Richard: Our part in his downfall

The discovery of the remains of King Richard III beneath a Leicester car park has led to renewed interest in the period of the Wars of the Roses.

Next to the Tesco car park in Fornham Road stands the ruin of St Saviour’s Monastery, where an event occurred which led to that conflict and ultimately to the death of the King. In 1447 Parliament met in Bury at St Edmunds Abbey because of an outbreak of plague in London. The Duke of Suffolk, on home ground, was planning to accuse his rival, the king’s uncle and senior noble of England, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester of high treason before Parliament. It proved unnecessary, as the duke was found dead in his bed at St Saviour’s. Contemporaries and Shakespeare, in his play, Henry VI part II, assumed foul play.

In any case, Duke Humphrey’s death cleared the way for the vicious rivalry of the Houses of York and Lancaster and in due course to the death of King Richard III at Bosworth in 1485.

Brian Way

Great Barton