Monday, 2 December 2013

The tomb of Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales

I've visited Worcester Cathedral many times, and always like to spend some time in Prince Arthur's Chantry.  It is a magnificent piece of architecture for a young man who promised so much and died early.  He's mostly remembered today for his short marriage to Catherine of Aragon, who went on to marry his younger brother after Arthur's death.  The nature of their marriage became very important later in the reign of Henry VIII, when he divorced Catherine on the grounds the marriage of Arthur and Catherine having consummated their marriage.  This discussion still continues today.  Here's a link to my earlier post on Arthur - who was far from the sickly youth portrayed in later generations.

Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales

Here are the pictures from my latest visit.  One of the figures surrounding the Chantry is allegedly Edward II.  The figures were defaced in the reign of Henry VIII's son, Edward VI.

 The chantry itself was constructed away from the cathedral and installed on top of previous tombs.

 The defaced figures inside the chantry - which one is meant to be Edward II?

 Prince Arthur's tomb.  Recent research has discovered the vault beneath the chantry where Arthur's remains are buried.  It's a 'double vault', but contains only one set of remains.  There was no effigy - it's likely the tomb had a brass placed on top of it.
 A copy of the original window from Malvern Priory.  This copy was added in 2002 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Arthur's death.
 Taken from the chantry, this tomb is for Gruffydd ap Thomas and his wife.  Gruffydd asked to be buried near the prince he so loyally served.  The tomb also contains the remains of his wife.

The brass on top of the tomb of Gruffydd ap Thomas is a copy of a lost original.


Kasia Ogrodnik said...

It really is magnificent, Anerje! I never cese to wonder what course the English history might have taken had Arthur lived.

Anerje said...

Yes I often think we'd have been better off with Arthur - but then no Anne Boleyn and no Elizabeth 1st.

The chantry also shows the generous, loving nature of Henry VII who is often portrayed as a miserable miser.

Btw I will post my pix of the young king's youngest brother John's tomb soon. Not very elaborate at all!

Kathryn Warner said...

Lovely pics! I've seen Arthur's tomb but didn't know one of the figures was meant to be Edward II, wow!

Anerje said...

Thanks Kathryn. I only know about the figure because of the detailed book about Arthur and his tomb that I read a couple of years ago. I could understand if the figure was Henry VI, but am not sure why Edward II was chosen. Such a shame they have been disfigured in the Reformation.

Gabriele C. said...

Well, I could do without Anne Boleyn and all those Tudor films. :-) Though I must admit I would miss Donizetti's opera about her.

Anerje said...

Lol Gabriele - Anything Tudor seems to sell. Unfortunately there's an awful lot of rubbish out there.

mrats.marajenner said...

Marvelous pictures, Anerje!

Do you suppose Edward was included on the tomb because he was the first Prince of Wales?

I believe the figure on the left is meant to be Edward. The way his hair is sculpted seems to be based on the Gloucester effigy.

Terrific post!