The Road to Fotheringhay 21st -29th July 2010

Wakefield Historical Society

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Journey Itinerary 21st - 29th July 2010

Wakefield Historical Society organised a journey in 2010 to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the death of Richard, Duke of York, at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. The journey followed the route along which his body was taken for reburial from Pontefract to Fotheringhay, staying each night at the places where the body rested.  Each day included visits to places mainly relevant to the 15th century, an optional short walk along part of the route, Vespers of the Dead at each town where the body lay overnight on that date in 1476, and an evening talk. Vespers and evening talks were free and open to all.

The programme followed is below.

Wednesday 21st July – From 2pm: Guided tour of Sandal Castle (Richard Knowles/Pam Judkins), Duke of York Monument and the battlefield (Richard Knowles), Wakefield Chantry Chapel and Bridge (Kate Taylor), Vespers of the Dead and evening talk (An introduction to Richard’s reburial procession, speakers from Wakefield Historical Society) in Pontefract. Overnight in Pontefract.

Richard Knowles,  The Battle of Wakefield and the Duke of York Monument, Sandal Castle 2 pm
altFew people today can know more about the Battle of Wakefield than our first speaker, Richard Knowles. Richard  took part as a schoolboy in the excavations at Sandal Castle and went on to be Honorary Secretary of Wakefield Historical Society from 1973 until the mid 1990s. During this period the comprehensive and exemplary Sandal Castle excavation report was published and he contributed a specialist report to this. With Keith Dockray he has  published on the Battle of Wakefield in The Ricardian, the journal of the Richard III Society and this has been republished as a separate monograph.  He is an Honorary Life Member of the Church Monuments Society having been editor of its Journal for some sixteen years. He is also a member of the Arms and Armour Society. He has published extensively on Church Monuments and had a couple of volumes published on T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and in professional life is now a bookseller, operating from Rickaro Books, Horbury, and via the internet.

Dr Phil Judkins Richard Duke of York’s Reburial Procession  St Giles’ Church, Pontefract, 6.30pm
altServing as the administrative officer for the Pontefract to Fotheringhay project, Philip Judkins has given a number of talks already about the great funeral procession which is being commemorated and, in preparation for the July events, has paid many visits to the churches and other places of interest along the route.  Philip is a Wakefield man, spending his early childhood in Stanley, just north of the town. He qualified as an archaeologist at Cambridge University but had a career primarily in high technology. He has written four books on computing and artificial intelligence. Since his retirement he has gained a Ph D in radar history and is currently Visiting Fellow at the UK Defence Academy, Shrivenham. He is well known in the West Yorkshire area as a speaker on a range of aspects of twentieth century wartime: he has spoken to family history societies about tracing military relatives, and to local history societies about naval vessels sponsored by local communities (or even built locally!). His study on ‘Wakefield’s Navy’ was published in the Wakefield Historical Society Journal in 2008.

Thursday 22nd July – Visit to Pontefract Castle and underground Magazine, visit to underground medieval Hermitage, town centre walk, Requiem Mass, and send off by Mayor and Lord Lieutenant, optional walk from Darrington to Wentbridge, Vespers of Our Lady and evening talk (Medieval roads and travel, by Dr Paul Hindle) in Doncaster. Overnight in Doncaster.

Dr Paul Hindle, Medieval Roads  The Roman Catholic Church of St Peter in Chains, Doncaster, 6.30pm
altHistorical Geographer Paul Hindle has had an interest in medieval roads from at least the time of his doctoral research on Medieval Roads in England and Wales. He retired (very early)  ten years ago from his position as Senior Lecturer in Geography at Salford University to concentrate on researching, writing and lecturing in various fields of historical geography. His main interests are old maps, and roads and tracks, but he is also interested in towns and roads in medieval England, and in limestone landscapes and caves. He is the secretary of Manchester Geographical Society and edits its e-journal, North-West Geography. He serves, too, as editor for the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Society.
Paul’s recent books include Roads and Tracks for Historians (2001), Medieval Town Plans (2002) and Medieval Roads and Tracks (2008).

Friday 23rd July – Town centre walk, Doncaster Mansion House, Conisborough Castle, Roche Abbey, Vespers of the Dead and evening talk (Seeing salvation and sacred imagery at Blyth Priory Church by Dr Jenny Alexander) at Blyth. Overnight in Blyth.

altDr Jennifer Alexander, The Imagery of Medieval Churches and Medieval Devotion with particular reference to Blyth. 6.30 pm St Mary and St Martin’s Church, Blyth
Jenny Alexander’s research interests have a double relevance to the Pontefract to Fotheringhay project: her talk at the great priory church at Blyth will focus in particular on its 15 century doom images of Judgment Day, but a joint paper with her student Sofija Matich on the York tombs in Fotheringhay Church is to be published shortly.  Jenny is a teaching fellow   in the History of Art Department at Warwick University. She studied Art History at the University of East Anglia and Archaeology at Nottingham University, has taught in undergraduate and adult education departments of various universities and worked as a consultant archaeologist on medieval and early-modern sites and buildings. She presently teaches such topics as the Art and Architecture of  Medieval Devotion, and Pilgrimage: Art, Architecture and Archaeology. She is consultant to the masons' marks recording project for the Works Department of Trondheim Cathedral (Norway). She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Saturday 24th July – Optional walk of an original section of the route west of Retford, Gainsborough Old Hall, Laxton medieval field system, church and castle, Vespers of the Dead and evening talk (Laxton - a medieval agricultural survival by Professor John Beckett) at Tuxford le Clay. Overnight in Tuxford or nearby.

altProfessor John Beckett, Laxton – a medieval agricultural survival   St Nicholas’ Church, Tuxford le Clay, 6.30 pm
John Beckett is the Professor of English Regional History in the Faculty of Arts at Nottingham University but has been on secondment since 2005 as Director of the Victoria County History. He has wide research interests but the central focus is on landowners, landholdings, and land use. He wrote the definitive book about Laxton, A history of Laxton : England's last open-field village (1989) and in the process became much beloved of the villagers for his understanding and continuing interest in the village and villagers. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.


Sunday 25th July – Southwell Minster and Bishop’s Palace, optional walk along the route from North Muskham to South Muskham, Newark church, Vespers of the Dead and talk (Medieval Pilgrimage by Dr David Marcombe) at Newark. Overnight in Newark.

altDr David Marcombe, Medieval Pilgrimage   St Mary Magdalene, Newark, 6.30 pm
David Marcombe’s main interests lie in medieval church history and in sacred sites (although he also has some interest in the legendary figure of Robin Hood). After earlier teaching as a Lecturer in History at the University of Durham, he moved to the University of Nottingham in 1980 where he is an Associate Professor and the  Director of the Centre for Local History . He was a founder member of the Spital Chantry Trust of St Edmund which is dedicated to the revival of a medieval chantry chapel in Lincolnshire.  His books include The Saint and the Swan: The Life and Times of St Hugh of Lincoln (2000), and Leper Knights: The Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem in England 1520-1642 (2003). For the latter he was awarded the OMLJ (the Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem) which was presented by the Dauphin at a ceremony at the Temple Church, London in 2005. He has led many study tours throughout the United Kingdom and is a frequent broadcaster on themes connected with medieval history.

Monday 26th July – Newark Castle, Visitor Centre and Town Hall, town centre walk, optional walk along the route at Long Bennington, Grantham church, Vespers and evening talk (Medieval inns on the Great North Road, by Professor Phil Dixon). Overnight in Grantham

altProfessor Philip Dixon, Medieval Inns on the Great North Road   St Wulfram’s, Grantham, 6.30 pm
Phil Dixon is currently a director of PDA (Philip Dixon Associates), a consultancy dealing with archaeology and architecture. He was formerly Head of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, Research professor at the University of Durham, and Visiting professor at the University of Aarhus.  He is consultant archaeologist to the Dean and Chapter of Southwell Minster and consultant archaeologist for the cathedrals of Ely, Lincoln, Leicester, and Sheffield, and for Selby Abbey. He has excavated at Southwell, Lincoln, Newark Castle, and at the Old White Hart inn in Newark, among many other sites including Crickley Hill and Greenwich Palace. Phil is the author of 142 articles and 19 books. Most recently he has written the guidebook for Southwell and a booklet on the Romanesque frieze at Lincoln. In the past he has served as Secretary and President of CBA (the Council for British Archaeology) , and is now Hon Vice President. He is also Vice President of the Royal Archaeological Institute and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Tuesday 27th July – Town Centre walk, Angel and Royal medieval inn, Ellys Manor House, Boothby Pagnell Manor House, optional walk from North Witham to South Witham, Tickencote church, Vespers and evening talk (The Heraldic Funeral: Its Purpose and Meaning by Julian Litten Phd, FSA) in Stamford. Overnight in Stamford.

Dr Julian Litten, The Heraldic Funeral: Its Purpose and Meaning   St Martin’s Church, Stamford, 6.30pm
altAs England’s foremost funerary historian, Julian Litten has provided advice for  the Pontefract to Fotheringhay project team and is to give a talk that has immediate relevance to the reburial of the Duke of York. Julian’s expertise in interment is long-standing. He says that the subject found him: ‘In 1970 I was involved in excavating a church in Greater London after its destruction by fire. The agreement with the PCC was that we would not disturb any of the burial vaults, but the roof of one gave way and I fell in. Luckily for me it was an extensive chamber and, having recorded and published the contents, subsequently received a number of requests to look at other vaults. By 1990 I had probably seen about 500 vaults in England and had sufficient information to put together a history of the post-Reformation coffin. This led to further research on the post-Reformation funeral trade and, subsequently, to The English Way of Death in 1991.’  

Julian’s  doctoral thesis, at Cardiff University, was on  Post-Reformation Vault Burial in English Churches, 1550-1850. He devised the burial of the Unknown Mariner from the Mary Rose at Portsmouth Cathedral in 1984, was consultant to Westminster Abbey in 1987 for the re-display of its collection of royal funerary effigies, and staged the re-enactment of the heraldic funeral of Prince Arthur (d.1502) for Worcester Cathedral in 2002. His English Way of Death: The Common Funeral since 1450 has been reprinted on four occasions in revised editions. He is the Founder of the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, Chairman of the Friends of King’s Lynn Cemetery, Patron of Birmingham Brandwood End Cemetery, and a member of the English Heritage/Church of England Human Remains Advisory Service.  Julian served for thirty-three years on the senior curatorial staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum. From 1999 to 2004 he was Visiting Lecturer in Built Heritage and Conservation at Canterbury Christ Church University College.  He was a member of the Cathedrals Advisory Commission for England between 1985 and 1990 and subsequently of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England from 1991 to 2006.  He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Wednesday 28th July – Tour of Stamford, Browne’s Almhouses, churches,  Longthorpe Tower Peterborough, Apethorpe Manor, Overnight in Stamford.

Thursday 29th July – Barnack stone quarries and church, optional walk of part of the route Wansford to Nassington, Nassington Prebendal Manor,  Fotheringhay Castle and church, Commemorative Compline, coach to drop off at mainline stations and return to Wakefield.

If you have any questions, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or check the website at www.richarddukeofyorkfuneral.org.uk  or phone 0797 144 9451.