Birth at Fotheringay of Richard, later King Richard III.

2 October 1452. Birth at Fotheringay of Richard, later King Richard III.

“The women cried,
‘O Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!’
And so I was, which plainly signified
That I should snarl and bite and play the dog”

Henry VI Part 3, Act 5, Scene 6

Richard, son of Richard Duke of York and Cecily Neville, was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle. There are limited sources on Richard’s birth and first months. This is hardly surprising. As a younger son of the Duke of York, he would be expected to have status within the court, but it was improbable that he would ever rise to the kingship itself.

Depictions of Richard III’s birth

Indeed, the earliest accounts of his birth are written with a Tudor audience in mind. John Rous wrote that Richard was born with teeth and hair down to his shoulders: both slurs.

“Richard was…retained within his mother’s womb for two years and emerging with teeth and hair to his shoulders. … like a scorpion he combined a smooth front with a stinging tail”.

Antiquarian, Mr Hutton, spent 18 years researching the childhood of Richard III. He noted that there are many ‘idle tales’ that he suggests are ‘beneath the notice of history‘. More tellingly, he summarises his findings of Richard’s early years by saying that ‘infancy was spent in his father’s house, where he cuckt his ball and shoot his taw with the same delight as other lads’. In other words, he was a perfectly normal baby and infant.

Image Credits

Fotheringay Castle, birthplace of Richard III. From Mola.

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