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The Victims of Richard III

Richard III








From April 9, 1483 through August 22, 1485:

June 13, 1483, at the Tower of London

William, Lord Hastings (best friend of Edward IV and his Chamberlain)

June 25, 1483, at Pontefract Castle

Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers (brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville)

Richard, Lord Grey (son of Queen Elizabeth Woodville)

Sir Thomas Vaughan (Chamberlain of Edward V while Prince of Wales)

Suffered as a consequence of the failed July 1483 Conspiracy:

John Smith, a groom of stirrup under Edward IV

Stephen Ireland, a wardrober in the Tower

Robert Rushe, sergeant of London

William Davy, pardoner of Houndslow

Assassinated in the Tower of London

Edward V

Richard, Duke of York

Suffered as a consequence of the failed October 1483 Rebellion

November 2, 1483, at Salisbury

Henry Stafford , the Duke of Buckingham

November 13, 1483; at Exeter

Thomas St. Leger (brother-in-law of Edward IV and Richard III)

Thomas Rameney, “and another” (as recorded in the Chronicles of London)

December 4, 1483, in London

George Brown, knight of the body to Edward IV

William Clifford, and four of the following yeomen of the Crown: William Knight, Richard Cruse, William Frost, Richard Potter, Richard Fisher, John Boutayne, Roger Kelsale, and William Strode

Suffered for conspiracy to aid Henry Tudor’s invasion:

October 1484

William Collynbourne

Roger Clifford

* Refer to: Louise Gill: “Richard III and Buckingham’s Rebellion”, Rosemary Horrox: “Richard III: A Study in Service”, Charles Ross: “Richard III,” Michael Hicks, “Edward V,” and “Richard III”



  1. Christina E Gerdes

    I’ve missed something.
    I didn’t know it had been proven that Richard iii had assassinated his nephews in the Tower of London. How on earth did I miss that?

    • Pamela Horter-Moore

      I’m so glad you asked me that question!
      First, what do you mean by “prove”? How do you “prove” who is responsible for committing a murder that happened centuries ago? Has it been proven that Edward IV was responsible for the death of Henry VI? Or that Henry IV was responsible for the death of Richard II? Or that Isabelle and Mortimer were responsible for the death of Edward II?
      It is naïve to think that a centuries-old death can be solved and the murderer pinpointed the same way that modern detectives might use in a recent murder where physical evidence is available, fresh, can be collected and preserved, and where witnesses can be interviewed. Regardless of age, there are two factors that murders have in common: Motive and opportunity.
      Edward IV, Henry IV, and Isabella and Mortimer had motive and opportunity, and so did Richard III. I suppose if Edward IV, Henry IV, or Isabella and Mortimer were the objects of a cult of personality, as Richard is, they would have people attempting to prove they were innocent of these deaths too.
      It is hard for Richard’s defenders to deny that Richard didn’t have opportunity: Both sons of Edward IV were under his dubious protection in the Tower. As for motivation, Richard had just deposed the rightful King and his heir. Richard’s defenders can go on about how they believe England swallowed Richard’s lie and that Richard had nothing to fear from them, but the actions of the people of the time tell a different story. The English did not accept what happened in June and July as being a normal “transfer of power.” The people were cowed into accepting it by Hastings’ murder and the rumor and arrival of a northern army. Those troops from the north probably did not know that they would be used to further a usurpation.
      The reaction of Edward IV’s servants and friends informs us that they thought Edward V and his brother were dead by Richard’s hand. Many of them went into exile with Henry Tudor, while others stayed in England and furthered the resistance, fighting for Henry at Bosworth Field. My “Richard’s Rebels” page is a partial listing of names.
      Richard’s kingship failed in twenty-six months because Richard divided his own party by conniving against the incumbent King and his supporters. He murdered that King and his brother because he knew they would always be his enemies, threats to him and his son.
      Rumors of the murders spread across England and Europe and Richard did and said nothing to stop them. On the other hand, look what Henry Tudor did to silence speculation over Warwick’s imposture: He showed him publicly. Although I concede that Tudor was much smarter than Richard, Richard did nothing like this. There were many things Richard might have done, but he allowed the rumors to spread. Probably because they were true. It’s interesting that the Croyland Chronicler mentions that the death of Richard’s son in April 1484 gave rise to more speculation regarding Richard’s guilt.
      In the many years since I’ve been involved in this period of history, I’ve actually had Richard’s defenders tell me that “there are no bodies,” as if the elaborate urn at Westminster Abbey doesn’t exist. I wondered why a more recent examination of the remains hasn’t been done, but I can think of a good reason.
      In the meantime, Richard’s defenders use speculation and wishful thinking, snatching at vague references and jumping to conclusions to save Richard’s reputation, often at the expense of someone else’s. They can try to convince us that the boys grew to manhood, both so unambitious that they would let an impostor take their place. They try to pinpoint others as murderers, as if their opportunity and motives were greater than Richard’s. The more suspects they name, the more value they place on Edward’s kingship, because everyone who was threatened by Edward V’s existence knew that he was King by right.


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