History of the Blue Boar

While the church of the Greyfriars was the last resting place of Richard III, the last place where he actually rested was the Blue Boar Inn, a large, modern (for the time) establishment on Leicester’s old High Street.

After riding from Nottingham, Richard stayed at the Blue Boar on the night of 20 August 1485, reputedly in his own bed which he had brought with him. The next morning he rode out of the town, spending the night of 21 August under canvas before meeting his destiny the following day at Bosworth Field.

The Blue Boar itself was constructed in the mid-15th century and was a large coaching inn, providing food, drink and accommodation for wealthy travellers. On his previous visits to Leicester, Richard had stayed in the Castle, but by 1485 that was starting to fall into disrepair.

In 1836 the Blue Boar was demolished and a new pub of the same name built 200 yards away on Southgate Street. The site of the original building is now, appropriately, a Travelodge.

Our knowledge of the Inn comes from a handful of 18th and 19th century engravings. An image of the building and another of Richard’s bed were published in William Hutton’s 1788 book The Battle of Bosworth Field. Another engraving of the exterior was produced by John Flower for his book Views of Ancient Buildings in the Town and County of Leicester, published in 1826. An engraving of the King’s bedchamber by Thomas Featherstone, published in 1836, gives us our only view inside the building. A Victorian painting, based on Flower’s engraving, was donated to the City Council in 1920 and is now housed at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

Richard Buckley explains how a chance discovery led to a scale model being made of the Blue Boar's timber frame structure.
Engravings of the Blue Boar Inn and the bed in the principle chamber. From the University of Leicester Library Special Collections
Engravings of the Blue Boar Inn and the bed in the principle chamber. From the University of Leicester Library Special Collections

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