Having been drawn into the debate on the reburial of the remains of Richard III by a personal attack on me and my novel, By Loyalty Bound, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the places where Richard actually did grow up to assess where he should be re-interred if the call to ‘bring him home’ is upheld.
1452: Richard of Gloucester was born on the 2nd October at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire. His father was Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and his mother was Cecily Neville. Fotheringhay seems to have been one of their favourite homes and several of their children were born there. However, nobles at that time lived a nomadic existence and spent time at many of the castles they owned. The properties belonging to Richard’s parents included Conisbrough Castle, Sandal Castle, Wigmore Castle, Ludlow Castle and Baynard’s Castle in London.
Edward III had granted Sandal and Conisborough Castles to his son Edmund, the Duke’s grandfather. The Duke himself had frequently resided at Sandal, sometimes with his wife and family. (Richard III: His Life & Character, by Clements R. Markham)
The remains of Sandal Castle
When Richard became king he began to make plans for building work to enhance Sandal Castle. It may have been because he had happy childhood memories of staying there with his parents.
1454: In March, Richard of York was declared heir presumptive to the throne. He would become king when the childless Henry VI died. For the present he was appointed Protector of the Realm, to govern on behalf of the incapable Henry. As Protector, Richard Duke of York may have spent more time in London and it’s probable that his family accompanied him and they may have lived at Baynard’s Castle.
But by Christmas of 1454, King Henry had recovered from his illness and the Duke of York resigned his Protectorate. The Duke of Somerset was restored to his former position and given York’s former post of the Captaincy of Calais. The family probably returned to Fotheringhay Castle. A daughter, Ursula, was born there in July 1455.
1455: Henry and a select council of nobles, minus York and Warwick, decided to hold a great council at Leicester. Both York and Warwick, believing this council would question their loyalty, gathered their retinue and marched to stop Henry from reaching Leicester. Their forces met at St. Albans. So began the Wars of the Roses.
Nothing more is recorded of the upbringing of any of York’s younger children until 1459. (www.richardiii.net)
1459: Following the Battle of Blore Heath, the Lancastrian army marched towards Ludlow, hoping to capture the Duke of York and his sons.
At one time, while Lady Cecily was residing at the Castle of Ludlow with Richard and some of the younger children, a party of her husband’s enemies, the Lancastrians, appeared suddenly at the gates of the town, and, before Prince Richard’s party had time to take any efficient measures for defense, the town and the castle were both taken. The Lancastrians had expected to find Prince Richard himself in the castle, but he was not there. They were exasperated by their disappointment, and in their fury they proceeded to ransack all the rooms, and to destroy everything that came into their hands. In some of the inner and more private apartments they found Lady Cecily and her children. They immediately seized them all, made them prisoners, and carried them away. By King Henry’s orders, they were placed in close custody in another castle in the southern part of England. (The Baldwin Project)
According to Sir Clements Markham: The Duchess of York and her three young children, Margaret, George and Richard, were taken prisoners at Wigmore. They were sent to Tunbridge Castle in the custody of their mother’s sister, the Duchess of Buckingham. The Duchess of York then escaped from Tunbridge and found asylum for her little children at the chambers of John Paston.
1460/61: When Richard Duke of York rode north to defend his kingdom against Margaret of Anjou, the wife of Henry VI, he left his wife and younger children in London at Baynard’s Castle. After his death at the Battle of Wakefield, late in 1460, Richard was sent with his brother George to safety in Burgundy.
When the dreadful news of the battle of Wakefield reached London, the Duchess of York was plunged into grief at the loss of her noble husband and gallant young son, and she was terrified for the safety of her children. The two little boys, George and Richard, were put on board a vessel in the Thames and sent to Holland. There, under the protection of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, they were established at Utrecht with suitable tutors. The Duchess of York, with her little daughter Margaret, remained in London awaiting events.(Richard III: His Life & Character, by Clements R. Markham)
1461: The following April Richard and George returned to England for the coronation of their elder brother as King Edward IV.
Immediately after the coronation, George was created Duke of Clarence; and Richard Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Carlisle, and Earl of Richmond. (Clements R. Markham)
During these years, the boys had their own establishment, their own residence in a tower at Greenwich Palace, and their own staff: Master John Tapton was Clarence’s chancellor and Sir Robert Wingfield was supervisor of his livelihood. There apparently they resided continually, except when required for ceremonial and state occasions, such as the Leicester parliament of 1463 and the queen’s coronation in 1465. About that time, Duke Richard was removed to the household of the earl of Warwick, where he apparently remained until declared of age in 1468 - 1469. (www.richardiii.net)
1465: Richard is recorded as being present at the enthronement celebrations of George Neville as archbishop of York in September 1465. He had recently become a member of the Warwick household and was seated beside Anne Neville.
1465: Richard was created a Knight of the Garter.
1466: In February, Richard’s sword and helmet were placed in St. George’s Chapel, and he took possession of his stall in the following April.
His stall plate is now in the ninth stall on the south side of the choir, in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor. The arms are France and England quarterly, with a silver label of three points, each ermine with a canton gules. The crest is a crowned leopard gold, on a cap of estate, with a label as in the arms, round his neck. The helm is barred as used in the mêlée, the only one on the early plates, the rest all being tilting helms. (Clements R. Markham)
Richard was in the household of the Earl of Warwick from around 1465 until around 1469 – four years at the most. In 1465 he would have been aged 13, the same age as his father had been when he married his mother, and would not have been regarded as a child.
As a noble lord with many properties, Warwick and his household would also have moved around various castles such as Warwick Castle and Middleham Castle in Yorkshire, and probably spent time in York, London and other major cities.
Although Middleham was a place that Richard grew to love and he spent a good proportion of his adult life there as his brother’s ‘Lord in the North’, effectively ruling the region and keeping peace on his behalf, he didn’t grow up there and it can hardly be described as his ‘childhood’ home. If his ‘home’ is anywhere it is at Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire where his parents and brother Edmund are buried.
So perhaps if people are keen to see Richard’s remains returned ‘home’ they really ought to be campaigning for a reburial in the church of St Mary and All Saints at Fotheringhay.