In reading about the exhumation of Anne Boleyn’s remains from the area of the chancel that needed restoration, I am left to wonder if there was any indication of her beheading to be found among the bones of her head and neck? It would seem to me to aid immensely in identifying the remains.

Thank you for your question. In Dr Mouat's report on the vertebrae of the remains, he does not mention any sign of a breakage due to beheading but then some of them were very eroded plus all of the people buried in the chancel were beheaded so it would not help with identification, unfortunately.

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6 thoughts on “In reading about the exhumation of Anne Boleyn’s remains from the area of the chancel that needed restoration, I am left to wonder if there was any indication of her beheading to be found among the bones of her head and neck? It would seem to me to aid immensely in identifying the remains.”

  1. David says:

    Your probably right Claire, however, I read in my massive research that the team of workers during the reign of Queen Victoria who were assigned to pull up the floor stones found the remains underneath and that a vertebrae supposedly at the location of Anne did show be severed cleanly by some sort of sharp object….?? Anymore, it is like picking facts out of total darkness as there are so many recorded thoughts regarding people and events that far back in history. It never shocked me to see one person said this and another said that, even when it came to birth dates and death dates of infamous people throughout British history…when a fact finally kept repeating itself over and over again was when I said there has to be therefore concrete evidence to back this fact and I would use it….but on topics like this question, how could one really know the truth unless someone during Queen Victoria’s reign actually submitted a written report of such a finding. My personal feeling is, if the remains were together of each person said to be under those flag stones at St. Peter ad Vincula with no indication of being mixed together with those of others and they claim they found said vertebrae with the bones of Anne Bolelyn, then it would be easier to accept as truth. One thing is for sure, however, and that is the fact that a sword severed Anne’s head from her body and therefore that sword had to cut through a vertebrae as it swiftly did its job meaning there has to be somewhere under those flag stones said vertebrae….and so proof to the event is in the remains of the victim…..

  2. Claire says:

    Hi David,

    The Victorian team actually made a full report of their findings, including examinations of the bones, and I have the full unabridged copies of these reports, which I have shared in articles on here. The skeletons were not complete and also many of the vertebrae were too badly damaged to draw any conclusions re the sword/axe debate. The only female bones found in the chancel were identified as Lady Rochford, Anne Boleyn and Margaret Pole, it was thought that Catherine Howard’s skeleton had been destroyed by lime due to the youth of her bones.
    Hope that helps. Doyne C Bell’s book of the reports, minutes of meetings etc. from 1876 and 1877 is well worth a read.

  3. Chrystinamarie123 says:

    I read that Henry purposely had Lime poured onto Catherine Howard’s corpse, is that true? Also were there any photograph’s taken of the remains they found? Or even the arrow chest?

  4. GoIL says:

    Regarding the Victorian Team’s investigation, were there any photograph’s taken of the remains which were found – in particular the skeleton believed to be Anne’s and the fragments of the arrow chest?

  5. GoIL says:

    More questions please:
    Who specifically were the ladies-in waiting who would have prepared Anne’s corpse? What happened to each of these ladies after Anne’s execution? Do we know who suggested / found the arrow chest? Was the use of the arrow chest as a coffin decided before or after Anne’s death? Would Anne have known prior to her death that there would be no coffin? Who would have been responsible for actually removing Anne’s head and body from the scaffold? Where would her body have been disrobed and prepared for interment? Also how would Anne have gone about choosing a dress for her execution which would equal correct worth as partial payment for the swordsman? Where were Elizabeth and Kat Ashley at the time of Anne’s execution?

  6. Shoshana says:

    I understand that the bones were all placed in individual wooden caskets, marked with a bronze plaque and then reinterred but not in the original place. They were all put under the flooring off to the left of the altar and tiles where they were found marks the original burial place – or at least that is what I have read. Is this true? If so, why would they not be reinterred in their original places as that would be the most logical thing to do in order to align with history and for future question of where the remains could be found.

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