Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Which medieval king will they find next?

With the media sensation caused by the recent discovery of Richard III, and the resulting boom in interest at  it is not surprising that that some communities are desperate eager to find another lost monarch in their midst. In recent weeks a couple of stories have come out about searches being done in England.

King Stephen
At Queen Eliz­abeth School in Faversham, Kent, the building of a school auditorium is allowing archaeologists to explore an area where King Stephen was laid to rest back in 1154. Back in the twelfth-century, this site was home to Faversham Abbey, and the English monarch was buried there along with his wife and son. In the sixteenth-century, this Abbey was destroyed, leaving unknown the whereabouts of Stephen.

Laurence Young, the Manager of Faversham Enterprise Partnership, commented “It’s time to get to the truth about King Stephen and his burial place. The worldwide interest in Richard III has been colossal and, while Stephen doesn’t have his profile as a leading historic figure, he is one of very few English kings whose fate is not known certainly. From a national perspective it is something that ought to be investigated and settled one way or the other.”

Click here to read this article from Kent Online

Meanwhile in Winchester they have already found a body, and are now working to see if they are the remains of the famous Anglo-Saxon ruler Alfred the Great. In March, the skeletal remains discovered in an unmarked grave at the church of St Bartholomew in Wincester were exhumed. Some scholars and archaeologists believe that these might belong to Alfred, who died in 899. Archaeologist Katie Tucker who is leading the search says that while it would be difficult to prove they belong to Anglo-Saxon monarch, "if the bones are from around the 10th century then that is proof they are Alfred and his family, because Hyde Abbey was not built until the 12th Century, and there is no reason for any other bones from the 10th Century to be there."

Click here to read this article from The Guardian

St.Bartholomew's Church in Winchester

According to The Independent, searches are also underway for both King Arthur (good luck on that one) and Boudicca, who fought the Romans in the first century AD. The enthusiasm for finding lost kings has also spread to Scotland, where local politicians and history-lovers are calling for a search to be made for the grave of King James I, who was murdered on February 21, 1437.

Murdo Fraser, the Member of Scottish Parliament for Perth, told The Herald "Leicester will no doubt benefit from the worldwide attention brought by the exhumation of Richard III. A similar project in Perth would have the potential to attract similar global acclaim – which can do no harm in promoting the city. The story behind the assassination of King James I is well known and historians are almost certain that he lies buried underneath Hospital Street in Perth."

Click here to read this article from The Herald

Finally, it looks like the people at the University of Leicester are not done with looking for kings themselves.  Yesterday, they announced the search was on...for Richard IV.