Relatives visit Pontefract Castle spot where their ancestor was beheaded 500 years ago

A binman who found out his family has ties with British royalty visited Pontefract Castle, and stood on the exact spot where one of his ancestors was beheaded more than 500 years ago.

Friday, 6th November 2020, 3:31 pm
Don't lose your head....Jimmy and Henry Vaughan recreate the execution at the castle.

Jimmy Vaughan, who is from Keighley, visited the historic site with his six-year-old son Henry, and were shown where his relation, Thomas Vaughan, was executed on June 25, 1483, for opposing Richard III’s ascent to the throne.

Shakespeare even wrote about Vaughan in his famous play, Richard III, who appeared as a ghost to confront the king.

Jimmy said he knew that his family was ‘prominent’ in British history, but did not know how much until he began to delving into his ancestry.

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Originally from Monmouthshire in Wales, his family had links to the Prince of Wales and even Henry V, with one of his ancestors reported to have saved the king’s life at the Battle of Agincourt.

And having found the link to Thomas Vaughan, Jimmy and Henry wanted to make the journey across West Yorkshire.

To help recreate the bloodthirsty scene, Henry even bought a toy sword from the castle’s gift shop.

The 46-year-old who works for Bradford Council, said: “We’d never been before and it was just brilliant.

“We got talking to a woman who worked there and she was able to show us the exact spot where he was beheaded.

“The people there are so knowledgeable. To be able to stand on the exact spot was surreal.

“We loved the castle, we would have loved to have seen it in its heyday.”

Coun Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “We were pleased to recently meet a visitor who had traced their family tree back some nearly 700 years to events at the castle.

“It has really helped to bring the history of the castle to life, especially when it is someone we know so much about - Sir Thomas Vaughan.”