From Kim Harding
Sir, - That the Bishop of Leicester and Canon Chancellor of
Leicester Cathedral can see the missional possibilities that
surround the purported discovery of the remains of Richard III (Comment, 4 January) is
commendable; equally com-mendable are the efforts of the Leicester
University Archaeological Department which have brought about this
Our first consideration, however, should be where an anointed
and crowned monarch of England should be buried. There seem to be
only two possibilities: Westminster Abbey or York Minster. The
Abbey has indicated an unwillingness to accommodate him (does this
mean there will be no more royal burials at Westminster?); but
there is strong evidence that Richard would have wished to be
buried in York, where he was creating a Collegiate Chapel of 100
priests at the Minster.
He grew up and spent most of his adult life in the north of
England, and he founded the Council of the North, based at York.
While Leicester council and the cathedral are gearing up to
capitalise on pilgrimage, tourism, and the associated economic
benefits of the king's discovery, Richard's only prior connection
with the town is that his despoiled body was displayed naked in the
town square for some days after Bosworth.
At risk under the new Tudor regime, the city of York issued
statements of loyalty to Richard even after Henry VII's accession.
So York Minster would suggest itself as the most fitting
resting-place for this much maligned northern king. That Richard
III's final resting-place be determined by principles of "finders,
keepers" or "place of death" seems wholly inappropriate.
I would be interested to know who will make the final decisions,
and on what basis.
The Vicarage, Barnard Castle
Co. Durham DL12 8ST