A British Union Flag in Fotheringhay Church, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England.
Fotheringhay has been described as "...distinguished beyond any other place in Britain, except the capital, by the aggravated misfortunes of Royalty." It was the birthplace of King Richard III - William Shakespeare's favourite hunchbacked regal villain - in 1452 and Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in the adjacent castle before being executed there in 1587 and buried in nearby Peterborough Cathedral. The village was the stronghold of the Plantagenet Royal dynasty; had British history been different and the line not died out, Fotheringhay might have been the equivalent of Windsor today. A total of 15 English kings came from the House of Plantagenet, starting with Henry II in 1154, and ending with Richard III, who died in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last English king to be killed in battle. As he was without legitimate heir, the throne passed to the Tudor line.
Work on the 15th century Church of Saint Mary and All Saints was begun by King Edward III who also built a college and a cloister on the church's southern side. After completion in around 1430, a parish church of similar style was added to the western end of the collegiate church with work beginning in 1434. It is only this section that still remains.
The church's distinctive tall tower dominates the local skyline. The building is Perpendicular in design and although only the nave, aisles and octagonal tower remain of the original structure it is still in the best style of its period. It also contains a notable 15th century painted pulpit donated by King Edward IV.
Edward of Norwich, second Duke of York, who was killed at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, Richard Plantagenet, third Duke of York, and his wife, Cecily Neville as well as his son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, who along with Richard, fell at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, are buried in the church. After the choir was destroyed in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I ordered the removal of the smashed York tombs and created the present monuments to the third Duke and his wife around the altar.
King Richard III's birthday is commemorated annually by the placing of white roses in the church by the Richard III Society. This is an organisation dedicated to trying to prove that Richard was a nice guy really, not at all hideously deformed and evil, didn't actually have 'The Princes in the Tower', Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, murdered in the Tower of London when 13 and 10 respectively so he could seize the throne, and that Shakespeare was merely the Dan Brown of his day and made it all up for the purposes of a damn good yarn. Personally, I rather like sharing my name with one of the bad boys of English Royalty and quite aspire to the withered arm, limp and crooked back that Shakespeare portrayed. Well, it would make one memorable at least, and give a damn good reason for being in a bad mood most of the time. And beheading people...
The church is reputedly haunted by a replay of the funerals of the Dukes of York, Edward and Richard, as ghostly music is often heard emanating from it despite nobody being inside. Meanwhile, Mary, Queen of Scots, apparently still walks the same staircase she did when being led up to execution in the castle. However, this spectre appears at the nearby Talbot Hotel in Oundle, where the stairs were removed to when the castle fell into ruin.
Taken in Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, England on August 6, 2009.