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Monday, September 15, 2014

16 a John and Mary Herrick and their home Greyfriers were King Richard III was buried.

As part of our 3 moth trip around the UK, to walk in our ancestors footsteps, we arrived, one cold wet Friday in the town of Leicester.  The 10th great grandparents Robert and Mary Herrick were buried there.

By chance we were able to get a park and slushing around in the wet puddles we found the Cathedral.  All around workmen were constructing buildings and doing landscaping.  We had no idea what for.

The guide at the Cathedral was an elderly lady and she was most impressed that we had come to see the great grandparents graves.  We had spent 10 weeks doing this in different places, and didn't quite know what to expect.

"It's just up here in St Catherine's Chapel"  she told me.  Well that was a surprise and a half, then she showed us where King Richard III was to be re-buried, right outside that chapel.

The chapel was beautiful, with impressive stain glass windows and an altar.  I thought it must be rather special when the sun was shining.

And there it was, so many Herrick family tombs.  I was a bit overwhelmed, as I didn't know all the different names I was finding.  It was a bit of a thrill to once again be standing next to my ancestor's, in the church that they married and possibly were baptised, and then buried in.
Made it all sort of seem real and come to life.  One thing for sure, a lot more research has to be done on the Herrick family!

Then we found the tombstone for King Richard III.  Well he is not buried in the tomb, rather his bones which were discovered when some rebuilding was being carried out, are currently stored at the University.  But he is to be re-buried in March 2015 and she showed me the waiting tomb.

Of all things this new tomb is directly beside St Catherine's Chapel, so here will lie King Richard, buried for 500 years on the Herrick's lands with a marker indicating he was buried there, and is to be re-interred next to the Herrick's graves in the Cathedral.  I thought that a bit ironic.

And we learnt an amazing fact.  The Herricks had a bit of a mansion in the area across from the cathedral, called Greyfriers, and that was where Richard was buried after the battle.  In fact, the Herricks had a monument in their garden signifying that the King was buried there!  Unfortunately the mansion and the monument have disappeared.

She told us to go into the Guildhall next door, as John Herrick was a Mayor, and she thought his painting was there.  But unfortunately one was in the British Museum, and the other stored for safe keeping.

The Guildhall is a very old building, but the Mayor's chair remains.  John Herrick was an ironmonger, and his brother was a goldsmith to the King, so they were well connected in Royal circles.

Mayor's Chair

Complete with glockenspiel

The lady there explained that when Richard, who was not well liked, lost the battle, his body was bought back to Leicester, and they decided to bury him somewhere where the ordinary folk could not get access to him, and then put the slab in the Cathedral about 30 years ago.

Out of sight, out of mind!

Outside into torrential rain, and we came across all the works being done, and realised it was all for new buildings to house a Richard III visitor attraction.  It was nothing short of a mess.

One of I guess many statues that will adorn the site.

At the moment it is a complete mess!

 One of the workmen asked me if it look rather nice, as I  struggled to hold umbrella and take a photo.t.  I told him it looked a "bloody" mess, but I guess that they would be making heaps of money from my cousin.  He was a bit taken back, really he said, yep 24th cousin.  But that is quite interesting cause Henry IV also is my 24th cousin.

Then he told me how the remains were discovered, but he was missing his feet.   Our next port of call was the Boswell Battle fields where the famous battle was won/lost depending on whom you are barracking for.

Mind you King Richard went off to war with 24000 troops, and Henry IV had 2000.  Now they might not have known it at the time, but these two were related, and are cousins.  And Richard was killed and lost the battle.  So the Red roses won over the White roses!  And everyone was happy.
The fields, subject to huge archaeological finds

For the time being I will focus on Richard.  


I found it interesting that many of Richard's loyal supporters where his family members, including my La Zouche family.  I guess all the noble people had a limited number of suitors to choose from especially when they often had 4 or 5 wives or husbands.

The display was rather good, and once again the focus was on making history easy to learn and understand for school kids.  Mind you I don't know how much they retain, cause there sure is a lot of history.

Herrick's garden is the burial site.  Wonder which side he was for? 

Poor Richard, when they uncovered the skeleton, they were able to distinguish how he died, copped a few arrows in the head, but the look of it, and his horse had got bogged in the mud.

The tomb for the victor and his wife, is in Westminster Abbey.

On the way back we passed through Woodhouse, and I remembered it was the home of the Herricks, now this one really impressed us.  All around our driving route today we have passed some amazing country homes.  The country side is so beautiful and the lifestyle seems idyllic, I wonder how it would have been all those centuries ago?

Beaumanor Hall, ancestral home of the Herrick family, was used as a listening station during the war. The Hall is now owned by Leicestershire County Council and is used as an educational base with outdoor activities.The oldest part of the village is the church, which is believed to date back to the 17th century. This is evident on the side of the church near to where the Herrick family are buried, as a large number of indentations show where arrows were sharpened for hunting. The village was originally linear; however, the army barracks created a more nucleated village with more modern housing than the typical Georgian architecture seen throughout.

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