Leicester City Council buys building next to Richard III dig

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An empty Victorian building next to the site where remains believed to be Richard III were found, has been bought by Leicester City Council.

St Martins Place, which used to be owned by Leicester Grammar School until 2008, could potentially be used as a visitor centre, the council said.

Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby signed the £850,000 freehold purchase on Friday.

The remains are undergoing DNA tests to see if they are those of the king.

The skeleton was found underneath a Leicester car park on the former site of the Greyfriars church in September.

The results of DNA tests on the bones had been expected in mid-December but will now not be completed until January.

Who was Richard III?

  • Richard III (reign: 1483-1485) was the last Yorkist king of England
  • His death, aged 32, in the Battle of Bosworth effectively ended the Wars of the Roses
  • His nephews Edward V and Richard of York, the "princes in the tower", disappeared in 1483 and are said by many historians to have been murdered on Richard III's orders
  • Shakespeare's version of events in his play Richard III added to the king's infamy
  • Some historians reject the heinous crimes attributed to him

Source: BBC History

Sir Peter said: "It's very evident that St Martins Place is a building that has potential to be used for a number of different purposes.

"It is particularly of interest because it's immediately adjacent to the excavation site and also to our social services offices.

"Some of those offices are more suited to continue as offices than others, so I am convinced this is an investment worth making," he said.

The English king died at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester said evidence that the remains belonged to Richard III included signs of a peri-mortem (near-death) trauma to the skull and a barbed iron arrow head in the area of the spine.

Richard is recorded by some sources as having been pulled from his horse and killed with a blow to the head.

The skeleton also showed a curvature of the spine which would have given the male the appearance of having one shoulder higher than the other, as portrayed by Shakespeare.

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