A vilified King and usurper Queen

It is trite to say that wherever you travel in the UK, you are ‘travelling through history’…… because that is true everywhere in the world. However, around these parts, it is staggeringly easy to venture through a tiny village that spills over with significant historical events.

I have waxed lyrical before about the village of Fotheringhay, but it still prompts me to stop awhile to appreciate a little of its past. Despite its diminutive size (119 inhabitants in the 2011 census) it is famous for being the birthplace of our notorious King Richard III in 1452, perhaps the most vilified of all our kings, and whose skeleton has recently been discovered beneath a car park in LeicesterIMG_20190715_111346877_HDR

and it was in the same village that the famous would-be usurper of Queen Elizabeth I’s throne, Mary Queen of Scots, met the executioner’s axe in 1587 in Fotheringhay Castle. Sadly, the castle no longer exists, so today we gaze on the mound and  re-imagine the scene of her execution.IMG_20190715_111717785_HDR

It’s hard to imagine that this tiny community was once second in importance only to London in the 15th century……now it is a sleepy backwater deep in the Northamptonshire countryside.




About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on July 15, 2019, in Cycling UK and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. how the mighty are fallen comes to mind

  2. Interestingly, there is a dedicated Richard III society that is working to restore his reputation, believing (amongst other things) that he was not responsible for the disappearance of the princes in the Tower…

  3. The site of Fotheringhay castle is only 7 miles from Norman Cross, site of the first concentration camp, used to house prisoners from the Napoleonic wars. That central site was chosen to prevent escapes, while having access to London via the Great North Road and also via ships using the River Nene to bring prisoners around the coast. So Fotheringhay may not have been quite as remote as its geography suggests.

  4. That’s right….rivers were a vital route of communication before canals were built….I believe the Thames used to be navegable Up to Letchworth at one time.

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