THE FIRST BATTLE
In recent years Leicester (for non English speakers this is pronounced Lester, not Lay-cester) has became famous for two things. In 2016, Leicester City produced one of the biggest sporting shock by winning the Premier League (that’s football in England if you’re still not following) beating all the other top football clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool that season. It was hailed as a once in a 5000 year event.
今天來到英國的萊斯特城 ，一個在近幾年排除萬難，打了兩場漂亮勝仗的城市。 第一仗於2016年萊斯特城打敗其他頂尖隊伍，贏得英國超級足球聯賽冠軍。 第二將仗於2015年成功爭取把英格蘭約克王朝最後一位國王，理查三世的骸骨葬於當地大教堂裏面。 今天要帶大家遊覽萊斯特大教堂， 和參觀理查三世的陵墓。
THE SECOND BATTLE
The other thing that Leicester became famous for is King Richard III. Richard was the King of England in 1483, but was killed in a revolt two years later. He was the last English King to die in a battle. After his death, his remains were lost for the next 500 odd years till 2012 when human bones were dug up in a car park in Leicester. Scientist did a lot of clever test on the remains, including the surrounding soil and injuries on the skull to see if they matched with how history says Richard was killed during the battle. They even found his 17th generation descendant in Canada to do some DNA test and eventually confirmed that this was in deed Richard. With all that settled, it was time to give Richard a proper re-burial, but that didn’t happen without controversy. A group of people claiming to be Richard’s descendant said Richard wanted to be buried in York, but Leicester City claimed that he should be buried in Leicester as that’s where he’s been for the past 500 years. The group even filed a court order to stop Leicester City. Gosh! This is getting so soap opera!!!
So why did people wanted to fight over some bones? What does it matter where Richard is buried? Well, you know that the bible says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. I’m afraid to say, at the end of the day, it all boils down to money. Having Richard buried in the city brings in a lot of tourists, generating income and jobs etc, so there’s a lot at stake. Earlier this year, I was in Leicester visiting a friend, and that’s exactly how I felt when I was in town, it seems that a lot things had a King Richard the Third theme. Anyway, I thought I’d drop by to see Rick while I was there.
LEICESTER CATHEDRAL – THE OUTSIDE
This is Rick’s final burial place, Leicester Cathedral. Compared to other cathedrals that I’ve shared with you before such as Lincoln and Wells, this is quite a small and low key one. The Norman’s first built a church on this same site in 1086, and over the years bits have been demolished and other bits added on, such as this 220ft tall spire that was built in 1862.
Before we go inside, I want to show you a bit more of the exterior. This is the Vaughan Porch and is on the left front of the Cathedral. It was designed by a guy called LJ Pearson in the 19th century, he was an architect who did a lot of work on churches around England. The seven statues are all saintly figures who were connected with the area in between the 7th to 19th century.
THE EAST WINDOW
Inside the Cathedral there are other interesting things to see as well, but nothing much that will really wow you, unless you are a religious person, which I’m not. This is the East Window and is dedicated to those who died in the First World War. The stained windows shows Jesus in the centre with some angels, and at the bottom left you’ll find Joan of Arc and Mary. Monuments such as these are very common in many churches and Cathedrals around England, and rightly so. If it wasn’t for these brave folks, would we be here today? So religious or not, I’m all for remembering and respecting those who fought for our future.
You know what did wow me in the whole of the Cathedral? It’s the Cathedra, or bishop’s chair. When it was confirmed Richard would be re-buried here, the Cathedral did a £2.5m refurbishment which included this new designer chair. It’s a very modern design with a hanging cross and the whole chair is made of leather and Black American Walnut. I think its really cool and makes the whole Cathedral more lively. After all, churches doesn’t always have to be sad places, but then what do I know about religion…
Behind this screen lies Richard’s tomb which I will show you in a minute. This screen didn’t use to be right in the center of the Cathedral. It was moved to this spot in 2015 to be in front of Richard’s tomb. I mean even if a guy’s dead, he’s still entitled to some privacy, and peace and quiet right?
And finally, to the star, the tomb of King Richard III. The tomb is shielded by the screen we just saw, and is located in the sanctuary which is the most holy place in the Cathedral. Here you can see it directly faces the nave. There’s a cross on the top of tomb and if you’re visiting at the right time of the day and year, I think you can see the sun ray flushing through the cross.
The tomb is made of fossil stone quarried from North Yorkshire and the volunteer working here actually pointed out some of the fossils embedded the surface to me.
The base of the tomb is made from marble and was chosen because it’s dark on the outside, but when you cut the letters out it shows a white surface. This provides a nice contrast of colours. And finally, the actual remains are laid in a coffin made of English Oak and sealed underneath the tomb.
So this is it, a tour of Leicester Cathedral. The city which has fought two hard battles and won both in recent years.