Search Results for: ashdown-hill

A Great Historian Died – Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

Though being quiet for so long on this website, the news I today found, just needs to be posted here, on the website he so greatly supported.


Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

the historian behind the finding of King Richard III in Leicester, died on 18 May 2018. (BBC News here.)
It was his persistence and meticulous research of the times after King Richard III was buried in Leicester, that convinced him that the king’s remains still could be found, though many historians for centuries believed otherwise.
It is due to his research, which he maintained against severe opposition and accusations, that lead to the sensational discovery in Leicester.
It was this persistence and conviction and his honour and work-ethics, that fascinated me about the man and historian Dr. Ashdown-Hill, whom I never personally met, but had the honour to talk to on the phone and do an interview with.
So it is very sad news for me and for the KingRichardArmitage website, who he kindly supported with interviews and a multitude of valuable information. Just see the various posts and articles we have here on this website: Dr. John Ashdown-Hill – News & Interviews
And a great loss for unbiassed historical research.
I want to end with a text I wrote about Dr. Ashdown-Hill during KRA-Week in August 2013, though now it reads like an eulogy. Not all of my hopes mentioned in that article were realised, especially the museum-part. But nonetheless, Dr. Ashdown-Hill would deserve a hall of fame!
His fame certainly is not forgotten here on the KRA website!
Thank you, Dr. Ashdown-Hill!


Richard III find historian John Ashdown-Hill dies


BBC News (May 23, 2018)

Richard III find historian John Ashdown-Hill dies

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, the historian behind finding the remains of King Richard III in Leicester, died on 18 May 2018.
A very sad news for the KingRichardArmitage website, who he kindly supported with interviews and a multitude of valuable information. Just see the various posts and articles we have here on this website: Dr. John Ashdown-Hill – News & Interviews
A great loss for unbiassed historical research.


Richard III historians Philippa Langley and John Ashdown-Hill made MBEs


BBC News (June 13, 2015)

Richard III historians Philippa Langley and John Ashdown-Hill made MBEs

Finally, a royal recognition of the events in Leicester, by awarding the Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) to both Philippa Langley and Dr. John Ashdown-Hill.

(As I was not familiar with the title of ‘MBE’, I had to look it up here at Wikipedia.)


John Ashdown-Hill – response to the Catholic Herald


forrichardteam (Tumblr) (March 5, 2015)

John Ashdown-Hill – response to the Catholic Herald by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill –


Dr John Ashdown-Hill – Essex Honorary Graduate


University of Essex (Vimeo-Channel) (July 22, 2014)

Dr John Ashdown-Hill – Essex Honorary Graduate by University of Essex –

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill, historian and invaluable researcher to find King Richard III is officially recognised by the University of Essex for his outstanding work:

Dr John Ashdown-Hill – Essex Honorary Graduate from University of Essex on Vimeo.


John Ashdown-Hill at Gloucester Museum on 22/03/14


History Press (Blog) (March 19, 2014)

John Ashdown-Hill at Gloucester Museum on 22/03/14 by The History Press –

The publisher of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill’s new book “The Third Plantagenet” announces a author’s event taking place at the Gloucester Museum on Saturday 22nd March, 2014.


KRA-Week 2013-7: Finding Richard III as a Result of Historical Research – Dr. Ashdown-Hill

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Links: King Richard Week 2013 & Quiz


! Attention !


Last day of quiz-entries taking part in the drawing!
(Today till midnight [GMT] !)
Quiz prizes are: Two books by
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History’s new potential


in the discoveries of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill


Why a special article about Historian Dr. Ashdown-Hill here, during the KRA week, when we already had interviews and present his research work here on the website?

And other articles already covered the topic of ‘airbrushing’ Dr. Ashdown-Hill out of the story of finding King Richard III:

There was something I needed to figure out and I want to present some of my thoughts and results to you here.

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

Dr. Ashdown-Hill is an open-minded researcher, who searched for facts, where others readily followed legend – over centuries.
As the dissection of legend in the case of King Richard III was so very important, to even allow the beginning of the search, I cannot readily understand, why the one man, doing all the work mostly singlehandedly, strongly believing in the validity of his finds, does not get the praise he deserves.
It required already great effort together with Philippa Langley, to even raise sufficient doubt with researchers and officials in Leicester, to get their agreement to do a paid contracted search and give all the required permissions for the digging.
(And here a big motive for the specialists was that they could at least find other historically significant material for Leicester, to make it worth their while, which in the end caused their agreement to start digging.)
But why chose exactly this location for the digging, when the supposed location, indicated by a plaque, was so far away from it?
That was the result of a meticulous research of maps and sources about Leicester – done by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill.
He recognized, that some newer maps were inaccurate (the street drawn at the wrong side of the Greyfriars’ church, according to written sources of contemporaries) and the old medieval streets must have been located a bit differently from what reconstructions of historical Leicester so far made believe.
This changed the location and the area of research entirely and was based on the research of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill.
So, why is there no mention of this fact?
You would think, after all this research so essential for finding King Richard III, there should be a hall of fame for Dr. Ashdown-Hill.
Perhaps next year’s opening of the King Richard Museum in Leicester will remedy that fact and will give praise where praise so clearly is deserved.
We at the KRA website already started our small contribution to a ‘hall of fame’ here and hope to be able to contribute to set things straight.
One aspect, which especially fascinates me in the work of Dr. Ashdown-Hill, is his research, remaining unbiased by the ‘mainstream’ line of previous historical research and starting to get to the fact beneath layers of wrong and long traded interpretation.
This is a fact which exceedingly makes me happy about the research of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill and the finding of King Richard III.
It gives me hope for the art of history in its entirety, that with new perspectives and openness, history with its extensive tools and methods is able to discover great things about the past in the future.
History loses its dust cover and the strictures and rules by some self announced dictators and starts to get truly ‘researchable’ again.
So the real questions about King Richard III for me are not
will he be buried in York or Leicester or …,
was he a good or bad king,
was he a saint or murderer,
but that finding him was able to break up traditional perceptions of a story and a new approach was found and the truth behind it was revealed, after over 500 years!
This fact alone makes me absolutely jubilant!
History is no static entity any longer, but a playground opened up for new research. (While ‘playground’ not in the slightest means this is an easy task, but what history always has been, hard work and an enormous accumulation of knowledge of all kind.)
So go and search and keep your mind open for any possible result!!!
I hope to find out much more about the developments and events leading to the archaeological research in Leicester in the new book by Philippa Langley announced for the end of October 2013:
And Dr. John Ashdown-Hill publishes his new research about royal marriage traditions and currently works on a new book about Richard III’s third brother, George, Duke of Clarence:
Kindle version:


Links: King Richard Week 2013 & Quiz

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Historical Research – Dr Ashdown-Hill


Historical Research necessary to find King Richard III


by Dr. John Ashdown-Hill
“Searching for Richard III”


(Source: Richard III Society, Conference in Leicester, 2nd March 2013
Video on YouTube by Richard3Society)

Necessary steps to prepare the search:

  • Find proof that King Richard III indeed was buried by the Franciscan friars in their church Greyfriars in Leicester.

  • Prove that the legend that King Richard III’s body was dug up and thrown in the river Soar was false.

  • Reconstruct a reliable map and layout of the Greyfriars’ area in Leicester.

  • Find and publicise the mtDNA sequence for King Richard III, so that the search could have a confirmation reference.


All these essential points for the search were done by one man,
Dr. John Ashdown-Hill.



Review of “R-3” by Dr. Ashdown-Hill




The new Centre Five Production on Richard III, by Caroline Devlin & Timothy Allsop


Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

On 10 October, via one of my publishers, I received an invitation to attend the opening night of R-3, a new play about Richard III, which the co-author, Caroline Devlin, told me was partly inspired by my book The Last Days of Richard III.
The venue – a rather grand Victorian gothic church at Chalk Farm – was quite a journey for me, and I arrived a little early. Sitting waiting for the play to start was, in its own way, significant. The church was dimly lit. Six tall candles were burning on the high altar, and the rood screen was wreathed in periodic puffs of smoke, which I saw as symbolic of Henry VII (whose emblem, after all, was a red dragon) still doing his best to obscure the truth about his predecessor.
The play was a one-man show, lasting about an hour. Tim Allsop, who played Richard, has taken the same role previously in Shakespeare’s dramatisation, and he had some of the same lines to say in this new play – though the meaning here was different.
Caroline and Tim’s play acknowledges the writings of Shakespeare, More, Vergil – and even Ashdown-Hill – accepting some and rejecting others (I will leave you to guess which are which). I didn’t agree with all the interpretations, but then part of the rationale of the new play is its thesis that there are now multiple ‘Richards’ and that it is sometimes hard to tell which (or whose) ‘Richard’ is the real one.
Personally I found the interpretation of Richard’s relationships with his mother and with Anne Neville moving. However I have never been able to accept the notion that Richard was a sickly child. Towards the end of the play I found myself moved, too, by Richard’s profound analysis of what it means to be a king.
The close of the play was sad. Even if Richard III’s body has now been dug up in Leicester, in one sense he is still deeply buried.
The play was enthusiastically received by the audience. If you should get the chance to see it I would strongly recommend doing so. Like me, you may not agree with everything in the new play, but it is certain to inspire both thoughts and feelings.
John Ashdown-Hill

Details and announcement of the play “R-3” in London
More information about Dr. Ashdown-Hill and his publications, which are crucial in the current search for King Richard III in Leicester.

The Last Days of Richard III is a new and detailed exploration of Richard’s last 150 days, based on new evidence and explores the events from the standpoint of Richard himself and his contemporaries.   By deliberately avoiding the hindsight knowledge that he will lose the Battle of Bosworth Field, we discover a new Richard: More Info »

Eleanor Talbot, the woman who put Richard III on the throne.   When Edward IV died in 1483, the Yorkist succession was called into question by doubts about the legitimacy of his son, Edward (one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’).   The crown therefore passed to Edward’s undoubtedly legitimate younger brother, Richard, Duke of More Info »

The first-ever biography about John Howard with new revelations as to why he became Richard III's main supporter.   In 1455 John Howard was an untitled and relatively obscure Suffolk gentleman. Thirty years later, at the time of his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, he was Earl Marshal, Duke of Norfolk, Lord Admiral More Info »


Dr. John Ashdown-Hill talks about his research regarding King Richard III

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill


Today we have a special guest to present to you,


Dr. John Ashdown-Hill,


historian and member of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Genealogists, the Richard III Society and the Centre Européen d’Etudes Bourguignonnes. He has  kindly agreed to let us interview him for the “King Richard III-Week”.

Dr. Ashdown-Hill has done extensive research over the years and has published his results in diverse essential articles and books about the Ricardian era. It is an honour for us, with our newly established KingRichardArmitage website, to have Dr. Ashdown-Hill telling us about his work and research efforts regarding King Richard III.


Latest Publications:

The Last Days of Richard III
Eleanor, the Secret Queen
Richard III’s ‘Beloved Cousyn’
(Click on the links to find more details about the books.)


Dr. Ashdown-Hill has kindly agreed to answer some questions about his research work:


What in your opinion is the key aspect of King Richard III’s reign and his legitimacy as king of England?

To my mind the first key area to be investigated is Edward IV’s marriage – because Richard III’s right to the throne depends upon the claim that Edward IV was married to Eleanor Talbot, not Elizabeth Woodville. I remember deciding to read up on Eleanor at an early stage of my interest in Richard III – some 15 years ago. I was totally amazed to find that nothing substantial had been written about her and that no real research had then been done on her. This was the reason for my work on her, which lead to a number of Ricardian articles and to my book, Eleanor, the Secret Queen. I see no reason to doubt that Eleanor was the victim of Edward IV’s libido, or that he contracted a secret marriage with her for his own selfish ends. Thus to my mind Richard III’s claim to the throne was entirely genuine, and probably took Richard himself completely by surprise. I am still researching Eleanor Talbot and hope to publish new evidence of her relationship with Edward IV in my forthcoming planned study of that king and his love-life. I also still hope to clarify further the identity of the human remains from the Whitefriars in Norwich which may well be Eleanor’s.

What did previous researchers overlook or do wrong in their approach to King Richard III?

I am amazed at how repetitive the writing about Richard III has been and is. My latest book was a deliberate reaction against this. I think it is a waste of time to keep writing about ‘who murdered the Princes in the Tower’. They weren’t ‘Princes’ anyway (so I will not use this term except in inverted commas), and no proof exists that they were murdered at all, so why should we be so preoccupied with ‘who did it’? Better to try for a balanced account of Richard himself. Thus The Last Days of Richard III is kinder to Henry VII than are the writings of most Ricardian authors, but also tries to focus on exactly WHAT RICHARD DID rather than on WAS RICHARD GOOD OR BAD. As a result we discover that during the last six months of his life Richard III was actively planning for the future. He expected to defeat Henry Tudor and to go on being king!

What is your unique approach to research on King Richard III and his time?

One of my most important and original contributions has been my work on Richard III’s DNA. This arose out of the need to identify some remains in Belgium which were thought to be those of Richard’s sister, Margaret of York. As a historian and a writer I try always to be clear about what the evidence shows, and about what we know or don’t know. When we DON’T KNOW, but have to draw our own conclusions I try to tell my readers that this is what I am doing, and to explain where I am coming from. Too many historians, past and present, have misleadingly pretended to KNOW things which are really only their personal opinion, and to my mind this is not honest.

For example, some earlier writers claimed (wrongly) that Eleanor Talbot was not the daughter of the first earl of Shrewsbury. Also many writers have dismissed out of hand the notion of Eleanor Talbot’s marriage to Edward IV – though the nineteenth-century historian Gairdner, who was not a particular friend of Richard III, stated very clearly that there was no reason to doubt the Talbot marriage.

We must keep a balance here. Because the mistakes have not all been made by Richard III’s enemies! Richard’s friends have also sometimes presented as FACTS ideas which are really nothing more than speculation. For example the story that Richard III attended his last mass at Sutton Cheney has no historical basis whatever, and is almost certainly untrue.

I think that all historians bear a great responsibility. First, they should try to get at the facts; second they should say frankly when they are speculating, and third, they should be honest about their own prejudices.

Thank you, Dr. Ashdown-Hill, for such deep insights into your work.
It was a real pleasure to have such a knowledgeable researcher about the time and life of King Richard III to interview.


I hope you have enjoyed the background information about the central question of King Richard III’s reign and legitimacy.




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