Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Uneasy lies the head

Following on from my recent posts about the positive identification of the skeleton of King Richard III and about the drawing of the skull of King Richard II a German friend has pointed out to me an online article about what is thought or claimed to be the head of King Henri IV of France. The article can be viewed here

I have posted about this particular royal body part before in December 2010 in King Henri's head.


King Henri IV

Image: Bookstove.com

The King's body was, like that of the other Kings of France sacrilegiously disinterred from St Denis in 1793, and when it was reburied in 1817 in the abbey the head was found to be missing. This head would appear to be that of the King. From what I have read the identification looks very probable, and it is unfortunate that the matter has now been caught up in controversy over the veracity of a book about the discovery, and indeed in differing responses from the rival claimants to the French throne, who would be King Henri VII or King Louis XX. 

If it is adjudged to be in truth the head of the first Bourbon King of France then it would indeed be right and proper for it to be reburied at St Denis. Until then, like the bones of St Edward the Martyr did for so many years in this country, it remains in a bank vault.

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