#WednesdayFact – Anne Boleyn’s remains were exhumed in the 19th century

Posted By on September 13, 2023

#WednesdayFact – Did you know that remains of a woman thought to be Anne Boleyn were exhumed and examined during Queen Victoria’s reign?

View of St Peter ad Vincula Chapel and the place of execution memorial from Doyne C Bell's bookYes, during restoration work on the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London in 1876, it was found that the pavement of the chancel, where Anne Boleyn and other prominent execution victims had been laid to rest, needed repairing.

Proper foundations needed to be laid for the chancel pavement, so it was necessary to exhume the remains in that area and move them to the crypt, unless they were in stable vaults. The remains were therefore “carefully collected and enclosed in boxes, with suitable inscriptions; and all the coffins which were found intact were at once removed to the crypt.”

In the spot recorded as Queen Anne Boleyn’s resting place, the remains of a female were found. These were examined by surgeon Dr Frederick J Mouat, who made a report on his findings, before they were put in a leaden coffer inside an oak box and reinterred where they were found.

You can find out more about the exhumation and Dr Mouat’s report in these articles: