stroud on electric guitar and Lord Zarquon on keyboards created a powerful landscape to accompany the historical narratives. Their solos were magnificent.
We had a nice sized audience including the artist Georgie Harman who is contributing to the new artwork for the forthcoming Sunnes and Roses album by The Legendary Ten Seconds.
Ian introduced his songs with a background of the history and how he came to write it, giving a nice context to each piece.
A particular highlight was singing The Year of Three Kings with its catchy sing-along chorus. We sang it for a second time as part of an encore with a much more positive and audible response from the audience second time around, proving how catchy the songs are.
Ian chose songs from the first, second and third albums to sing at Sunday’s event, calling me up onstage accordingly. My vocals are on the 2nd and 3rd albums and I have sung most of the songs from the 1st album live, but did not know Ian at the time to record on the 1st album.
After a break from the band to focus on my acting ventures I was delighted to re-join this group of talented musicians for a gig at the Picturehouse, where it all began. Ian and I used to sing around 5 songs as part of a music evening consisting of different musicians. It was fantastic to perform a longer set this time with the whole band.
WRITTEN AT RISING
LORD ANTHONY WOODVILLE
HOUSE OF YORK
THE LADY ANNE NEVILLE
FELLOWSHIP OF THE WHITE BOAR
KING IN THE CAR PARK
HOW DO YOU REBURY A KING
RAGGED STAFF instrumental
THE GOLD IT FEELS SO COLD
THE COURT OF KING RICHARD III
THE YEAR OF THREE KINGS
ACT III SCENE IV
We have all heard of Patricia Cornwell, author of numerous titles, including the Scarpetta series. Well, it seems that the discovery of Richard’s remains have inspired her to change direction from straight crime into forensic crime. Richard’s appeal reaches out in all manner of different ways!
Searching for snippets of information takes me (and everyone else!) all over the internet, and often to forgotten sites. My search this time was for information about the length of time a medieval rowed barge would take to go from Westminster to Windsor, and then back again. I still have no idea, but the Thames was one of England’s main ‘motorways’ and those oarsmen were well up to the job, so I think the voyage did not take as long as my modern self imagines.
Anyway, this webpage came to light. http://www.thamesalive.org.uk/royalrowbarge.asp
I remember the wonderful sight of Gloriana at the Queen’s Jubilee. Downpour or not, the vessel looked amazing, and really brought the past to life again. The link is about various royal barges, and is well worth a browse.
Postscript: I have now received some information and links from Merlyn MacLeod to add to the above. I now have a new word to conjure with: shallop. Thank you, Merlyn.
Back in April we reported that Bridport had recently discovered that in 1483 Richard III had visited the city on his way to Exeter to crush Buckingham’s rebellion and decided to commemorate this with a stone memorial. We are pleased to reveal that the initiative was successful and that the memorial will be revealed to the public on the 533rd anniversary of the event on Saturday, 5th November, at 2pm by the East Bridge. Sir Philip Williams, the High Sheriff of Dorset, and John Collingwood, the Bridport Town Crier, will be attending the unveiling.
The memorial was funded with donations from members of the public in the UK and abroad. It has been crafted by Master Stone Masons Christine and Karl Dixon from white Portland stone and, as well as containing relevant details, also depicts Richard’s white boar and his personal motto “Loyaulté me lie”. It will be placed beside the River Asker and facing the oriel window, which is one of the few remnants of the Priory of St John the Baptist where Richard is thought to have lodged.
You can find out more details about the initiative and Richard’s visit to Bridport here.
By Elke Paxson
Having been interested in Richard III for a number of years it took me a long time to decide to become a member of the R III Society and it was my very first attendance of a “General Membership Meeting”. Living in the States is wonderful and exciting, but it also means everything is a bit farther away and there is nothing historically connected to Richard the 3rd, the Wars of the Roses or places with a medieval feel. However, if you put together an enthusiastic group of true Ricardians you will end up learning and experiencing about a long ago time that can be as fascinating and different from ours as you can imagine. There were talks about armour as demonstrated and explained by Dominic Smee, who is affected by scoliosis as Richard was, but proved through his training that it doesn’t diminish much what could be accomplished on the battlefield of medieval England. He brought along some of his armour pieces and padded garment. We were also treated to an interesting account of what a re-enactment group like the “Les Routier De Rouen” is all about and how much interest, pride and fun they have during those re-enactment weekends. The insight was given by Christina Smee – Dominic’s mother, who has been a member for many years.
We were also treated to a copy of the “Jewel of Middleham” by its owner Susan Troxell – a most beautiful and artful piece of jewellery. Sally Keil gave an interesting look into “Heraldry, Blazonry and (not Coat of) Arms”. It is a pretty complex, yet intriguing subject.
Saturday evening was very special all around as many of the attending members dressed up for Cocktail hour in a variety of beautiful medieval garb some of which were pretty elaborate. After dinner we were treated to the evening’s highlight – the performance of the Legendary Ten Seconds. The group is headed by Ian Churchward who also composed most of the songs. He was accompanied by his lovely wife Elaine who sang harmony and some solos. His excellent lead guitar player Robert Bright supported Ian’s rhythm guitar with a flawless performance and a special “sound effect”. Jackie Hudson also sang harmony and accompanied some songs with a harp.
When they took the stage they started off with a short intro and then a song called “Written at Rising”, a song based on an actual letter written by Richard III. This song was followed by a most beautiful and melodious “Ambion Hill” – about an unexpected appearance of a knight. One of the intriguing things about the music of “The Legendary Ten Seconds” is that it is so diverse – in speed, rhythm, in what the songs portray and reflect as well as the sound and instrumentation. Not having the full back up and support available so far from their home base it was truly excellent what they were able to convey. The next songs were “Fellowship of the White Boar” – a song about the R III Society’s history and goals, “The King In The Car Park” – I always thought the title a bit strange, but it’s a fantastic song that moves rapidly and tells the story put into excellent lyrics by Elaine Churchward: King Richard of England, he of the White Boar. This one was followed by “How Do you Rebury A King” – not only a good question, but an outstanding song that talks about the thousands attending and watching and it also highlights the significance of the soil from 3 places connected to Richard that was put into his tomb. Ian filled the time between songs with introducing his fellow performers as well as telling us a bit about the songs he has created. The tale of a “Yorkist Archer” was followed by an instrumental about the “Ragged Staff” of Lord Warwick. Then we were treated to a song about Edward’s French campaign in 1475 and the disappointment Richard must have gone through. After that came the lively “The Year Of Three Kings” – a perfect song to sway to and sing along – something we all seemed to enjoy doing. The next song was about the beauty of King Richard’s court and it’s indeed a beautiful song. Sooner or later one is confronted with Shakespeare’s treatment of Richard III. Ian does so in 2 songs – one about the way he turns Tudor’s rewritten history into a play that so many people over the centuries unfortunately have taken as history and not as entertainment. ”Act III, Scene IV” is actually a song straight from the bard’s mouth put into a very smart song of that play. The harmonies are really beautiful and so is the instrumentation. There was a rather sad song about Richard’s role as Lord Protector and all the intrigues that arose. The evening ended with one of Ian’s best songs called “White Surrey”. While he acknowledges that this is legend and we really have no way of knowing what kind of horse took him into his last battle, it is a fabulous song about Richard’s last charge. It is exciting as the listener is taken along the unfolding courageous charge.
It was a wonderful and enjoyable evening. The audience showed their appreciation for a great performance with a well-deserved standing ovation. Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this evening, it was such a treat to hear them. Thank you to all who made this possible and Thank you for coming to Denver, Colorado.
Has a ‘Tudor’ job been done on Prince Charles before he even gets to the throne? Judging by what I’ve read of this play, it seems maybe so.