University of Leicester archaeologists today (12 September) announced that they may have found the remains of Richard III beneath the choir (also spelt quire) of Greyfriars Church, a Franciscan friary recently rediscovered under Leicester City carpark.
According to historical documents, Richard III was stripped and brought to this location following his defeat in the battle of Boswoth in 1485. In 1490 Warwickshire priest John Rouse recorded that the king ‘at last was buried in the choir of the Friars Minor at Leicester.’
The discovery of the remains within the church’s choir could be a significant clue to their identity. Looking at Tudor burials elsewhere, prominent figures such as Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I were laid to rest in the choir of St George’s chapel at Windsor – although other high status burials, such as those of Elizabeth I, Henry VII and Mary I, in Westminster Abbey, have no association with the choir. area in the Abbey’s plan.
As part of a Medieval church, the choir was separated from the nave by a screen and was the area where services were sang. Situated near the High Altar, it was one of the most sacred parts of the church and a very prestigious place for burials.
Watch this space for more information – full story in CA 272!