Richard III Museum
Richard III Museum
01904 634 191
Perhaps no English King fires the imagination more than Richard III, King of England for just 26 months (1483-85).
Demonised by Shakespeare as a deformed, hunchbacked villain, King Richard is said to have committed numerous brutal murders. Chief among these is the callous murder of his two nephews, Edward Prince of Wales (the uncrowned Edward V) and Richard Duke of York, the so called Princes in the Tower. It is for this crime above all others that history condemns Richard III. But did he do it? Or is he simply the innocent victim of Tudor propaganda? Possibly one of York's best kept secrets is this fascinating Museum situated in York's tallest and most impressive Medieval Gatehouse - Monk Bar. Built in the 14th Century as part of York's famous City Walls it was originally a guard house and has been both a prison and a police house, lived in until 1914. The bar boasts a rare example of a working portcullis, last lowered in 1953. Largely original, the ancient mechanism still works and can be operated by visitors. There are three rooms in all, the uppermost is said to have been added by King Richard himself in 1484, allegedly supervising its construction and paying for it out of his own money. In 1992 it was decided to convert Monk Bar into the Richard III Museum, in honour of the King many felt had been unjustly maligned by historians. As well as the exhibition where Richard is put on trial there is an extensive gift shop, offering books, prints and general souvenirs. Many of these are exclusive to the museum.
Adults £2.00, Concessions £1.00, Under 16s FREE.
The Richard III Museum offers an entertaining and informative look at the Richard III controversy. Its major exhibition is a reconstructed trial where King Richard is placed in the dock and charged with the murder of his nephews, The Princes in the Tower. Following cross-examination from both Prosecution and Defence, the Judge sums up and the Jury (the visitors to the museum) are able to give their own verdict. The uppermost room contains the newly-added execution chamber, where visitors are invited (quite literally!) to relive the executions ordered by Richard III in 1483. Also within Monk Bar is arguably the World's smallest prison cell, which held recusant Catholic Alice Bowman at the time of Elizabeth I.