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article imageRemains of 14th Century traitor's daughter found in church tomb

By Kev Hedges     Jan 29, 2014 in Science
Much Marcle - The human remains of Blanch Mortimer, the daughter of traitor Sir Roger Mortimer, have been discovered in a tomb beneath a church in Herefordshire, England.
Blanch Mortimer, who died in 1347, was married to Sir Peter Grandison and was daughter of the 1st Earl of March, who overthrew King Edward II and ruled England for three years. Work has been ongoing since 2006 at St Bartholomew's Church in Much Marcle to restore her tomb. The fact that it has lasted more than six centuries before any work was required is a testament to the original workmanship and material used, reports Hereford Times. But what the restoration team did not realize was that there had been a lead-lined coffin inside the tomb all along.
The effigy has always been positioned against the north wall of the chancel, dubbed "Much Marcle's Sleeping Beauty" by the locals. The discovery, made in October, had been hushed up until tests were carried out and the Rev Howard Mayell, vicar for the parish, said he was, "quite overwhelmed by the idea Blanch is still in the church." Her remains underwent an endoscopic examination, reports BBC Hereford.
Sir Roger fled to France, after escaping from the Tower of London for his treachery against the then-king, Edward II. But after escaping from the tower's dungeon, the earl then took Queen Isabella as his mistress, where the couple took refuge at Flanders. Sir Roger then returned to England with the intention of deposing King Edward II, using his powerful status as a nobleman and Marcher Lord, he tried to arrange for Edward's murder.
An English Heritage spokesman has said it was "astonishing" to find a coffin inside the tomb:
Usually the tomb chest is empty, with the body buried beneath. The coffin is complete, irregular in shape like a lead shroud, and has a number of small holes in it.
However, best practice in archaeological finds mean the remains have to be disturbed as little as possible. The same policy is also supported by the Church of England.
More about Blanch Mortimer, Sir Roger Mortimer, King Edward II, St Bartholomew's Church, Traitor
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