The Tomb of Richard III

“For in the thick of the fight, and not in the act of flight, King Richard fell in the field, struck by many mortal wounds, as a bold and most valiant prince”. – Croyland Chronicle Continuator, 1486

“King Richard at the first brunt killyd certaine, overthrew Henryes standerd, together with William Brandon the standerd bearer, and matched also with John Cheney a man of much fortytude, far exceeding the common sort, who encountered him as he cam, but the king with great force drove him to the ground, making way with weapon on every side”. – John Rous

And this will be his tomb:


The shame of this insipid over-sized trinket will long outlive the fleeting fashion for such dross.

This for a knight who died, pick in hand, armor splattered with the blood of his enemies?

This for a warrior whose battle plan comprised personally seeking out his enemy and cutting him down, and nearly succeeded in making the work.

This for a leader who led from the front, put his body where his mouth was?

It is hard to express my contempt for this ‘design’, the designers, the people who picked it, or the thinking behind it.

What does this say about our society’s attitude to the doers, the risk takers, the people who don’t mind getting sweaty, dirty, dead, in pursuit of their duty?

This block of cheese is the equivalent of patting Richard on the head, muttering some platitude about the futility of war and inviting him to come to the Church Youth Group to talk about his disability.

Burying a medieval warrior monarch who died in battle is not an opportunity to get a nice modernist accent art work for your prayer space.

The shame of this insipid over-sized trinket will long outlive the fleeting fashion for such dross.


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Posted in Modern Culture, Richard III
14 comments on “The Tomb of Richard III
  1. spaceLem says:

    He should be buried in York, with a stone carving of him with a sword in his hand, and a crown on his head. Not in Leicester, and not in that insult.

    This was our chance to do it right. Looks like the Tudors won again.

  2. Chris says:

    Block of cheese about sums it up.
    It is banal and all thought through. A simple slab with his christian name I could live- with but this?
    The white rose being included looks like a sop to medievalism but the use is clumsy.
    All in all very banal.

  3. A J says:

    Perhaps the cathedral authorities like this design as fitting their stated intention to use Richard’s honourable and dishonourable actions to point a moral revolving around sin & forgiveness.

    They clearly do not know & haven’t taken the time to learn about the character of the person whose remains they are claiming, & somehow find him uniquely suitable for this moral lesson.

    • mharoldpage says:

      I think his main sin was not to follow their preferred script for slain soldiers; that of victim. He road down to his Golgotha weapon in hand, harness on his back, execution in his heart. So now they will inter him in a giant Tupperware box, sterile sealed in case his bellicosity were to infect us.

  4. He should have a tomb fit for a warrior king!

    I hope he is in Valhalla now and too pissed to notice.

    • mharoldpage says:

      Richard III: “Hey, Great Uncle Richard?”
      Richard I: (Sighs) “Yes, Rick? I wish you’d stop calling me that.”
      Richard III: “I’ve noticed something odd about this place. No harps for a start. And what’s with these blonde wenches in maille? Are you SURE this is Paradise? How come St Peter only has one eye and carries a spear?”
      Richard I: “Oh. Um. Harald, *you* tell him.”
      Harald Hardrada: “Once Harold G and I are done arm wrestling.”
      Admiral Nelson: “Rick, take a sailor’s advice. Drink your beer and shut up.”

  5. I definitely don’t want a modern tomb for King Richard. I would love to see his effigy on his tomb. This would be more fitting for a brave knight and King of England. I have seen the Black Prince’s tomb in Canterbury Cathedral and it is beautiful. We shouldn’t do anything less for King Richard.

  6. Mary Walker says:

    A beautifully written tribute and I agree with all the comments on this page. Those of us who recognise the importance of properly honouring Richard III must fight harder than this for justice. We face a jumped up parish church with delusions motivated by local gain and a parliament who will not intervene in what they consider to be a ‘local’ matter. Even the national press aren’t that interested. It seems this much maligned monarch will be let down yet again if we can’t alter the tide of complacency and greed which now surrounds him.

  7. Karen Lewis says:

    It’s a hideous design and as soon as I saw it, I thought of the marble cheese-cutter in my kitchen cupboard. Remove the cutting part, add another slash vertically, change the stone, size up and this is what you get. This says nothing about Richard, and looks more like a piece of modern art sculpture. Hardly fitting at all for the last Plantagenet King. I much preferred the original option that Philippa Langley put forward.

    Thankfully, however, we DO now have a Judicial Review hearing taking place in front of 3 judges on 26th November, so hopefully this will mean that we end up with the proper full and transparent process that should have gone on as soon as Richard was identified.

    So Leicester may not end up being Richard’s final resting place at all, and if another place gets that honour, I suspect they will come up with a much more fitting and suitable monument to Richard’s memory.

    • mharoldpage says:

      One can but hope. Richard is beyond harm, hurt or judgement. How we treat his remains matters because of what it says about our society, not least how it relates to masculinity.

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