Friday, May 18, 2012

Question from Kate - Royal tombs in London

I was wondering if anyone could recommend a recent work regarding the royal tombs. I will be traveling to London and would like to know where everyone is. I have a general knowledge on this topic but have always been more involved in the study of Tudor lives and not so much their resting places


Marilyn R said...

Westminster Abbey is the place where many Kings and Queens are laid to rest, beginning with Edward the Confessor in January 1066.

Of the Tudors you will find in Henry VII’s Lady Chapel:
Henry VII and Elizabeth of York
Edward VI, no monument – a few steps in front of Henry VII (ask a guide to show you)
Elizabeth of York’s sister-in-law Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York and Norfolk, wife of the younger of the Princes in the Tower (she was five and he four when they married and both died very young)

In the North Aisle of the Henry VII Chapel:
Mary I and Elizabeth I together
The urn containing remains said (not proven) to be those of the Princes in the Tower

In the South Aisle:
Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII
Mary Queen of Scots
Lady Arbella Stuart, granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick (Stuart vault, no monument)
The Countess of Richmond & Lennox, mother of Lord Darnley, who is depicted kneeling beside her tomb.

Anne of Cleves is difficult to explain and has only a tiny plaque (ask)

There are over 3,000 burials in the Abbey and other Tudor worthies are included. The guide book is excellent, with floor plans and all the important burials marked.

Tower of London, St Peter ad Vincula:
Anne Boleyn
George Boleyn
Katherine Howard

The Garden Museum, Lambeth, next to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Palace, was formerly the parish church of the Howards, who lived opposite. The Dowager Duchess who was sent to the Tower with Queen Katherine, and Elizabeth Howard, Anne Boleyn’s mother, lie under the floor of what is now the Museum cafĂ©.

Henry VIII and Jane Seymour are in St George’s Chapel, Windsor castle, with no monument.

I have been researching the Anne Mowbray story and that of the Howards in Lambeth for several years and you might be interested in the photographs in ‘Anne Mowbray – the High and Excellent Princess’ and ‘Trouble in Paradise – the story of Queen Katherine Howard, the Dowager Duchess and Norfolk House, Lambeth’ at my website

Katherine of Aragon rests in Peterborough Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, and Katherine Parr at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

I hope you have a wonderful trip to London.

Marilyn R said...

Countess of Lennox - sorry, I was rushing!

In the Abbey information on this website Lara has a plan of the Henry VII Chapel; Anne Mowbray is buried beside Anne of Denmark,(6)in the first apsidal chapel, which is really an oversized and elaborate bay window.

The Abbey guidebook is available on Amazon.

tudor princess said...

Anne Mowbray was re-buried in Westminster Abbey in the 1960s after her coffin was accidently uncovered in London - I think she was originally buried in a convent.

Anne of Cleve's tomb can only be seen from the back of the high altar which is inaccessible to the public.

If you are interested in Henry VIII's wives and their tombs, then Antonia Fraser's book has photographs of all of their tombs.

My favourite is Prince Arthur's tomb in Worcester Cathedral; it is so poignant. Also don't forget Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, who is buried in the church of St Mary's, in Bury St Edmunds and Henry Fitzroy, who is buried in Framlingham church.

As Marilyn says, Westminster Abbey is a good place to start but prepare to pay to get access to the Royal tombs.

Marilyn R said...

You will have to pay to get into Westminster Abbey anyway, and there is no extra charge to see the Royal tombs. The Abbey gets no grants from any public source so has to make an entry charge.

My advice would be to get there for the opening at 9.30 a.m. (probably a queue there already) and purchase an ordinary £16 ticket – I think the audio guide is included, but if not I would still have one – that way you can see the Tudor tombs before the Abbey fills up. (Same with the Tower, although I do realise that unless you are actually staying in London getting there for opening is easier said than done.)

I was in Westminster Abbey for 9.20 last year because they made Anne Mowbray’s gravestone accessible for me for my research purposes – it’s usually covered by an organ, which they had kindly moved and parked next to Henry VII. It was lovely to be in there before the crowds arrived, but by 10 a.m. it was already buzzing with visitors.

If you are interested in the Abbey in general you could take one of the verger-led tours, but they don’t start till 10 a.m., so by the time you reach the Henry VII’s Chapel you have to move at the pace of the crowd, whereas if you are earlier you have the luxury of taking a bit longer over each tomb. You won’t see any more of the Tudor tombs on a verger tour than you would on a do-it-yourself tour, but you do get to do more than the general public, such as sit in the choir stalls while the verger explains the layout, and see the Confessor’s shrine at close quarters.

Remember that Westminster Abbey is a working church that closes early on Saturdays and is not open to tourists at all on Sundays, except for services.

(Anne Mowbray was buried in the St Erasmus Chapel in 1481, but was moved to the Convent of the Minoresses in Stepney as a supposed temporary measure when Henry VII began work on the Lady Chapel. It was assumed she had been reburied in the new Erasmus Chapel, so it came as a huge surprise to the Abbey authorities when her coffin was found eleven feet down on a building site in 1964. She was reburied in Westminster Abbey in May 1965, amid some controversy as to whether she should have been given a Catholic burial at nearby Westminster Cathedral.)

Tudor Princess - I have to agree, there is something that little bit special about Prince Arthur's tomb, one of the last Royal tombs in the old medieval style . I have never properly understood why he was not buried at Westminster.

Kate said...

Thank you all so much, this is great info and far more than I expected. Thank you for the tips as well, I will be certain to arrive early (and probably linger late)