Monday, March 2, 2015

Richard III Festival - March 6 - March 14 2015 - Gloucester U.K.

Richard III Festival

                After the success of last year’s Festival we are back this year with an even better program of talks. Featuring talks with Professors from the University of Leicester, visitors can expect to hear all the expert findings directly from those who have published the research. Details of all talks below, follow the links to purchase tickets online. Please note that new talks will be added so check back for up to date details.
6th – 14th March
Friday 6th March
Richard III: the King under the car park’, with Mathew Morris
Mathew Morris, Greyfriars site director, presents the latest research from the search for Richard III. Tickets £7.50 per person.
7pm, City Museum CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets online, or telephone (01452) 396131.

Saturday 7th March
'CSI Richard III: Analysis of the King's Bones', with Sarah Hainsworth
11am, City Museum Tickets £7.50 per person.
CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets online for this talk, or telephone (01452) 396131.
Richard III: the genetics, the genealogy and is it actually him?’, with Dr Turi King
Hear Dr Turi King take us through the genetics and genealogy behind the Richard III case, and demonstrate how you can extract DNA from a non-Medieval banana!
1.30pm, City Museum. Tickets £7.50 per person.
CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets online
‘‘R’ Almost Marked the Spot – Filming the Search for Richard III’, with Carl Vivian
As a video producer for the University of Leicester Carl Vivian was asked to record the Search for Richard III from the moment the ground was broken at the Greyfriars site to the final announcement that confirmed the identity of the remains.
The images taken over the six month project is a unique record of the event and has been used in three Channel 4 films, to illustrate the City Council's King Richard III Visitor Centre and by News Broadcasters from all over the world.
In this short talk Carl Vivian picks out some of the highlights of the project illustrated with material that’s never been broadcast and concludes with a look at what’s happened on the project since that historic announcement on 4th February 2013. Tickets £7.50 per person.
3.30pm, City Museum CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets online, or telephone (01452) 396131.
Tuesday 10th March
‘Music in the Age of Richard III’,
talk with Cllr Sebastian Field
Richard III's lifetime (1452-1485) saw a remarkable development in English music. Composers such as John Dunstable and John Plummer were leading this development, which flowered in the reign of Henry VII with the Eton Choirbook. Professional singer and Gloucester City Councillor Sebastian Field traces the origins of medieval polyphony and the growth of English music, particularly during the reign of King Richard III. The talk will be illustrated with recorded musical examples. Tickets £7.50 per person.
7pm, Gloucester Guildhall CLICK HERE| to purchase tickers online, or telephone (01452) 503050
Friday 13th March
Richard III – Walking Tour of the City Centre, tour with Christine Morgan
Follow in Richard's footsteps to look at some of the buildings he would have seen and visited during his stay in Gloucester and hear about the background to and purpose of his visit which was part of his royal progress in the area. Tour lasts approximately one hour, maximum of 20 people. Tickets £4 each.
2pm, Meeting at the City Museum CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets online or telephone (01452) 396131
Richard III, Tudor Propaganda and the Judgement of History’ – Choral Concert
The programme will include Sumer is Icumen in, the earliest known piece of English polyphony, the beautiful medieval carol There is no Rose, and Pastime with Good Company, allegedly written by Henry VIII. The concert will feature vocal music performed by the Sine Nomine Youth Choir, instrumental music from IatB Ensemble, and solo songs performed by Sebastian and Vicki Field, accompanied by members of IatB. Narrator Chris Chatterton, former Mayor of Gloucester, will tell the story of this much maligned Plantagenet King, and how his reputation has waxed and waned under the Tudor propagandists and after.
CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets for this event
7pm – 9.30pm, St Nicholas Church This event will include a 30 minute interval in which mulled wine and cakes will be served over the road at the Gloucester Folk Museum. A special rate £10 ticket is available if you’d like to include refreshments.  Please note that refreshments are NOT available on the night without a pre-booked ticket. PLEASE REMEMBER to bring a thick coat - the church can get very cold!
Saturday 14th March ‘‘’Tis but a scratch”, the reality of 15th century Warfare’, with Bob Woosnam-Savage
Medieval arms and armour, and particularly that of the 15th century often conjures up wonderful images of knights and men-at-arms in shining armour together with, what appear to be almost fantastic displays of superb heraldry, perhaps in the form of painted silken banners and ostrich feather panache’s and plumes. Join Bob Woosnam-Savage, Curator of European Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, as he takes us on an interesting journey. Warning: Contains adult content and images some viewers my find distressing. Tickets £7.50 per person.
10.30am, City Museum CLICK HERE| to purchase your tickets online or telephone (01452) 396131.

Richard III’s Heir? – The Dublin King’, with Dr Louis-John Ashdown-Hill
In 1486 – just a year after Henry VII had killed Richard III at the battle of Bosworth and seized the crown - a young man claiming to be a Richard’s heir appeared, to oust the usurper and reclaim the throne for the legitimate royal family. In 1487, he was crowned King of England in Dublin’s cathedral. So who was this boy? Henry VII’s government officially announced that he was an imposter called Lambert Simnel, son of a craftsman from Oxford. But late fifteenth-century Continental and Irish writers insisted that he was Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of Richard III’s brother, the Duke of Clarence. Whoever he was, he had the backing of key members of the Yorkist royal family. In his talk (and in his latest book) John Ashdown-Hill offers new and intriguing evidence regarding the identity of THE DUBLIN KING. Tickets £7.50 per person.
12pm, City Museum
CLICK HERE| to purchase your tickets online or telephone (01452) 396131.
Shakespeare and the Remains of Richard III’, with Professor Philip Schwyzer
This talk will be followed by a book signing featuring the publication of the same name. Tickets £7.50 per person.
2pm, City Museum CLICK HERE| to purchase tickets for this event.
Events may be added to the programme above any day, so please check back regularly to make sure you don't miss out.


Coffin-Within-a-Coffin Opened at Richard III Grave

The lead coffin as it was unearthed.
University of Leicester
A mysterious lead coffin found close to King Richard III’s grave beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, contained the skeleton of an elderly woman, archaeologists at Leicester University announced today.
Featuring an inlaid crucifix, carefully soldered on all sides but with feet sticking out of the bottom, the lead coffin was discovered inside a larger limestone sarcophagus in August 2013 . The discovery came one year after the battle-scarred remains of the last Plantagenet king of England — the family ruled vast areas of Europe — were unearthed.
Radiocarbon dating suggests the lady in the lead casket might have died as late as 1400, although it's much more likely she was buried in the last half of the 13th century — long before Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth.
PHOTOS: Mystery Coffin Revealed at Richard III Site

Although her sarcophagus was the first intact medieval stone coffin unearthed in the area, it wasn’t the only grave found at the site. Nine other burials were identified beneath the car park, which was basically the site of Grey Friars Church, the medieval friary of the Franciscans known to have been Richard III’s final resting place.
Established in around 1250, the friary was demolished in 1538, as part of King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries.
“There is the potential for hundreds more burials elsewhere inside the church, the other friary buildings and outside in the cemetery,” said Grey Friars site director Mathew Morris, who led the dig.
The mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin prompted various speculations about the individual it contained. All suggested it was a male.
Coffin at King Richard III Site Holds…Another Coffin
The guessing game included two leaders of the English Grey Friars order -- Peter Swynsfeld, who died in 1272, and William of Nottingham, who died in 1330.
“We speculated that this grave might be for one of them. To find that it contained a woman was intriguing and to some extent frustrating for we know much less about the women associated with the friary than the men,” Morris told Discovery News.
Three graves exhumed out of the 10 found so far at the Grey Friars turned to contain female skeletons.
“The discovery is going to add important insights into the interaction of women and the religious orders in the medieval period,” Morris said.
Face of Richard III Reconstructed
He noted that statistically, the sample is too small to draw any conclusions to the significance of women’s presence at Grey Friars. Richard III, who will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral on March 26, would certainly not have been the only male buried there during the friary’s 300 year history.
“After all, if we carried out more excavations it is possible that we could find that these are the only four women buried in the church,” Morris said.
Two graves inside the choir -- where Richard III was found -- contained wooden coffins and two females aged between 40 and 50 years-old. Radiocarbon dating indicate they died between 1270 and 1400.
One of the women likely had a congenital hip dislocation which forced her to walk with a crutch, while the other lived a life of hard physical labor, regularly using her arms and legs to lift heavy weights.
Medieval Church Discovered Beneath Parking Lot
Another female skeleton, believed to have died in her early to mid-20s, also led a life of hard physical work.
Analysis of the female remains, including the lady in the lead coffin, who was over 60 when she died, revealed that all four women had a highly varied, protein-rich diet including large amounts of sea fish. This indicates that they would have been wealthy, the archaeologists concluded.
“The friary’s main source of donations came from the town’s middle classes, merchants and tradespeople who were probably of more modest means, and worked for a living,” Morris said.
Buried in a prominent position in the church, the lady in the lead coffin was certainly enjoying a high social status.
All Hail King Richard! Details of Elaborate Burial Unveiled
“Use of lead in coffins in the medieval period, because of its expense, is often taken to indicate the individual’s wealth and power. We believe she was an important early benefactor of the Grey Friars,” Morris said.
There is also the possibility the lead coffin may have been used to transport the person from elsewhere in the country. According to Morris, this would again fit with the idea that she was a benefactor who wanted to be buried in a specific church.
“There was some damage to the underside of the coffin which might support the theory of her being transported some distance before burial,” Morris said.
He and his team are searching archive records trying to identify the skeleton. Documents dating back to the time of the burials name a lady called Emma, who was married to John of Holt and whose body was buried “in the Franciscan church in Leicester.”
But nothing more is known about Emma, what she looked like, her age at death or where in the friary church she was buried.
According to Morris, such a lack of fundamental information, coupled with no known descendants who can provide a DNA sample, make it impossible to say for certain whether one of these skeletons is that of Emma or indeed anyone else.
“Sadly, they will forever remain anonymous,” he said.

History Trivia - Ethelred of Wessex defeats the Danish invasion army

March 2

462 Total Lunar Eclipse.

672 Saint Caedda died. He was educated at Lindisfarne and spent time in Ireland before succeeding his brother as Abbot of Laestingaeu in Yorkshire.

871 Battle at Marton: Ethelred of Wessex beat the Danish invasion army.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

History Trivia - Romulus, first king of Rome, celebrates his victory over the Caeninenses

March 1

 752 BC Romulus, first king of Rome, celebrated the first Roman triumph after his victory over the Caeninenses, following the Rape of the Sabine Women. 

86 BC Lucius Cornelius Sulla, at the head of a Roman Republic army, entered Athens, and removed the tyrant Aristion who was supported by troops of Mithridates VI of Pontus. 

918 Balderik became Bishop of Utrecht.  He was the son of Count Ricfried in the Betuwe, who expelled the Vikings from Utrecht.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

R.I.P. Mr. Spock - A short tribute to the great Leonard Nimoy

History Trivia - Westminster Abbey opens

February 28

1066 Westminster Abbey opened.

1574 Two Englishmen and an Irishman were burnt for heresy on the orders of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.  

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh, which denounced the attempts by Charles I to force the Scottish church to conform to English practices, at the same time urging loyalty to the king.

Friday, February 27, 2015

History Trivia - 15th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet

February 27

 380 Roman emperor Theodosius declared the orthodoxy of the Nicene Creed, and made Christianity the sole religion of the empire.

837 The 15th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.

1560 The Treaty of Berwick, which expelled the French from Scotland, was signed by England and the Congregation of Scotland.