Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YOGAZ to 80360 or send an email»
Richard III weekend at Sheriff Hutton
RYEDALE’S royal connections with King Richard III will be revealed in a weekend of events to be held later this month.
St Helen and the Holy Cross Church in Sheriff Hutton will be offering visitors a unique opportunity to celebrate the connections between King Richard, his wife Queen Anne Neville and their son Edward of Middleham, possibly the only Prince of Wales with an effigy in a parish church.
Richard, born 1452, son of Richard Duke of York and Cecily, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland was raised and trained at Middleham and Sheriff Hutton Castles, two of the power bases of the Nevilles, one of the most powerful Yorkist families in the North of England.
In 1459 the Yorkists were defeated at Blore Heath and Richard, his brother George and their mother were made prisoners of the Crown and put into the care of the Archbishop of Canterbury. After the death of their father at Sandal in 1460, the brothers were sent to Bruges for their protection.
In 1461, the Lancastrians won at Towton, Richard and George returned to England for the coronation of Edward IV and Richard was created Knight of the Bath. During the next few years he visited York and Sheriff Hutton and met Anne Neville, his future wife.
During Richard’s tenure as Lord Protector of the North, he used York and Sheriff Hutton as his political and military base for his retaliation against the Scots for their raiding parties.
In 1484, Richard established a royal household at Sheriff Hutton for young Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of George of Clarence and John, Earl of Lincoln, and in 1485 sent his niece, Elizabeth of York, his sisters, and several other prominent young members of the Royal household – “a chalice of the Royal family”.
During 1484, Richard had re-established the Council of the North at York and with its domestic quarters at Sheriff Hutton, a pattern of devolved government which was to last for a 150 years.
Richard married Anne in 1456, when he was 18 and she was 15, she having previously been betrothed or “married” to Edward of Lancaster. In 1474, Edward of Middleham, their only son, was born.
After the death of Edward IV in 1483, Richard was made Lord Protector and became King after the legitimacy of the young princes was questioned. Edward died at Middleham in 1484 aged 10, when his parents were at Nottingham, and is buried in the church at Sheriff Hutton. His effigy there is the only one in a parish church and is visited by many Plantagenets from all over the world.
Richard visited the church on a number of occasions as King and is recorded in 1485 as paying £5 to William Symson, Chantry Priest of our Lady Chapel beside the church at Sheriff Hutton, to “content him” for his ‘alf-yaers’ stipend and £10 per year thereafter. This chantry was located in the chapel of St Mary and St Peter in the south aisle and was built by the Nevilles in about 1347 on the site of Alice Neville’s Chantry.
Edward of Middleham’s tomb has, for some years, been located in the chantry chapel of St Nicholas in the north aisle where there are windows with stained glass symbols of Edward IV and other “Suns in Splendour”. Richard’s banner showing the Ebor boar hangs over Edward’s tomb.
Churchwarden Roy Thompson said the celebration weekend, on October 20 and 21, will seek to reveal some of the connections of the church and village with Richard and his family, the Nevilles and the Wars of the Roses through celebration, worship and lectures.
“The excavation of the bones taking place at Greyfriars in Leicester, which had been the location of a municipal car park, have raised again the interest in this fascinating story of one of England’s favourite monarchs, his death at Bosworth and his part in any imprisonment or disappearance of princes of Royal blood,” he added.
“We look forward to hearing more of a story which never seems to go away.”
The programme for the weekend includes music, drama and historical presentations focusing on the connection of Richard III and his family with Sheriff Hutton.
On Saturday, October 20, at 7pm, there will be a concert of Ricardian period words and music performed by the acclaimed the York Waits played on medieval instruments, with refreshments.
A Sung Service, with medieval church music, lead by Cantor Mike Stallybrass of Old Malton Priory, to including some of the prayers from Richard III’s Book of Hours and a celebration of the lives of the Neville family connected with Sheriff Hutton, will take place on Sunday at 11am. At 12.30pm, a light lunch will be served and stalls will be open.
The Towton Battlefield Society and the “Frei Companie” re-enactors will demonstrate their skills and lead the afternoon procession.
Helen Cox will speak on ‘The Battle of Wakefield’ and Neville family connections; she has written two books on the Battle of Wakefield and is publishing her book on the Battle of Towton this year.
Professor Anthony Pollard will speak on Richard III in Yorkshire, and in particular Sheriff Hutton, in a session chaired by Cynthia Batten, head of history at Queen Margaret’s School in Escrick and Tony Wright, who has researched Sheriff Hutton local history will attend. Tea will be served at about 4.30pm.
For more information and bookings email email@example.com or phone 01347 878754.