Richard III Tour

On Saturday 15th July, the Coventry Diocesan Guild held its annual summer meeting. The possibility of arranging a ringing tour around the theme of Richard III, had been discussed and we were delighted when a number of towers associated with him were available on that day. When organising a Guild tour, although you invite people to say whether they will be attending, one can never be quite sure how many will attend. There was also a concern whether anyone named ‘Stanley’ would attend.

The tour began at St Mary’s Warwick. Richard 111 had spent part of his youth in Warwick as a squire to the Earl of Warwick. He also married Anne Neville of Warwick. The Rous rolls were written in St Mary’s, one of the few documents which was written during his lifetime which presents a favourable image of King Richard. 22 members arrived to ring these challenging bells, a good omen, before we set off for Leicestershire.

Arriving in Sutton Cheney’s glorious church, the chancel was packed with members eagerly waiting to ring on these charming bells. An even better omen. Mark Sayers took charge and as it is ground floor ring there was great enthusiasm while people awaited their turn. There is a monument in this church to the fallen at Bosworth Field, where fresh flowers had recently been laid. A Richard 111 quiz was available to test people’s knowledge about this much maligned King.

Then it was off to Market Bosworth to ring on these glorious bells. The battle of Bosworth was fought just south of the town and shields and Tudor roses adorn many of the street signs and shop fronts. It is a low entrance to the spiral staircase leading to the ringing chamber and there were so many members wanting to ring, people were marshalled in and out of the tower. Members enjoyed the humour of standing in line and chatting with friends old and new. Most members had a couple of rings and there was the opportunity for the beginners to ring a few rounds.

A picnic lunch was held on the Bosworth Battlefield Country park. There is a very informative visitors centre along with a monument to the battle. Recent archaeological digs have proved the battle took place further from the Country park, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Feeling replete, we then set off to Leicester. We entered Leicester along the A47, the very route King Richard would have taken on route to the battle. We crossed Bow bridge, where legend says he struck his heal. An old crone prophesied he would hit his head on the way back to Leicester, and maybe he did when his dead body had been thrown unceremoniously over a horse.

The ringing at St Mary De Castro was well attended as more members joined us for the afternoon towers. The bells sounded beautiful as people chatted on the lawn in front of the Great Hall. We then formed a long crocodile and followed King Richards banner to the Cathedral. Molly did a great job waving the banner and we passed the location of the abbey where his body was laid in repose before being hastily buried the following day. As we approached the Cathedral, people in the visitors centre were heard asking if ‘those people were on pilgrimage’. Time had been allowed for people to visit the tomb in Leicester Cathedral or the new centre containing the car park where his remains were discovered in 2012.

The 12 bells at Leicester Cathedral sounded beautiful as they echoed around the local streets, now a traffic free zone. They are easy to handle, and the large ringing chamber allowed more members to be present at one time for the ringing. It was a great finish to a wonderful day. Over 70 members had rung during the day, some at just one tower and others at all 4. There had been ringing at all levels. We rang rounds to Treble Bob Maximus, and the learners had rung at most towers. 3 members of the youth team attended as well as members who could have rung in the competition had it been held in the 1950s. Aston Cantlow ringers won the quiz, gaining a score of 19 out of 20. The final question was: Have you enjoyed yourself? To which Isobel and Keith Murphy answered ‘ Of course, of course, my kingdom, but of course’.

This photo shows Molly Woodier with King Richard 111 standard. Also in the photo are Tracey Newbold, John Martin and Albert Williams. Both Molly and Albert are members of the Guild Youth Team.

Molly Woodier - King Richard III Standard

The following photo shows most of the group sitting outside St Mary De Castro.

Outside St Mary de Castro

Ringing at Market Bosworth
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