Richard III was King of England, for two years, from 1483, when he assumed the throne, until his death at the Battle of Bosworth Fields, the decisive battle in The War of the Roses in 1485. In April 1483, Richard’s brother, King Edward IV died, and Richard was named as Lord Protector of the Realm, until such a time as Edward’s son and heir, could be crowned. However, in June of 1483, Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid and thus made their children illegitimate and unable to ascend to the throne. Richard III’s coronation ceremony was on July 6th, 1483. Richard quashed a rebellion led by his former ally Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham in 1483, but in August of 1485, another rebellion began, led by Henry Tudor and his uncle, Jasper Tudor. Henry landed in his birthplace of Pembrokeshire, with a small force of French troops. They marched throughout Wales recruiting skilled archers and soldiers, and his rebellion eventually culminated with Richard III being killed at the Battle of Bosworth Fields, the end of the War of the Roses and a shift in power from the House of York to the House of Tudor, which lasted until 1603. Richard III was the second and last King to die in battle on English soil, after Harold II was killed during the Battle of Hastings in 1066. King Richard III was buried at Greyfriars Church in Leicester, and evidence suggests that in 1612 a memorial site was able to be seen in a garden on the sit where the Greyfriars Church was (the site was sold in 1536 to John Bellowe and John Broxholme, and was demolished in 1538).
The Archaeology Team
Richard Buckley - Archaeology Expert - Project Manager of the Greyfriars dig and also the director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services.
Matthew Morris - Archaeology Expert - Fieldwork director on the Greyfriars dig and an archaeologist at the University of Leicester Archaeological Services.
Dr. Jo Appleby - Osteology Expert - Lecturer in Bioarchaeology in the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History.
Dr. Turi King - Genetics Expert - Lecturer in Genetics and Archaeology in the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics.
Prof. Lin Foxhall - History Expert - Head of the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History and a Professor of Greek Archaeology and History.
Prof. Kevin Schürer - Genealogy Expert - The University of Leicester’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Research and Enterprise.
March 2011 - Phillipa Langley of the Richard III society commissions the University of Leicester Archaeological Serivces to conduct an assessment of the Greyfriars area and trace the development and changes to the land by using old maps and documents. Three areas are available for excavation; The Leciester City Council Social Services staff car park, the adjacent playground and a public car park on New Street.
August 2011 - A Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is used to survey the three areas, and they revealed a layer of demolition-related rubble under the car park could be disguising possible archaeological discoveries.
Friday 24 August 2012 - The collaboration between the University of Leicester, Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, titled “The Greyfriars Project” is formally launched with a press conference including medieval re-enactors and a direct descendent of Richard III, who agreed to provide mitochondrial DNA. Field director Mathew Morris and archaeologist Leon Hunt lay out the first two excavation trenches.
Saturday 25 August - The project begins with the digging of Trench 1, which is 1.6m wide and runs for 30m approximately north-south in the Social Services car park.At first, ground beneath the car park appears to be very disturbed. Brick and concrete wall footings for buildings dating back over the last 100 years have to be removed to reach the medieval archaeology underneath.
Saturday 26 August 2012 - Trench 1 is…