Lost Tombs of Archbishops Discovered Under London Museum Floor

Chuck Banner | April 17th, 2017

A construction crew working on the Garden Museum near Lambeth Palace in London in 2015 made an amazing discovery. Workers were lifting giant, 3300 pound stones from the floor in order to even out the paving when they accidentally cut a small hole in the floor. This hole revealed a chamber that led to a tomb. The Garden Museum is housed in a deconsecrated church, formerly known as St. Mary-at-Lambeth, so the existence of a burial vault there is reasonable, though no one knew of its existence.

What was in the tomb was even more surprising. There was a pile of coffins, and on top of one was an archbishop’s mitre (this is headwear worn by archbishops). Out of the thirty coffins in the vault, five belonged to former Archbishops of Canterbury, heads of the English church. It had long been thought that these archbishops’ coffins had been moved in the 1850s, when the church was rebuilt, and that their final location was unknown. Historians had always believed that any burial vaults under the former church had been filled in long ago.

lambethpalacelibrary.org
lambethpalacelibrary.org

The most important burial found was that of Richard Bancroft, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 104 to 1610. He led the committee of scholars who produced the King James Bible, which was published in 1611. Other burials included other archbishops from the 1700s and 1800s, an ecclesiastical court judge, and the wife of one of the archbishops.

The discovery of the remains was actually made in 2015, but it has been kept secret for months so that the builders could make sure the vault was safe before the Garden Museum reopens in May. It was feared that floor above the tomb would be unstable after remaining undisturbed for so many years, and authorities were afraid that eager sightseers would try to access the tomb if its discovery was made known.

Once the museum reopens, visitors will be able to view the steps leading to the burial chamber via a window cut into the floor. The lead coffins will remain undisturbed and off-view, in case any of them should crack open. The discovery is expected to greatly increase visitor numbers to this lesser-known London tourist attraction, as tourists flock to get a glimpse of one of history’s solved mysteries.

Next Article
  • A Sealed Garden That Was Last Watered 46 Years Ago

    One keen gardener was curious in 1960 and decided to plant a seed in a bottle which he promptly sealed up. David Latimer never thought he would be on to one of the first self-sustaining ecosystems, which has become an amazing case study for biologists around the world. When you break it down, this plant...

    Read More
  • Olympics Athletes Are Zapping Their Brain For Performance Increases

    A strange phenomenon is taking over the sports industry at an alarming pace, one that sees professional athletes zapping their brain in name of increasing their performance. The technology uses brain simulation with the goal of increasing everything an Olympic athlete needs to grab that gold medal. The basic explanation...

    Read More
  • The Sea Creature That Eats Its Own Brain

    There is one little creature that lives in tidal pools and over shallow ocean areas, that has a rather strange and fascinating characteristic: it eats its own brain. The sea squirt is a little undersea animal which is part of the tunicate family. Whenever poked or threatened, this small animal...

    Read More
  • Pokemon Go A Security Fear For The Pentagon

    If you happen to love Pokemon Go but work for the American government at the Pentagon, well that is just too bad. All employees are banned from playing Pokemon Go inside the Pentagon walls, due to its mapping features. Anyone working at the facility in Arlington, Virginia has been given...

    Read More
  • The Infamous Porthemmet Beach Hoax

    In some regions of the world no matter how much the local area survives off tourism, there is just a general distaste for tourists in general. All these strangers tramping around your Townsquare asking for directions, one of those places in Wales. With all the coastlines and beautiful beaches, locals can tend to get very...

    Read More
  • A Castaway Who Survived 14 Months At Sea

    One man defied all the odds and was able to survive lost at sea for over 14 months. This is no story of being washed up on an island and finding coconuts, this man just drifted around the ocean for months on end. He is called Jose Salvador Alvarenga and...

    Read More
  • The Romans Actually Invented The Swiss Army Knife

    When you think of the Swiss Army Knife you would have thought it was invented in Switzerland - and it was, unless you count Roman’s version as the first one. A spoon, a knife, a fork, and toothpick - all the tools you need to extract the meat out of the shells of seafood. This...

    Read More