Now that John Ashdown-Hill’s new book (bottom left) on the Tower of London and the “Princes” has been published, we are in a position to know Edward V’s mtDNA, which he would share with his brothers and maternal cousins such as Jane or Henry Pole the Younger. Progress has been made since Moran’s appendix to The Private Life of Edward IV, which detailed potential maternal line relatives who were alive as late as 2016.
Westminster Abbey is, of course, a royal peculiar and it has hitherto proven impossible to obtain permission to access those remains – of whatever number, gender, age, era or species – that purport to be those of Edward IV’s remaining sons in the modern scientific era. They were, however, last asked in 1980 (p.185) and Richard III himself has turned up by this method.
These findings ought to be a game changer and there are more good reasons to be proceed. In 1933, the work of Jeffreys, as of Crick, Watson et al, was wholly unforeseen. Radio carbon dating was also invented after the Second World War.
So, with apologies to Michael Miles and Take Your Pick (below right), is it time to “open the box”?
The Legendary Ten Seconds Concert at Coldridge
The Church and its links to Richard III and Edward V are currently being investigated by Philippa Langley’s Missing Princes Project.
Maybe in an attempt to stir up some mediaeval spirits of the past, it was very fitting that on 5 March 2018 the folk rock band the Legendary Ten Seconds came to Coldridge and presented an excellent concert to the village.
The atmospheric and acoustic setting of the Church resonated with original and very entertaining music evocative of the Tudor Period. It was very special to hear the mediaeval harmonies sung so well in that ancient building.
The bands highly competent musicians comprised Ian Churchward on guitar and vocals, Elaine Churchward vocals, Rob Bright lead guitar and Lord Zarquon (Mike) on keyboards.
WRITTEN AT RISING (about a letter written in June 1469 by the Duke of Gloucester at Castle Rising)
LORD ANTHONY WOODVILLE (a song about Elizabeth Woodville’s oldest brother who was looking after Edward V at Ludlow)
THE LADY ANNE NEVILLE ( sung by Elaine )
FELLOWSHIP OF THE WHITE BOAR
KING IN THE CAR PARK ( sung by Elaine )
RAGGED STAFF instrumental
THE GOLD IT FEELS SO COLD (about Edward IV’s campaign in France 1475)
THE YEAR OF THREE KINGS (Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III 1483)
THE COURT OF KING RICHARD III (the visit of a knight from Silesia to the Court of Richard III in Nottingham in 1484)
ACT III SCENE IV (using the words written by Shakespeare in Act III, Scene IV of the play called Richard III)
WHITE SURREY (Richard III at the battle of Bosworth)
HOUSE OF YORK (the first song that The Legendary Ten Seconds recorded about Richard III)
I spoke to several villagers after the concert and all were in agreement that it was a thoroughly enjoyable and special experience for the Church, and who knows – was that the armour of our Tudor Knight, Sir John Evans, we heard clinking away in time to the music ? !
King’s College Chapel. Dr Argentine is buried in a chantry chapel on the south side close to the alter.
In Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, just south of the alter can be found the chantry chapel where Dr John Argentine, Provost of Kings College from 1501 until his death in February 1507/08, physician, astronomer and collector of books, lies buried. A fine memorial brass covering his tomb depicts Dr Argentine in his doctors robes.
Dr John Argentine’s funeral brass
Dr Argentine, who spelt his name variously as Argentem or Argentein (1) was born in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire 1443 into a family that were prominent supporters of the House of York and he is remembered mostly, thanks to Dominic Mancini, as being physician to Edward V, and, it could be assumed, also physician to Edward’s younger brother, Richard of Shrewsbury. Mancini described Dr Argentine as being among the last of those to visit Edward and Richard in the Tower of London before their mysterious disappearance around June/July 1483. Mancini who spoke little if any English, would no doubt have been mightily relieved to meet someone who having spent a long time in his homeland, could converse easily with him in either his native Italian or Latin.
Mancini is responsible for passing on the learned doctor’s recollections of those visits to the Tower i.e. that the young Edward ‘like a victim prepared for sacrifice sought remission of his sins by daily confession and penance’ (2) in the belief that death was staring him in the face. Alternatively Edward may have been merely suffering from low spirits and angst due to the fact that his imminent Coronation had been cancelled and the crown firmly removed from his grasp. Tellingly, Dr Argentine omitted any mention that Edward was suffering from a raging toothache which puts to bed any likelihood that the infamous urn in Westminster Abbey actually contains the bones of Edward and his brother, as the jaw bone of the oldest child shows clear signs of ‘a chronic and painful condition which led to deformities in the jaw bone … possibly either osteitis or osteomyelitis’ (3), a horrible disease which no-one would have failed to notice, especially his doctor but why let commonsense stand in the way of a good myth…, but I digress.
Dr Argentine, having served successfully under both Edward IV and Richard III went on to become physician and dean of the chapel to Henry VII’s son, Arthur, Prince of Wales and it is surely unfathomable that he was never asked, as far as we know, to examine that most convincing and troublesome of all the pretenders to the throne, Perkin Warbeck.
Arthur, Prince of Wales c1500
1) The Library of John Argentine, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society Vo.2 (1956) pp 210-212. Dr Argentine wrote in his own hand in several of his books..’Questo libro e mio Zouan (Giovanni) Argentein’ ‘ Questo libro e mio Johan Argentem’.
2) The usurpation of Richard III Dominic Mancini C A J Armstong p.93
3) Richard III The Maligned King Annette Carson p.219
I came across this page in a book The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485 – 1504, written by P R Cavill. As I haven’t read all the book I am not sure why he is citing something that happened in 1483 in a book about Henry VII’s Parliaments. Maybe it is meant to be an example for something that happened in one of the usurper’s Parliaments. The author cites Ives “Andrew Dymock” and Rosemary Horrox “Richard III”. The book itself was only published in 2009 and from what I can see from reviews on line P R Cavill was not exactly enamoured with Henry VII either.
The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485 to 1504, page 128
“In January 1483 Anthony, Earl Rivers was seeking the returns of his attorney Andrew Dymock, the Suffolk lawyer Robert Drury and three or four East Anglian men where he was a significant landowner and head of the Royal affinity. He made enquiries about seats at Yarmouth, but none was available. Instead he looked to the seats controlled by Edward IV’s sons The Duchy of Cornwall Boroughs, the Mowbray inheritance and possibly the boroughs around the Prince of Wales Council at Ludlow.
“Rivers subsequently heard from a Duchy servant in the West Country that there were “three Rowmes voide of Burgeses” which he therefore planned to fill with Norfolk gentry. It appears that Rivers was looking for vacancies rather than intending to overturn existing elections. He did not explain why he was seeking to influence the Commons membership. Certainly, he could not have anticipated Edward IV’s illness in late March, his unexpected death and Gloucester’s coup against his family and the Duke’s subsequent usurpation. What may have mattered was the likelihood that would hear complaints about extra parliamentary and an expensive Royal household. The Earl may have been seeking wider powers as Governor of the Prince of Wales, but it seems improbable that Members of Parliament could have played a part in pressing such a suit.”
Of course, the real attempted coup that spring was by Rivers and his supporters, not Gloucester. What may have mattered was the likelihood of a difficult session which would hear complaints about extra Parliamentary levies and an expensive Royal household.
So, what was Earl Rivers up to in January 1483? We know that in March 1483 that he was seeking confirmation of his right to recruit troops in Wales because a letter he wrote to his agent, Andrew Dymmock, exists. The same Andrew Dymmock that he was seeking a seat in Parliament for. Also, it appears, from what P R Cavill has written, the other men were from East Anglia and probably part of his affinity. So why would he want men who were answerable to him in Parliament?
The Parliamentary Privileges of the Commons: The Role of the King and his Officials. History of Parliament reports that:
“The king had to do more than simply decide when and where Parliament should meet and how long it should last. It was always important that Parliamentary affairs should be conducted in his best interests, at least as he saw them and thus for procedure to be controlled by him with the help of his ministers and other councillors”
Also, on the Richard III Forum, Doug Stamate says:
“Parliament was only summoned at the King’s pleasure, so it wasn’t in a position to act as a counterweight. The upper nobility had men, but rarely were they united enough to force a king to do something he didn’t want to do”.
Doug also wrote:
“So we end up with a situation where having some sort of personal relationship with the king is of literally, inestimable value. Edward V was a minor and whoever had possession of his person could almost run the country as they wished. As long as Edward retained all his royal power and authority and, more importantly remained under the control of the Woodvilles”.
It just seemed odd to me that Rivers was doing this in January 1483. P R Cavill says that “he did not explain why he was seeking to influence the Commons membership. Certainly, he could not have anticipated Edward IV’s illness in late March, his unexpected death and Gloucester’s coup against his family”. Several questions arise. Is it possible that this was part of the Woodvilles’ plan to take charge of the young Prince of Wales in the event of Edward’s death? How would having five or six members of the Commons benefit the Woodville cause?
Maybe Lieutenant Colombo was right after all.
It was not the first time that a Convention Parliament had effectively determined the succession. We might look, for example, the precedent of 1399, when just such an assembly deposed Richard II and (in effect) elected Henry IV, who was not even Richard II’s right heir. (He was the heir male, but strangely enough did not claim on that basis.) Of course, in 1399 Henry’s very large army was in place in the London area, and it would have been difficult for the Parliament to have rejected him, even had it wished to do so.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had no equivalent army in London when the Three Estates met. It is worth remembering that Parliament could reject claims to the throne it did not care to approve. The obvious example is that of Richard’s own father, Richard, Duke of York, who had his very strong claim rejected in 1460. Peers did not show up at Parliament unattended, and if they had strongly objected to Richard’s claim they could easily have mobilised their forces against him, if necessary. The fact is, they chose not to do so.
It seems certain that evidence of Edward IV’s bigamy was presented to the Estates. Sadly, we do not know the details and never will. But it is certain that among the bishops there were no shortage of theologians, any one of whom could have stood up and protested against the accession of Gloucester at very little personal risk to themselves. True, they might conceivably have been imprisoned, but what is that to a senior churchman when the immortal soul is at risk? In 1399, the Bishop of Carlisle objected openly to Richard II’s deposition, and was imprisoned for it, but he survived. There is no evidence of any bishop speaking up for Edward V.
Finally, it is sometimes argued that the legitimacy of Edward V was a matter that ought to have been determined by a Church court. However, the idea that the Parliament of England in the late fifteenth century would allow the succession to be determined by one or more bishops, or even by the Pope, is rather naive. It was, after all, only half a century later that Thomas More and Richard Rich agreed between themselves that Parliament had the power to make Richard Rich king, if it chose to do so.
Recently the infamous ‘David’ has popped up yet again, this time stating that Northampton’s large medieval fair, which began on St George’s Day, lasted for ten days and may have provided a legitimate reason why Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, bypassed the town and went straight on to Stony Stratford with young Edward V, instead of meeting the Duke of Gloucester as arranged.
However, there is a problem with this theory. Although there was indeed a fair held in Northampton, a rather famous one which attracted traders from all over the Midlands, it was only in 1495 that Henry VII granted an extension to the days it was held, increasing them to eight. It would appear that the original fair was only about three days long.
Even had the fair been eight or ten days long, this was unlikely to prove terribly problematic as far as accomodation went. Northampton was an important centre (although it had been in decline since the Black Death in the 14th c) and had seen during its history several parliaments and the trial of Thomas Becket. There was even a crusade called at one of the town churches. It had every manner of religious house, scores of inns, and several hospitals. In the 15th c many high-ranking nobles had their own townhouses there; the Dukes of Buckingham had one such residence on Derngate, for instance.
If the fair was seen as a possible deterrant to Rivers entering the town with Edward V, surely Anthony, more than anyone, should have known the situation in advance, being from a Northamptonshire family, with the Woodville home at Grafton Regis little more than ten miles from Northampton! Why then agree to a date that would cause some kind of problem with overcrowding? Why not tell the Duke of Gloucester to meet him and the young king elsewhere? (It is also highly unlikely that Richard himself was unaware of the existence of this large, well-attended fair.)
Lastly, regarding room in the town, it seems that Gloucester, Buckingham, and their men, totalling about 600, had no problem finding their own lodgings in Northampton, fair or no fair.
*’David’ may think the content of this post is ‘un-fair.’*
map of medieval Northampton
Today, we interview Joan Szechtman, an American writer who has just published her third time-travel novel about King Richard the Third. Fans of Joan have read her books, THIS TIME, which was published in 2009 and LOYALTY BINDS ME which was published in 2011. Her third Richard the Third novel, STRANGE TIMES, has just been published and is available on Amazon.
Joan, to begin with, what made you interested in Richard the Third?
In 2004 I read Sharon Kay Penman’s THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR. It turned my perception of Richard III from Shakespeare’s arch-villain I loved to hate to a sympathetic character I had to learn about. From Penman’s book I found RICHARD THE THIRD by Paul Murray Kendall.
Those are two great sources to use when researching Richard the Third. Please tell us how you became involved with the Richard the Third Society? I believe you hold several key posts in the American branch.
As I continued my research, I realized I needed to find resources beyond my local library and found the UK and American Branch websites of the Richard III Society. In addition to joining the American Branch, I signed on to both branches email lists so that I could ask questions of other members who were far more knowledgeable than me.
At the time I joined the American Branch, the New England Chapter had just formed and they contacted me to see if I would be interested in participating. So, I joined them as well. A couple of years after joining the New England Chapter the first moderator resigned her position and I became the new moderator for the next two years.
In 2011, the American Branch needed a new editor and I was pressed into service. I’m still the branch’s editor. We have two semi-annual publications: The Ricardian Register and The Ricardian Chronicle. The Register is more academic oriented and features scholarly papers and book reviews and is published both in print and digital editions every March and September. The Chronicle is basically a newsletter, focusing on member events, Ricardian travels, and member interviews. It’s published digitally every June and December.
Amazing resources for the American students of Richard! Your new book “Strange Times” is now available on Amazon. Can you tell us something about it?
This is the third book of the trilogy about Richard III in the 21st century. While each book follows Richard today chronologically, the books are written so there are no cliff hangers and can be read in any order, though it’s best to read them sequentially. The book does contain a brief “previously on” for those who haven’t read the first two books or need a refresher.
What fascinates me about Strange Times is that it attempts to cover the fate of my favorite person in all of Richard the Third’s life: Viscount Francis Lovell, Richard’s closest friend.
STRANGE TIMES takes place in both the 15th and 21st century and investigates what might have happened to Francis Lovell, Richard’s loyal supporter. Currently, there is no definitive historical record of Lovell after the Battle of Stoke where Lovell fought on the losing side against Henry VII. Richard is haunted by one possible outcome that has Lovell starving to death locked in an underground chamber in Minster Lovell. The book follows Richard using the time travel device to “see” what happened to Lovell after Stoke. Then everything goes pear-shaped.
The trilogy is available on most online book sellers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble for both print and digital editions, and digitally on iTunes, Kobo, Sony, etc.
I know you have a science background which has influenced your books, so can you give us some background information? And why combine that interest with Richard the Third and the time travel books?
While I do have an engineering background, having spent most of that career working on computer science and data communication, I believe my main reason stems from my love of science fiction and time travel stories. When I began my research on the real Richard III, I dreamt of having dinner with him. Since that was impossible, I decided to write him into the 21st century. I based his character on my research.
One of the things that nagged at me was Richard III was quite young when he died—32. I felt there was more to his story than his short life revealed. I wanted to examine his character in a modern setting, without imposing our modern sensibilities on his 15th century actions. By bringing him into the future, I could challenge him in ways that I couldn’t in his own time.
A primary goal in all my books about Richard III is to get the known history right. For that which is not known, I felt free to speculate as long as it was plausible. For example, there is no extant documentation as to what happened to Edward IV’s eldest sons—Edward, putative heir to the throne until parliament declared him illegitimate due to Edward IV’s bigamous marriage, and Richard of York, next in line until declared illegitimate. I developed a plausible theory that Richard hid them in other countries, such as Spain, and they survived Richard.
In STRANGE TIMES, I have Richard learn what happened to his nephews after he had “died” and solve the mystery surrounding Lovell after the Battle of Stoke.
Good for you! It is so frustrating to try to make people understand that there is no evidence that Richard the Third murdered his nephews. People have this need to cling to myths.
STRANGE TIMES came to my attention because you received a “Discovering Diamonds” review. Please tell me something about “Discovering Diamonds” and the review.
Rather than paraphrase what Helen Hollick’s blog is about, I will let “Discovering Diamonds” speak for itself:
“Our aim is to showcase well-written historical fiction for readers to enjoy. We welcome indie-published writers because indie writers do not have the marketing backup of the big publishing houses, but if traditionally published novels come our way we’ll be happy to read and review them! Our intention is to have a good mix of good historical fiction to share with you, a reader.
“However, we are fussy: we only publish reviews of the best books, so we also take note of correct presentation and formatting as well as the quality of writing – and when space and time are limited we may only select a few books a month to review. …”
Getting reviews is important for any author, and can be a struggle for indie authors, of which I am one. I am therefore pleased to share the link to my “Discovering Diamonds” review:
Thanks for talking to the Murrey & Blue blog.