LOCAL amateur historian Graham Mitchell will be giving a free lecture as part of the Middleham Castle Richard III Festival.

Mr Mitchell, from Oakworth, is presenting his talk Richard, the Northern King.

It takes place at the Middleham Key Centre on Saturday, July 1, at 2pm.

Mr Mitchell is a member of the Yorkshire branch of the Richard III Society.

"The talk examines the real Richard III as opposed to Shakespeare’s fictional character," says a festival spokesperson.

"It promises to be enlightening and may change people’s views of this much-maligned young statesman."

The festival is being staged at the castle, which was twice home to Richard, on the Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2.

Also present will be historical authors including Alex Marchant, from Cross Roads, whose children's book series The Order of the White Boar, aimed at young teenagers, has proved hugely popular. She will be signing copies of her books.

Other attractions will include crafts and weaponry demonstrations by re-enactment group Amicorum, and merchandise stalls – both outside and within the castle – by Ricardian groups.

The festival is open between 10am and 4pm both days.

Normal admission charges to the castle will apply, although entry for English Heritage members is free.