Tomb of Richard III

Richard III - future plans for tomb.
Richard III – future plans for tomb.
By van Heyningen and Haward architects

Leicester Cathedral announces plans to spend £1 million on reinterment

Plans are going ahead to reinter the remains of Richard III beneath a raised tomb within a specially created area in the Cathedral. All-in-all Leicester Cathedral is planning to spend around £1 million on the reinterment, which includes alterations to the building, preparations for the event and the ceremony itself.

Plans for King Richard’s final resting place will see a series of changes to the inside of the Cathedral to create a significant space for the raised tomb, with a new floor, special lighting and new stained glass windows. However the location of the tomb will be in the exact spot were currently the memorial stone is located. How this is going to square with the need for choir stalls is not quite apparent.

There are at least six possible designs for the tomb, which are being developed by van Heyningen and Haward architects, on behalf of the Cathedral, and a working party that includes representatives from the Richard III Society, the University of Leicester and the City Council. (One of the proposals can be seen here and compared to the plans for the future cenotaph of the Danish Queen Margaret).

Because of the magnitude of the project and not least the changes to the building itself, the Cathedral has felt it necessary to speed the process up in order to be able to be ready to submit the project to Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE). Final approval is expected by November.

Old Richard III memorial in leicester Cathedral
Old Richard III memorial in leicester Cathedral

The plans to date were shared with a series of organisations yesterday (Wednesday, July 17) and will be refined over coming weeks ready for submission to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE). Final approval is expected by November.

Final details are still to be decided, but the reinterment the following year will be the climax to a week of events celebrating the city’s history, the discovery of the King’s remains and the fact that Leicester is to be his final resting place. The Cathedral and the Diocese of Leicester have revealed for the first time the scale of the project. A series of working groups are tackling different aspects of the challenge – including the changes that need to be made to the fabric of the Cathedral. Groups are also working with the City Council, the University of Leicester and the Richard lll Society to create events around the re-interment. Words and music for the services and the interpretation of King Richard’s life and death and its relevance to modern life, form a key strand of work. A fund raising group is working on ways to create the best possible experience for the City, County and the nation.

Future Tomb?  Design by "looking for Richard Project" 2013
Future Tomb of Richard III?
Design by “looking for Richard Project” 2013

The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith, said the plans were influenced by feedback from a variety of sources, including members of the public who had been visiting the Cathedral and commenting in the media. In March an architect’s brief was said to lean heavily towards a stone slab, claiming that it was unlikely the Cathedrals Fabric Commission of England would accept a tomb. However, an online poll carried out by Mercury had more than 1200 people voting for a tomb as opposed to the 80, who voted for a slab. Whatever the outcome the Dean says that:

“We are committed to reinter King Richard with honour and we have listened carefully to the different views that were expressed. We want to create a really wonderful space in the Cathedral for him and the many thousands of people we know will want to come to visit and pay their respects”.

The plans are unveiled in the midst of an ongoing judicial review prompted by a group of people called the Plantagenet Alliance. They  wish to have the King reinterred in York. A submission from the Dean of Leicester to the national Administrative Court has requested that the process should be expedited and the case heard as soon as possible.

As of now (18th of July 2013) the Administrative Court has not replied to this request.


Leicester Cathedral 


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