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Burial Places of Kings and Queens (Part 1/2)


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Winchester Cathedral.
Winchester Cathedral

The Winchester Old Minster was the Anglo-Saxon cathedral for the diocese of Wessex & then Winchester from 660 to 1093. It stood on a site immediately north of & partially beneath its successor, Winchester Cathedral.


Some sources say that the minster was constructed in 648 for King Cenwalh of Wessex as the church of St Peter and St Paul though such sources are late & unreliable. More likely it was built c. 660 to be the cathedral for the first bishop of Winchester, the Saxon Bishop Wine, when the West Saxon bishopric was transferred from Dorchester-on-Thames. It was enlarged & redecorated over the years & Saint Swithun was buried outside it in 862. By the 10th century, the Minster was the priory church of St. Swithun's Priory, a community of monks living under the rule of St Benedict.


Winchester Cathedral. by Marius Mangevicius from Pixabay

In 901, the New Minster was built next to it, so close that the singing of the monks inside each is said to have become hopelessly intermingled with the other. Saint Æthelwold of Winchester his & successor Saint Alphege almost completely rebuilt the minster on a vast scale during their monastic reforms of the 970s. The new church, which was dedicated in 980 & again in 993, had a central tower, north & south aisles, a crypt in an eastern apse, & a forecourt at the west. Saint Swithun's body was taken into an indoor shrine in what had become the largest church in Europe. However, after the Norman conquest of England, Bishop Walkelin built a new cathedral alongside & the Old Minster was demolished in 1093. Many of the kings of Wessex & of England (including Egbert, king of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839), as well bishops, had been buried in the Old Minster, so their bodies were exhumed & re-interred in the new building.


Burials;


Ecgberht, King of Wessex
Ecgberht, King of Wessex

Ecgberht (770/775 – 839), King of Wessex 802–839. Buried in the Old Minster, Winchester. His bones are now thought to be in one of the six mortuary caskets in Winchester Cathedral.


16th-century mortuary chest, one in a series set up by Bishop Foxe in Winchester Cathedral, which purports to contain Ecgberht's bones

Mortuary chest from Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, England. This is one of six mortuary chests near the altar in the Cathedral, this one purports to contain the bones of Egbert of Wessex. d. 839, along with others



Æthelwulf, king of Wessex in the early fourteenth-century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England
Æthelwulf, King of Wessex

Æthelwulf, (died 13 January 858), King of Wessex from 839 to 858. He was the father of Alfred the Great. He was buried in Steyning Church, then the Old Minster, Winchester. His bones now thought to be in one of the six mortuary caskets in Winchester Cathedral .


Eadred, king of the English
Eadred, king of the English

Eadred (c. 923 – 23 November 955), King of the English from 26 May 946 until his death. He was the younger son of Edward the Elder & his third wife Eadgifu. He was buried in the Old Minster, Winchester, bones now thought to be in one of the six mortuary caskets in Winchester Cathedral .


Eadwig, king of the English
Eadwig, king of the English

Eadwig (also Edwy c. 940 – 1 October 959), King of the English from 23 November 955 until his death in 959. He was the elder son of Edmund I & his first wife Ælfgifu. He was buried in the Old Minster, Winchester, bones now thought to be in one of the six mortuary caskets in Winchester Cathedral.


Cnut the Great, king of England
Cnut the Great, king of England

Cnut (Old English: Cnut cyning; Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki, died 12 November 1035), also known as Cnut the Great & Canute, was King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018, & King of Norway from 1028 until his death in 1035. He was the son of Sweyn Forkbeard.


During the English Civil War in the 17th century, plundering Roundhead soldiers scattered the bones of Cnut on the floor & they were spread amongst the various other chests, notably those of William Rufus. After the restoration of the monarchy, the bones were collected & replaced in their chests, although somewhat out of order.


Harthacnut, king of the English
Harthacnut, king of the English

Harthacnut (Danish: Hardeknud; "Tough-knot" c. 1018 – 8 June 1042), traditionally Hardicanute, sometimes referred to as Canute III, was King of Denmark from 1035 to 1042 & King of the English from 1040 to 1042. Harthacnut was the son of King Cnut the Great & Emma of Normandy. He was buried in the Old Minster, Winchester, bones now thought to be in one of the six mortuary caskets in Winchester Cathedral.


William II, king of England
William II, king of England

William II (c. 1056 – 2 August 1100), king of England from 26 September 1087 until his death in 1100. He was the third son of William the Conqueror & Matilda of Flanders, he is commonly referred to as William Rufus (Rufus being Latin for "the Red").


William's remains are in Winchester Cathedral, scattered among royal mortuary chests positioned on the presbytery screen, flanking the choir. His skull appears to be missing, but some long bones may remain.


Tomb of William Rufus in Winchester Cathedral (Robert Chambers, p.161, 1832)
Tomb of William Rufus in Winchester Cathedral (Robert Chambers, p.161, 1832)

 

Jane Austen
Jane Austen

Did You Know? The author Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) is buried at Winchester Cathedral.


Address: 9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS.


 


The See (or Diocese) of Sherborne was created in AD 705 when the great Diocese of Winchester was divided in two, & Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury, was appointed as the first Bishop of the West Saxons. Aldhelm chose the place of the Scire-burne – the ‘clear stream’ – as the site for his seat, or cathedra. The new Cathedral of Sherborne served St Aldhelm & twenty-six succeeding Saxon Bishops. Small at first, it was later enlarged. A few important early features still survive


Burials;


Æthelbald, King of Wessex
Æthelbald, King of Wessex

Æthelbald (died 860), King of Wessex from 855 or 858 to 860. He was the second of five sons of King Æthelwulf.


Æthelberht, king of Wessex
Æthelberht, king of Wessex

Æthelberht (also spelled Ethelbert or Aethelberht), King of Wessex from 860 until his death in 865. He was the third son of King Æthelwulf by his first wife, Osburh.


Address: Abbey Cl, Sherborne DT9 3LQ



 

Wimborne Minster, by AG Exposed from Pixabay
Wimborne Minster

Wimborne Minster is dedicated to St Cuthburga, sister of Ina King of Wessex. She founded a Benedictine Nunnery here around 705 AD; there may also have been a monastery. Nuns from Wimborne were sent to Germany with St Boniface of Crediton (c. 680-755) to help convert the pagan tribes. As a result, Wimborne still has a special link with the town and Benedictine nunnery of Ochsenfuhrt. In 871, Alfred the Great buried his brother Ethelred here (not the later King of England Ethelred), after a battle near Cranborne. The Nunnery, possibly already in decline, was destroyed in a Danish raid in 1013


Wimborne Minster

Burials;


Æthelred I (alt. Aethelred, Ethelred, 845/848 to 871), King of Wessex
Æthelred I, King of Wessex

Æthelred I (alt. Aethelred, Ethelred, 845/848 to 871), King of Wessex from 865 until his death in 871. He was the fourth of five sons of King Æthelwulf of Wessex. Ethelred was mortally wounded at The Battle of Meretun, & died shortly after battle.


Address: Church House, High Street, Wimborne BH21 1HT.



 

Hyde Abbey gatehouse, Winchester. Image by John Armagh
Hyde Abbey gatehouse, Winchester

Hyde Abbey was a medieval Benedictine monastery just outside the walls of Winchester, Hampshire, England. It was dissolved & demolished in 1538 following various acts passed under King Henry VIII to dissolve monasteries & abbeys. The Abbey was once known to have housed the remains of King Alfred the Great, his son, King Edward the Elder, & his wife, Ealswitha. Following its dissolution these remains were lost, however excavations of the Abbey & the surrounding area continue.


Burials;


Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great, King of the Anglo-Saxons

Alfred the Great (alt. Ælfred 848/849 – 26 October 899), King of the West Saxons from 871 to 886, & King of the Anglo-Saxons from 886 until his death in 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf & his first wife Osburh. Originally buried in the Old Minster, Winchester, then moved to New Minster, then Hyde Abbey - current whereabouts are unknown.


Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo-Saxons
Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo-Saxons

Edward the Elder (c. 874 – 17 July 924), King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death in 924. He was the elder son of Alfred the Great & his wife Ealhswith. Place of burial: New Minster, Winchester, then moved to Hyde Abbey - current whereabouts are unknown.


Website: Hyde Abbey

Address: 1 Hyde Gate, Winchester SO23 7EJ.


 

Malmesbury Abbey exterior, showing the South Porch and graveyard.
Malmesbury Abbey exterior, showing the South Porch and graveyard.

Malmesbury Abbey was built in the 12th century for the glory & worship of God.


Over the centuries the Abbey has been a centre of education & creativity, a community of prayer & healing, & a place of battle & burial. Its worship has been shaped by Celtic pilgrims & Benedictine monks, & since the Reformation nearly 500 years ago, Malmesbury Abbey has been part of the Church of England, serving the local community as its parish church.


Since the re-emergence of Christianity to this region in the 6th century, Malmesbury has long been a place at the forefront of history. Thought to be the first capital of England, it was home to the first saint of Wessex (St Aldhelm), the first king of England (King Athelstan the Glorious), the first man to fly (Brother Eilmer), the father of modern English history (William of Malmesbury) & the father of English philosophy (Thomas Hobbes).


This building is the third abbey to stand on this site. The first was St Aldhelm’s earliest church, before he oversaw the construction of a larger, stone complex of churches located where the current graveyard lies. The present Abbey dates from 1180, & was added to in the following 200 years with a great spire that was the tallest building in England at the time, and a tower at the West End. But in the late 15th century – a generation before Henry VIII’s cull of the monasteries – the great spire fell, followed by the tower 100 years later. Only the nave of this once huge abbey remains.


A visitor to Malmesbury Abbey will see the tomb of King Athelstan, a 15th Century illuminated Bible, the crest of Henry VII, a breathtaking Norman porch which illustrates the Christian salvation history, & the poetic gravestone of Hannah Twynnoy, killed by a tiger, locally, in 1703.


Burials;


Æthelstan, first king of all England
Æthelstan

Æthelstan or Athelstan (c. 894 – 27 October 939), King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 & King of the English from 927 to his death in 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder & his first wife, Ecgwynn. Modern historians regard him as the first King of all England.


According to William of Malmesbury, Æthelstan's body was disinterred in the 11th century & reburied in the abbot's garden (now Abbey House Gardens) to avoid Norman desecration. He is commemorated by an empty 15th century tomb in the north aisle.


Empty fifteenth-century tomb of King Æthelstan at Malmesbury Abbey
Empty fifteenth-century tomb of King Æthelstan at Malmesbury Abbey

Also buried at Malmesbury Abbey;


Aldhelm (c. 639 – 25 May 709), first Bishop of Sherborne & saint.

Æthelwine & Ælfwine, sons of Æthelweard (the son of Alfred). Both died at the Battle of Brunanburh (937).


Address: Malmesbury Abbey, Gloucester Street, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0AA.


 

Glastonbury Abbey. Image by Wieslaw Majczuk from Pixabay
Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Its ruins, a grade I listed building & scheduled ancient monument, are open as a visitor attraction.


The abbey was founded in the 8th century & enlarged in the 10th. It was destroyed by a major fire in 1184, but subsequently rebuilt & by the 14th century was one of the richest & most powerful monasteries in England. The abbey controlled large tracts of the surrounding land & was instrumental in major drainage projects on the Somerset Levels. The abbey was suppressed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII of England. The last abbot, Richard Whiting (Whyting), was hanged, drawn & quartered as a traitor on Glastonbury Tor in 1539.


From at least the 12th century the Glastonbury area has been associated with the legend of King Arthur, a connection promoted by medieval monks who asserted that Glastonbury was Avalon. Christian legends have claimed that the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea in the 1st century.


Photochrom image taken around 1900, showing the unrestored interior of the Lady Chapel
Photochrom image taken around 1900, showing the unrestored interior of the Lady Chapel

Burials;


Edmund I, king of the English
Edmund I, king of the English

Edmund I or Eadmund I (920/921 – 26 May 946), King of the English from 27

October 939 until his death in 946. He was the elder son of King Edward the Elder & his third wife, Queen Eadgifu.


Edgar the Peaceful, king of England
Edgar the Peaceful, king of England

Edgar (or Eadgar; 943/944 – 8 July 975), King of England from 959 until his death in 975. He was the younger son of King Edmund I & his first wife Ælfgifu.


Edmund Ironside, king of the English
Edmund Ironside, king of the English

Edmund Ironside (c. 990 – 30 November 1016; Old English: Ēadmund), King of the English from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was the son of King Æthelred the Unready & his first wife, Ælfgifu of York.


Address: Magdalene Street, Glastonbury BA6 9EL


 

Church of St Edward the Martyr, Brookwood
Church of St Edward the Martyr, Brookwood

St. Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church is a True Orthodox Church in Brookwood, Surrey, England.


The monastic Saint Edward Brotherhood was established at Brookwood Cemetery in 1982 to prepare & care for a new Church in a fitting grade I landscape in which the relics of Saint Edward the Martyr, the King of England who was murdered in 978 & who was succeeded by force by Ethelred the Unready, were eventually enshrined in 1988.


Burials;


Edward the Martyr, king of the English
Edward the Martyr, king of the English

Edward the Martyr (Old English: Eadweard c. 962 – 18 March 978), King of the English from 975 until he was murdered in 978. Edward was the eldest son of King Edgar & Æthelflæd or Wulfthryth. He was buried in Shaftesbury Abbey, Dorset. Bones reputed to be his now reside in the Church of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood.


Address: St Cyprian's Avenue Cemetery Pales, Brookwood, Woking GU24 0BL.


 

A 1916 engraving of Old St Paul's as it appeared before the fire of 1561 in which the spire was destroyed
A 1916 engraving of Old St Paul's as it appeared before the fire of 1561 in which the spire was destroyed

Old St Paul's Cathedral was the cathedral of the City of London that, until the Great Fire of 1666, stood on the site of the present St Paul's Cathedral. Built from 1087 to 1314 & dedicated to Saint Paul, the cathedral was perhaps the fourth church at Ludgate Hill.


Work on the cathedral began after a fire in 1087. Work took more than 200 years, & was delayed by another fire in 1135. The church was consecrated in 1240, enlarged in 1256 and again in the early 14th century. At its completion in the mid-14th century, the cathedral was one of the longest churches in the world, had one of the tallest spires & some of the finest stained glass.


The presence of the shrine of Saint Erkenwald made the cathedral a site of pilgrimage.


The cathedral was already in severe structural decline by the early 17th century. Restoration work begun by Inigo Jones in the 1620s was temporarily halted during the English Civil War (1642–1651). In 1666, further restoration was in progress under Sir Christopher Wren when the cathedral was devastated in the Great Fire of London. At that point, it was demolished, & the present cathedral was built on the site.


Burials;


Æthelred the Unready, king of the English
Æthelred the Unready, king of the English

Æthelred II (Old English: Æþelræd c. 966 – 23 April 1016), known as Æthelred the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 & again from 1014 until his death in 1016. Æthelred was the son of King Edgar the Peaceful & Queen Ælfthryth. He was buried in Old St Paul's Cathedral. Tomb lost in the Great Fire of London, referenced as such on a plaque outside the crypt of the present church.


Other notable burials lost in the fire; Sæbbi King of Essex (d.695); Edward the Exile (d.1057), exiled son of Edmund Ironside; John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (d.1399), & his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster (d.1368); Sir Francis Walsingham (d.1590), spymaster for Elizabeth I; Sir Christopher Hatton (d.1591), Lord Chancellor of England; and Sir Anthony van Dyck (d.1641), painter.


Address: St Paul's Cathedral, St Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD


 

St Clement Danes, Strand by Stephen Richards
St Clement Danes, Strand by Stephen Richards

St Clement Danes is an Anglican church in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Although the first church on the site was reputedly founded in the 9th century by the Danes, the current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren. Wren's building was gutted during the Blitz & not restored until 1958, when it was adapted to its current function as the central church of the Royal Air Force.


The church is sometimes claimed to be the one featured in the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons" & the bells do indeed play that tune every day at 9 am, noon, 3pm and 6pm—as reported in 1940 the church's playing of the tune was interrupted during World War II due to Nazi bombing. However, St Clement's Eastcheap, in the City of London, also claims to be the church from the rhyme. St Clement Danes is known as one of the two 'Island Churches', the other being St Mary-le-Strand.


St Clement Danes - Interior of the church, looking east
Interior of the church, looking east

Burials;


Harold Harefoot

Harold I (died 17 March 1040), also known as Harold Harefoot, King of the English from 1035 to 1040. The son of Cnut the Great & Ælfgifu of Northampton. King Harold Harefoot is recorded as being buried at St Clement Danes, although there is no memorial.


There are memorials to several people associated with the RAF whose ashes are buried in St Clement Danes, including; Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder, GCB (1890–1967).


Address: The Strand, London WC2R 1DH. ·



 


The Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross and St Lawrence, also known as Waltham Abbey, is the parish church of the town of Waltham Abbey, Essex, England. It has been a place of worship since the 7th century. The present building dates mainly from the early 12th century & is an example of Norman architecture. To the east of the existing church are traces of an enormous eastward enlargement of the building, begun following the re-foundation of the abbey in 1177. In the Late Middle Ages, Waltham was one of the largest church buildings in England & a major site of pilgrimage; in 1540 it was the last religious community to be closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is still an active parish church for the town. The monastic buildings & those parts of the church east of the crossing were demolished at the Dissolution, & the Norman crossing tower & transepts collapsed in 1553. The present-day church consists of the nave of the Norman abbey church, the 14th-century lady chapel & west wall, and a 16th-century west tower, added after the dissolution.


Burials;


Harold Godwinson, crowned king of England
Harold Godwinson

Harold Godwinson (c. 1022 – 14 October 1066), also called Harold II, the last crowned Anglo-Saxon English king. Harold reigned from 6 January 1066. He was a son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex & Gytha Thorkelsdóttir. Buried at Waltham Abbey, Essex (by repute).


Reputed tomb of King Harold II under the site of the High Altar, Waltham Abbey
Reputed tomb of King Harold II under the site of the High Altar

Address: Waltham Abbey Gardens, Abbey View, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1XQ.


 

Abbey of Saint-Étienne, Caen   .Image by Noémie Cuénoud from Pixabay
Abbey of Saint-Étienne, Caen

The Abbey of Saint-Étienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ("Men's Abbey") by contrast with the Abbaye aux Dames ("Ladies' Abbey"), is a former Benedictine monastery in the French city of Caen, Normandy, dedicated to Saint Stephen. It was founded in 1063 by William the Conqueror & is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Normandy.


Did you know? During the Normandy Landings, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).


Burials;


William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror

William I (c. 1028 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, the first Norman king of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. William was the son of the unmarried Duke Robert I of Normandy & his mistress Herleva. William's grave is currently marked by a marble slab with a Latin inscription dating from the early 19th century. The tomb has been disturbed several times since 1087, the first time in 1522 when the grave was opened on orders from the papacy. The intact body was restored to the tomb at that time, but in 1562, during the French Wars of Religion, the grave was reopened & the bones scattered & lost, with the exception of one thigh bone. This lone relic was reburied in 1642 with a new marker, which was replaced 100 years later with a more elaborate monument. This tomb was again destroyed during the French Revolution but was eventually replaced with the current ledger stone.


William's grave before the high altar in the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Caen
William's grave before the high altar in the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, Caen

Did You Know? When his corpse was lowered into the tomb, it was too large for the space, & when attendants forced the body into the tomb it burst, spreading a disgusting odour throughout the church!


Address: Esplanade Jean-Marie Louvel, Caen, Normandie 14000, France.


 

The ruins of the monks dormitory of Reading Abbey, in the English town of Reading, by Chris Wood
The ruins of the monks dormitory of Reading Abbey, in the English town of Reading

Reading Abbey is a large, ruined abbey in the centre of the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. It was founded by Henry I in 1121 "for the salvation of my soul, & the souls of King William, my father, & of King William, my brother, & Queen Maud, my wife, and all my ancestors & successors." In its heyday the abbey was one of Europe's largest royal monasteries. The traditions of the Abbey are continued today by the neighbouring St James's Church, which is partly built using stones of the Abbey ruins. The abbey was mostly destroyed in 1538 during Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. The last abbot, Hugh Faringdon, was subsequently tried & convicted of high treason & hanged, drawn & quartered in front of the Abbey Church. After this, the buildings of the abbey were extensively robbed, with lead, glass & facing stones removed for reuse elsewhere.


Burials;


King Henry I of England
King Henry I of England

Henry I (c. 1068 – 1 December 1135), also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. He was the fourth son of William the Conqueror & Matilda of Flanders. Henry's burial at Reading Abbey is marked by a local cross & a plaque, but Reading Abbey was slowly demolished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. The exact location is uncertain, but the most likely location of the tomb itself is now in a built-up area of central Reading, on the site of the former abbey choir. A plan to locate his remains was announced in March 2015, with support from English Heritage & Philippa Langley, who aided with the successful discovery & exhumation of Richard III.


Burial of Henry I at Reading Abbey in 1136, painted by Harry Morley (1916)
Burial of Henry I at Reading Abbey in 1136, painted by Harry Morley (1916)

Website: Abbey Quarter.

Address: Abbot's Walk, Reading RG1 3HW.


 

The ruins of Faversham Abbey in 1722.
The ruins of Faversham Abbey in 1722.

Faversham Abbey was a Cluniac style monastery immediately to the north-east of the town of Faversham, in north Kent, England. It was founded by King Stephen & his wife Matilda of Boulogne in 1148. A party of monks from Bermondsey Abbey provided the nucleus & the first abbot. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Sir Thomas Cheney assigned the abbey to Thomas Arden & it was considerably destroyed in 1538. Thereafter the site of the abbey came into the possession of the Sondes family & now lies within the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.


Burials;


King Stephen of England
King Stephen

Stephen (1092 or 1096 – 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois, King of England from 22 December 1135 to his death in 1154. Stephen was born in the County of Blois in central France as the fourth son of Stephen-Henry, Count of Blois, & Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror.


The Abbey was the burial place of King Stephen, Queen Matilda, & their eldest son, Eustace IV of Boulogne. Their bones were reportedly thrown into the nearby Faversham Creek when the abbey was demolished. Their empty tombs were unearthed in 1964 near what had been the centre of the choir. However, there is a canopy tomb with no contemporary inscription in the nearby Parish Church, where it is said that their bones were re-interred.


Matilda, Queen of England, wife of king Stephen of England.
Matilda, Queen of England

Matilda (c.1105 – 3 May 1152) was Countess of Boulogne in her own right from 1125 & Queen of England from the accession of her husband, Stephen, in 1136 until her death in 1152. She was the daughter of Count Eustace III of Boulogne & Mary of Scotland, the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland & Saint Margaret of Scotland. Through her maternal grandmother, Matilda was descended from the Anglo-Saxon kings of England.


 

Rouen Cathedral. Image by Jobove Reus from Pixabay
Rouen Cathedral

Rouen Cathedral (French: Cathédrale primatiale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen) is a Roman Catholic church in Rouen, Normandy, France. It is the see of the Archbishop of Rouen, Primate of Normandy. It is famous for its three towers, each in a different style. The cathedral, built & rebuilt over a period of more than eight hundred years, has features from Early Gothic to late Flamboyant & Renaissance architecture. It also has a place in art history as the subject of a series of impressionist paintings by Claude Monet.


Rouen cathedral in 1664
The cathedral in 1664

Burials;


Empress Matilda

Empress Matilda (c. 7 February 1102 – 10 September 1167), also known as the Empress Maude, was one of the claimants to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy. The daughter of King Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child when she married the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She was the mother of Henry II of England by her second husband Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou. Her remains transferred from Bec Abbey in Normandy to Rouen Cathedral.


Richard I's heart was buried at Rouen in Normandy (see below).


Rouen Cathedral. Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

Website: Rouen Cathedral.

Address: 11 Place de la Calende, 76000 Rouen.


 

Fontevraud Abbey. Image by Franck Sabat from Pixabay
Fontevraud Abbey

The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud or Fontevrault (in French: abbaye de Fontevraud) was a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in the former French duchy of Anjou. It was founded in 1101 by the itinerant preacher Robert of Arbrissel. The foundation flourished & became the center of a new monastic Order, the Order of Fontevraud. This order was composed of double monasteries, in which the community consisted of both men & women — in separate quarters of the abbey — all of whom were subject to the authority of the Abbess of Fontevraud. The Abbey of Fontevraud itself consisted of four separate communities, all managed by the same abbess.


The first permanent structures were built between 1110 & 1119. The area where the Abbey is located was then part of what is sometimes referred to as the Angevin Empire. The King of England, Henry II, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, & their son, King Richard the Lionheart, were all buried here at the end of the 12th century. It was seized & disestablished as a monastery during the French Revolution.


The Abbey is situated in the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between Chalonnes-sur-Loire & Sully-sur-Loire within the Loire-Anjou-Touraine French regional natural park (Parc naturel régional Loire-Anjou-Touraine). The complex of monastic buildings served as a prison from 1804 to 1963. Since 1975, it has hosted a cultural centre, the Centre Culturel de l'Ouest.


Burials;


King Henry II of England
King Henry II

Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), King of England from 1154 until his death in 1189. Henry II was the eldest child of the Empress Matilda & her second husband, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou. The grave no longer exists and was probably destroyed during the French Revolution. The effigies of Henry & his wife survived.


A depiction of Eleanor of Aquitaine
A depiction of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine (c. 1122 – 1 April 1204; Queen of France from 1137 to 1152 as the wife of King Louis VII, Queen of England from 1154 to 1189 as the wife of King Henry II, & Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right from 1137 until her death in 1204.

Tomb effigies of Henry and Eleanor in Fontevraud Abbey in central France
Tomb effigies of Henry and Eleanor in Fontevraud Abbey


Richard the Lionheart, king of England
Richard the Lionheart

Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199), King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine. The grave no longer exists & was probably destroyed during the French Revolution. The effigies of Richard & his wife

Berengaria of Navarre (c. 1165–1170 – 23 December 1230) survived.


Effigy (c. 1199) of Richard I at Fontevraud Abbey, Anjou
Effigy (c. 1199) of Richard I at Fontevraud Abbey, Anjou

Richard's heart was buried at Rouen in Normandy, his entrails in Châlus (where he died), & the rest of his body at the feet of his father at Fontevraud Abbey in Anjou. In 2012, scientists analysed the remains of Richard's heart & found that it had been embalmed with various substances, including frankincense, a symbolically important substance because it had been present both at the birth & embalming of the Christ.


Richard I in profile, funerary effigy above the tomb containing his heart in Rouen Cathedral (early 13th century)
Richard I in profile, funerary effigy above the tomb containing his heart in Rouen Cathedral (early 13th century)

Address: 31 Avenue Rochechouard, 49590 Fontevraud-l’Abbaye.



 

Worcester Cathedral. Image by David Mark from Pixabay
Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Worcester, in Worcestershire, England, situated on a bank overlooking the River Severn. It is the seat of the Bishop of Worcester. Its official name is the Cathedral Church of Christ & the Blessed Mary the Virgin, of Worcester. The present cathedral church was built between 1084 & 1504, & represents every style of English architecture from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic. It is famous for its Norman crypt & unique chapter house, its unusual Transitional Gothic bays, its fine woodwork, & its "exquisite" central tower, which is of particularly fine proportions


Worcester Cathedral. by Lee Stuart Sherriff

Worcester Cathedral. By jimmyjay from Pixabay

Burials;


King John of England

John (24 December 1166 – 19 October 1216), King of England from 1199 until his death in 1216. He was the youngest of the four surviving sons of King Henry II of England & Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was buried in Worcester Cathedral in front of the altar of St Wulfstan. A new sarcophagus with an effigy was made for him in 1232, in which his remains now rest.


The tomb of King John at Worcester Cathedral. Image by Lee Stuart Sherriff

The tomb of King John at Worcester Cathedral. Image by Lee Stuart Sherriff

The tomb of King John at Worcester Cathedral. Image by Lee Stuart Sherriff

The tomb of King John at Worcester Cathedral. Image by Lee Stuart Sherriff

 

The cathedral also contains the tomb Prince Arthur, Prince of Wales (19/20 September 1486 – 2 April 1502), first born son of Henry VII & Elizabeth of York.


Prince Arthur, Prince of Wales
Prince Arthur

Tomb of Arthur, Prince of Wales
Tomb of Arthur, Prince of Wales

Address: 8 College Yard, Worcester WR1 2LA



 

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, in Gloucester, England, stands in the north of the city near the River Severn. It originated with the establishment of a minster, Gloucester Abbey, dedicated to Saint Peter & founded by Osric, King of the Hwicce, in around 679.


Gloucester Cathedral

William the Conqueror held his Christmas Court at the chapter house in 1085, at which he ordered the compilation of Domesday Book. In October 1216, Henry III was crowned at the abbey. Following a disastrous fire in 1222, an ambitious rebuilding programme was begun. In the 14th century, the Great & Little Cloisters were constructed, displaying the earliest, & perhaps the finest, examples of fan vaulting anywhere. The cathedral contains the shrine of Edward II, who was murdered at Berkeley Castle nearby. Following the Dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536, the abbey was refounded as a cathedral. Robert Curthose, eldest son of William the Conqueror is also buried in the cathedral.


Gloucester Cathedral

Did you know? The cathedral has been used as a filming location for movies & for TV including: the first, second & sixth Harry Potter movies the Doctor Who episodes The Next Doctor & the Fugitive of the Judoon; The Hollow Crown; Wolf Hall; the Sherlock special The Abominable Bride; Mary Queen of Scots; & all three of The Cousins' War adaptations – The White Queen, The White Princess & The Spanish Princess.


Gloucester Cathedral

 

Burials;


King Edward II of England
Edward II

Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327), also called Edward of Caernarfon, King of England from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327. Edward II was the fourth son of Edward I, King of England & Eleanor of Castile.


Edward's heart was removed, placed in a silver container, & later buried with his wife Isabella of France (the daughter of King Philip IV) at Newgate Church in London. His tomb includes a very early example of an English alabaster effigy, with a tomb chest & a canopy made of oolite & Purbeck stone. Edward was buried in the shirt, coif, & gloves from his coronation, & his effigy depicts him as king, holding a sceptre & orb, & wearing a strawberry-leaf crown. The effigy features a pronounced lower lip, & may be a close likeness of Edward.


The tomb was opened by officials in 1855, uncovering a wooden coffin, still in good condition, & a sealed lead coffin inside it. The tomb remains in what is now Gloucester Cathedral, & was extensively restored in 2007 & 2008 at a cost of over £100,000.


Tomb of king Edward  II
Tomb of king Edward II

Tomb of king Edward  II

Tomb of king Edward  II

 

Robert Curthose during the Siege of Antioch, as imagined by Jean-Joseph Dassy
Robert Curthose during the Siege of Antioch, as imagined by Jean-Joseph Dassy

Robert Curthose, or Robert II of Normandy (c. 1051 – February 1134), the eldest son of William the Conqueror & Matilda of Flanders & succeeded his father as Duke of Normandy in 1087, reigning until 1106.


Robert was also an unsuccessful claimant to the throne of the Kingdom of England. The epithet "Curthose" had its origins in the Norman French word courtheuse 'short stockings' & was apparently derived from a nickname given to Robert by his father.


Robert's reign as Duke is noted for the discord with his brothers William II & Henry I in England. Robert mortgaged his duchy to finance his participation in the First Crusade, where he was an important commander. Eventually, his disagreements with Henry I led to defeat in the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106, & lifelong captivity, with Normandy temporarily absorbed as a possession of England.


Tomb of Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror

Tomb of Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror

Address: Worcester Cathedral, Chapter Office, 8 College Yard, Worcester, WR1 2LA.

 

Canterbury Cathedral. Image by Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay
Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest & most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England & symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its formal title is the Cathedral & Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury.


Canterbury Cathedral. Image by Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay

Canterbury Cathedral was founded in 597. The cathedral was completely rebuilt between 1070 & 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the 12th century & largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. The Norman nave & transepts survived until the late 14th century when they were demolished to make way for the present structures.


Canterbury Cathedral. Image by Greg Waskovich from Pixabay

Statues of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip
Statues of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip


Burials;


Henry IV, king of England
Henry IV, king of England

Henry IV (c. April 1367 – 20 March 1413), also known as Henry Bolingbroke, King of England from 1399 to 1413. Henry was born at Bolingbroke Castle, in Lincolnshire, to John of Gaunt & Blanche of Lancaster. His epithet "Bolingbroke" was derived from his birthplace.


Henry & his second wife, Joan of Navarre, Queen of England (c. 1368 – 10 June 1437), were buried at Canterbury Cathedral, on the north side of Trinity Chapel & directly adjacent to the shrine of St Thomas Becket.


The wooden panel at the western end of his tomb bears a painting of the martyrdom of Becket, & the tester, or wooden canopy, above the tomb is painted with Henry's personal motto, 'Soverayne', alternated by crowned golden eagles. Likewise, the three large coats of arms that dominate the tester painting are surrounded by collars of SS, a golden eagle enclosed in each tiret. The presence of such eagle motifs points directly to Henry's coronation oil & his ideological association with Becket. Sometime after Henry's death, an imposing tomb was built for him & his queen, probably commissioned & paid for by Queen Joan herself. Atop the tomb chest lie detailed alabaster effigies of Henry & Joan, crowned & dressed in their ceremonial robes. Henry's body was evidently well embalmed, as an exhumation in 1832 established, allowing historians to state with reasonable certainty that the effigies do represent accurate portraiture.


Henry IV and Joan of Navarre, detail of their effigies in Canterbury Cathedral
Henry IV & Joan of Navarre, detail of their effigies in Canterbury Cathedral

 

Edward, the Black Prince
Edward, the Black Prince

Also buried at Canterbury; Edward of Woodstock, known to history as the Black Prince (15 June 1330 – 8 June 1376), was the eldest son of King Edward III, & the heir apparent to the English throne. He died before his father & so his son, Richard II, succeeded to the throne instead. Edward was regarded by his English contemporaries as a model of chivalry & one of the greatest knights of his age.


Tomb effigy of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral
Tomb effigy of the Black Prince

 

Earliest known portrayal of Thomas Becket's murder in Canterbury Cathedral.
Earliest known portrayal of Thomas Becket's murder in Canterbury Cathedral. (c.1200)

Thomas Becket (also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170). He was an English nobleman who served as Lord Chancellor from 1155 to 1162, & then notably as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint & martyr by the Catholic Church & the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II, King of England, over the rights & privileges of the Church & was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Soon after his death, he was canonised by Pope Alexander III.


Address: Cathedral House, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury CT1 2EH.



 

The White Tower, Tower of London. Image by Walter from Pixabay
The Tower of London

The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace & Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded toward the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 & was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new Norman ruling class.


The Tower of London

The castle was also used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls & a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, & Edward I in the 12th & 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.


Tower of London. Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, & controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, & the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful & trusted position in the medieval period. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, & despite attempts to refortify & repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.


Tower of London, the White Tower. Image by dozemode from Pixabay

The zenith of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th & 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, & Sir Walter Raleigh, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture & death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists & 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty.


The Tower of London. Image by gero from Pixabay

Burials;


Edward V, king of England
Edward V

Edward V (2 November 1470 – c. mid-1483) was de jure King of England from 9 April to 25 June 1483. He succeeded his father, Edward IV, upon the latter's death. Edward V was never crowned, and his brief reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle & Lord Protector, the Duke of Gloucester, who deposed him to reign as King Richard III; this was confirmed by the Act entitled Titulus Regius, which denounced any further claims through his father's heirs.


Edward V & his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York (17 August 1473 – c. 1483), were the Princes in the Tower who disappeared after being sent to heavily guarded royal lodgings in the Tower of London. Responsibility for their deaths is widely attributed to Richard III, but the lack of solid evidence & conflicting contemporary accounts allow for other possibilities. Traditionally believed to have been murdered & buried secretly in the Tower of London. Bones presumed to be his & those of his brother Richard, Duke of York were unearthed in the Tower in 1674 and re-buried in Westminster Abbey four years later.


Prince Edward V and Richard in the Tower, 1483 by Sir John Everett Millais, 1878. They are known as the Princes in the Tower as they were lodged in the Tower of London, with their last recorded appearance being in June 1483.
Prince Edward V and Richard in the Tower, 1483 by Sir John Everett Millais, 1878.

They are known as the Princes in the Tower as they were lodged in the Tower of London, with their last recorded appearance being in June 1483.


Address: The Tower Of London, St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N.


The Tower of London. Image by Barbara Moss from Pixabay

 

Church of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London
Church of St Peter ad Vincula

The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula ("St Peter in chains") is the former parish church of the Tower of London. It is situated within the Tower's Inner Ward, and the current building dates from 1520, although the church was established several centuries earlier. It is a royal peculiar, under the jurisdiction of the monarch. The chapel's name refers to Saint Peter's imprisonment under Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem. The Chapel is probably best known as the burial place of some of the most famous prisoners executed at the Tower, including Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard and the "nine-day Queen", Lady Jane Grey & her husband Lord Guildford Dudley, & Sir Thomas More.


Burials;


Lady Jane Grey. The Streatham portrait, discovered at the beginning of the 21st century and believed to be based on a lost contemporaneous portrait
Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey (c. 1537 – 12 February 1554), later known as Lady Jane Dudley (after her marriage) & as the "Nine Days' Queen", was an English noblewoman who claimed the throne of England & Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553.


In June 1553, Edward VI wrote his will, nominating Jane & her male heirs as successors to the Crown, in part because his half-sister Mary was Catholic, while Jane was a committed Protestant & would support the reformed Church of England, whose foundation Edward laid. The will removed his half-sisters, Mary & Elizabeth, from the line of succession on account of their illegitimacy, subverting their claims under the Third Succession Act. After Edward's death, Jane was proclaimed queen on 10 July 1553, & awaited coronation in the Tower of London. Support for Mary grew quickly, & most of Jane's supporters abandoned her. The Privy Council of England suddenly changed sides, & proclaimed Mary as queen on 19 July 1553, deposing Jane. Jane was held prisoner in the Tower, & was convicted of high treason in November 1553, which carried a sentence of death. Mary initially spared her life; however, Jane soon became viewed as a threat to the Crown when her father, Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, became involved with Wyatt's rebellion against Queen Mary's intention to marry Philip of Spain. Jane & her husband were executed on 12 February 1554. At the time of her death, Jane was either 16 or 17 years old.


Address: 35 Tower Hill, Tower Of London, London EC3N 4AB.


Also buried here;



Anne Boleyn, Queen of England
Anne Boleyn, Queen of England

Anne Boleyn (c. 1501 or 1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the second wife of King Henry VIII.


Catherine Howard, Queen of England
Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard (c. 1524 – 13 February 1542), was Queen of England from 1540 until 1541 as the fifth wife of Henry VIII.