Thursday, 24 July 2014

Visit to Sheriff Hutton church and castle

It is still hot weather and I think some of our group felt the heat on Tuesday on our visit to Sheriff Hutton. We met for a meal at The Highwayman in the village and then made out way to the church. Here the churchwarden gave us an interesting talk about the families associated with the church and I was particularly pleased to see the representation of the 'sun in splendour', used as a badge by Edward IV following the appearance of a parhelion before his victory at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461. This was there because of the Neville family connection with Sheriff Hutton.

And of course we were all fascinated to look at the alabaster tomb of a boy of about 11 who is said to be the son of Richard III. He was wearing a long, belted robe and a coronet. The features of his face were mainly gone but many believe him to be a representation of Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales and only legitimate son of King Richard III. Edward, who had been invested as Prince of Wales in a lavish ceremony at York Minster in 1483, died the following year, at Middleham, of tuberculosis.

His parents, King Richard and Queen Anne [Neville], were then in Nottingham. It is suggested that they came north to Sheriff Hutton, and the body of their son was brought to meet them. Then, according to legend, he was buried in the church, not beneath where the effigy now rests but  on the opposite, southern side of the church, in the ancestral chapel of the Nevilles, his mother’s family.

The evidence is strong and many supporters of Richard III visit the church and lay white roses on the tomb. After a quick cup of tea most of us walked to the castle, passing the motte and bailey site on the way. The present remains, now in private ownership are very impressive and we enjoyed looking around although some of our group were so keen to get out of the heat that they explored a dungeon where cows gathered for the same purpose. Their shoes bore considerable evidence when they emerged.

We braved the A64 York ring road on our way home and made it  just before the heavy teatime traffic began. A thoroughly enjoyable day  - and thanks to Carole K for organising it.

An old postcard view of Sheriff Hutton church



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