England in the Time of King Richard III

Explore 15th century England through archaeology, history and literature. Learn more about Richard III’s discovery and reburial.

About The Course

The discovery of the skeleton of Richard III in a Leicester car park - and the recent revelations of an infidelity within his family’s bloodline - have made headline news around the world.

Now, to coincide with his reinterment in Leicester Cathedral in March 2015, you can explore the world Richard III inhabited with this free online course from the University of Leicester.

As a special feature, the final week of the course will include live coverage of the reburial, giving you a unique viewpoint on the occasion.

Explore the Wars of the Roses

The political scene in the 15th century was dominated by savage dynastic warfare – the Wars of the Roses - in which allegiances and power shifted among an aristocratic clique, with devastating outcomes.

The century also saw the abandonment of many villages through general population decline, and a shift towards greater use of the land for pasture farming. But demand for labour meant that the prosperity of working people rose, and towards the end of the century, the introduction of printing transformed access to literacy and books.

Each week, we’ll address a different perspective of this period:

  • medieval warfare
  • the lives of peasants and farmers
  • food and culture
  • death and commemoration
  • reading and the introduction of printing.
Follow the reinterment of Richard III

Finally, we’ll look at how historians and archaeologists have reconstructed Richard’s road to Bosworth - the battle in which he died - and how one of England’s most famous kings came to be buried in Leicester.

This will help you understand Richard III’s reinterment, as his remains are taken to Bosworth, through the villages connected with his last battle, and finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral in March 2015, as the course takes place.

This course will also give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

Recommended Background

Anyone interested in medieval England or the recent discovery and forthcoming reburial of Richard III will find something to fuel their interest here. No prior knowledge or expertise are needed.