‘Croke backed Richard’ and Edward Bruce of Faughart
ON 22 August 1485 the body of Richard III was thrown over the back of a horse and taken from the Bosworth battlefield to Leicester.
There were no newspapers around then, but one chronicler wrote:
“The dead corps was shamefully caryed, he, who gorgiously the daye before with pompe and pryde departed owte of the same towne”.
There were no funeral rites. “Sine ullo funere”. And after the Reformation, the church where he was buried was destroyed and for centuries they couldn’t find the church site, never mind the body.
But now the twisted bag on bones has turned up.
It’s all there. The spinal curvature that made the right shoulder higher than the left. Richard Crooback or Croke backed Richard.
Or as Shakespeare put it:
An envious mountain on my back
where sits deformity to mock my body
In fact we haven’t heard anything about the corpse ever since Shakespeare wrote:
The bloody dog is dead
But now, by God, they’ve dug up the pitiable spectacle. In a car park in Leicester no less.
One terrible stab injury, which certainly happened after his death, and could not have happened when his lower body was protected by armour, would suggests the story that his corpse was brought back slung over the pommel of a horse, mocked and abused all the way, is true.
Imagine the excitement when the mechanical digger broke up the tarmac in the council car park, and the Richard III Society shouted:
“That’s him. That’s Dicky. I’d know the so-and-so anywhere!”
But all joking aside, a very serious and very interesting point has been made this week by our former editor and author of Times Past, Peter Kavanagh (See page 32).
The Battle of Faughart and the death of Edward Bruce took place just 150 years before the battle of Bosworth and he points out that this piece of local history should be one of our greatest historical attractions.
He recalls that a few years ago, Paul Gosling was conducting a tour around Dundalk and remarked that he would have loved to have been in a position to research the location of the town trench which once surrounded the walled town.
Paul, who is a nationally regarded archaeologist, has probably done more research into the history of Dundalk than any other person. His work was done with the support of the Dundalk Urban District Council while he was still a young man but, it seems now, that sort of support is no longer available!
Councillor Tom Bellew was another person who worked very hard to preserve the history of the town and district but, after his early death, that enthusiasm seems to have waned. In relation to Edward Bruce, Peter says “we have a grave at Faughart Cemetery which is supposed to contain his bones. Personally, I doubt that this is true, for a number of reasons, but surely the story is worth some modern examination”.
And why not? the inerest is huge. Look at Hilary Mantel success with her books on Thomas Cromwell.
The interest is surely there.
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Weather for Dundalk
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
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Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
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