Richard’s Death and Burial

  • 22 August 1485 – Richard is killed at Battle of Bosworth Field.  His body is brought back into Leicester in ignominy, and displayed in public view.
  • 24 August 1485– Richard is buried in the choir of Greyfriars Priory.

Later Developments on the Site

  • July 1495 – Henry VII causes an alabaster tomb to be erected over the burial site.
  • November 1538 – the Priory is suppressed, and the warden and last 6 friars ejected.  Soon after it is demolished and the materials sold.  Some wooden beams are used in the roof of nearby St Martins church (now the Cathedral).  It is presumed the alabaster tomb is destroyed at this point.
  • Early 1600s – Robert Herrick builds a mansion with large gardens on the site of the former priory.
  • 1611 – Christopher Wren views a stone pillar erected in the Herrick gardens, with the inscription: “Here lies the body of Richard III, some time King of England”.
  • 1740 – New Street bisects the site of the gardens, facing onto St Martins church.
  • 1864 – the new Alderman Newton School is built adjacent to site of the former Herrick mansion.
  • 1872 – the former mansion house, now owned by the Leicester Corporation, is demolished and a new road – Greyfriars – is created with a number of new buildings also erected.

The Memorial stone

  • August 1980 – A memorial stone to Richard III ‘buried in the Church of the Grey Friars in this parish’ is installed in the Cathedral chancel, designed by David Kindersley, and donated by the Richard III Society.

The Greyfriars Dig  (for fuller information see the University of Leicester website)

  • 24 August 2012 – the dig is officially launched on site, carried out by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) working in partnership with Ms Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society.
  • 25 August 2012 – a leg bone is discovered in the first opened trench.  It is left undisturbed for the time being.
  • 31 August 2012 – ULAS applies to the Ministry of Justice to exhume up to 6 sets of human remains with the possibility of one of them being King Richard III.  If it is indeed Richard III, the plan is to reinter in Leicester Cathedral.  Otherwise all remains will be treated in accord with common archaeological practice.  This is granted on 3 September.
  • 4 – 5 September 2012 – the complete skeleton is uncovered and removed.  There is strong circumstantial evidence that points to it possibly being that of Richard III.
  • 12 September 2012 – a Press conference announces the discovery.
  • 4 February 2013 – the University announces that following extensive scientific tests it can confirm that the remains are indeed those of Richard III.

The progress to reinterment 2013

  • 4 February 2013– the University Vice-Chancellor, supported by the City Mayor, formally asks the Cathedral to make preparations for reinterment of the remains in the Cathedral.
  • 26 March 2013 – the newly formed ‘Plantagenet Alliance’ announce that they intend to seek Judicial Review of the decision to reinter in the Cathedral.
  • 16 August 2013 – a Judicial Review is granted, giving leave to the Alliance to present their arguments in court.  The defendants are the Ministry of Justice and the University of Leicester.  Leicester Cathedral and York Minster are named as Interested Parties.
  • 19 September 2013 – the Cathedral announces its proposals for a tomb and place of honour (see the Richard III Plans for Reinterment [internal link to 7.d.] page).  These are submitted to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, who must decide if they are appropriate.
  • 24 October 2013– CFCE defer making a decision, citing concerns about the Judicial Review, and also seeking clarification on aspects of the design.
  • 26 November 2013– Judicial Review hearing opens and is adjourned, following decision to make the City Council a third defendant.

The Reinterment of King Richard III

  • 22 March 2015 – the remains of King Richard III arrive at Leicester Cathedral, having travelled from the University of Leicester to Bosworth battlefield, where a dawn vigil service was held, and from there through the county retracing King Richard’s final journey to Leicester.  A service of Compline is held, with a sermon given by the Archbishop of Nottingham, and the remains of King Richard III are formally received into the care of Leicester Cathedral.
  • 23 – 25 March 2015 – the remains of King Richard III lie in repose in Leicester Cathedral, the coffin covered by a ceremonial pall specially designed by Jacquie Binns.  Over 20,000 people visit to pay their respects to the King in the space of three days, during which the coffin is accompanied by a military guard of honour formed from British veterans.
  • 26 March 2015 – the service of Reinterment is held, as the remains of King Richard III are once more committed to the ground in the newly-created space in the Cathedral.  The Cathedral Choir sings a specially-commissioned anthem by Judith Bingham, and actor Benedict Cumberbatch reads the poem ‘Richard’, written for this occasion by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.  The service is broadcast live on Channel 4 to a worldwide audience of 350 million people.
  • 27 March 2015 – the new tombstone for King Richard III’s grave is revealed in a special service of Reveal, during which members of Curve Theatre provide a sequence of dramatic performances echoing aspects of King Richard’s life, death and rediscovery.  Hundreds of candles are then lit throughout the surrounding area of the city, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display from the roof of the Cathedral, commemorating the unique events of the week.