Once Upon a Time in the 1400s,


...evil Richard III snatched the English crown for himself. He did this by having the true King and the King’s little brother murdered, and they were both just little boys. Their bodies, dead or alive, were cemented into the stairwell at the Tower of London. Anyway Richard III and his malevolent cronies were still reveling in the power and glory they had so dubiously achieved when Richard’s cousin showed up and killed Richard on the battlefield. {This is the end of the Wars of the Roses, which you may have heard of.} But this story isn’t really about the Wars of the Roses. It’s about one of Richard’s malevolent cronies, Lord Lovell. Because when I learned about his fitting and miserable end, I just had to go see the place where it happened.

When he saw Richard die in battle, Lord Lovell knew he was totally screwed and headed for the hills. He was one of the richest guys in England, at least until the moment Richard was run-through with a sword, but he knew that all of his wealth and property would be seized by the new king, and he himself would be executed in a manner like unto Braveheart. So he ran to one of his more out-of-the-way houses, Minster Lovell Hall, hoping to buy some time while they searched all his bigger mansions. It’s in a really lovely spot, by a pretty stream in a tiny village. I would hate to go to such a peaceful spot knowing full well that I was likely soon going to have my intestines pulled slowly out of a hole in my belly while I screamed. But I digress. He had to hide. Like really really hide. He had a small secret room made in his house that was only accessible through a secret door with a secret key. He dismissed all his servants, retaining only his most loyal old butler. He gave this most loyal butler the key and tucked himself away in the secret room. For years and years he lived locked away in a claustrophobic little place, and his butler would sneak him some food everyday.

Better than execution, I suppose, but then the old butler died. And there was no one around to tell about the secret room or the secret key or the secret Lord in there who needed to be fed. And Lord Lovell, locked inside, slowly starved to death!

That was the story anyway. People talked about it for a couple hundred years after the fact, but no one really thought it was true. Then in 1708, while doing some remodelling, the owners of the house knocked down a wall and discovered a secret room -- and a human skeleton inside! (And also the skeleton of a dog; he must’ve had some company.)


Since then the house has become a skeleton itself. But it’s still by a beautiful stream, in a hauntingly serene and pretty spot. It’s another one of those smaller attractions (with no tourists in sight) that is just as impressive/creepy as, say, the Tower of London with its skeletons of children in the stairs. Speaking of which, who sealed those boys in the stairs? Lord Lovell perhaps. So really we couldn’t have chosen a more fitting end for such a classic villain.

4 comments:

The Hodges Family said...

BEAUTIFUL picture! Loved reading the story to go with it too =)

Ryan (Ranger) said...

Who knew so many crazy things happened in boring ol' history?!
surely, not I.

Super L said...

Luckyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Super L said...

Can't believe you're falling for that whole Richard was a bad guy thing. Don't you KNOW he was framed? He was TOTALLY a martyr, just trying to save the little princes. . .

Sheesh!

Have you read Elizabeth Peters' Murders of Richard the III? I have a suspicion you would totally love it. Chock full of history nerds and mayhem and brilliant librarians who are suspiciously similar to one I knew once . . . :)