Steven Mugglestone

The more I learn, the less I know

A view from the accountants closest to Richard III

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Well, it seems that that the “War of the Roses II, This Time It’s Tourism” has well and truly commenced, but it is Leicestershire, rather than the usual Lancashire that the State of Yorkshire has declared war on, yes we know that they won more Olympic Gold medals than Australia.

As MGC Hayles and having an office in Castle Street, Leicester, which is only a few hundred yards away from the Richard III grave site and current exhibition, we see ourselves as the closest accountants and business advisers to Richard III and feel that we should be allowed to comment

Richard III has been part of Leicester for over 500 Years
For those who have lived in Leicester, Richard III has been part of the very fabric and history of the county for over 500 Years. He is such a part of the county that we live in that we just accept that Richard III is Leicester history and actually part of the county itself.
From the Bosworth Battlefield and visitor centre and the annual re-enactment of the battle, through the names of the roads, bridges and even schools, Richard III is all over the place.

As a partner in MGC Hayles in Leicester, I live relatively close the office and, when not required to go elsewhere, I leave the car at home and walk to the office. Walking past King Richards Road (the route to the Bosworth Battlefield) and a sign for the Richard III Infants School, you cross the bridge where, supposedly, an old woman cursed him before the battle and on return from the battle, his head was dragged on the bridge. A plaque on a bridge, stating that near the site lie the remains of Richard III, proved nearly to be correct. As you approach the centre of Leicester, you also pass Castle Park, the site of the original medieval castle, where there is a statue of Richard III holding aloft a crown in the famous Shakespearian pose. Pubs near the site of the dig and Leicester Cathedral have names such as Richard III and The Last Plantagenet. When you look, you see that Richard III and Leicestershire are absolutely linked.

It is not until the discovery the king’s remains and the potential argument about where the remains should be returned that you actually realise and see how much the life and story of Richard III is linked with Leicester and how much of Leicester today carries references to Richard III.

Who are the Last Plantagenets (or the Plantagenet Alliance)
Michael Ibsen was the direct descendant of Richard III who provided the sample DNA that confirmed that the skeleton was the remains of the former king. (Leicester University also discovered and developed the use of DNA in the 1980s as well, for those who did not know). You could argue that without Leicester University, Richard III would not only have not been found but also he would not have been scientifically confirmed as the king either.

The group claiming the rights to the remains and a judicial review to decide the matter are known as the Plantagenet Alliance and have a website and a Limited company called Plantagenet Alliance Limited. This company was incorporated in March 2013. They claim that as descendants, the lifetime wish of Richard III was to be buried in York. This seems to be all very rushed and new and not really reflecting the 500 years of history that Leicestershire has had with Richard.

Leicester University seemed to have to have worked quiet hard to trace a DNA line to Michael Ibsen, who himself, supports the remains of the king being kept in Leicester. He is the only DNA tested link, but according to others, there could be as many as 17 million descendants of the former king. Is this, therefore, relevant at all, as we are hardly talking about close relatives?

Richard III has already been buried at a church
For those who have followed the developments and the history, Richard III was not originally buried in a car park. He was buried in a church. The church of Greyfriars was a friary under the Franciscan order (started by Francis of Assisi for those who care) and Richard was buried in the choir area in the church. Given the order of monks at the time, it was likely that this was a funeral service as well. The church was demolished following the dissolution of monasteries, at the time of Henry VIII. The name Grey Friars and Friar Lane remain.
The point being is that Richard III has already been buried in Leicester at a church service. I am not sure that anyone has the rights or inclination to ask that their long passed relatives should be dug up and buried nearer to them, just because you find out that they were quite famous.

What about the car park fees?
Leicester City Council now own the site and car park where the remains of Richard II were found, in a car park and ironically under a space marked “R”. You could say that this clearly was a space reserved for a Richard and a King.

Now according to the Bank of England, average inflation rates from 1793, when records began, to date have been around 2%, and for those interest they peaked in the periods between 1793 and 1815 at 36%, when Britain was at war with France.

Now I think that a penny or so a day for the early years would be a fair car park fee and with inflation, assuming a similar rate going back to 1485. Given compound interest at the 2% rate, then over the last 527 years, this would probably amount to about £8.5million. Now given the administration involved and the obvious penalties for non-payment and collection fees, I think that this easily could be double that, so the obvious question is, who is going to pay the £17million!!

Also, as many would argue, given that possession is said to be nine tenths of the law and that the whole of Leicestershire’s history and tourism in respect of the connection with Richard III, the Bosworth Battlefield, King Richards Road, King Richard’s bridge, the statue, the place where he has been buried for 527 years, then one can see an argument for significant future loss of revenue. £17million could easily become £30million plus.

Why, as accountants and business advisers, do we care so much about long past history and the remains of someone who lived over 500 years ago. Well, we are part of the economy and business community in Leicestershire and we see Richard III as being part and parcel of the fabric of the county, the same as Nottinghamshire and Robin Hood or Warwickshire and Shakespeare. It has been recognised that Richard III was always buried somewhere in Leicester and this has been proved correct. There is a feeling that the history should remain with Leicester and that any other claims are only somewhat opportunist and are not recognising the historic bond that Leicestershire has had with Richard III for all of those years.

We, therefore, are supporting Leicester University, Leicester Cathedral and the Mayor of Leicester in the campaign to keep the remains of Richard III in Leicester shire and within Leicester Cathedral. He has lay in the shadow of Leicester cathedral for over 500 years and really this should continue. The only difference is that we now know for sure that Richard III is buried in Leicester.

The story of Leicester and Richard III

Sign the e-petition to keep Richard III in Leicester

Richard III and Leicester Cathedral




Written by Steven Mugglestone

August 27, 2013 at 9:18 pm

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