The world has just witnessed the last Plantagenet King, Richard III, be reburied at Leicester Cathedral and now researchers believe that a second Monarch could be buried under a car-park in Reading. That Monarch is none other than the youngest son of William the Conqueror, King Henry I.
Just months after King Richard III’s reburial, Philippa Langley, who was behind the successful hunt for the last
Plantagenet’s remains, is now spearheading the campaign to try and find his forebear’s remains on the ruins of Reading Abbey, founded by Henry I in 1121 and where he was buried 14 years later.
King Henry I was the youngest son of William the Conqueror and was crowned after his brother, William, was killed in a hunting accident in August 1100. In November of the same year Henry married Edith, sister of the king of Scotland, in order to secure his northern borders. King Robert of Scotland did invade England in 1101 though Henry, with popular and baronial support, did secure an amicable settlement.
Now in the present day, nearly 900 years after Henry founded Reading Abbey, Philippa Langley and a team of investigators believe that Henry’s remains are either under a car park or a playground on the site of the former Abbey. Like the investigation in to Richard III’s remains, the exact whereabouts of Henry’s final resting place are unknown after Reading Abbey was destroyed some 400 years after his death.
Philippa Langley told BBC History Magazine, “The thinking in Reading, using current estimates of the size of the abbey, is that this burial spot is located beneath a school. If the abbey is larger, it could be situated underneath what is today a playground or a car-park.”
The discovery of Richard III under a Leicester car-park is now considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in recent British history and one is sure that if the same team discover the remains of Henry I, that discovery will come a close second.
Like King Richard III, Henry I has a chequered reputation and is often considered a cruel ruler following his brothers suspicious death while out hunting.
Photo Credit: By See description [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons