Prince Arthur’s tomb

IMG_7789Prince Arthur, born 1486 in Winchester- the heir uniting the white rose with the red, died on April 2, 1502 after a few short months of marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Three weeks later he was buried in Worcester Cathedral parallel with the altar with much pomp and pageantry. We know about Arthur’s funeral because a royal herald, one William Colbarne or Colbourne (the York Herald) wrote a first hand account.  Being Henry VII’s son there is also a detailed account of the cost of the funeral.

A chantry where prayers could be said for Arthur’s soul was built two years after the prince’s death. It’s a two-storey affair that rather overshadows the fourteenth century tombs beneath it. His tomb chest is made from Purbeck marble and decorated with the arms of England, although he is buried beneath the cathedral’s floor several feet away from the tomb that visitors can see. Archeologists discovered the actual grave in 2002 with the use of ground penetrating radar that gave rise to speculation as to whether it might be possible to find out what Arthur died from. At the time it was announced that he’d died from sweating sickness. Historians tend to think it is more likely that he had tuberculosis, the disease that ultimately, probably, carried off his father (Henry VII) and his nephew (Edward VI).

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The inscription round the tomb’s edge reads that Prince Arthur was the first begotten son of the ‘right reknowned’ King Henry VII and that he popped his clogs in Ludlow in the seventeenth year of his father’s reign. Having lost his heir, Henry appears to have been keen to remind everyone how successful his reign had been, that he had more sons and that he was perfectly entitled to the throne, thank you very much, and hadn’t he done well arranging a marriage with a European royal house such as Ferdinand and Isabella’s. The symbolism on the chantry is typical of Tudor iconography. There’s the white rose of York and red rose of Lancaster for instance as well as the Tudor rose; the Beaufort portcullis; a pomegranate for Catherine of Aragon whose home was Grenada and a sheath of arrows which belong to her mother Isabella of Castille; a Welsh dragon and the white greyhound of Richmond – a reminder that Edmund Tudor, Henry VI’s half brother was the earl of Richmond. The prince of Wales feathers are also on display.

 

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Cathedrals, The Tudors

2 responses to “Prince Arthur’s tomb

  1. Sir Kevin Parr Bt

    So much theater for common userping no bodies from mixed bloods. I have hated Tudor power since their wish to rid the earth of my bloodlines. Only Plantagenet Kings should be recorded.The tomb in Worcester is more an eye sore of bling. Whilst John Plantagenet is far less noticed on that podium before the altar. For what ever Johns sins he was less the despot than Tudor who paid mercenaries to murder an anointed King on his English soil. A bastard in the true sense of the word and a criminal under English law. England was and is in the hands of foreign power ever since.Our Queen today boasts lineage to only a councilor from Hanover who was invited to be King of Britain by a parliament who broke every law made in order to have a protestant puppet. The need to control.I Like your sentence ” Popped his clogs” set in stone on Tudors grave is most rewarding as it brings things down to earth with a bang. The only thing Henry did was to account our incomes and charge us income taxes that has feed this useless idle band for what seems an eternity.

    • I think that its entirely possible that you and I might disagree about the role of the distaff side of the family tree! Henry Tudor did marry Elizabeth of York – so the Plantagenet line continued. She did, after all, provide half of the DNA required for the Tudor dynasty which turned in the Stuart line etc etc. Though I must admit I do like the idea of Parliament going back up the family tree scratching their heads trying to find an appropriately Protestant family member to offer the crown to – as you’ve said before, who needs fiction when there’s so much chicanery in History? Its probably one of the reasons History fascinates so many people.

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