Delegates in the Lecture TheatreThe Society's conference held at Leicester University on 2 March was a sell-out. Almost five hundred attendees—Society members, non-members, guests and speakers—filled the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre to learn about 'A New Richard III'.
We are pleased to announce that—for the first time—videos of a selection of the presentations from the conference are now available here!
Leicester conference speakersThe conference was the first major event following the confirmation that the archaeological excavation at the site of The Greyfriars in Leicester is Richard III's burial place and that the remains that were found are the remains of King Richard III. Later in the year Leicester University will host its own major conference focusing on the detail of the excavation and its finds.
The impact of this confirmation has changed both the nature and course of the debate that has raged for more than five hundred over the life and character of King Richard III, and the conference brought together many of the strands of this debate, re-focusing them in light of the new evidence.
Introduction by Dr Phil Stone, Chairman.Society chairman, Dr Phil Stone, opened the conference with a short welcome address, and announced that Current Archaeology magazine's 'Research Excavation of the Year' was the Greyfriars Dig! The award was accepted by the project's lead archaeologist Richard Buckley.
Chris Skidmore, historian and MP.The conference was chaired by the historian and MP, Chris Skidmore, and charted the road that led to the dig, and took a fresh look at some key aspects of Richard III's reputation: the literary myths, his psychology, his appearance, and his final battle. Recent public interest in Richard is to be seen as an opportunity for a renaissance in Ricardian studies, and a chance to get closer to the last Plantagenet king.
The Looking for Richard III Project
Phillippa Langley and Annette CarsonPhilippa Langley talked about how she managed to put together the extraordinary feat of mounting the search for his lost grave, and what inspired her to undertake it. Annette Carson commented on the real Richard III.
Searching for Richard III - Dr John Ashdown-Hill.Historian and member Dr John Ashdown-Hill talked about the four vital strands of evidence which provided Philippa with the incentive to embark on her project. He explored the evidence that Richard was buried in the choir of The Greyfriars, the key common features that determined the layout of a medieval friary, the legend that Richard's body was dis-interred after the Dissolution, and the mitochondrial DNA sequencing of Richard III.
Dr Sarah Knight and Dr Mary Ann Lund, both of the University of Leicester, talked about Shakespeare's version of Richard III, with a particular interest in how he transformed the king of the Tudor historical sources into a dramatic presence. They considered some other stage Richards of the sixteenth century as well, thinking about some of the differences between chronicle accounts and drama in the period. These discussions were framed in the light of the recent announcements.
Psychological profile of Richard III
Professor Mark LansdaleProfessor Mark Lansdale, leading psychologist and Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Leicester, researches in the area of how people think and remember as functions of their environment. This has led to research of historical figures in unusual circumstances and to how much psychologists can inform historical analysis. He presented the psychological profile of Richard III which he and Chartered Forensic Psychologist, Dr Julian Boon (who was not at the conference) undertook.
Revealing the Face of Richard III.Chris Skidmore announced a 'world first': the unveiling of the new face of Richard III by Dr Phil Stone and Philippa Langley, to a gasp of the attendees and their applause!
Craniofacial Analysis of Richard III
Professor Caroline WilkinsonProfessor Caroline Wilkinson is the Professor of Craniofacial Identification at the University of Dundee and carried out the facial reconstruction of the skull of Richard III based on the CT scan taken by the University of Leicester. Professor Wilkinson talked about the process of reconstruction and the challenges she met with this particular project. Richard III's facial reconstruction was on display.
How Richard's armour would have been adapted for his
scoliosis - Dr Toby CapwellDr Toby Capwell is the Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London talked about how Richard's armour would have been adapted to cope with his scoliosis condition, with some interesting insights into the armour that would have been used—or not—in Richard's time.
Bob Woosnam-Savage - Curator of European Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds - gave a preliminary report on the wounds inflicted on Richard III during his final battle at Bosworth and after his death.
Closing address - Sir Peter SoulsbySir Peter Soulsby (the first elected City mayor of Leicester) has already announced plans for a visitor centre devoted to Richard III in the old Grammar School which is adjacent to The Greyfriars site where the king was found. Sir Peter is also committed to a project to 'Connecting Leicester' which includes plans to focus on improving historic buildings in the Old Town and to improve pedestrian connections and reduce the dominance of road and vehicles which have created unattractive barriers to moving around the city.