The Lady Chapel constructed at the wish of Henry VII at Westminster Abbey is the last great masterpiece of English medieval architecture, and the culminating achievement of over three hundred years of development in the gothic style, at the point where it intersects with the new movements of the Renaissance. George II died at Kensington Palace on 25 October 1760 – contrary to his having always asserted that he ‘would never die’ there. What Tudor tombs most intrigue you and what’s still on your ‘bucket-list’? Unique at the time. More on that to come, but for now, let’s roll back time to the beginning…. Therefore, in this blog, we will focus on the Tudor tombs that lay beneath, and close to, the fabulous monument by Torregiano, erected as a memorial to Henry VII and his, wife, Elizabeth of York. It’s slightly macabre, I know, but I have long been intrigued to know more about the Tudor tombs that lie beneath the cold, stone floor of this historic building. Perhaps we can be grateful that this was the case. As Arthur Stanley’s adventure comes to end, I realise so does my hope of ever getting a glimpse beneath the marble floors of Westminster Abbey. Image by Mrs. A Murray Smith on Wikimedia Commons The Royal Ma… Were these people, based on the accomplishments in their lives, offered burial in the Abbey by the monarch, or did they or their families have to ask for permission? Indeed, his intention to have the chapel as a dynastic mausoleum is confirmed by the Latin inscription around his tomb enclosure: that he had ‘established a sepulchre for himself, his wife, his children and his house’. In the course of this adventure, Stanley describes the discovery of the Tudor tomb of Elizabeth I, where her coffin was stacked unceremoniously on top of her half-sister, Mary. These are at least, respectably visible in their roped-off marked vaults. Secondly, there was no evidence of disturbance of the marble floor of the chapel near the Tudor tombs, which might suggest that the vault had been reopened in the past. Westminster Abbey, with its royal burial vaults and long series of monuments to celebrated men, is not unreasonably regarded by the English as their National Temple of Fame; and interment within its walls is considered the last and greatest honour which the nation can bestow on the most deserving of her offspring. Having carefully examined all sides of the tomb for the most likely entrance point, Dean Stanley describes how his workmen set about opening up a narrow space, close to the vault of Edward VI, to the west of the monument. When you visit, you will be awe-struck by the superb fan-vaulted ceiling, described as the ‘climax of late medieval design’. However, annoyingly, James I of England remained elusive. Graffiti etched into the lead, revealed that a certain ‘John Ware’ and ‘E.C’ had been there in 1645 – the year James was interred in the vault. However, this turned out to be just the beginning! I know that I am never likely to tick ‘seeing the vaults of Westminster Abbey’ off my bucket list. Elizabeth Jane Timms is a royal historian, writer, poet and researcher. At its base, a tablet was inscribed: ‘This vault was opened by the Dean, February 11 1869’. You are welcome! I would love to know more about Henry VIII and Jane Seymour’s tomb, we have one sketch showing the tomb and the damage to Henrys coffin and debris, it would be fascinating look again, I too have been fascinated about Tudor period, I have been to Hampton court palace, Westminster Abby. The slab is in the Quire – also the aisle down which every royal bride has walked who married there, from Queen Victoria’s reign onwards. The impression produced by the interior is very striking owing to the … He’s the king who had six wives and tired of them like a child tires of toys, who rid himself (and the world) of anyone who disagreed with him, didn’t like the pope and was fat…. The boy king, Edward VI’s tomb, is more hidden than otherwise, lying under a barely-noticed marble slab appropriately at the foot of the grave of his grandparents, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The reputation of the monarch sometimes atones for the lack of a monument; in Henry VIII’s case, in breathtaking proportion. Three daughters are missing though. The gap – only 12 by 9 inches – had once served as the small man-hole through which the person who had stayed inside the tomb to help move the large stone into place (thereby blocking the entrance) could escape. Watch the full episode: Gloriously Gothic Westminster Abbey is England's national church and the religious heart of the nation. Conspiracy theories still abound about the final days of the last Tudor king & first Protestant one as well. At this point, I must let Arthur Stanley speak in his own words, for who better to convey what they were experiencing that day? As a History/Education major, I would pour over it for hours at a time. Additionally, Westminster Abbey has a long tradition of royal weddings, … This was an unhappy consequence of the intense dislike that was unfortunately handed down as a legacy from the Georgian Kings to their heirs and would continue to be so, just as George II had experienced his own complicated relationship with George I. George, Prince of Wales would be the despair of his father, King George III. Queen Margrethe of Denmark receives Covid vaccine, The Duchess of Cornwall throws open the doors of her online reading room, January's calendar of historic royal moments, Royal Residences: A brief history of St James's Palace, How the British line of succession will look in 2021, The royal bride who changed England forever, Stories of the Stuarts: Queen Anne's 18 pregnancies, What we hope to see from the royals in 2021. To enter the tomb, Stanley and his workmen had to remove the loose brickwork at the apex of the vault. Since William the Conqueror, every British sovereign has been crowned in the abbey except Edward V and Edward VIII, neither of whom was crowned. Westminster Abbey was formed by Benedictine monks during “the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day.” Specifically, the first Westminster Abbey was established in 960. Charles was refused a burial at Westminster Abbey with his parents and siblings. In the Royal Burial vaults of Westminster Abbey, are there jewels, rings, etc. George II’s children Prince George William, Princess Caroline and Princess Amelia lie with their parents in the Georgian vault. His successor, his grandson King George III, decided to build a new royal vault at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor. Thanks for dropping by and reading. The coffin, covered in black velvet and emblazoned with a white satin cross from ‘end-to-end’, was lowered into a ‘cavernous vault’. Henry III rebuilt Westminster Abbey in honour of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor whose relics were placed in a shrine in the sanctuary and now lie in a burial vault beneath the 1268 Cosmati mosaic pavement, in front of the High Altar. The two darker ones were leaden, one with an inscription plate. Silent and unable to quarrel…’ (Stella Tillyard, A Royal Affair, Pg 4, 2006). Charles II | Westminster Abbey Charles' coronation took place on 23rd April 1661. According to Stanley, this was in a side-chapel. ‘The Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey’, states these were ’emblazoned’ with the emblems of the House of York, but excluded those of Lancaster. The vault was sunk 5.5ft below the floor of the chapel. However, Stanley found remnants of the lost Torregiano altar, which had once sat directly in front of the west end of the Henry VII/Elizabeth of York memorial. After much debate, the plate was placed back into the grave, although the marble frieze, as a work of art, was ‘placed as close as possible to its original position’. It was her 37th birthday. At this point, Elizabeth’s coffin was moved from the north of the vault into the centre as the third resident was laid to rest. Saved by Chris. I have a Tudor bucket list. Our tenacious explorer concludes by noting that the pall of silk known to have been buried with Henry VII; the urns associated with each burial, and probably any other thing of value, was gone. He had risen at six o’clock in the morning and drunk his usual cup of chocolate an hour later, administered to him by his German valet, Schröder. The modesty of the Georgian vault at Westminster Abbey with its simple black and white marble checkered floor means that unsuspectingly, visitors tread over the resting places of the one-time British Royal Family. The result was a gripping Indiana Jones-esque foray through the narrow passageways and hidden vaults of the abbey. We have talked before about the burials of Elizabeth I and Mary I in the north aisle of the Henry VII chapel. The Westminster Abbey Museum is located in the 11th-century vaulted undercroft beneath the former monks' dormitory in Westminster Abbey. This is an area , certainly in this detail is rarely touched. This is the vault in which Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had been interred around 400 years earlier. His body was first conveyed to St Paul’s, where obsequies were heard, then on to Westminster for burial. 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