The excavators of King Richard III’s final resting place are producing more questions. As they lifted the heavy stone lid, they found another coffin made of lead.
Archaeologists believe the lead coffin was sealed in the 13th or 14th century, 100 years before King Richard’s death. The King was slain in battle, and hastily buried in 1485.
The coffins were found in the Grey Friars Monastery. Excavators believe that the remains are that of one of the founders of the Monastery, or that of a knight.
“The inner coffin is likely to contain a high-status burial — though we don’t currently know who it contains,” reads a statement from the university.
The measurements of the stone coffin were 7 feet in length, 2 feet wide at the head, and 1 foot wide at the foot. Its weight was so immense that it took eight men to lift the lid.
The lead coffin has been taken to the university to determine the safest way to open it. They have seen the foot area through a hole in the bottom.
At present, archaeologists believe that the remains are those of one of the founders of the Grey Friars Monastery, Peter Swynsfeld, whose death was recorded as being in 1272. The other possibility is “a knight called Mutton, sometime mayor of Leicester,” was buried at the site. He was 14th century knight, Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, who died between 1356 and 1362.
“None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before,” archaeologist Mathew Morris, the Grey Friars site director, said in a statement. “We will now need to work out how to open it safely, as we don’t want to damage the contents when we are opening the lid.”
Richard III’s reign was controversial and somewhat unpleasant. He was the last king of the ‘House of York.’ His time as king lasted from 1483 to 1485 when he was killed in the ‘War of Roses.’
His conqueror, Henry Tudor, hastily buried him in the Grey Friars Monastery. The Monastery itself was destroyed in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation.
His ascension to the throne was questionable. He had two cousins in line for the honor, but both mysteriously disappeared from the Tower of London, leading many to believe he had them killed.
The Tudors depicted him as unscrupulous, a murderer, and a power-hungry hunchback. He was additionally demonized in Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”
An historic discovery found the coffin of King Richard III contained another coffin, made of lead.
Alfred James reporting