Watford Grammar School surgeon gives talk on Richard III

Watford Grammar School surgeon gives talk on Richard III

Watford Grammar School surgeon gives talk on Richard III

First published in News by

Former Watford Grammar School pupil, Dr Colin Allen, returned to his roots on Monday to give a talk on King Richard III to a group of Garston pensioners.

The Seniors' Club meets fortnightly at Stanborough Park Church in St Albans Road which was Dr Allen's  "home church" during his youth and where he was for many years a member of the hockey team.

Dr Allen, who admits to being "nearly 80" grew up in Sheepcot Lane in Garston and attended Watford Boy's Grammar School during the post-war years where he enjoyed playing rugby and chess.

After leaving school he trained as a doctor at a London Hospital medical school. After qualifying he worked in a variety of roles including as a doctor at a hospital in Ghana as well as at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital before becoming a consultant surgeon at Pontefract Hospital in West Yorkshire.

Following his retirement he decided to develop his interest in history and, rather than embark on a history degree course as he first intended, he decided to undertake his own studies and settled on the "enigmatic" Richard III who had very strong local connections both as a member of the House of York and also having lived in the area as "Lord of the North" - a title bestowed on him at the age of 19.

His talk which included complex family trees going back to Edward III and the complicated political history surrounding the Wars of the Roses.

He demonstrated that, although the king suffered from scoliosis and had a hunched back, he was vilified by the Tudors and Shakespeare and was, in fact, a good general, a loving husband, keen on the law and welcomed wherever he went.

As a surgeon Dr Allen speculated just how he could have changed history had he visited the spot, armed with a penknife, where Richard's son died of a strangulated hernia centuries earlier.

Having heard of the dig for the king's remains he visited the site in Leicester just two days after the body was found and subsequently attended the conference held when the results of the excavation had been analysed.

Comments (3)

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10:27am Thu 6 Mar 14

CarolFW says...

Once again I find myself writing a comment on a newspaper article stating that King Richard III didn't have a hunched back? Yes, he had scoliosis, but examination of his physical remains has proved that this led to a lateral curvature of the spine which at most may have been noticeable as one shoulder being higher than the other. Also I (and many historians) would be fascinated to know where Dr Allen discovered evidence that Edward of Middleham died from a strangulated hernia. As far as I am aware there has never been any solid evidence as to how Richard's son died.
Once again I find myself writing a comment on a newspaper article stating that King Richard III didn't have a hunched back? Yes, he had scoliosis, but examination of his physical remains has proved that this led to a lateral curvature of the spine which at most may have been noticeable as one shoulder being higher than the other. Also I (and many historians) would be fascinated to know where Dr Allen discovered evidence that Edward of Middleham died from a strangulated hernia. As far as I am aware there has never been any solid evidence as to how Richard's son died. CarolFW
  • Score: 10

7:11pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Blancsanglier says...

Strangulated hernia? Where has that come from? In 40 years I have never heard of that being the reason for Edward of Middleham's death. We don't even know exactly when he died or where he is buried, so anyone knowing the cause of his death must be in touch with others 'not of this earth' .........
Strangulated hernia? Where has that come from? In 40 years I have never heard of that being the reason for Edward of Middleham's death. We don't even know exactly when he died or where he is buried, so anyone knowing the cause of his death must be in touch with others 'not of this earth' ......... Blancsanglier
  • Score: 1

11:41am Sat 8 Mar 14

CarolFW says...

Rereading this article, I see that the mentions of 'hunched back' and 'strangulated hernia' are not direct quotes from Dr Allen and I'd like apologize to him if my previous comment was somewhat abrupt. I imagine he knows full well the difference between scoliosis and kyphosis - which sadly continue to be conflated in journalism about King Richard - and the strangulated hernia is as valid a speculation as to the cause of little Edward's death as many another (and probably more so than many). What I should have written, and did not, is my pleasure at seeing a balanced view of the king being imparted to an interested audience, rather than the usual lies being perpetuated - and reiteration of Richard's undoubted connections with Yorkshire. Thank you Dr Allen.
Rereading this article, I see that the mentions of 'hunched back' and 'strangulated hernia' are not direct quotes from Dr Allen and I'd like apologize to him if my previous comment was somewhat abrupt. I imagine he knows full well the difference between scoliosis and kyphosis - which sadly continue to be conflated in journalism about King Richard - and the strangulated hernia is as valid a speculation as to the cause of little Edward's death as many another (and probably more so than many). What I should have written, and did not, is my pleasure at seeing a balanced view of the king being imparted to an interested audience, rather than the usual lies being perpetuated - and reiteration of Richard's undoubted connections with Yorkshire. Thank you Dr Allen. CarolFW
  • Score: 0

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