Bible from the era of Richard III to mark reinterment ceremony

A 500-year-old Bible from Richard III’s lifetime, housed in the University's Special Collections, will play a key role in the ceremony marking the arrival of the King’s coffin at Leicester Cathedral on 22 March.

The Bible forms part of a Service of Compline to be held by the Cathedral to formally acknowledge the reception of the remains of King Richard III from the care of the University of Leicester. An invited congregation will pray a service of Compline where Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, will preach the sermon.

Members of the University’s Chaplaincy and archaeologists involved in the unearthing of the remains will be present for the ceremony, during which the University’s Chaplain Dr Stephen Foster will place a Bible that is over five centuries old on a cushion on the Coffin and open it to its centre pages.

At the time that King Richard III was on the throne, no Bible had been printed in England, so England's early Bibles were all printed on the continent. This example was printed by Johannes Amerbach, a Swiss humanist and art collector, at his printing house in Basel. It was printed in 1481, and was a reprint of his 1479 edition, which had sold out.

Immediately after the ceremony, the Bible will be returned to the University Library by Dr Simon Dixon, Manager of the University’s Special Collections.