Portrait of Richard III by an unknown artist, a 16th century copy of a lost contemporary original

Following their coronation on 6th July, 1483, King Richard III and Queen Anne, along with their young son, Edward of Middleham, set off on a progress of their kingdom. One of the most significant parts of the trip was their three week stay in York, a city that had a long history of loyalty to Richard and Anne. They entered York, triumphantly, through Micklegate Bar on the 29th August, and on the 8th September, Richard honoured the city by investing his son as Prince of Wales.

In the City of York archives, records of the preparations made for the royal visit are preserved. Several accounts of the visit have survived, as well as records of grants and gifts Richard bestowed upon the city.



4 August 1483

On which day it was agreed by all those listed above that my lord the mayor and all my masters, his colleagues the aldermen, in scarlet, and all my masters of the 24, and the chamberlains, and all those who have been chamberlain, as well as those who have bought exemptions from bearing office in this city, in red gowns, shall on horseback meet our most dread liege lord the king at Brekles Mills. Furthermore, that the bridge wardens and everyone else who has been a bridge warden, along with all other honest men of the city, shall be in red, upon penalty of forfeiting 20s. to be paid to the community of the city by any man doing otherwise. My lord the mayor is to levy the fine in that regard, or face the penalty of 40s. payable to the community of the city. All others of whatever occupation shall, in blue, violet and musterdevillers, shall meet our sovereign lord on foot at St. James’ church.

Memorandum to send for dom. Henry Hudson, Richard Burges the parish clerk of St. Crux church, Richard Standish parish clerk of Christ Church, William Hewet parish clerk of All Hallows, William Gylmyn parish clerk of [St. Michael le] Belfrey, George Lovell esquire of St. Mary’s Abbey, to consult them on a show to be presented when the king comes to Micklegate Bar, Ouse Bridge, and Stonegate.

Micklegate Bar, through which Richard and his retinue entered York


11 August 1483

On which day it was agreed by all those listed above that , as regards the show to be put on when his grace the king comes, the costs of the same shall be covered by the chamber and recorded by the chamberlains.


28 August 1483

On which day it was agreed that our sovereign lord the king shall be presented when he arrives with 500 marks in a pair of gilt silver basins, or in a gold cup or gilt piece, and that our sovereign lady the queen shall be presented with £100 of gold in a piece [of plate]. Of which my lord the mayor promised to contribute £20, Master Meitcalf the recorder £100, Master York £40, Master Lam £10, Master Tong £20, Master Fereby £20, Master Tod £10, sheriff Miles Greenbank [blank], Thomas Allayn £10, William Chymney £10, Henry Williamson £5, Thomas Scotton £5, John Hag 100s., Michael White £5, John Harper £5, William White £10, Richard Clerk £10, Robert Gyll £5.


2 September 1483 at the common hall

That same day it was agreed that the Creed play shall be performed before our sovereign lord the king next Sunday, at the cost of the most honest men of every parish in the city.



Hall’s Chronicle:

He came to the city of York, where the citizens received him with pomp and triumph, according to the qualities of their education and quantity of their substance and ability, and made, divers days, plays and pageants in token of joy and solace. Wherefore King Richard magnified and applauded of the North nation, and also to show himself…before them in habit royal with sceptre in hand and diadem on head, made proclamation that all persons should resort to York on the day of the Ascension of Our Lord, where all men should behold and see him and his Queen and Prince in their high estates and degrees, and also for their good wills should receive many thanks, large benefits and munificent rewards At the day appointed the whole clergy assembled in copes richly revested, and so with a reverent ceremony went about the City in procession after whom followed the King with his crown and sceptre, appareilled in his surcoat robe royal, accompanied with no small number of the nobility of his realm; after whom marched in order Queen Anne his wife, likewise crowned, leading on her left hand Prince Edward her son, having on his head a demi crown appointed for the degree of a Prince. The King was had in that triumph in such honour, and the common people of the North so rejoiced that they extoiled and praised him far above the stars…


The Reception of King Richard III, Queen Anne and Prince Edward at York:

It is to be remembered that on the 29th August, the Festival of the beheading of St John the Baptist, 1483, Richard III, King of England and France, came to the City of York, accompanied by the Queen (Anne) and Prince (Edward) and by many other Lords, both spiritual and temporal, namely the five Bishops of Durham, Worcester, St Asaph, Carlisle and St David’s, the Earls of Northumberland, Surrey and Lincoln, the Lords Lovell, Fitzhugh, Stanley, Strange, Lisle and Greystoke, and many others.

York Minster, known in this period as the Metropolitan Church of St. Peter

He was solemnly received by a civic procession at the Chapel of St James outside the walls and he entered the City honourably, passing between various sights and decorations in the City to the Metropolitan Church of St Peter, and there at the west door he was honourably received by a procession of the Very Reverend the Dean and Chapter and all the Ministers of the said Church, dressed in copes of blue; he was sprinkled with holy water and incense, at an ornate prayer stool by the font he said the “Our Father”, and the Subchanter of the Vicars began the Response to the Trinity, “Honor, virtue”, and it was finished by the Choir before the step of the High Altar, and at that point there was a pause about as long as an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary”, then the Dean began the prayers, namely, “And lead us not” for the King, and this done the Dean and Canons with the Ministers retired to their stalls while the Amen was finished with the organs and then the Psalm “We praise Thee, O God” was begun by the Prelate acting as celebrant of the Mass and finished by the Choir and organs, and immediately the Subchanter began the Antiphon to the Trinity, namely, “Thanks be to Thee, O God” with the Versicle and the Collect to the Trinity. And so he went in procession to the Palace of the Lord Archbishop, And on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary next (September 8th) the King and Queen, wearing their crowns, came to a procession in the said Church, attended by the Prince and all the Lords both spiritual and temporal, and the Bishop of Durham celebrated Mass at the High Altar, which was decorated with figures of the Twelve Apostles of silver gilt and with many other relics given by the Lord King, which stood there until the sixth hour in the evening. And after Mass all returned to the Palace, and there in the Hall before the whole company Prince (Edward) was created (Prince of Wales) by the Lord King before dinner and so they sat at dinner for four hours wearing their crowns, and there were the Dean, Robert Booth, and of the Canons, Treasurer Portington, Archdeacon Poteman of York (or rather Cleveland), the Subdean, and four other Prebendaries, ten Chantry Priests, twelve Vicars Choral, together with other Ministers of the Church.


Grant to the City of York:

Made that the 17th day of the month of September…our…sovereign lord the King of his most special good grace remembering the good service that this City had done to his good Grace, called before his good Grace the said day into the CHAPTER HOUSE OF THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF SAINT PETER AT YORK the Mayor, his brethren the aldermen and many other of the Commons of the said City and then and there our said sovereign Lord openly rehearsed the said service to his good Grace done and also the decay and great poverty of the said city, of his most special good grace, without any petition or asking of anything by the said Mayor, or of any other, our said sovereign lord, only of his most abundant grace most graciously and abundantly gave, in relief of the said city, in easing of the tolls, murage, butcher pennies and skaitgild of the said City yearly for ever £58 1Is.2d…so that from then forward it should be lawful to every person freely to come to the said city with their goods and chattels and them freely to sell in the same without anything going or paying for toll or murage of any of the said goods; and over that most graciously granted to the Mayor and Commonality of the said city yearly £11 for ever…


Extract from a York Minster Inventory:

Item, a Cross standing on six bases, having six angels on the pinnacles of the said bases, and two angels on the bases holding in their hands the reliques of the chasuble or vestment and shoes of St Peter the Apostle; having white images of crucifix and of the Two Thieves, with other images by the foot, and many precious stones, rubies and sapphires. The gift of King Richard III.

Top image: Queen Anne, King Richard III, and Edward of Middleham from the Rous Roll






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