POSTSCRIPT 20th October 2016
Thanks to their Chairman Dr Phil Stone, all the newly unearthed evidence presented in this blog post is now in the capable hands of The Richard III Society research experts.
- ABSTRACT -
The same IDD research method that discovered long-neglected publications that debunk the expert 'knowledge-claim' that not a single naturalist read Patrick Matthew's full prior-published conception of the hypotheses of macroevolution by natural selection (Sutton 2014) before Darwin and Wallace penned a word on the topic has struck again! In October 2016 it detected a long neglected 1939 translation of the accounts of the Gild of St George at St Peter's Church, Nottingham. That book, a scholarly translation of the original medieval documents, builds upon the prior research of others (see Langley et al 2014) into the 15th century Hill v Hylton Court of Chancery case and how it provided a crucial lead towards the discovery of the grave of Richard III in a Leicester car park in 2012. The newly re-discovered self-published book found with IDD (Hodgkinson 1939) establishes that a past Sheriff of Nottingham (Ralph Hill) sued an acting Mayor of Nottingham (Walter Hylton). Both men were in the same gild (guild). That Nottingham gild lent them money to carry out work on the monument for Richard III's tomb. Moreover, rather than make a new monument (according to current knowledge claims) befitting a dead king, there is new historical document-led evidence to support a reasonable assertion that such a monument possibly existed already and that Hylton was contracted to repair it, rather than make the first one himself.
At least, according to the independent historian Dr John Ashdown-Hill (MBE), and contrary to what he effectively labels as the potentially modern myth-creating behaviour of other scholars, not a single employee of Leicester University in England had the slightest thing to do with discovering the original actual location in a Leicester carpark of Richard III's burial site and skeleton in it in it in 2012. But archaeologists associated closely with the university did expertly dig for and excavate it and academic employees of the university were involved in scientifically verifying it as the skeleton of the dead King (See: Ashdown-Hill 2015).
Ashdown-Hill and his co-authors (2014) (Finding Richard III: The Official Account of Research by the Retrieval and Reburial Project ) are critical of an article written in 1986 by Leicester-based historian David Baldwin. They implicitly criticise Baldwin for failing to cite what appear to be his apparent influences from articles written in the 1970s by Members of the Richard III Society and published in their "Ricardian Journal", otherwise failing to cite prior-published information sources, and for getting what would have been the layout-location of the long demolished Greyfriars Abbey (the site of Richard III's grave) the wrong way around (note Ashdown-Hill and his co-authors' explain that he/they got it the right way around). They write (2014) in criticism of the University of Leicester and Baldwin:
'In light of David Baldwin's very clear statement as to his view of this likely burial site, it is hard to understand on what basis the University of Leicester should maintain that Baldwin identified Richard's burial place as the Social Services car park...'
The University of Leicester Discovered The Grave of Richard III Myth?
Many people who I know think that academic staff at Leicester University discovered the burial site of Richard III in a Leicester city car park in England. Perhaps they did. I always thought so. I bought Ashdown-Hill's book "The Mythology of Richard III" expecting a feelgood story of superb academic collaboration and uncontested original discovery. But Nothing could be further from the truth, at least that is according to Dr John Ashdown-Hill.
He writes in his book, to make the claim that in reality Leicester University archaeological experts were approached by independent historians who did discover it. And then they were effectively told simply where the body most likely was to be found. Senior archaeologists at Leicester University doubted it was there, but they dug anyway, because they were employed as expert archaeological diggers.
You can read more of the claims of Ashdown-Hill and other members of the Richard III Society, followed by some counter-claims from Turi Hill of the University of Leicester here.
Good scholars are skeptical of unevidenced claims. Good scholars follow the independently verifiable data.
Ashdown-Hill interestingly claims that one sentence in a document in the British National Archives enabled him to triangulate the truth of one of a number of competing claims from other accounts of where the slain king lay:
'...controversy over the burial place continued well into the present century, and was only finally resolved when the present writer first published a key sentence from a document in the National Archives which specified that a Nottingham alabaster man. Walter Hylton, should erect a tomb for the dead king 'in the Church of the Friers in the town Leycestr where the bonys of Kyng Richard iij reste.'
Authors are members of the Richard III Society
Without Walter Hylton of Nottingham, Richard III's grave would not have been discovered.
Had it not been for Walter Hylton of Nottingham it is most probable that no other specification for a tomb for Richard III would have been discoverable. Ashdown-Hill (2013) makes this point clear "Had there been no litigation in respect of the Hylton contract ... ...no other records of Richard III's tomb in Leicester and dating from the period 1490 to 1500 are currently extant.'
In other words, Ashdown-Hill is apparently telling us that had not the Nottingham man Walter Hylton been contracted to make a monument for Richard III's tomb, and had he not been sued for contractual fraud by Ralph Hill, then Richard III's grave and skeleton might not have been discovered.
What happens in life reverberates down the ages, whether or not we know what might just do such a thing at the time.
The National Archives document relating to the legal case in which Rauff Hill sued Hylton for fraudulent use of his name being connected with Richard III's tomb can be found here Hill's stated case is that he had no idea his name was put on the contract, by Hylton, for Richard's Tomb until he was made liable for the incomplete work.
The contract appears to have been issued a decade after Richard III's death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The new monarch, Henry VII, commissioned a memorial for his deceased foe. The Hill v Hylton case is recorded as c. July 1496.
On the issue of discovery and influence,
The role of influence of others on great discoveries and the fact that some attributed discoverers conceal the influence of those who were "there" before them should be of great interest to us if we wish to know more about how great discoveries are made. Armed with veracious data on this topic we have a chance of improving the discovery process for the benefit of society.
One thing is for certain however. Had it not been for superb archival scholarship and effective abidance by the motto 'nullius in verba' by others, staff Leicester University would have nought to lay claim to on the topic other than their own expert prior knowledge-belief that King Richard's remains had been thrown in the river.
National Archives UKPublic Domain
This is the document that led to the discovery of Richard IIIs grave. It is the record of the court case against Walter Hylton. But who first discovered it?
But who was Walter Hylton of Nottingham? And who was Rauff Hill?
It is all very well that people are obsessed with royalty and other wealthy and powerful members of the aristocracy, but what about less privileged individuals? Can we find out more about who Walter Hylton was and what he did? I'm intrigued, as a memorial maker himself, was his own grave well marked? Can we find it as John Ashdown-Hill found that of Richard III and as Peter Symon found the grave of Patrick Matthew?
A little research with the IDD method on Google reveals that Walter Hylton was a former Lord Mayor of Nottingham on two occasions - in 1489 and in the year he was sued in Chancery Court by Rauff Hill in 1496 - here.
A Newsletter of the Richard III Society reveals that Hylton had been involved in the alabaster monuments trade from 1480 until just before his death in 1503. Besides being twice Mayor of Nottingham he was also an Alderman and Justice of the Peace (JP). He made the mantle tree at St Peter's Church, Nottingham and a tabernacle as St Philip church, Nottingham.
Of equal interest, Ralph Hill is recorded as having been a Sheriff of Nottingham in 1482 (here). Is he the same "Rauff Hill" who the National Archive folk (Dr Sean Cunningham and Dr Laura Tompkins) name in their official blog as the litigant in Hill v Hylton?
In answer to that telling question, Dr Sean Cunningham and Dr Laura Tompkins very kindly replied by way of email to a comment I posted on their website (see end of this blog post for the link). They inform me that the original legal record document uses the spelling Rauff Hill of Nottingham. Most significantly. they think other writers have possibly modernised the name:
'In preparing the blog, we attempted a literal transcription of the text as it appears in the manuscript. James Petrie and others might have modernised Hill's name. Spellings of late medieval and early modern names were never consistent, and so should not be used as an absolute guide to identification of individuals. This C 1 document was created for the Court of Chancery in Westminster and did not necessarily have much direct involvement from Hill. Henry VII's councillor Sir Reginald Bray was also recorded as Reynold in many different documents, since that was probably how his name was pronounced.'
Compellingly, if the Hill in question had been Sheriff of Nottingham in 1481/1482, 14 years before he sued Hill in the Court of Chancery, then that might explain why someone otherwise recorded as a "grocer" (see National Archives) could have not only the money but also the influence to sue Hylton, who was clearly a powerful and influential man who had been Mayor once before (in 1489) and was serving as the Mayor of Nottingham (for the second time) when sued in 1496. [Note a postscript to this blog, below, supports this explanation and further explains that Hill was most likely from a practicing family of alabaster men himself, explaining why his name was on the contract].
Following the data we have on Rauff Hill: Was the Sheriff of Nottingham a grocer?
To seek out confirmatory evidence for the hypothesis that the litigant in Hill v Hylton was the former Sheriff of Nottingham of 1481/82, we should try to discover whether any of the historical records relating to Sheriff Ralph (Rauff) Hill record his position as a "grocer", before, during his term in office as Sheriff, or after.
Who Actually Discovered the important Walter Hylton Triangulation?
In absence of evidence of prior-discovery theft, according to the Arago ruling for settling priority for scientific and other academic discovery, whoever first made others aware in print of the significance of the Walter Hylton connection to Greyfriars for the Kings memorial has priority for the discovery that most significantly led to the discovery of Richard III's body in the car park. But who did first discover it in the British National Archives?
Intriguingly, using nothing more than Google we find another historian had found the Greyfriars Abbey Walter Hylton connection as early as 1985. James Petre (1985) notes it on pages 29-30 in Richard III Crown and People. Please Note that the author of an article on Richard III, Lynda Pidgeon, cites Petre (1985), but nothing on this one note of the discovery is attributed here to Ashdown-Hill, whose book was published three decades after Petre's.
Dr Cunningham and Dr Tompkins of the National Archives also very kindly informed me by email of the following intelligence:
"The Petrie book is a compilation of articles from The Ricardian - the scholarly journal of the Richard III Society . The original reference to the chancery bill might therefore have appeared in the Ricardian 1970s. Charles Ross, Anne Sutton, Rosemary Horrox and several other late medieval historians who have worked on Richard III were already fully absorbed in the late medieval archival collections before 1985, so I would be amazed had they not come across this C 1 case, since it was openly available in a popular document collection at the Public Record Office."
When I read the "Mythology of Richard III" by John Ashdown Hill I gained the impression from what he writes in the book that it was he who first discovered the Hill v Hylton document in the National Archives. Attached to the relevant text he provides footnotes to an earlier 2010 publication of his The Last Days of Richard III' that may or may not correct this impression if you have already read that earlier book. Not having read that book I have no idea, and I could not get an alternative impression from reading the text or associated footnotes in "Mythology of Richard III ". In absence of clarity in the text of 'Mythology of Richard III' as to who actually discovered the significance of the Hill v Hylton document, the following, apparently, disconfirming evidence for my impression is taken from an article published in 2005 by the Richard III Society. It cites only Petre (1985) on the Hill v Hylton document..From: The Man Himself The Burial Place of Richard III by Lynda Pidgeon pp.19-21:
'Formal documents of state are amongst the best sources for information, they do not have the same bias as chronicles, but are statements of fact, although their complete accuracy may sometimes be questioned. In an household account book of September 1495 is the record of £10 1s being paid to James Keyley for a tomb for Richard in Grey Friars. The account is an eighteenth-century copy of a lost original. (Petre, p.30). Although Keyley was paid for a tomb another document shows the contract being given to a Walter Hylton. In a case before chancery sometime in the period 1493-1500, possibly 1 July 1496 the document records a complaint by one of the named contractors that he had not in fact been a party to the transaction. The document records that Walter Hylton was to provide a tomb at a cost of £50 in the church at ‘Newark’, this has then been crossed out and changed to ‘friars’. It would seem that only ten years after the event even the authorities were uncertain as to which church contained Richard’s remains.
Henry’s historian Ploydore Vergil writing in 1513 states it was Grey Friars, as does Fabyan in his chronicle of 1516. However the ballad of Bosworth Field again cites Newarke.
‘… they brought King Richard thither with might as naked as he borne might bee in Newarke Laid was hee, that many a one might looke on him’
From the evidence it would thus appear that Richard’s body was displayed, most likely in the Newarke and that he was buried ‘with little reverence’, (Fabyan). We can perhaps suggest that the body remained in the Newarke, possibly in an unmarked grave, hence the confusion in the contract, until Henry decided that a proper burial should be given to his predecessor. The body was then moved to the Grey Friars.'
A decade before Petre (1985) The Man HIMSELF KING RICHARD’S TOMB at Leicester an article by RHODA EDWARDS was first published in The Ricardian, Vol. III, No 50, (September 1975), pp 8–9, and subsequently republished in Richard III, Crown and People, ed. J. Petrie, pp 29–30, in 1985. Edwards' article fully explains - in 1975 - the significance of the Hill v Hylton document, in allowing us to know for sure where Richard III was buried.. So we now know that the Petre (1985) edited collection source of the knowledge about the Hill v Hylton case is simply this article by the historian and author Rhoda Edwards. Her article was re-printed by the Richard III Society in September 2014 on pages 37-38.. Unfortunately, Edwards (1975) - just like Ashdown-Hill in his 2015 book "The Mythology of Richard III, penned 40 years later - does not tell us whether the significance of the Hull v Hylton document was her original and then published discovery or whether another did so before her. We have to read other, earlier books written by Ashdown-Hill to discover his thoughts on that question for ourselves. That is not very satisfying, in my humble opinion, for the non-historian who wishes to get the relevant facts on who actually discovered what exactly from one book on the topic of myths on question that is all about such discoveries of facts. However, on reading Finding Richard III: The Official Account of Research by the Retrieval and Reburial Project [Kindle Edition] By: P.J. Langley, A.J. Carson (Ed.), J. Ashdown-Hill, D. Johnson, W. Johnson.(2014) I find more answers. This book, published a year before "The Mythology of Richard III" explains very clearly that Rhoda Edwards was first to discover the importance of the contents of the Hill v Hylton case in 1975.
What Dr Ashdown-Hill makes clear in this earlier publication is that during his own research for his 2010 book 'The Last Days of Richard III' he read the original document himself and therein found an important line that Rhoda Edwards had not reproduced or mentioned in her 1975 article. The line she did not reproduce in her article is crucial because it is the line that established the king's bones lay at Greyfriars in Leicester:
''in the Church of the Friers in the town Leycestr where the bonys of Kyng Richard iij reste.'
It is a great shame in my opinion Ashdown-Hill did not make the point clear in print in the text of his later book: 'The Mythology of Richard III', because not everyone is gong to read all his books,It is clear on reading his other jointly published work that his discovery was influenced by the prior discovery of the importance of the Hill v Hylton document by Rhoda Edwards. It is also very clear that his own published discovery about the most important precise content of the Hill v Hylton document is also very highly significant in its own right..
I asked three questions of staff at the National Archives. The experts there have shed some further useful light on this topic by private email to me - as mentioned above - and Here -
Essentially Dr Cunningham very kindly replied by email to my "Who first realised and was published on the importance of the Hill v Hylton document?" question with the fact that we are not yet particularly sure.
So whilst Dr Ashdown-Hill and his co-authors cite Rhoda Edwards (1975) as first to discover the significance of the Hill v Hylton document, we cannot be so absolutely sure, because:
'The C 1 document was described for the PRO's lists of Early Chancery Proceedings in the early twentieth century, since it is part of a file of cases identified after 1858, when the PRO began to bring in documents from various places of deposit. That might be when it was identified as being relevant to Richard III -discovered in one sense - but it was some years before it was described in print. Unfortunately, we cannot keep a record of all the occasions when PRO/TNA references are cited in publications - although with the resources of JSTOR, Google Books, HATHI Trust, etc. you might now be able to search digitised versions of older printed journal and book texts for evidence of a first citation.'
Things are as yet unclear, in my opinion, on the question of who has first and foremost priority for the discovery of the grave location significance of the Hill v Hylton document. For example, six years before Ashdown-Hill's (2010) publication we find a book entitled 'The Royal Tombs of Great Britain: An Illustrated History by Aidan Dodson (2004). On page 85, Dodson reveals the Walter Hylton connection to exactly where the King's bone lay:
Earlier than this, Jones and Underwood (1993) made it clear, years before Ashdown-Hill, that the contract with Walter Hylton revealed where the king's bones lay:
'In 1495 Henry decided on a proper burial and tomb for the corpse of Richard III in the church of Grey Friars Leicester.'
For my part, besides the outstanding question of who has first and foremost priority, one big question we now need an answer to is : 'Was Hill v Hylton really a case between a one time sheriff of Nottingham and two times mayor?'
Postscript discoveries of 4th october 2016
The One Time Sheriff of Nottingham Sued the Two-Times Mayor Hypothesis and the 2012 Discovery of the Grave and Bones of Richard III in the Carpark.
I note that the man who discovered the vital significance of the legal text in the Hill v Hylton Chancery Division law suit "...where the bonys of Kyng Richard iii reste" - Dr Ashdown-Hill has written that this is the only compelling 15th century validation we have of where Richard III was buried. Consequently, it played a crucial role in knowing where to look for the grave.
Not only does Ashdown-Hill note the importance of the Hill v Hylton document, others involved in writing about the discovery do the same. In their 2015 book "The Bones of a King" Kennedy and Foxhall write on page 24:
'The most direct and compelling evidence for the tomb comes from the Chancery record (TNA C1 206/69) of a legal dispute which arose over its construction by an alabaster sculptor, Walter Hylton, based in Nottingham. Hylton had been commissioned by two of Henry VII's chief agents Reynold Bray and Thomas Lovell to construct and install a monument commemorating Richard III in the Greyfirars church in Leicester, and this is specified in the Chancery record as background to the court case. The document is dated 1 July in the eleventh year of Henry VII, that is 1496. However the order for the work must have been placed a year or two before the lawsuit occurred, and the memorial probably installed around 1495."
For the record, Ashdown-Hill and his co-authors (2014) of Finding Richard III: The Official Account of Research by the Retrieval and Reburial Project write of in what appears to me to be an aggrieved tone about Professor Foxhall's role in a media event after the grave of Richard III was discovered:
'...Dr Lin Foxhall, who had played no part in the search or retrieval process, took the lead when it came to the historical background. Philippa Langley was allowed to give a short speech at the end after the news feed was cut.'
Moving on, no one seems to have noticed that besides the existing knowledge that a Walter Hylton was two times Mayor of Nottingham (1489 and 1496) in this period, the significance of the fact that litigant in the 1496 case of Hill v Hylton was recorded as being named Rauff Hill. My only original contributing point here being that in this same period a “Ralph Hill” has been listed on various Internet sites as Sheriff of Nottingham (1481/1482). The point being that expert historians know that the spelling of this forename name would have been spelt in various ways at that time in history. Hence Ralph Hill and Rauff Hill could quite easily be one and the same person.
Either way, I wish to thank expert historians at the National Archives – Dr Sean Cunningham and Dr Laura Tompkins - for very kindly explaining to me in an email (because I’m no historian) that one should never rely upon a spelling of a person’s forename or surname, recorded anywhere in this period in our history, as exact and reliable validation of who they were. Because in the 15th century, names were habitually spelt differently by different individuals writing them down. So the Court of Chancery might have simply spelt his name differently, or the same way it was written in Nottingham by himself and others.
Consequently, I would like to assert the following:
If we accept the compelling argument that a “grocer” who had been a former Sheriff of Nottingham would be a particularly likely candidate, powerful and influential and wealthy enough, to sue the serving Mayor of Nottingham, then we have sound reason to assert with some rational confidence that the discovery of the bones of Richard III was in very large part quite probably dependent upon a one time Sheriff of Nottingham suing a two times Mayor of Nottingham for contractual fraud.
Whatever the case, one thing is for sure. Namely that over 500 years ago Rauff Hill could never have known that his vexation with Walter Hylton would reverberate down the ages and lead to the discovery of the burial site of Richard III. Because he could never have guessed that the known location of the slain king's grave site would pass into historical oblivion. Moreover, it looks like a crime - or an alleged crime - really did serve a positive function.
The way forward now, to begin to test the "Richard III and the Sheriff of Nottingham Hypothesis" is to see whether or not there is anything on record regarding Ralph (Rauff) Hill, Sheriff of Nottingham in 1481/1482, having been a grocer before, during his term in office, or after.
Well, further IDD research reveals that in 1485 Ralph Hill of Nottingham was associated with a grocer, quite possibly intended to have been described as a grocer alongside that one Thomas Shaw, grocer, and definitely along with him as a Chamberlain of the Gild of St George in Nottingham in 1485 here on page 50 of The Account Books of the Gilds of St. George and of St. Mary in the Church of St. Peter, Nottingham
There were three main types of guild according to later historical classifications of them:
2. the craft
3. Social and religious
The Gild of St George was according to Hodkinson (1939) in the social and religious category.
Then we find Ralph Hill - described as both a Chamberlain of the Gild of St George and Sheriff of Nottingham in Hodkinson's (1939) translation.
On page 43 we find Ralph "Hyll" listed as a Chamberlain of the Gild in 1481.
On page 46 Ralph "Hill" listed as Sheriff of Nottingham in 1482-1484:
"And for 20d. paid to John Pek for his labour for assisting Ralph Hill lately one of the Chamberlains of the aforesaid Gild during the time he was Sheriff of the town of Nottingham etc. ..."On The Gild of St George in Nottingham
There were two ancient religious gilds in the church of St Peter in Nottingham, the gild of St George and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The accounts for the former from 1459 to 1546 (pages 17 to 112) and the latter from 1515 to 1538 (112 to 123) survived in a single book; the text was translated by Lieutenant-Colonel R. F. B. Hodgkinson, and published, posthumously, in 1939. Apart from the wardens and chamberlains of the gilds, the individuals mentioned are tenants, workmen, and the dead for whom obits were said.
This circumstantial evidence seems to indicate fairly strongly that Ralph Hill, the one time Sheriff of Nottingham, was the plaintiff, Rauff Hill (grocer) in the case of Rauff Hill against Walter Hylton, (alabaster man) and Mayor of Nottingham. The above quotations of text from 'The The Account Books of the Gilds of St. George and of St. Mary in the Church of St. Peter, Nottingham' are taken froma 1939 published transcription.
It should be noted that the text of The Account Books of the Gilds of St. George and of St. Mary in the Church of St. Peter, Nottingham refers to one account held by two men - "The Account of Ralph Hill and Thomas Shawe..." followed by the word 'grocer'. This could be taken to suggest they are both in the same trade. Namely, the trade of grocer, as well as both being Chamberlains. However, earlier in the book,on page 42 we see this is insufficient evidence because another pairing of Shaw in 1842 rules this out:
'The account of Thomas Shawe grocer, and John Pek, Chamberlains of the Gild...'
Clearly Shawe is a grocer but we have no reason to think that Pek is one. So on the evidence in this document the pairing of Shawe with Ralph Hill must be treated the same no matter what is in the Hill v Hylton court of Chancery document about Rauff Hill being a grocer.
On page 54 we see that Walter Hylton was an Alderman of the 'Gild of St George in the Church of the Blessed Peter', Nottingham in 1491, and on page 55 we see he remained Alderman in 1492. It is notable that although Hylton was a renowned Alabaster man that this document makes no mention of that. So there is no reason why it should necessarily be expected to make note of Ralph Hill being a grocer.
On page 55 we see that in 1493 rent money of 12d due the Gild for a property was not entered into the accounts because the money remained in the hands of Walter Hylton who was Alderman of the Gild in that year also. On page 56, we see he remained Alderman in 1494. In this year we see " The same Accountants do not charge themselves with 36 shillings and 8 pence because it did not come into their hands but was delivered to Walter Hylton.' So the rent was unaccounted for. On page 56 we see that 12 shillings are not accounted for because it was delivered to Walter Hylton.
Postscript 4th October 2016
Then on page 58 we find something most interesting about Greyfriars and these accounts. We must remember that these Gilds could only be established with Royal assent and that they were used to perform may of the offices that today are controlled by central and local government institutions. They were used pay taxes to the crown via their membership. The text on page 58 suggests that in 1494 Walter Hylton legitimately used the Gild money to make the monument for Richard III at Greyfriars in Leicester the year before he was sued by Ralph Hill. It looks like the Gild agreed to pay money up front, seemingly in the form of credit to be paid back later, for the monument via Walter Hylton - or else that Hylton was - as Alderman - making an executive decision in that regard. This strongly suggests that the Ralph Hill, Chamberlain of the same Gild - and one time Sheriff of Nottingham a decade earlier in circa 1482/84 - is the same Rauff Hill who is the plaintiff in Hill v Hylton. The account lists numerous payments made directly to Walter Hylton amounting to £4,.10 shillings and 7 pence. Another sum amounting to £7, 7 shillings and 7 pence. The whole amounting to £11 18 shillings and 2 pence. Then continues most alluringly and ends with a whodunit mystery with regard to what this money was spent on exactly and who cut away the rest of the page to obliterate anything more on this topic from the account records of the Gild.
Significant text discovered
Whodunit? Who obliterated the rest of the alluring "grey Frere" and Walter Hylton text from this medieval Nottingham manuscript? Why? and When was it done?
Gabriel Woods (c) All Rights ReservedAttribution
Artist Gabriel Woods's Weirdly Prophetic Art Depicting Richard III's Grave in Leicester Beside the Broadmarsh Shopping Area of Nottingham
'Item thereof ye said Walter paid to reparacion of ye grey Frere........
[the bottom of this leaf has been cut and so half of the next line and the whole of the following ones are obliterated.]
This is a significant find (found by the present writer on 4th October 2016 over his second cup of breakfast coffee using nought but the Google IDD method). There was, however, a "grey Frere" in existence in Nottingham at this time and it was where the Broadmarsh Shopping centre is today, in an area outside the the medieval city walls.
Given that the rest of the text has been obliterated, we are now left to try to guess whether the "Nottingham Gild of St. George" document was most likely referring to the Nottingham "grey Frere" or the one at Leicester. I think, given what is in the Hill v Hylton document and its date, if this reference to "ye grey Frere", connected so completely to Walter Hylton, and most notably in this particular year, was referring to some other "grey Frere" other than the one at Leicester then the coincidence would be rather remarkable to say the least. It would be remarkable, because no other mention is made in Hodgkinson's (1939) translation of anything remotely resembling Greyfriars. For example, and to be be absolutely and pedantically precise, no other connection is made between Walter Hylton and a grey Frere or Greyfriars or anything remotely similar in this document. Similarly, no other connection is made between anyone else or anything remotely resembling a grey Frere or Greyfriars in Hodkinson's translation. This is the only time a "grey Frere" is mentioned.
Remarkable coincidences do happen, and this could well be one, but I think, on the basis of the available evidence, reason suggests that, combined with the data in the Court of Chancery Hill v Hylton document, and the so-closely matching dates, and this being the only mention of anything remotely connected to any name remotely similar to Greyfriars in the Nottingham "Gild Document', that both Hylton and Hill apparently borrowed money from their guild at this time and both did so from the very same property rental source, we may be permitted to rationally and reasonably think we now newly know from all that evidence in this Nottingham document, that in 1494 Walter Hylton was most likley paid by his guild for the "reparacion" (repair) of a Richard III tomb monument at Greyfriars in Leicester.
However, that said, in reaching this tentative conclusion,of which we must be far from certain due to the mysterious obliteration of the related text that followed on the orignal Nottingham Gild of St George document, I wish to add that it should not pass unremarked that others should reach their own conclusions by noting and then weighing for themselves the fact that there was a "grey Frere" in Nottingham and the "Gild" money given to Walter Hylton, and the other guild property rental money he retained at this time, may just have been for a local repair of the local friary at the time, because it was not until some 45 years later that the Grey Frere in Nottingham would be suppressed:
'They were suppressed in 1539 two years after the Pilgrimage of Grace and their estates were granted in 1548 to Thomas Heneage. In 1511 the Corporation took down the wall and took up the foundations of their Cross and so except for the name of Grey Friar Gate there passes out of Nottingham's history the story of the work so nobly begun and so poorly ended by this great order of the Grey Friars.'
Laird (1813, p. 125 ) notes:
From Laird (1815)
For the record, sixty four years after the completion of the "dissolution of the monasteries", and 110 years after the accounts of the Nottingham Gild of St George recorded what appears to have been a loan payment of money to Walter Hylton for '....reparacion of ye grey Frere........ ' we can find in the transcribed Records of the borough of Nottingham : being a series of extracts from the archives of the Corporation of Nottingham the following reference to the wall of the old "Grey Frere" in Nottingham being repaired - not in the next century, but in the century after. Namely, in 1604.
' xxxvijs. xd. ob. 1604, p. 4.Item to Kyng and Robert Bulder for fellyng and pillyngi 5 . ookes^ and stubbz ijs. Item to hyre the pavyer jd.Item for the expenses of a man to fech hym . . . viijd. Item to Hall, of Baseforde, for iij. lode bulders . xvd. Item to Bolsore, of Arnall, for iij. lode bulders . . . xvd. 10 Item for brede and ale to the men that fewed^ the lane at Grey Frere wall by ye Mair^s co;;/maundment . ixd.'
Taking all this factual evidence into account and weighing it, it seems to me at least, in my subjective opinion, that if whoever wrote the entry 'Item thereof ye said Walter paid to reparacion of ye grey Frere........ ' in the accounts of the Nottingham Gild of St George at the Church of St Peter in Nottingham meant what they wrote back in 1494, were writing then about Greyfriars in Leicester, and not the one in Nottingham, and knew it to be accurate, then it appears, at least on the face of it, to surely mean a monument had been built already, but somehow became damaged. Based on the premise that it refers to Greyfriars in Leicester, that evidence-led conclusion runs contrary to prior-evidence-based knowledge that no suitable monument for a dead king existed on Richard III's grave before 1495.
Now, four rather important questions follow my realising on the importance of these words in this most obscure and long-neglected prior-published literature of Hodgkinson (1939). They are:
(1) "Who obliterated by cutting the rest of the Gild accounts document and why!" Did Ralph Hill do it to provide evidence to the Court of Chancery perhaps? Moreover, several pages cut out - or sections cut - where Walter Hylton is mentioned throughout the original document. On the face of it - at first reading of Hodgkinson's (1939) translation and description - this seems like it might be significantly something that is peculiar to Hylton in this document.
(2) Why does it say repair "reparacion"? This is interesting if it does refer to Greyfriars in Leicester, because current knowledge has it that the Hill v Hylton lawsuit is evidence that the monument was first commissioned to be built by Henry VII some nine years after 1485 to befit the prior monarch whom his forces killed at the Battle of Bosworth. The evidence here is that a memorial may have already existed, been somehow damaged, and that Hylton was contracted to repair it. However, this is a bold assertion and tentative hypothesis made on the basis of one word alone. I suppose much will rest upon how historians decide to understand and so interpret the use of the word "reparacion" in the middle ages. I suspect it might possibly - and just possibly - have meant install rather than making good any damage. However its hard for a non-historian such as I to work it out. Because on page 68 of Hodkinson's (1939), his translation refers to the 'mending of divers holes in divers windows' of the church made by insolent boys - repaired at the request of Ralph Hyll. And on the same page Robert Northwod is paid for 'making and repairing' the silver wand of the Gild of St George.
In support of the new hypothesis that Hylton was contracted for the purpose of repairing (mending) an existing monument for Richard III, rather than making a brand new one, we find the word reparacion used in the middle ages to mean fixing (mending by repairing) a bridge see page 145 of Bennett (2008). Moreover: The 2009 National Commission on reparation has it that:
The term ‘reparation’ entered the English language during the Middle Ages as “reparacion”, from Old French and Latin “repartus”, past participle of “reparre” to repair.
However, the notion of a repair as opposed to a original being made somewhat clashes with the translation of contractual arrangement as stated in the Hill v Hylton document in the National Archives:
'In a complaint submitted to the Court of Chancery by Rauff Hill of Nottingham, it is recorded that ‘Walter Hylton, alabasterman […] committed and bargeyned with the right honourable Sir Reynold Bray and Sir Thomas Lovell, knight, to make and cause to be made a Tombe within the Church in Newark of frers In the Towen of Leycestre where the bonys of kyng Richard the iii(de) resten’. For this task, Walter received payment of £20 (C 1/206/69).'
(3) If in fact the Chancery Court Hill v Hylton document in the National Archives was for the repair (mending) of an existing monument on Richard III's tomb then this raises a new line for historical enquiry as to how the original was broken or otherwise damaged before 1495.
(4) The Court of Chancery document being dated 1496 has led experts to suppose that fact reveals the contract with Hylton was dated 1495. So why was Walter Hylton in possession of St George Gild funds to deal with '...ye reparacion of ye grey Frere....' in 1494? The simplest answer is that perhaps the contract was dated earlier around 1494.
As noted by Cunningham and Tompkins (2014) :
'...there is nothing to suggest that Henry did not commission the tomb early in his reign and that the construction was perhaps held up for a decade by legal wrangling.'
Moving on, we find a possible clue as to what is going on between Hill and Hylton in the Chancery Court lawsuit on page 60 where we learn that in 1495 over £13 is in gold in the 'chest of St George' held by Walter Hylton, Robert Hill, Thomas Hall and John Marshall. Hodgkinson (1939) writes of the original document: 'the remainder of the leaf is cut.'
With the Hill family of Nottingham being notable Alabaster men (see Cheetham 1984, p, 16) at the time, it could be that this previously unaccounted for money - now in gold in a chest - was for Richard III's monument, described in Hodkinson's (1939) translation as: 'Item thereof ye said Walter paid to reparacion of ye grey Frere........' .
Was the remainder of the leaf of this document cut away by Rauff Hill to be used as evidence in the court of Chancery against Walter Hylton?
'Intriguingly, the rent money for a property due the Gild - that was not delivered because we learned it remained in the hands of Walter Hylton - was for a property named 'Ingersteynour'. On page 61 Hodkinson (1939) tells us that money was forthcoming in this very same regard from Ralph Hill [Hyll] in 1495 /6: 'And for 20s from Ralph Hyll for his portion of the arrearages of the 'Ingersteynour'. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that this is the year Hill (Hyll) sued Hylton in the Chancery Court over the Richard III monument contract. It seems that perhaps both Hylton and Hill borrowed money to "repair" or else make an install the monument for the tomb of Richard III from Gild money's in advance of receiving final payment from those who commissioned it.
On page 62 we find the following (note it appears ome of the text must have been unreadable - again because the text was cut by someone Hodgknson (1939):
' The sum of all allowances, repairs and expenses and respites £8 8s 8. And so they owe clear £3 18s 2d, which they paid on this account and so are quit. Memorandum that there then remained, over and above this amount, in the hands of Walter Hylton, Ralph Hyll, Thomas Hal .....[cut].... besyde ye barley and ye malt yt they .....'
This account for 1495 /1496 surely lets us know that the Rauff Hill plaintiff is Ralph Hyll - former Sheriff of nottingham and fellow Gild member of the same Walter Hylton he sued in the Chancery Court.
In 1498 on page 64 of Hodkinson (1939) we learn that that Chamberlains finally delivered all outstanding money owed to the the Gild treasury. Again the page was cut:
'...the same Chamberlains paid and delivered to the treasury of the aforesaid Gild at the account held and made at the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul AD 1498..... [leaf cut].
This seems fair to argue that Hodgkin's (1939) translation of the accounts of the Gild of St George in Nottingham provides us with quite firm evidence that Rauff Hill is Ralph Hyll / Ralph Hill - the former Sheriff of Nottingham - whose debt to the Gild was tied up with Walter Hylton's - the then acting Mayor of Nottingham.
Triangulating what we know so far would be useful. If by chance they do exist it would be useful to know of any documents that reveal or else soundly disconfirm:
(a) Walter Hylton - Mayor of Nottingham (1496) - was an "alabaster man" or monument maker etc.
(b) Ralph Hill - Sheriff of Nottingham (1482) - was a "grocer".
The original document that Hodkinson (1939) transcribed is held in the Nottingham Archives (here) (reference: PR 221,599). It would be interesting to take and share an image of the portion of the document where it is cut and the text obliterated after the words 'Item thereof ye said Walter paid to reparacion of ye grey Frere........'- and to take images of the other pages that were cut, which relate to Hill and Hylton and the money each uniquely borrowed from the rent from the property referred to as Ingersteynour' at this time. Could forensic techniques reveal when they were cut? Could they for example date the cutting? Could they determine with what instrument (of what age) those pages were cut? Could the missing "cut" fragments be found somewhere? If text has been otherwise obliterated can we discover what is under any overscribbling - if indeed there is any such obliteration done that way?
I wonder if we can find the location of the graves of Hill and Hylton in Nottingham or elsewhere?
Dr Mike SuttonAttribution
The IDD Method Strikes Again! Where will it all end?
Further points of curious interest about Water Hylton
Hyton is pronounced "Hilton" - and so spellings in the middle ages would vary - in 1463/64 a Walter Hilton is recorded as Sheriff of Nottingham.
Researching the literature on Walter with this variant spelling reveals a wealth of information that reveals the Hill's of Nottingham were also 'alabaster men', This would explain why Rauff's (Ralph's) name was on the contract for an alabaster monument. (Cheetham 1984, p, 16)
"That some of the alabaster workshops were, not surprisingly, probably family businesses, is indicated by the reference in the Nottingham records to a Nicholas Hill and a Thomas Hill in the 1490's and 1500s and to a Walter Hilton and Edward Hilton in the 1480s. ... as already mentioned Edward Hilton was sheriff in 1484 and Walter Hilton was mayor of Nottingham in 1489-90 and again in 1496-97 a sign of their good social standing in the town.'
Hill v Hylton was not the only court action brought against Walter Hylton: Page 14 of Cheetham (1984) reveals the details and note his note of the the variant surname spelling.:
'Hilton (Hylton) was described as an image maker. In 1483 he was involved in a court action over the painting of a tabernacle. And in 1496 he was described as an alabaster man. ...he was also involved in making the tomb of Richard III of 1495, perhaps during his second term as mayor.'
Seemingly, it is either a pure coincidence, which it might well be, or else Walter Hylton was chosen to be the monument maker at Greyfriars Abbey in Leicester because he had family connections with the Grey Friars order - particularly of London. Among many named Hylton connected with the order, a Walter Hylton is listed among "guardians" in 1454 (here).
Research by Jane Case for her PhD confirms the probability that the defendant in Hill V Hylton was the serving mayor of Nottingham at the time the lawsuit was issued: From Sally Badham & Sophie Oosterwijk (eds) 2010
.'Jane Crease earned her PhD for a study of late-medieval alabaster tombs in Yorkshire and her essay on the output of a northern workshop in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries is full of interesting information. Examples include the sending of six cartloads of such stone from a quarry at Tutbury to London for the making of a tomb at St Paul’s cathedral for John of Gaunt’s (1340 -1399) first wife Blanche (1345 –1369). Other technical issues considered include the erection of monuments in churches and their painting and gilding. She also explores the production of smaller carved alabaster artefacts made by, or alongside, monument carvers. Documentary evidence is cited relating to Walter Hylton, twice mayor of Nottingham in the 1480s, who seems to have made tombs and other objects, perhaps even some of the well-known Nottingham alabasters, small panels which were often produced as altarpieces. She also shows that a number of tombs in Yorkshire were decorated with similar smaller figures.
From the 2010 PhD Thesis of Judith Anne Mills (University of Nottingham):
'There are no jury lists for the fifteenth century, but in 1485 four men, John Cost, Ralph Hill, Edward Hilton and John Stokes, the school master, were chosen from the Mickletorn to interview the Prior of Shelton in connection with the dispute over the ownership of Cornerwong, discussed in Chapter Five. 646 John Cost later became an alderman, and Ralph Hill and Edward Hilton were both common councillors.'
A 1496 case of Hill v Hylton (Hilton / Hyllton) is also recorded in an ancient Nottingham document. The year and month is the same as the Hill v Hylton Court of Chancery case, The translation needs attention from an expert but I think it is worth a look Records of the borough of Nottingham : being a series of extracts from the archives of the Corporation of NottinghamHere
From the Records of the Borough of Nottingham
"Bill of Ralph Hill against Walter Hilton." . 1496, July 19..Thys byn ye p^^ell yat Wat?r" Hyllton os" Raff Hyll': Furst j. lode hey iiijd.; ij. lode hey ijs. iiijd.; a lode since iiijs. viijd.; a lode hey ijs. iiijd."
Could the Recharde Andru named below be significant?
XIX.— Bill of Ralph Hill against Walter Hilton. 1496, July 19. Thys byn ye p^^ell yat Wat?r" Hyllton os" Raff Hyll': Furst j. lode hey iiijd.; ij. lode hey ijs. iiijd.; a lode since iiijs. viijd.; a lode hey ijs. iiijd. Item iijs. iiijd. yat ye same VVat^r r[eceyved] of Recharde Andru for aftur mathe^^ of Senjorge''^ Closse . 25 Summa: xvs. ijd. 1377, P- 33 ^^^^ ' own = one (AS. *an'). .^ carsey = kersey. " cowyrllede= coverlet. 9 waycelt = wachet, pale blue. 3 tobys = tubs. *° mosterdevyllrs^: Muster de Villers, a 4 wone=one. mustard coloured cloth, s yem = them (^ for />). " Water = Walter. ^ wayte = white. " os = owes. ^ Translation: John Belyn complains '^ aftur mathe= aftermath, second crop, of John Marshall, tailor, in a plea of debt. ** Senjorge = Saint George.
What we now know of Walter Hylton is that he was a well renowned Alabaster man, who subcontracted out work in that field. He was a respected Chamberlain and Alderman of the religious and social Gild of St George in Nottingham. He was twice Mayor of Nottingham. He was sued at least twice with regard to that profession and he held onto rent money that was due to his "Gild". Ralph Hill also held onto rent money due to the "Gild". Both cases are quite openly recorded in the "Gild's" accounts. In the case of both Hylton and Hill, the rent money they held onto came from the same property. Both men later repaid the Gild in full.
Dr Mike Sutton 28 September 2016
As Cunningham and Tompkins (2014) inform us:
We shall have to wait and see how the Nottinhgam Gild of St George manuscrpt is now to be interpreted by the experts.
'Historical evidence and thus the interpretation of history cannot be kept churning without continuing archival research and maintenance of the skills needed to recognise the importance of evidence found when rolls, boxes and bundles of paper and parchment are opened. Regardless of how this evidence is then presented, the historical debate can only progress if new evidence is brought to light. Digging around in the archives for documents related to Richard III’s burial might also demonstrate the value of a fresh look at evidence surviving for other historical controversies.'
The IDD method found the long-neglected books, which newly prove - contrary to previous leading-expert knowledge claims - that not only was Patrick Matthew's prior-published origination of natural selection read by other naturalists pre-1858, those same naturalists were also Darwin's and Wallace's associates, influencers and their influencer's influencers and facilitators on the very same topic (Sutton 2014). In October 2016, the remarkably simple IDD method detected a long neglected self-published book (Hodkinson 1939) that reveals new data enabling us to draw the following six conclusions:
- A Nottingham religious and social guild (gild) 'The Gild of St. George in the Church of the Blessed Peter, Nottingham' apparently lent money to Walter Hylton (and very possibly Ralph Hill) in 1494 to carry out work on a monument for the tomb of Richard III at Greyfriars in Leicester.
- The extremely important historical Hill v Hylton Court of Chancery document, held in the National Archives in Kew, almost certainly involves the same Hill and Hylton named in Hodgkinson's 1939 scholarly translation of the accounts documents of Nottingham's Gild of St George. This means it seems reasonable to claim that the one time Sheriff of Nottingham (Hill) sued the acting Mayor (Hylton) and they were both in the same "Gild". Moreover, that very court action involving those two important Nottingham men was a major lead in discovering the grave of Richard III 520 years later in 2012..
- Hylton was possibly contracted to repair Richard III's existing monument, rather than make the original.
- The new evidence tentatively supporting point 4" above is new evidence to support the possibility that Richard III's grave in fact did have a monument suitable for a dead king before 1494, but that it was somehow damaged before that date.
- Sometime before 1938 someone cut the 1494 text of the original St George Gild accounts document, thereby obliterating from those Gild accounts any further data about Hylton's involvement in '...ye reparacion of ye grey Frere....' Whodunit? We must now wonder.
Historians have written, based on the facts known at the time, that Walter Hylton made Richard III's moment 10 years after his death. Ashdown-Hill writes for the BBC on the reasonable assumption that the contract would have been signed by Hylton in 1495, which is the year before the date of 1st July on the 1496 Court of Chancery document:
'For the next ten years, Richard III’s burial place remained unmarked. In the summer of 1495, however, King Henry VII took somewhat belated steps to provide a fitting tomb for his late rival. A Nottingham alabasterman, Walter Hylton, was commissioned to erect a monument ‘in the Church of Friers aforeseid’; the budget allowed for this work was £50. No detailed description of the tomb exists, but it was of ‘mingled colour, marble’, with a figure of Richard in alabaster. It bore an inscription recording Henry VII’s generosity in paying for it, and asking for prayers for Richard’s soul, ‘t’atone my crimes, and ease my pains below’. This tomb remained in place in the Greyfriars’ church for the next 43years.'
As (Jones and Underwood 1993 p.76) explained years before Ashdown-Hill's reiteration of the exact same story about Henry VII and Richard III's tomb:
'In the 1490's the King had undertaken a vigourous building programme, designed to emphasise the prestige of the dynasty. In 1495 Henry decided on a proper burial and tomb for the corpse of Richard III in the church of Grey Friars Leicester. A contract was drawn up with the Nottingham alabaster man Walter Hilton. The decision is suggestive, after the exposure of the conspiracy of of 1494, of a hope that Yorkist plotting would come to an end.'
However, if we choose to discount the likelihood of a most remarkably timed coincidence, new evidence from the records of the Gild of St George opens up a new line of enquiry. The new evidence allows us to tentatively suggest that Hylton was perhaps commissioned in 1494 or earlier to repair an existing tomb monument, originally made either by himself or another earlier than that, and that the monument had somehow, somewhere, by someone or something, been damaged. A snippet that I have read online of Ashdown-Hill's 'The Last Days of Richard III" (2013 page xii) reveals that 1494 is that date at which a tomb epitaph is thought to have been possibly engraved on the King's tomb:
'So was this epitaph actually inscribed on the tomb of c. 1494? This point cannot be absolutely proved either way.'
We do know for sure that someone, at some time, for some reason scissored off the all important details from the medieval manuscript, which revealed Hylton was paid in advance in 1494 by his own Gild, two years before the Hill v Hylton Court of Chancery case, for '...ye reparacion of ye grey Frere....'
I notice that Ashdown-Hill (2013) wrote:
" ...no other records of Richard III's tomb in Leicester and dating from the period 1490 to 1500 are currently extant.'
In fact, it seems that another record is now extant. And it is in the Nottingham Archives!
Did the litigious Sheriff of Nottingham, Ralph Hill, obliterate the rest of the text from that extant medieval manuscript? We don't know. So whodunit, when and why? We must now ask.
A New 15th Century Document on the History of the Tomb of Richard III is Extant in the Nottingham Archives