Richard’s visits to Leicester

Medieval map of Leicester showing his route into Leicester, his journey out to Bosworth Battle Field then the route his body took back into Leicester

Before Bosworth

On 20 August 1485, Richard and his retinue reached Leicester where he met up with his supporters, John Howard, Duke of Norfolk and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. Travelling south from Nottingham Castle, Richard would have passed through the North Suburb and entered the city by the North Gate. Riding along what was then the High Street past All Saints’ Church and St John’s Hospital, he took up residence at the Blue Boar Inn for the night. The following morning, Richard set off from the Blue Boar Inn towards his fateful meeting with Henry Tudor, who was travelling eastwards from Staffordshire. Richard and his retinue would have left the town by the West Gate and West Bridge. Their route took them past the Austin (Augustinian) Friary, situated outside the town walls on an island in the River Soar, and then across Bow Bridge, where legend says that Richard accidentally struck his spur on the parapet.

Richard spent the night of 21 August under canvas and was killed in battle on 22 August.

Fields at Bosworth
Man on a horse in a reinactment of the war of the roses at Bosworth
Men fighting in a reinactment of the war of the roses at Bosworth
A plaque at Bosworth saying 'Richard the last Plantagenet King of England was slain here 22nd August 1485'

After Bosworth

After the battle, Richard’s body was brought to the town, returning by the same route. Legend says that, as prophesied, his head struck the parapet of Bow Bridge where his spur had hit it on the way out.

Passing over the West Bridge and through the West Gate, Richard’s body entered the town and was taken to the Newarke, a religious precinct outside the south-west of the town walls. To reach there, the procession carrying Richard’s body would have passed by St Mary de Castro Church and the Great Hall of Leicester Castle (where Richard had stayed twice in 1483, on his way to and from York). Entering the Newarke by the Turret Gate, the procession would have passed Trinity Hospital before reaching their destination, the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here Richard’s body was displayed for several days in what was effectively a Lancastrian mausoleum.

After a period of display, Richard’s body was taken from the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the Newarke Gate (now called the Magazine) and the South Gate, to Greyfriars, where he was speedily buried and remained undisturbed for 527 years.

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