King Richard III and York
1483AD - 1485AD
One of England’s most infamous monarchs, Richard III (1452-1485) had close connections to York and Yorkshire, having spent much of his youth living at Middleham Castle. Richard courted the goodwill of both the council and the Minster clergy. On the day of his coronation, the mayor and alderman rode to Middleham to present wine and food to Richard’s son Edward.
King Richard visited York several times during his short reign, and stayed for three weeks in 1483. He was met by the mayor and alderman, and was sprinkled with holy water at the entrance to the Minster. Presents worth £450 were given to him. The young prince was crowned Price of Wales at the Archbishop’s Palace behind the Minster.
Richard even planned to be buried at York Minster, a radical ambition as English monarchs were traditionally interred at Westminster Abbey. He planned to build an enormous chantry chapel at the Minster where 100 additional chaplains would pray for his soul.
York looked to Richard to help it at a time of economic decline, and actively championed his short reign. The city sent troops to support his cause, including 80 dispatched to support him after Henry Tudor’s invasion. They were too late and the Tudor era had begun.
‘King Richard, late mercifully reigning over us, was through great treason . . . piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city,’ reported the mayor’s serjeant of the mace a day after Richard’s death at the Battle of Bosworth on August 22, 1485.
An odd footnote is that Henry Percy, an Earl who owned a house in York, played a key role in the battle.