The Newarke and the Church of the Annunciation

Henry, Earl of Lancaster, established the Trinity Hospital in 1330, to the south of Leicester Castle, to care for the elderly and infirm. He later ordered the hospital to be incorporated within a religious precinct, a Newarke or ‘New Work’ which was home to a college of priests and included the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Completed by 1361, this church was designed as a mausoleum for Henry’s family, with several chapels and marble tombs of notable Lancastrians and other benefactors.

In around 1400, the Newarke was enclosed by a substantial stone wall, with a monumental entrance – now known as the Magazine Gateway – plus a smaller Turret Gateway separating the Newarke from the castle. Both still stand although the Turret Gateway is partly ruined. Between 1969 and 1996, the Magazine Gateway housed the museum of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

In the 16th century the Newarke College was dissolved by Henry VIII, and most of the buildings were demolished. The Trinity Hospital building, refurbished in 1776 and 1901, is now part of De Montfort University and a few arches of the church survive today in the basement of that university’s Hawthorn Building.

Richard’s body was displayed in the Church of the Annunciation for several days after it was brought to Leicester. It is likely that he passed through the Turret Gate on his way into the Newarke and then through the Newarke Gate (and the town’s South Gate) on his final journey to Greyfriars.

  • The Magazine (Newarke Gateway) in Leicester
    The Magazine (Newarke Gateway) Image credit: Leicester City Council
  • Looking along Castle View from the Turret Gateway towards the Castle Yard and Castle Hall, with St. Mary de Castro church on the right and the castle mound behind the buildings on the left. Image credit: Matt Ots.
    Looking along Castle View from the Turret Gateway towards the Castle Yard and Castle Hall, with St. Mary de Castro church on the right and the castle mound behind the buildings on the left. Image credit: Matt Ots.

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