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.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The heart of King Richard I

After King Richard III's skeleton and King Richard II's skull I began to wonder when a body part of King Richard I would put in an appearance, and now it has. It is his heart - appropriately enough for the Lionheart.

French scientists have revealed the results of a nine-month study on the heart of King Richard I.
The  heart was rediscovered in a lead box beneath the choir in Rouen cathedral in 1838. It now consists of granules, a few of which have  been analysed using the latest forensic techniques. These confirmed the date, matching the date of the King's death on April 6  1199.

There is are illustrated online reports on the investigation here and another, from the BBC, here. This has a link to a more specialised scientific paper The embalmed heart of Richard the Lionheart (1199 A.D.): a biological and anthropological analysis.

Tomb of Richard I

The effigy of King Richard I designed to mark his heart burial in  Rouen Cathedral
This effigy is much less well known than that at Fontevrault

Image: Philippe Charlier/BBC

Detail of the effigy of  King Richard I in Rouen Cathedral
Unlike the tomb effigy at Fontevrault this shows the King as clean shaven

Image: BBC


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