Richard III Research and Discussion Archive

Richard III at Long Melford

Holy Trinity Church Long Melford Suffolk is a medieval wool church built between 1467 and 1497. Its main patrons were the wealthy Clopton family who earned their money through the wool trade.

(The exterior of the Church with the Lady Chapel built between 1492 and 1497 on the end)

(The Aisle of the main church, started in the 1460s)

Not only is it grand in proportion but it contains some of the most precious medieval reconstructed stained glass window depictions of members of the Clopton family and the families with whom they worked and intermarried.

(The stained glass was found in many fragments and reassembled. There is still some left to do)

In particular there is a depiction of Elizabeth Talbot, Duchess of Norfolk, the sister of Eleanor Talbot, the woman at the centre of the Edward IV Pre-contract Issue. There is speculation that this depiction of the Duchess inspired Lewis Carroll in his creation of the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland.

(Elizabeth Talbot/Mowbray, Duchess of Norfolk is on the left. She was the sister of Eleanor Talbot/Butler with whom Edward IV entered into a Pre-contract of marriage before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville )

The arch with the inscription to Richard as King is at the entry to the attached Lady Chapel.

(The entry to the Lady Chapel which was originally designed as a resting place for the Cloptons)
The Lady Chapel is unusual because unlike in many other churches it is added on to the end of the church. It was supposedly started in 1492 and finished in 1497 which indicates that the arch must have been there before the start of the main building programme. That the inscription has survived during construction taking place during the reign of Henry VII is remarkable. Or perhaps it was purposely not noticed? The Lady Chapel was for several centuries used as a school,

(A carving and a stained glass window from the roof of the Lady Chapel)