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King's killer could be a big draw for Carmarthen

By Carmarthen Journal  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

The Reverend Leigh Richardson with the tomb of Rhys ap Thomas in St Peter’s Church

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LEICESTER may be able to claim the resting place of King Richard III — but Carmarthen's got the man who killed him!

And now civic and religious leaders are hoping the town can benefit from the renewed worldwide interest in the controversial king.

St Peter's Church is hoping to tell the story of Sir Rhys ap Thomas — a local man who fought alongside Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

He is understood to have slain Richard and is entombed at the church, having previously been at the town's former Friary.

Following huge global interest in the discovery last month of Richard III's skeleton remains in a Leicester car park, Carmarthen hopes showcasing Sir Rhys will attract thousands of people to the town.

The Reverend Leigh Richardson, along with local councillor Alun Lenny, is aiming to create a permanent public exhibition in his honour at the church, with digital screens and interactive displays. In addition there are plans to move his tomb to a more central and prominent position.

He was originally entombed at the town's former Friary before being moved to the church, where he remains with his second wife Janet.

Councillor Lenny said: "At Bosworth there is a very impressive tourist centre near the battlefield, with an armour display, videos and so forth.

"It's high time we took similar advantage of the Rhys ap Thomas connection, to make his tomb a place of pilgrimage for all interested in history.

"He is believed to be the one who delivered the fatal blow to Richard and was certainly in the thick of it during the battle.

"Having a display could also help secure the future of St Peter's church, as a very ancient building constantly in need of expensive upkeep.

"The tomb has been moved around the church and was restored a decade ago, but its current position by the organ only gives people a limited view of it.

"Moving it will be a step towards having it on show for people to have a 360-degree view."

Referring to the recent discovery of Richard III's remains at Leicester, councillor Alan Speake said: "If I was a tourist, where would I contemplate visiting? "Should I possibly visit the apparent evil Richard III's skeleton and an empty car park in Leicester, or would it be wise to visit the tomb of Sir Rhys at our ancient church?

"I know where I would visit without any hesitation, and that would be St Peter's Church."

The Reverend Leigh Richardson said: "This is a very exciting venture.

"Estimated costs are £1.5 million and it would form part of plans to display a digital replica of the Black Book of Carmarthen. We are hoping to get some funding for it."

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  • johnhop54  |  February 26 2013, 10:34PM

    This archaeological dig has proved that the so called Tudor propoganda is fact. Shakespear informs us that Richard III had a back deformaty. The archaeologists find this to be true. The Richard III society denied this for many years. Gut'r Glyn welsh poet of that period mentions the shave wound to Richards head. The archaeologists find it to be true. Sir Rhys ap Thomas great bed at St Fagans Museum depicts a soldier with a spiked halbard attacking Richard. The archaeologists find a narrow hole wound in Richards skull. All very interesting stuff and I for one shall visit Rhys ap Thomas in Carmarthen.

  • Julesbreadbox  |  February 20 2013, 7:33PM

    And yet another strange story. Does anyone in cCarmarthen really want to boast with having Richard III's murderer in their "hall of fame"?

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  • Dan01  |  February 20 2013, 4:18PM

    I reckon visitors to Leicester (if there are any!) would almost certainly go and have a look for Richard 111, and I suppose there is a faint hope that some of the tourists who will visit Carmarthen might consider to seek out Sir Rhys ap Thomas if they can't find something more interesting to do.

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