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Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York: A 15th Century Plantagenet Child Burial from London

Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York: A 15th Century Plantagenet Child Burial from London

Lecture by Bruce Watson FSA

In 1964 the  redevelopment of the site of the church of the Abbey of St Clare in Tower Hamlets revealed a masonry vault containing a small anthropomorphic lead coffin. The Latin inscription on the coffin identified its occupier was Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York, who died in November 1481. She was the child bride of Richard Duke of York, the younger son of Edward IV.

Her discovery sparked a massive amount of media interest (comparable with the 2012 discovery of the remains of her uncle Richard III). Before reburial in Westminster Abbey her remains were extensively studied as the opportunity to study named medieval individuals is very rare, and her remains have been subsequently used to help establish the age of the two juveniles from the Tower of London believed to be her husband and his brother (but this interpretation has never been proven).

Interestingly her coffin shows signs of hasty workmanship and study of her hair indicated a period of ill-health (the cause of her death is not documented). Thanks to the discovery of the remains of Richard III there is a huge amount of  public interest in his family - the topic of this lecture.


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