Bone Rush is On

After the exciting discovery of the remains of Richard III, the search is on to discover the remains of other lost monarchs. King Henry I (reigned 1100-35) and King Stephen (reigned 1135-54) were buried in Reading and Faversham Abbeys respectively, both of which were dissolved under Henry VIII. One would think that the bones of dead kings would have been reinterred elsewhere, but I suppose in the 1530s that such a practice might have reminded people too much of the veneration of saints’ relics. So the monasteries were turned into ruins, along with any graves within them (this is what also happened to Richard III’s grave). But now Philippa Langley (finder of Richard III) is leading a quest to look for Henry I’s grave at Reading using Ground Penetrating Radar, and Brian Philip of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit proposes to dig under the playing fields of Queen Elizabeth’s School in Faversham to find King Stephen. It needs to be said, however, that Richard III had some identifiable skeletal deformities and living descendants whose DNA provided a match; one wonders how the archaeologists will set about proving the identity of any remains they may find.