Sunday, May 26, 2013

Question from Conor - Katherine Howard's resting place

Hi - I am researching and writing a biography of Queen Katherine Howard and I have just finished reading Elisabeth Wheeler's study of her. Not only does Wheeler suggest that the execution was carried out secretly at night-time, but she argues that Katherine was never buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, near Anne Boleyn - as her body was never found in the Victorian period. She suggests Katherine may have been buried elsewhere.

I have also read Weir's "Lady in the Tower" and she suggests that the body identified as Anne Boleyn may actually be Katherine, which I disagree with.

I personally believe that Katherine WAS buried in this chapel, and like Lady Jane Grey, her bones were never discovered as they had dissolved due to her age (both were teenagers).

Can anyone provide me with further info / their own ideas? Thanks.

7 comments:

PhD Historian said...

You can actually read the published first-hand account of the excavations using Google Books. The title of the book is "Notices of the Historic Persons Buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula". It was written by Doyne C Bell.

Conor Byrne said...

Thanks for that. Unfortunately Google Books does not offer the book in its entirety - only a 'snippet view' which is barely anything!

Lara Eakins said...

You might have found one of the reprint versions, but there are some full free versions too. Try this link: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=aGjSAAAAMAAJ&rdid=book-aGjSAAAAMAAJ&rdot=1

(assuming I did the code correctly, it should be a clickable link)

tudor princess said...

I cannot understand why their bones would dissolve due to the fact they were teenagers. We do not know Catherine Howard's age when she died. Why were the bones of the so-called Princes in the Tower discovered intact when they were younger?

I do not think London clay is acid enough to dissolve bones over such a (comparatively) short space of time.

I believe Weir has a theory that Catherine Howard was buried in quicklime which would cause rapid decomposition. However, I am not sure about the validity of this theory since I can see no good reason why quicklime would have been used in the case of her burial.

My guess is that Catherine is still in the chapel somewhere and that Lady Rochford must be there somewhere too. Let's face it, there must be so many bodies buried there, it would be a nightmare to disentangle them all,

I know you have worked very hard on your research, Conor and I'm sure it will be a very good read when you have completed it.

Marilyn R said...


You gave in too readily, Conor. The whole text IS available online and is relatively easy to find. Page 27 addresses the possibility of the bones having dissolved.

Conor Byrne said...

Thanks for your help. I tried downloading this book on both iPad and on my computer and it did not work either time. Perhaps it has been removed.

Conor Byrne said...

Not to worry - I've found one!

On a different note - I saw the query about Henry Manox from last year, I too wonder what happened to him.