Arguments against tomb don't hold up
It was with surprise that I read of Leicester Cathedral's preference for a slab to mark the final resting place of King Richard III when the large majority have clearly expressed the wish for a proper tomb.
This preference appears to be on the grounds that a "large" tomb would be inappropriate in a "small" cathedral. However, the facts as I see them are these:
1. The chest tomb proposed by the Richard III Society is not large. Five of them would not equal the floor area of the average small living room. There is also no question of a tomb with any appreciable height.
Any arguments as to space are therefore spurious.
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2. A chest tomb can easily be accommodated in the location preferred by the cathedral without any disturbance to their proper work.
Under their proposed reordering of the cathedral interior this would be more so, not less.
3. The royal tombs at the other provincial cathedrals – Canterbury, Winchester, Gloucester and Worcester – are all chest tombs.
Would it not be demeaning to Leicester and to King Richard if Leicester Cathedral did not follow suit? There is no logical reason why it should not.
4. The chest tomb would be wholly paid for by the Richard III Society. There would be zero expense for the cathedral.
Neither, I am given to believe, would the society, despite having produced an indicative design, wish to dictate over this to the cathedral in any way.
Any arguments as to cost are therefore spurious. We should all be immensely grateful to the Richard III Society for having the vision to work for the rediscovery of King Richard in our city and the practicality to raise the funds for his tomb, towards which Leicester Civic Society has contributed.
5. The cathedral has already said that the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England would not approve a tomb. However if they haven't yet applied, how do they know?
If they have already applied, unofficially, this rather makes a mockery of the consultation process.
If they have done so, how can the commission express an opinion in advance of the consultation?
If it has expressed said opinion, what are its grounds for so doing when the other four provincial cathedrals with royal burials all have proper tombs, which, though erected in past centuries, are presumably approved of by themselves?
It is clear there are no real grounds for opposing a proper tomb, appropriate for the last Plantagenet king of England and the last king of England to die on the field of battle in defence of his crown.
We will work gladly with Leicester Cathedral, Leicester City Council, the Richard III Society and anyone else who is proud of Leicester to achieve this aim.
Stuart Bailey, chairman, Leicester Civic Society.
So, in its wisdom, Leicester Cathedral is proposing to intern Richard III's remains under a slab of stone.
We have been told the discovery of his remains is worth millions of pounds to Leicestershire in tourism creating jobs and so on.
You only have to travel 40 or so miles from Leicester and very few people know where it is – try getting back to Leicester from Birmingham airport.
People ask me what is Leicestershire famous for? Fox hunting – been banned. Pork pies – you can buy them anywhere. Daniel Lambert – no one knows who he is.
Can you imagine Nottingham putting a slab over the remains of Robin Hood, if they found him?
I think not.
Leicester is famous for demolishing anything of historic interest.
You only have to cast your eyes round the city centre and bemoan the loss of all the old black and white timbered buildings.
The public house Richard III spent his last night in, the White Boar Inn, sadly went the same way.
We have one chance only to get this right and put Leicestershire on the world map.
This is not any old pile of bones we are interring, but a former king of England. He is surrounded in so much mystery and intrigue we must give him a burial befitting a king with as much pomp and ceremony as is befitting him.
I ask Sir Peter Soulsby to ensure the wishes of the people are met. If not, let him go to York Minster, where I am sure they will do the right thing by him.
Len Clarke, Croft.