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A new tomb for a medieval king

The decisions about the design of the new tomb for King Richard III
At the start of this process, the chapter very much felt that there was a quiet dignity about the possibility of a ledger stone. There was an existing ledger stone which commemorated Richard’s story in the cathedral. And that was a very powerful memorial, and carved by a very well-known carver. And after the chapter thought that that was probably the way to proceed, it seemed quite important to people to have a memorial which was broadly human-size in character, that had the volume of what we imagine to be a human body.
And also, it seemed important to us in a cathedral of our size that not only did the memorial commemorate and celebrate the particularity of Richard III, but also it worked quite hard in helping people to understand what was important to Richard III with respect to his faith, knowing that other parts of his story are commemorated at the Bosworth Battle Centre, at the Richard III Visitors’ Centre, in other places in Fotheringay and York, and Middleham and so on. But that our particular responsibility as the community which hosts his actual human remains was to both give due commemoration to his narrative.
And so the memorial stone has his name, his beloved wild boar badges, his dates, and his motto– the loyaulte me lie, the loyalty binds me. And the memorial also has the arms of England from his time. And then above that, above the Kilkenny limestone which holds all of that nomenclature is then this great slab of stone, roughly coffin-sized, deeply incised with the cross to make it clear that that’s his faith, and we stand in the continuity about faith as Leicester Cathedral. And also, we didn’t just want a memorial which was very static in character. And so the westerly end of the big block of stone is slightly raised, and the whole thing cut in a way that it’s almost hovering.
It’s got a bit of dynamism in the artistic character of it, and the sense of which the hope of resurrection just gently rising towards the traditional east– which, of course, matches the way in which he was

Now, in the 21st century, a new tomb has been created for a medieval king. David Monteith shares with us the decisions about the design of the tomb that now sits in Leicester Cathedral, since Richard’s reinterment in March 2015.

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England in the Time of King Richard III

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