King's killer could be a big draw for Carmarthen
LEICESTER may be able to claim the resting place of King Richard III — but Carmarthen's got the man who killed him!
And now civic and religious leaders are hoping the town can benefit from the renewed worldwide interest in the controversial king.
St Peter's Church is hoping to tell the story of Sir Rhys ap Thomas — a local man who fought alongside Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
He is understood to have slain Richard and is entombed at the church, having previously been at the town's former Friary.
Following huge global interest in the discovery last month of Richard III's skeleton remains in a Leicester car park, Carmarthen hopes showcasing Sir Rhys will attract thousands of people to the town.
The Reverend Leigh Richardson, along with local councillor Alun Lenny, is aiming to create a permanent public exhibition in his honour at the church, with digital screens and interactive displays. In addition there are plans to move his tomb to a more central and prominent position.
He was originally entombed at the town's former Friary before being moved to the church, where he remains with his second wife Janet.
Councillor Lenny said: "At Bosworth there is a very impressive tourist centre near the battlefield, with an armour display, videos and so forth.
"It's high time we took similar advantage of the Rhys ap Thomas connection, to make his tomb a place of pilgrimage for all interested in history.
"He is believed to be the one who delivered the fatal blow to Richard and was certainly in the thick of it during the battle.
"Having a display could also help secure the future of St Peter's church, as a very ancient building constantly in need of expensive upkeep.
"The tomb has been moved around the church and was restored a decade ago, but its current position by the organ only gives people a limited view of it.
"Moving it will be a step towards having it on show for people to have a 360-degree view."
Referring to the recent discovery of Richard III's remains at Leicester, councillor Alan Speake said: "If I was a tourist, where would I contemplate visiting? "Should I possibly visit the apparent evil Richard III's skeleton and an empty car park in Leicester, or would it be wise to visit the tomb of Sir Rhys at our ancient church?
"I know where I would visit without any hesitation, and that would be St Peter's Church."
The Reverend Leigh Richardson said: "This is a very exciting venture.
"Estimated costs are £1.5 million and it would form part of plans to display a digital replica of the Black Book of Carmarthen. We are hoping to get some funding for it."