Historical society unhappy with Leicester Cathedral's Richard III tomb plans

(Photo: Leicester Cathedral)
The proposed raised tomb

A historical society has withdrawn £40,000 of funding towards the cost of a new tomb at Leicester Cathedral for Richard III because it is unhappy with the design.

The cathedral is seeking planning permission for the raised tomb made of Swaledale fossil limestone with a simple cross incised over the top.  

The raised tomb is to be positioned at the centre of a rose carved in white limestone, surrounded by a band of dark Kilkenny limestone.  

The King's date of birth and death, as well as his personal motto 'Loyaulte me Lie' ('Loyalty binds Me') and his boar badge will be carved into the dark circular band around the tomb.

The Dean of Leicester, the Very Reverend David Monteith, said: "We fully respect the process of the Judicial Review which will ensure the procedure leading to the reinterment is correct. While this takes its course we must, as would any Cathedral in this position, seek planning permission for the detailed and costly changes which need to be made to the building.

"The overall concept is regal and respectful in its elegant simplicity, as befits the final resting place of a King of England. By placing the tomb in our Chancel, we are giving King Richard the same honour as did those friars more than 500 years ago."

The Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens said: "I am proud to support the Cathedral in continuing to progress its responsibility to prepare for the reinterment of King Richard while the judicial process continues. Our Cathedral deserves our prayerful support during this exciting and challenging time."

Leicester Cathedral estimates that the cost of the reinterment and the reordering of the Cathedral in connection will be around £1.3m. The tomb and vault will cost in the region of £96,000.

According to The Daily Mail, the Richard III Society has withdrawn £40,000 in funding because some members found it to be "too modern and stylised".  

Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society, said: "Members feel it is a very difficult design. They think it has been designed with the cathedral in mind, and not for a medieval warrior king.

"What they say, and fear, is that it won't stand the test of time. I pretty much agree with that.

"I think it is a bit too confused at the moment, a bit too busy and it does not reflect that there is a warrior king there beneath the ground."

Canon Peter Hobson responded by saying that he understood the perspective of critics but added that the cathedral could not make its design "hostage to their money".

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