15th-century manuscript sheds light on Richard III's relationship with York

The Northern Echo: Natalie McCaul, Curator of Archaelogy at the The Yorkshire Museum  with the 15th Century manuscript which will now go on public display Natalie McCaul, Curator of Archaelogy at the The Yorkshire Museum with the 15th Century manuscript which will now go on public display

AN original manuscript dating back almost 600 years is offering a fascinating glimpse of Richard III and his relationship with the city that claims him as its own.

York is currently embroiled in a row over whether the remains of the medieval monarch, rediscovered last year, should be interred there or in Leicester, where the skeleton was found.

And the manuscript reveals how York flamboyantly prepared for his state visits, wrestled with rumours of treason and ultimately what the city leaders felt about the King’s death in 1485.

The 15th-century ‘House Book’ is one of a unique series documenting York’s civic jurisdiction for the last 600 years up to the present day.

It has now been loaned to the Yorkshire Museum in York from the city’s civic archive - and it is believed to be the first time it has gone on public display.

Curator of archaeology Natalie McCaul said: “This first hand written account offers us a unique window into the much talked about relationship between York and Richard III like nothing else in existence.

“It talks of the pomp and circumstance of his visit to the city - where people were made to clean the paths in front of their doors and put up banners from their windows.

“It describes his murder being a “grete hevynesse of this citie” and how Henry VII’s messenger was afraid to visit after Richard’s death.

“But it also shows that even then the city wasn’t united in their support for Richard – rumour and reality were still deeply intertwined, with numerous tell tale accounts of suspected treason noted.”

The book has gone on show as part of York’s Richard III: Rumour and Reality programme of events. For more information go to: richardiii-ipup.org.uk

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