Sunday, 1 September 2013

A Disturbing Found

On 23 February 1554 Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk was executed by an axeman on the order of Mary I. In 1851 (almost 300 years after his death) workmen were working in the Holy Trinity church in London when they discovered something that must have made them skip a heartbeat. In a vault the severed head of Henry Grey lay perfectly intact thanks to the thick sawdust - rich on tannin and from oak - that had been in the casket where the beheaded Lord's head fell for so long ago.
It is thought that the grieving widow of Henry Grey who had also lost her daughter just eleven days earlier had taken the head and quickly hidden it before it could be put on a spike on the London Bridge.

Henry Grey had actually bought the Holy Trinity church in the 1540's after Henry VIII had dissolved the monasteries so it is very likely that he was buried within the walls of his own property. The Holy Trinity church was completely destroyed during the German blitz during World War II. However, the head was not lost in the ruins. In 1899 the Holy Trinity church had been merged with another church, St. Botolph's-without-Aldgate and the head was transferred to this other church. Now it is placed somewhere within this church but its' exact location is unknown.

Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk

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