Inside mystery stone coffin at ancient monastery is… another mystery lead coffin
A couple of days ago we reported on plans to open up a mysterious stone coffin found at the ruins of Greyfriars church in Leicester, the site where King Richard III was discovered last September. Well, the much anticipated event has just taken place and archaeologists were surprised and perplexed to find that inside it was another coffin, this time made of lead .
The Greyfriars Friary in Leicester was built in the 12th century and was home to the Friars Minor, also known as Grey Friars after the colour of their habits. The friary was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538 during the Protestant Reformation, soon after which it was demolished and became virtually lost to history. Archaeologists are predicting that the occupant of the coffin is either the medieval knight, Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, or one of two high-status friars - Peter Swynsfeld or William of Nottingham, but the latest surprise has shown that anything is possible.
Eight people were needed to life the heavy stone lid of the 14 th century coffin and when they did the second lead coffin, with a crucifix embellished on the lid, was revealed. Site director Matthew Morris, who discovered the former king last August, said the latest development is rare and exciting.
The remains are encased in 5mm-thick lead. But the exposed feet, and some damage to the lead, suggest the corpse was dug up and reburied hundreds of years ago. Archaeologists have also been able to deduce that it’s a high-status grave because of the expense of the lead and the effort of making the stone tomb.
The answer as to who really lies within the mysterious lead coffin will be revealed soon. Stay tuned…