22 February 2013
Family Tree assistant editor Karen Clare learns of an unexpected Cambridgeshire link to King Richard III... The some
The somewhat surprising discovery of the long-lost remains of King Richard III underneath a car park in Leicester has had the nation – indeed the world – enthralled in recent weeks.
The huge publicity surrounding the news conference staged for the announcement that DNA tests had proved the bones really were those of the last Plantagenet king of England rang a distant bell with Cambridge stonemasons The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, just down the road from the offices of Family Tree.
Owner Lida Cardozo Kindersley recalled she and her late husband David Kindersley had been commissioned by The Richard III Society back in 1980 to create the memorial stone that lies in the floor of Leicester Cathedral where, every year on the anniversary of the king’s death at the Battle of Bosworth, white roses are placed.
The couple designed the memorial and spent 10 days on their hands and knees in situ in the cathedral, carving the stone. Cardozo Kindersley Workshop archivist Sorrel Bradley delved into the archives and unearthed the records relating to the memorial’s commission, including the original drawings for the stone.
The memorial inscription reads:
Richard III King of England
Killed at Bosworth Field in this County
22nd August 1485
Buried in the Church of the Grey Friars
In this Parish
Sorrel said: ‘It was very exciting finding the records in our archives. It’s always exciting to see the original drawings for the designs, but more so in this case. It’s the next best thing to seeing the actual stone.’
The workshop’s archives date back to the 1940s. David Kindersley, who served his apprenticeship under British sculptor and printmaker Eric Gill, was 65 when he and Lida created the Richard III memorial and carried on working until the very end of his life – he died in 1995 aged 79.
Lida now runs the company, based in Victoria Road, Cambridge, with her husband Graham Beck and many of the workshop’s stones are in churches and cathedrals.
Plans are now afoot by The Richard III Society to reinter the king’s remains in a specially-made tomb in Leicester Cathedral, but no doubt the original memorial will always have a place in the hearts of those involved in the work of this unique Cambridge workshop, as well as the people of Leicester and beyond.
- Lida Cardozo Kindersley has just published a book with David Meara, Archdeacon of London and Rector of St Bride’s Fleet Street, called Remembered Lives: Personal Memorials in Churches (£12), available from www.kindersleyworkshop.co.uk.
- Dr Turi King of the University of Leicester, who led the DNA analysis of Richard III and co-wrote Surnames, DNA & Family History (2011, Oxford University Press), is giving a talk, ‘Discovering Richard III’, at Who Do You Think You Are? Live at Olympia this weekend (22-24 February 2013), 1pm-1.45pm in the Celebrity/SoG Theatre on Saturday.
- The Last Days of Richard III and the Fate of his DNA, ‘the book that inspired the dig’ by historian and genealogist John Ashdown-Hill (£9.99, The History Press) has been updated and republished in light of the findings. See the April issue of Family Tree (on sale 22 March 2013) for a review of this and ‘Remembered Lives’.
- Find out more about the search for Richard III at www.le.ac.uk/richardiii.