Burial places of English Monarchs – History Jar challenge 3 answers

Friday again – time flies when you’re doing all those little jobs that you’ve been putting off for the last two decades.

William the Conqueror was of course the Duke of Normandy and is buried in St Stephen’s Abbey, Caen which he founded prior to the conquest and his wife Matilda of Flanders was buried in the sister abbey, the Abbey of the Holy Trinity or Abbey Aux Dames as it is also known in Caen. William the Conqueror’s funeral was a bit on the traumatic side according to Orderic Vitalis because the body was too big for the coffin and there was a bit of an explosion as a consequence.

William Rufus who had a nasty accident with an arrow in the New Forest on 2nd August 1100 was buried in Winchester Cathedral. His bones are believed to be somewhere in the mortuary chests that house the remans of Saxon and Medieval Kings which were desecrated in 1642 by Parliamentarians.

Mortuary Chests, Winchester Cathedral.

Henry I and his first wife Edith or Matilda of Scotland as she became after her marriage are the first royal burials in Westminster Abbey following the interment of Edward Confessor who was buried in the abbey he founded in 1066. His second wife Adeline eventually became a nun and was buried in Affligem Abbey in Brabant.

King Stephen and his wife Matilda of Boulogne were buried in Faversham Abbey in Kent. The royal tombs were destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries.

Henry II is buried in Fontevrault Abbey in France along with his estranged queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and their son Richard I better known as the Lion-heart – Richard’s wife Berengaria can be found in Le Mans Cathedral. Henry’s daughter-in-law Isabella of Angoulême is also buried in Fontevrault whereas King John is is buried in Worcester Cathedral. It probably would have been complicated to transport his body to France given that the Barons War was underway and the french were invading England at the time.

Illustration of King John’s effigy also at Worcester Cathedral

Henry III is another Westminster burial where as his wife, Eleanor of Provence, is buried in Amesbury Abbey in Wiltshire. The tomb was lost upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Edward I famously died at Burgh-by-Sands as he was about to cross the Solway on yet another attempt on Scotland. His body was transported back to Westminster Abbey to lay beside his beloved wife Eleanor of Castile.

Edward II, who allegedly died after an incident with a hot poker in Berkeley Castle is buried in Gloucester Cathedral – although there is a theory that he wasn’t killed in which case he is clearly not in the cathedral but so far as regular history is concerned that’s where he can be located. Edward’s estranged wife Isabella of France was buried in Greyfriars Church, Newgate and was yet another loss during the Reformation.

Edward II – Gloucester Cathedral

Philippa of Hainhault is also buried in Westminster along with her husband Edward III. Their grandson Richard II married Anne of Bohemia who died of the plague. She can be found in Westminster as can Richard who died in Pontefract Castle, possibly from starvation having been usurped by his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke. He was originally buried in King’s Langley Church in Hertfordshire but was relocated in 1413.

Henry of Bolingbroke who became Henry IV was married firstly to Mary de Bohun. She died before he became king so technically her burial place in Leicester is not the resting place of a royal. Henry’s second wife Joan of Navarre is buried in Canterbury Cathedral along with Henry.

Both Henry V and his wife Katherine of Valois are buried in Westminster Abbey. Their son Henry VI was murdered by Edward IV bringing the Wars of the Roses to a close on 21 May 1471. He was first buried in Cherstey Abbey in Surrey so that he couldn’t become a focus for disgruntled Lancastrians but he was then removed to St George’s Chapel in Windsor in 1485. Somewhat ironically the man who ordered his murder is also buried in St George’s Chapel along with his wife Elizabeth Woodville – thus disgruntled Yorkists didn’t have a focus either. Edward V was never crowned and disappeared in the Tower – depends which conspiracy theory you believe as to where his remains might be. There is an urn in Westminster Abbey that contains the bones of two children found in the Tower in 1674 during building work.

Richard III, famously the king under the carpark was initially buried in the Collegiate Church of St Mary Leicester and can now be found in Leicester Cathedral along with some beautiful modern stained glass windows. His wife Anne Neville who probably died from tuberculosis is in Westminster Abbey.

Richard III’s tomb at Leicester Cathedral

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York are in Westminster as are their grandchildren Edward VI, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. Henry VIII is in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. His wives are buried as follows: Katherine of Aragon is buried in Peterborough Abbey. her original tomb was destroyed during the English Civil War. Anne Boleyn was executed and buried in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower. Jane Seymour is next to her chunky spouse in Windsor. Anne of Cleves is in Westminster Abbey. Katherine Howard is in the Tower (and of course that’s where Lady Jane Grey the nine days queen of England can also be found) and Katherine Parr is buried in Sudely Castle Chapel.

On to the Stuarts. James is buried in Westminster with his wife Anne of Denmark. Charles I was buried in St George’s Chapel Windsor following his execution. His queen Henrietta Maria is in the Cathedral St Denis, Paris. Charles II is in Westminster but his wife Katherine of Braganza returned to Portugal following Charles’ death and is buried in Lisbon. James II was forced to flee in 1688 when William of Orange and James’ daughter Mary were politely asked to invade to save England from Catholicism. James’ first wife Anne Hyde is in Westminster but she died before James became king. James was buried in the Chapel of St Edmund in Paris. The idea was that he might one day be relocated to Westminster. Unfortunately his remains were still in France at the time of the revolution and somas people believe it disappeared.

William of Orange and his wife Mary are in Westminster as is Queen Anne and her husband George of Denmark. All of Anne’s children are also buried in Westminster Abbey in the same vault as Mary Tudor.

Anne was the last of the Stuart line and so the protestant Hanoverians arrived. George I is buried near Osnabruck but George II is in Westminster whereas George III, George IV and William IV are in St George’s Chapel Windsor. Queen Victoria initially buried her husband Albert in St George’s Chapel but he was removed to the Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore, Windsor where he is interred with Queen Victoria who died at Osbourne House on the Isle of White in 1901.

Edward VII is buried along with his queen, Alexandra in St George’s Chapel, Windsor as are George V and Mary of Teck. George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother are also buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Edward VIII abdicated before he cold be crowned. He is buried in Frogmore.

https://www.westminster-abbey.org/about-the-abbey/history/royal-tombs

1536- the year of three queens

catherineofaragon_1769901iCatherine of Aragon was ill as early as 1534.  In part it was her age, in part the stress of fighting for her husband, her crown and her daughter’s rights and in part it was a consequence of being ferried between a variety of damp dwellings where she lived, for the most part, in a few rooms with a few trusted servants regarding her ‘hosts’ as her jailers.  By 1535 she was increasingly sick but there is a letter written at the beginning of December suggesting that she appeared to be recovering.

On December 29 Chapuys, received a note from Catherine’s doctor saying that Catherine was ill and that he should come at once.  Catherine could not keep food or fluids down and had pain in her stomach. The Imperial Ambassador, asked Cromwell for a licence to go to Kimbolton to see Catherine.  Cromwell said that he would need Henry’s permission so the following day Chapuys went to Greenwich to see Henry VIII who was in excellent humour because his inconvenient Spanish princess was dying.

Meanwhile Catherine’s loyal ex-lady-in-waiting had also heard the news.  Maria de Salinas didn’t wait for a licence to see her mistress.  She’d travelled to England with Catherine in 1501.  She’d been there when Catherine married Arthur and she’d been there when Henry made Catherine his queen.  Now,  Maria tricked her way into Kimbolton and from there into Catherine’s private chambers on January 1 1536 without the prerequisite licence.

On January 2 1536 Chapuys arrived.  By the end of the week Catherine appeared to have rallied and he departed.  In the early hours of the 6th it became clear that she was dying and as dawn broke Catherine was given Holy Communion.  At 2pm Catherine of Aragon, queen of England and infanta of Spain died.

On January 3 1536, rather unbecomingly for one who considered herself a queen, Anne dressed in yellow  along with her spouse and Henry, equally unbecomingly, declared that festivities were in order, danced with the ladies in waiting and ordered a joust.  By mid January Princess Mary, who’d been denied the chance of seeing her mother for a final time in 1535 when she herself was ill and again as her mother lay dying, was told that Anne Boleyn was pregnant.  It looked as though Anne Boleyn had finally won.Queen Anne Boleyn

Cromwell arranged Catherine’s funeral, wrote of his admiration for the queen and Henry  prepared for his joust.  On the 24th January 1536 Henry VIII, aged forty-four, father of two daughters (one illegitimised) fell from his horse in full armour.  He was out for the count for the next two hours.  He’d had a near miss twelve years earlier.

Four days later on January 29 1536 Catherine of Aragon was buried in Peterborough Cathedral.  People still place pomegranates on her tomb. Catherine’s mourners included Lady Bedingfield (the wife of Sir Edmund Bedingfield – Catherine’s last ‘host’) and the Countess of Cumberland, Eleanor Brandon. The Bishop of Rochester took the sermon – Cromwell chose his man well.  Weir records that he preached, without any foundation whatsoever, that Catherine had admitted on her death bed that she’d never had any right to be the queen of England.  After so long claiming her rights she was buried as the Dowager Princess of Wales.

Meanwhile as the old queen was being laid to rest, Anne Boleyn miscarried of a baby that would have been a boy had it survived.  Anne claimed that it was the shock of Henry’s jousting accident.  Henry began to wonder if God wished to deny him male children and found solace in the company of one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting.  Chapuys recorded that her name was Jane Seymour.

Thomas Cromwell was going to have a very busy year indeed. Anne survived Catherine by only a short season.  She was executed on May 19 1536.

On May 20 1536, Henry VIII married Jane Seymour.

jane seymour

Tremlett, G.  (2010) Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen

Weir, A. (2007)  The Six Wives of Henry VIII