Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New dig at Richard III site could uncover a group of headless friars

Date:
July 9, 2013
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Archaeologists digging at Grey Friars could unearth a group of Leicester friars who were beheaded for treason by Henry IV.

Overall shot of the new dig at Grey Friars.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester

University of Leicester archaeologists digging at Grey Friars could unearth a group of Leicester friars who were beheaded for treason by Henry IV

Richard III may not have been the first person to be buried at Leicester's Grey Friars church after suffering a grim fate.

A new dig at the site of Richard's grave could shed light on a longstanding mystery surrounding a group of friars who were executed for treason by Henry IV.

Throughout July, archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeological Services will carry out an excavation at Grey Friars church, where the body of King Richard III was found in September.

The archaeologists are hoping to uncover more of the burials at the friary.

These may include three Leicester friars who were put to death in London in 1402, more than 80 years before Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth.

The friars had been involved in spreading rumours that the deposed Richard II -- who had died in 1400 -- was alive and well and planning to reclaim his throne from Henry IV.

At the time, there was increasing social unrest in England and mounting threats to Henry IV's reign from Robert III, King of Scots, and Owen Glyn Dŵr's insurrection in Wales.

Rumours -- possibly originating in Scotland -- began to spread through England, undermining Henry's credibility in the eyes of the public.

Leicester's friars were central to spreading these rumours -- particularly Roger Frisby, a prestigious theologian and Doctor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.

Frisby appears to have been the ringleader behind a network of Franciscan friars in the Midlands -- particularly in Leicester, Aylesbury, Northampton and Nottingham -- who latched on to the myth and promoted it.

This proved to be a major annoyance for King Henry IV.

More than 30 people were arrested, and 14 people were put to death -- including Roger Frisby and fellow Leicester friars Walter Walton and John Moody.

The men were hanged before being beheaded, and their heads were put on display in Oxford and London Bridge.

Chronicles suggest the friars' bodies were collected by their brethren and buried at their own friary -- meaning the Leicester friars may have been brought back to Leicester and buried at Grey Friars.

However -- it is also possible they were simply buried at a Franciscan friary in London.

Mathew Morris, Grey Friars site director, who researched the link between Leicester and the executions, said: "Roger Frisby was a respected theologian -- and clearly a well-regarded Franciscan. People respected him for that, and gravitated towards him for his teachings.

"It is not clear why Roger latched on to the rumours. It is possible no one particularly believed Richard II was still alive -- and the rumours were simply a way of expressing dissatisfaction at Henry IV's rule.

"It would be very interesting if we were to find a headless skeleton during our current Grey Friars dig."

The University's excavation is expected to take around four weeks. Latest information on the progress of the dig, and more, can be found on our Richard III website: http://www.le.ac.uk/richardiii/

  • The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society. The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "New dig at Richard III site could uncover a group of headless friars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130709115157.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2013, July 9). New dig at Richard III site could uncover a group of headless friars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130709115157.htm
University of Leicester. "New dig at Richard III site could uncover a group of headless friars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130709115157.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

AP (July 18, 2014) — Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. Speaking at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Aldrin described what he was thinking right before the historic walk. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins