Since the publication of Paul Murray Kendall's sympathetic biography of Richard III in 1955, scholars have been debating with renewed intensity the fate of that monarch's two young nephews, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. In addition to numerous books and articles on his reign, including a study by Charles Ross in 1981, Alison Hanham published a volume in 1975 on the contemporary or near-contemporary historians of Richard III. Since the appearance of these publications, two original sources, which were almost certainly unknown to them and to other Ricardian scholars, have been identified. In a 1981 article in the English Historical Review, Richard Firth Green described one of these documents as a merchant's commonplace book, written between 1483 and 1488. The second relevant source, “Account of Miracles performed by the Holy Eucharist,” is a collection of religious anecdotes written by Henry Parker, Lord Morley. It has remained in manuscript although several excerpts, including one about Richard III, were printed in the introduction of Hubert G. Wright's 1943 edition of Morley's version of De Claris mulieribus by Boccaccio.
The “Account” is now Add. MS. 12,060 at the British Library. A small quarto with a leaf missing at the end, it was a New Year's gift to Queen Mary, probably in 1554. In its next to last anecdote, Morley made a revealing remark about Richard III. Early on the day this king died at Bosworth Field, he wrote, God would not permit him to “se the blyssed sacrament of the Allter, nor heare the holy Masse, for his horrible offence comytted Against his brothers children,” a statement that surely reflected Morley's belief that this monarch was punished at Bosworth Field for the deaths of his two nephews. Any consideration of the author's negative comments must necessarily take into account two facts. First, they occur in only one of several anecdotes in the manuscript, the purpose of which was to venerate the Holy Eucharist. The inclusion of the Ricardian story was not essential to the author's primary goal of detailing the miraculous efficacy of this sacrament, for the Holy Eucharist, not Richard III, was the primary focus. Secondly, the anecdote was written in a low-key and matter-of-fact style. Morley made no reference to the many Tudor embellishments of the king's personality and appearance, including the infamous stories of his withered arm and hunched back.