UK

King Richard III Had A Birmingham Accent, According to University Of Leicester Expert

05/02/2013 13:59 GMT | Updated 06/02/2013 08:10 GMT

King Richard III would have sounded like a Brummie, according to a language expert.

Dr Philip Shaw, from the University of Leicester's School of English, used two letters penned by the last king of the Plantagenet line more than 500 years ago to try to piece together what the monarch would have sounded like.

He studied the king's use of grammar and spelling in postscripts on the letters.

Despite being the patriarch of the House of York, the king's accent "could probably associate more or less with the West Midlands" than from Yorkshire or the North of England, said Dr Shaw.

"But that's an accent you might well see in London - an educated London accent," he said.

richard iii

Richard III, as he may have looked

"Possibly even a northern one but there are no northern symptoms, so there's nothing to suggest a Yorkshire accent in the way that he writes, I'm sorry to say for anyone who associates him with Yorkshire."

richard iii

An 'orse, an 'orse, me kingdom for an 'orse!

The first letter was written in 1469 before Richard became king - and well before his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 - and is an urgent request for a £100 loan, while he rode to put down a rising in Yorkshire.

The second letter from 1483 was written following his ascent to the throne, penned during a rebellion by the Duke of Buckingham.

Dr Shaw said although some of the writings would have been done by secretaries, the "quirks" of King Richard's added notes provided an insight.

richard iii

Richard III will be interred in Leicester cathedral

He said: "Like today, there were various dialects around the country.

"Unlike today, individuals were more likely to spell words in ways that reflected their local dialect.

"The language shows no evidence of northern English dialect features, largely reflecting the relatively standard, London-derived spelling system also used by Richard's secretaries.

"However, there is also at least one spelling he employs that may suggest a West Midlands accent."