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Richard III facts, Timeline of events, Medieval & Renaissance texts, Controversy, Ricardian Register & links for learning.

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Meet Richard III

Learn the real facts about the man behind the myths.

Meet King Richard

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Timeline of the House of York

A brief history of the people and events leading to the reign of Richard III, including the origins of the strife between York & Lancaster, and battles of the Wars of the Roses.

View The Timeline

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Sources

PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIALS – Written during or shortly after the lifetime of Richard III

Anonymous, Croyland Chronicle. Important primary source for the study of the Wars of the Roses and especially the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III.  Material concerning the Wars of The Roses begins on approx. pg.418; reign of Richard III on approx. pg.482.   (Archive.org courtesy of Univ. of California Libraries)

Anonymous, History of the Arrival of Edward IV in England and the Final Recovery of His Kingdoms from Henry VI. Anonymous contemporary chronicle, from the 1838 Camden Society edition. Take a break from all that Tudor propaganda and see Yorkist propaganda in one of its earlier manifestations.  (Archive.org courtesy of Univ. of California Libraries)

Cely Family, Selections From the Correspondence and Memoranda of the Cely Family, Merchants of the Staple, AD 1475-1488.  Henry Elliot Malden, ed. 1900 edition. The Cely Papers cover 1475-1488, and are a marvelous mirror into the lives and lifestyle of a very wealthy family of English wool merchants, members of the Staple of Calais and owners of business and residential property in London as well as some estates in Essex. They traveled regularly between England and the Continent on business and carry on a fascinating correspondence.  (Archive.org courtesy of Univ. of Toronto)

Philippe de Commynes, Memoirs v2  Commynes was a diplomat in the courts of Burgundy & France and a direct observer of some of the personalities of our period.  1855 edition published by Henry G. Bohn, Andrew Scoble, ed. (HaithiTrust.org courtesy of Univ. Virginia)

Philippe de Commynes, Memoirs. Translation & Introduction by Michael Jones, 1972. Professor Jones’ edition quickly became the standard translation of Commynes upon its publication.  He generously permitted the Society to place it online.

Edwards, Rhoda. The Itinerary of King Richard III 1483-85.  Richard III’s movements around his kingdom, illustrated with maps. (Richard III Society UK)

Ellis, Sir Henry, ed. The Chronicles of the White Rose of York.  Published in 1845, this “series of historical fragments, proclamations, letters, and other contemporary documents relating to the reign of King Edward IV” is a key primary source.  (Archive.org courtesy of Harvard)

Robert Fabyan, The New Chronicles of England and France.  Fabyan served as sheriff of London in 1493-1494 and as an alderman until he resigned in 1502.  Material concerning the Wars of the Roses begins on approx. pg 630.  The death of Edward IV and accession of Richard III begins on approx. pg. 668, linked directly above. (Archive.org courtesy of Cornell Univ.)

Nicolas Harris Nicolas, Privy purse expenses of Elizabeth of York : wardrobe accounts of Edward the Fourth.  This book, compiled in 1830, contains detailed expenditures from reign of Edward IV, and the expenses of Elizabeth of York’s household after her marriage to Henry VII.  The Edward IV section begins on pg.110. (Archive.org courtesy of  Univ. of Toronto)

Horrox, Rosemary, ed., Register of Grants for the Reigns of Edward V and Richard III British Library Harleian MS.433.  These excerpts from Richard III’s signet office are a critical primary source for anyone researching King Richard. (Richard III Society UK)

Richard Plantagent, The Statutes Ordained by Richard Duke of Gloucester, for the College of Middleham, dated July 4, 1478.  Printed in an 1857 volume of Archaeological Journal. (Archive.org)

Titulus Regius.  Statute of the Parliament of England, issued in 1483, by which the title of King of England was given to Richard III.  The Titulus Regius was eventually repealed and all surviving copies ordered to, “be cancelled and brent [‘burned’], and be put in perpetual oblivion” by Henry VII.  (Wikisource.org)  There is an excellent companion essay explaining the Titulus Regius on the Richard III Society of Canada’s website.

Warkworth, John.  A Chronicle of the First Thirteen Years of the Reign of King Edward IV.  Printed for the Camden Society, 1839.  John Warkworth was Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, from 1473–1500, and although the “Chronicle” was originally ascribed to him, more recent scholarship suggests that it may have been written by another person connected to Peterhouse.   (Google Books)

TUDOR ERA MATERIALSWritten during the reigns of Tudor monarchs, these sources are often biased against Richard III.

Anonymous. The Battle of Bosworth Field.  Long (163-stanza) sixteenth-century poem, thought to be written by an eye-witness to the battle, with exhaustive list of Richard III’s supporters. 

Bennett, Michael. Battle of Bosworth Field, An Introduction to the Text.  Reproduced with the permission of the author.  

Holinshed, Raphael. Holinshed’s Chronicles – England, Scotland, and Ireland  Holinshed’s Chronicles (first printed in 1587) was one of the primary reference sources used by William Shakespeare when composing his history plays, including Richard III. (Project Gutenberg)

More, Thomas. The History of King Richard the Third  Thomas More’s widely-influential work contains numerous factual errors and may have been influenced by Cardinal John Morton, a known enemy of the Yorkists.  (Center for Thomas More Studies)

Virgil, Polydore. Anglia Historia, Book XXV. History of the deposition of Edward V and the reign of Richard III by humanist historian Polydore Vergil at the request of Henry VII. One of the classic traditionalist sources. 

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Controversy

Unfortunately, no study of Richard III can avoid the centuries of clashing opinion about the nature of the man and his kingship.  Did he kill his nephews?  Was he a tyrant?  Did he plot to marry his own niece?  Historical analysis has cast extreme doubt on the many crimes of which King Richard has been accused but “conventional wisdom” is slow to release its hold.  Here are a variety of sources examining the battle over Richard’s reputation.

WATCH

In 1984, Richard’s case was tried before a retired Lord Chancellor and a randomly-selected jury in a replica of the Old Bailey for ITV.  

READ

Kosir, Beth Marie. “Richard III: A Study in Historiographical Controversy.”  An examination of historians’ treatment of Richard III since the sixteenth century.

Maurer, Helen. Whodunit: The Suspects in the Case.  Ms. Mauer presents evidence and arguments for and against all probable suspects in the (assumed) murder of Richard’s nephews, “The Princes in the Tower.”

Michalove, Sharon D. “The Reinvention of Richard III.”  Dr. Michalove’s (UIUC) paper traces the changing conception and presentation of Richard III in the cultural imagination.

Potter, Jeremy. “Richard III’s Historians: Adverse and Favourable Views.”  This text gives a concise overview of historians’ opposing views on Richard III and was displayed in the foyer of the Olivier Theatre in London during Sir Ian McKellen’s production of Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”

Walpole, Horace.  Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard III.  One of the very first revisionist historians, Walpole’s work was first published in 1768.  (Gutenberg.org)

ricardian registers

Ricardian Register

Since 1966, the American Branch has published its journal, the Ricardian Register.  The Register  is a treasure trove of Ricardian information.  In its pages you’ll find research articles written by members on a wide range of topics, a chronicle of Richard III in pop culture through the decades, book reviews, and of course Branch happenings.  We have a nearly-complete archive of back issues from 1966 to the present. 

Read The Register

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Other Sites

WarsOfTheRoses.com  
Official educational site of the Richard III Society

The Ricardian Online
The historical journal of the Richard III Society

Society Research Blog
Blog of current Ricardian research efforts, by the Society’s Research Committee

Matt Lewis’ Blog
Personal site of the UK Society Chair, with many educational articles

Luminarium Project
Enormous online encyclopedia that aims to “become the Who’s Who and What’s What in Medieval and Renaissance England.”

Ricardian Loons
Blog of the American Branch Research Librarian Susan Troxell who writes, along with a colleague, about Ricardian topics.