Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Bit of a 'random' post today.  Hence the title digging.  It's well known that Edward II liked nothing better than thatching a roof or digging ditches - although I rather think Piers would do anything to avoid digging a ditch if he could:)    Of course, recently, digging has been in the news due to the discovery of the bones of Richard III in a car park in Leicester.   TV in Britain was bombarded with coverage of his final journey from Bosworth to Leicester cathedral - hours, and hours of it, plus endless debates on Richard's character.  All this coverage has led some to ask about the cost of the excavation and re-burial, and who paid what.  According to the British newspaper, here is the break down of the costs.

For the search and excavation, the costs was £142,663, of which Leicester University paid £114,050 and the Richard III society paid £18,083.

Leicester Cathedral paid an eye-watering £2.5 million on the coffin and the tomb, and apparently this was matched by fund-raising and donations.  The Express does not know who paid for the policing, road works and local authority time.  Leicester Cathedral think that it will be money well-spent, as with all the publicity it will increase tourism and they will make a profit.  So you can now buy Richard III t-shirts - several varieties - mugs, key rings, mouse mats, shopping bags, baseball hats, posters, greetings cards, aprons - you name, you can buy it.   For me, the best part of the coverage was David Starkey's views and and my favourite Ricardian, John Ashdown-Hill.

Of course, the discovery of Richard's remains has led to coverage of requests to either search or dig up other royal or famous remains.  An academic has says he knows where King Stephen is buried, the search is in for King Alfred, there's a petition for a rather bizarre request to have Anne Boleyn pardoned and re-buried in Westminster Abbey and another academic would like the remains of Shakespeare dug up and examined so we can find out what his lifestyle was like!  Maybe Shakespeare knew he would be regarded as a genius and this may well happen to him, hence the 'curse' placed on his grave.

  Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

No doubt there will follow a campaign to have the bones buried in Innocents Corner in an urn in Westminster Abbey re-examined - something the Queen has refused many times.  She is satisfied the bones are those of the 'Little Princes in the Tower'  and sees no reason for them to be re-examined.  There's no doubt in my mind they are the bones of the princes - who else would be secretly buried in a chest under a staircase in the White Tower?  Of course, what everyone would like to know is the age of the bones and any clues as to how the princes died.

Of course, from an Edward II point of view, an examination of his tomb and bones might help us find out his fate - is it really him buried in the tomb?  and if so, what actual age was he when he died?  Now there's a mystery worth solving!


Kathryn Warner said...

Interesting post! It would be so amazing to know for sure what happened to Edward!

Kasia Ogrodnik said...

Re Richard III, thank God all the media hype is over. Now let the man rest in peace. Although, the whole story has given me food for thought - is there any other ruler in history to have such a posthumous career (or career in general) as Richard has had, I wonder? And who would expect that... His reign lasted but three years.

I would vote for Edward and examination of his tomb. It would be great to know what really happened.

Anerje said...

Kathryn - there's such a great mystery in Edward's possible survival - far more exciting than re-burying Richard III.

Kasia - it's ridiculous the fuss that has been made, and it's all to do with money. I can't help wondering what Richard would make of it all. I think he'd be puzzled and bemused. Shakespeare created a fantastic villain in his portrayal of Richard - I tend to agree had he not, there wouldn't be the same interest in Richard.