Richard III Roadshow at Keele
The annual Levitt lecture was established in memory of John Levitt, former director of Adult Education at Keele and a noted teacher of inter alia Old and Middle English. In the first decade of its existence it has attracted leading scholars from across the UK. This year’s lecture derived from the excavation of Richard III’s remains in Leicester and their subsequent reburial in Leicester cathedral. Sally Levitt, John’s daughter, is director of Leicester Museums and played an important role in the city’s support for the excavation and the later building of a new visitors’ centre. Dr Richard Buckley of Leicester University was the lead archaeologist involved in the dig. Together they presented a fascinating account of the progress of the project since 2011.
A packed Westminster theatre audience heard the inside story of the excavation and recent developments in the DNA evidence which have increased the strength of the identification of ‘skeleton no. 1’ as that of Richard III.
Keele’s history department has form in the Richard III business. Colin Richmond, former professor of medieval history, showed that the battle of Bosworth had been fought elsewhere than the traditional site, and Philip Morgan, a senior lecturer, uncovered the earliest documentary reference to the murder of one of the Princes, a document which claimed that the young Edward V had been killed on the day that his uncle claimed the thone in 1483 and his body ‘drowned’.
The lecture is an annual event and continues the department’s ambition to present modern scholarship to a lay audience.