Yorkshire Museum bids to raise £2,000 to put Richard III boar badge on public display

30/07/2012 | 30 July 2012
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A photo of a tiny mud-caked badge from hundreds of years ago in the shape of a boar
Yorkshire Museum curator Andrew Morrison takes a look at a prize boar which could go on display if a public appeal to raise £2,000 succeeds© York Museums Trust
A tiny silver swine-bearing badge, worn by supporters to show their devotion to King Richard III more than 500 years ago and found by a metal detectorist in North Yorkshire in 2010, is at the centre of a £2,000 appeal by curators hoping to put it on public show at the Yorkshire Museum.

The boar-shaped livery badge, made in a silver gilt suggesting a high status Medieval owner, was a symbol of the King used by his household and followers. Richard ordered 13,000 boar badges to be churned out for the investiture of his son, Edward, at York Minster in 1483, but few have ever been found in the area.

The silver gilt material of the badge makes it particularly rare
© York Museums Trust
“We hope we can keep hold of it and put it on show for the public to enjoy,” said assistant curator of archaeology Natalie McCaul, calling it “an exciting and rare find”.

“Its connection to Richard III makes it very important to Yorkshire. By keeping it in the museum’s collections we also hope we can find out more about it and perhaps discover more clues to who the owner was.”

“By keeping it in the museum’s collections we also hope we can find out more about it and perhaps discover more clues to who the owner was.”

The King had strong connections with York. A three-week stay in 1483, when he was sprinkled with holy water, was one of several visits to the city by the monarch, and his son was crowned Prince of Wales at the Archbishop’s Palace behind the minster, where Richard had planned to be buried before his death at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.

His resting place at the minster, where 100 additional chaplains would have prayed for his soul, would have been radical in an era when English rulers were traditionally buried at Westminster Abbey.

York sent troops to oppose the Tudors at Bosworth. Their defeat left the local mayor’s sergeant lamenting Richard as “piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city.”

The museum plans to conserve and remove dirt from the badge, which was found near Stillingfleet and is currently held at the British Museum.

Organisers have until September to raise the asking price.

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