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The Gloucesters

Richard III and the House of York church in need of repair, Duke of Gloucester makes appeal

The Duke of Gloucester officially launched Fotheringhay Church’s fundraising appeal this week. The historic church is in desperate need of urgent repairs.

The Duke of Gloucester pictured here earlier this year visiting The Royal School Dungannon in Northern Ireland.

The Duke of Gloucester pictured here earlier this yea visiting The Royal School Dungannon in Northern Ireland.

The church was built by Edward III, who also constructed a college as a cloister on the southern side of the church. After the church’s completion in 1430, the western side saw a parish church built beginning in 1434. Today that church still stands and is in need of desperate repairs.

The Grade I listed building needs £500,000 worth of work to fix the roof and windows, as well as affording a water supply, heating and disabled access.

Approximately £217,000 has already been raised, and the Duke has asked more people to come forward and support the appeal.

“As a nation we are fortunate to have so many historic buildings and this church is exceptional. You only have to see the way it looks and it has one of the finest steeples in the county. This is at the heart of the community, and I urge individuals to contribute in saving this part of our heritage, ” Prince Richard commented in his address.

Buried in the church is Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, who was killed at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, his wife, Cecily Neville and their son Edmund, Earl of Rutland are also buried at Fotheringhay.

Queen Elizabeth I directed the removal of the destroyed York tombs and had the present monuments created to the 3rd Duke and his wife after the choir of the church was demolished in the 16th century.

Every year the birthday of Richard III is honoured by the Richard III Society by the placing of white roses in the church.

The Duke of Gloucester has been the patron of The Richard III Society since 1980.

Nearby Fotheringhay Castle is known as Richard III’s birthplace. He only lived at Fotheringray for six years as he moved to Ludlow Castle for safety reasons. Following the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 the castle was beginning to deteriorate.

Mary, Queen of Scots, spent her final days at Fotheringhay, where she was tried and convicted of treason.

Unfortunately, all that remains are the fortifications and conical motte of the original castle. The castle is local above the River Nene and was founded approximately 1100 AD by the Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, Simon de St Liz. He chose the site in order to control the river crossing that was pivotal.

Photo Credit: Northern Ireland Office via Flickr