Wingfield: Village stakes claim for Richard III’s remains

L-R: Eleanor Goodison, John McCracken and Bob Elliott are pictured beside the tomb of Elizabeth of Y

L-R: Eleanor Goodison, John McCracken and Bob Elliott are pictured beside the tomb of Elizabeth of York (sister of Richard III) and John De La Pole in St Andrew's Church, Wingfield. - Credit: Archant

WHILE two cities have been battling to bury King Richard III, one Suffolk village has staked a claim for the fallen monarch’s remains.

Richard III’s remains should not go to Leicester or York, but Wingfield, the small village near Diss, according to villagers.

The tomb of his sister, Elizabeth of York, sits next to that of her husband, the Duke of Suffolk, John de la Pole, in the village church of St Andrew’s. The chairman of Wingfield Parish Council, Michael Harvey, said they would write to the University of Leicester, which is responsible for the remains, if all councillors agreed.

Tommy Gee, 88, of Abbey Road, Wingfield, has written an article for the parish magazine on the subject. He said: “There’s a fight on between Leicester and York and I am suggesting in my piece they should bury him in Wingfield next to his sister.

“It’s a private view; it’s not the church’s view. I am sure the church would not be able to afford it. They are talking about spending millions in Leicester to do it properly.

“If it were to happen it would generate a lot of money around here. A lot of people would want to have a look. That’s why Leicester wants him – for the treasure.”

“Elizabeth of York is in the church. There’s an important effigy of her that’s been there for 400 years. She lived in the castle for 40 years. I am hoping to write about what life was like after her brother was killed in the battle.”

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Archaeologists identified the remains of King Richard, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, under a car park in Leicester last month.

Officials from the city of York have argued his remains should come to them, as he was the last to rule as king from the House of York.

But his remains are due to be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral under the terms of the university’s licence.

Bob Elliott from Wingfield Local History Group said they were planning an event to celebrate the remains being found.

He said: “Elizabeth’s husband, John de la Pole, was lord of the manor at Wingfield Castle, which was his main residence.

“Richard only reigned for two years – 1483 to 1485 – it’s possible he may have visited them. There were 23 years between them getting married and him ascending to the throne, so it’s possible, as Duke of Gloucester, Richard visited on a family basis.”