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Wombwell man unearths 'Richard III' in dig

By Paul Nizinskyj, Wombwell Reporter Sunday 23rd September 2012
Richard Taylor, right, at dig site

Richard Taylor, 39, grew up on Dearne Close and is co-ordinator of a dig in Leicester which, it is believed, has uncovered the bones of Yorkist king Richard III.

 

A former Wombwell High and Barnsley College student, he organised funding for the dig, liaised between the university, Leicester Council and the Richard III Society and co-ordinated the press conference which revealed the news to the world.

 

Richard III was the last of the Plantagenet monarchs to rule England and his death on Bosworth Field in 1485 marked the end of the War of the Roses. Henry Tudor succeeded to the throne as Henry VII and Richard was buried quietly at Greyfriars Church - now a Leicester social services car park.

 

Archaeologists began excavating at the car park last month in search of Greyfriars - which was destroyed during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries.

 

But, to their astonishment, they also found a skeleton where Richard III was believed to be buried, with his traditionally-attributed battle wounds and a curvature of the spine which would have made one shoulder higher than the other - in line with contemporary descriptions of the monarch.

 

Richard, who studied history at Barnsley College, said he was 'terrifically excited' to have potentially come across the remains of a king he says has inspired his imagination.

 

He said: "What we've found has gone way beyond what we expected. We would have settled for finding the friary and some artefacts but I don't think anyone was expecting to find what could be Richard III.

 

"It's like something out of a Dan Brown novel. You've got a king killed in battle, Franciscan friars, a seventeenth century clue that disappeared and then a car park built over it."

 

He added being at the centre of the media storm was a slightly surreal experience and he was amazed by some of the more remote parts of the world which expressed an interest.

 

He said: "I've been staggered by how this story has gone round the world. We've been contacted by everyone from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Washington Post to national television in Indonesia."