In pursuit of England’s Kings and Queens it was inevitable that occasionally other members of their families would be encountered close by and where that has occurred (The Black Prince at Canterbury and The Queen of Scots in Westminster), they have been included here. With the exception of some of Henry viii’s wives and Lady Jane Grey (who were en-route), there has been no general attempt to seek the tombs of consorts or relatives.
However, tombs (or sites of) some notable non-royal personages are included because their closeness to the Monarch influenced the shape of this Island’s progress more than some royal relatives. But I have had to be a little flexible on this because for example, although Becket was buried in Canterbury Cathedral under the same roof as Henry iv, his remains no longer exist. On the other hand, Cardinal Wolsey resides in a lonely tomb in the ruins of Leicester Abbey, while Oliver Cromwell’s remains were exhumed from their place in Westminster Abbey soon after the Restoration of 1660 and taken to Tyburn to be posthumously ‘executed’ for the crime of Regicide. Winston Churchill’s grave by contrast, although remote from that of any royal personage, is among those of his family (the Marlborough’s) in Blaydon churchyard near to Blenheim Palace.
One might therefore ask whether Wellington or Nelson should have been included, as both were buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral with as much ‘royal’ splendour and dignity as a monarch. Well, it was tempting, but as always, who does one leave out?
Instead I have included some places of significance such as the battlefields of Hastings (King Harold killed 1066); the ‘Rufus Stone’ (King William killed 1100); Runnymede (Magna Carta 1215); battle site of Bosworth Field (King Richard iii killed 1485); Naseby battle site (the decisive battle in the Civil War 1645). Again, there are many others but which does one select?
The last resting place of some of the pre ‘Heptarchy’ (the seven kingdoms) Monarchs is unknown. Tradition has it that the tomb of the legendary ‘King’ Arthur is in Glastonbury. As for the likes of Stuf, Wihtgar, Ida, Oswin, Offa, Raedwald (Sutton Hoo burial site?) and many more, it’s a fruitless quest although the bones of several others together with a handful of pre-conquest kings, such as Cnut, are contained in Mortuary Chests in Winchester Cathedral. It’s also the case that King Alfred’s grave in Winchester continues to be the topic of much learned speculation.
In the case of a few, their sites have long since been built on i.e. Etheldred ii (the Unready) 978-1016 at ‘Old’ St. Paul’s Cathedral London, the graveyard of which is now a commercial thoroughfare. A similar situation applies to Harold Harefoot 1035-1040, buried at Old St Clement Danes in the Strand. Another is Queen Boadicea (far outside the scope of this project [AD61] but here to complete the example) is traditionally said to be buried under platform 10 of King’s Cross Station – the site of the last battle of the Iceni.
And what of the royal houses and Monarchies of Ireland, Wales and Scotland?
Because the Queen’s antecedents include the kinship of those Countries and the royal houses of Europe, the lineage of the Crown of Great Britain is extensive. Even though some Scottish Kings are laid to rest on the island of Iona and other monarchs are traceable too, they are of necessity excluded as the primary purpose is to be near the Kings and Queens of England.