Monday, 8 April 2013

Grantham

Grantham, a market town in Lincolnshire, is probably most famous for having been the birthplace of a British prime minister (female), but it was also the setting for a very significant event in Richard III’s reign.

In October 1483, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who had supported Richard’s accession to the throne, turned again him. His motives are unclear, but he threw his support behind Henry Tudor who was his second cousin. He planned to join forces with Tudor but was thwarted when Tudor’s forces were prevented by storms from reaching Wales (from France). The same storms stopped Buckingham from crossing the River Severn to join up with other rebels in the south of England, and his forces deserted him. He tried to escape in disguise, but was betrayed. The following month he was convicted of treason and executed.

So what has this to do with Grantham? Richard was at Lincoln when he heard of Buckingham’s treachery, and he sent a letter to the Lord Chancellor, demanding delivery to him of the Great Seal at Grantham. The letter, written in part by a scribe, has a footnote in Richard’s own writing, in which he declared Buckingham to be “the most untrue creature living.”

The Seal was delivered to Richard at the Angel Inn at Grantham, now known as the Angel and Royal Hotel. The main fa├žade of the present inn was built 600 years ago, but there had been an inn on the site for over 200 years before that, so the Angel and Royal is regarded as the oldest surviving English inn.

In the hotel, the ‘King’s Room’ (an upstairs room, now used as a restaurant) was where Richard received the Seal, and used it to sign Buckingham’s death warrant. I must admit it gave me a somewhat awed feeling to realise I was standing in a room where Richard had once stood!

Richard’s visit in 1483 was also the origin of the carved angel holding a crown, which is above the original archway, leading to a courtyard and stables.
 
P.S. As a footnote to this post (I'm adding this on Monday evening), it is a somewhat strange coincidence that I should have posted an article about Grantham today. I wrote it sometime last month, and posted it about 11am, an hour before the news broke that the former Prime Minister who was born in Grantham had in fact died earlier this morning.

16 comments:

  1. Amazing place and I understand your awe at being in the same room where Richard III stood. Seems like politics hasn't changed much! Fabulous post.

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  2. How marvellous, makes me come out in goose bumps to think of standing in a room where our beloved Richard stood.

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  3. Thanks, Susan. Despite all the restaurant paraphernalia in the room, it was still easy to imagine how it would have looked in 1483.

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  4. Goose bumps is the right expression, Margaret - that's exactly what I felt when I walked into the room.

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  5. Historical posts are always so interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Thanks for all the useful information. I love your pictures and a tour through a bit of English history.

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  7. Paula, I've finally caught up again, but going back just now and reading all the days I've missed. I've so glad you included Fortheringhay. I've been there and had expected to see so much more. I was with a tour group and time didn't allow a visit to the church unfortunately. It is so interesting to take your tour of all the castles I've seen and the others I missed. With enough time,I would have liked to see them all.

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  8. Cathrina and Michael - thanks so much for visiting.

    Claudia - it was one of those places where you really can feel the history.

    Linda - so glad you've enjoyed the posts, and have relived some of your own memories. What a pity you didn'y have chance to see the church at Fotheringhay though, especially as there is so little left of the castle there.

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  9. And quite coincidental too, L!

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  10. Really enjoyed your personal connection on this one. And as always, learned a little something along the way too! Lovely Paula.

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  11. How cool to convert a piece of history into something one can experience again. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. As soon as I saw this, my mind went to the news of Maggie's death and I wondered if this was a spooky coincidence!

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  13. Ah, I had wondered when I started reading if that PM was indeed Margaret Thatcher...I am glad you added the foot note. May she rest in peace.

    Great article...thank you for sharing this!

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