Anne Neville – possible portrait of her from the Luton Guild Book (1)
Arms of Queen Anne Neville @ British Library
Richard III’s queen, Anne Neville’s death at the Palace of Westminster on the 16th March 1485, followed not long after the death of their only child, Edward of Middleham in April 1484. Anne – who was the daughter of the famous Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick known as the Kingmaker and Anne Beauchamp who was the daughter of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick and Isobel Despenser – had been queen for less than two years and was given a magnificent funeral in Westminster Abbey ‘with honours no less than befitted the burial of a queen‘ (2).
Those wishing to visit the Abbey to pay their respects at her grave will be unable to find it, although the general location is known. The Westminster Sacrist’s Roll record the payment of ₤42.12 for her burial but no further accounts of the funeral have survived nor a monument. The Great Chronicle of London, written in the 1530s records that Anne was buried south of the high alter ‘by the South dore that does ledyth Into Seynt Edwardys Chapell’. A late 16th century list of Westminster burials also records her burial on the south side of the Sanctuary. According to Stow, Anne was buried south of the Westminster Vestry while Crull claimed her grave stood in the south choir aisle (3).
Magnificent Westminster Abbey where Queen Anne Neville was laid to rest following her death at the Palace of Westminster on the 16th March 1485.
The lack of a gravestone or monument might be explained by either Richard’s own death a short five months later at the Battle of Bosworth on the 22 August 1485 or perhaps due to the confined space between the high altar and the sedilia (priests seats) (4).
A leaden coffin was discovered in 1866 south of the high altar but was not disturbed. However it is unclear whether this was Anne’s coffin or that of another queen Anne, Anne of Cleves who was also buried south of the altar (5).
in 1960 an enamelled shield of arms with a brass plate was placed on the wall of the south ambulatory as near to the grave site as possible, by the Richard III Society. The brass plate is inscribed with the words
QUEEN OF ENGLAND
YOUNGER DAUGHTER OF RICHARD EARL OF WARWICK CALLED THE KINGMAKER WIFE TO THE LAST PLANTAGENET KING RICHARD III
‘In person she was seemly, amiable and beauteous and according to the interpretation of her name Anne full gracious’
REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
This beautiful quotation is taken from the English Version of the Rous Roll.
Brass plate and enamelled shield of arms given by the Richard III Society Westminster Abbey
Anne from the English version of the Rous Roll in royal robes, wearing Queen Edith’s crown and carrying an orb and sceptre. Hands emerging from the clouds proffer her the crowns of Lancaster and York. British Library.
Maybe it will be a comfort to those that travel to Westminster Abbey only to find they cannot find Anne’s grave to contemplate that the inability to trace it may have saved Anne’s mortal remains from the disturbance, desecration and resulting loss that befell the remains of her sister, Isobel Duchess of Clarence and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Wydeville .
1. An interesting theory that this could be Anne’s Portrait is discussed @ https://thedragonhound.com/2015/03/20/anne-nevilles-portraits/
2. Crowland Chronicle p.175
2. Royal Tombs of Medieval England. Mark Duffy.p.264
3. Royal Tombs of Medieval England. Mark Duffy p.265
4. Memorials of the Wars of the Roses. W E Hampton p.117
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Anne Beauchamp Countess of Warwick – Wife to the Kingmaker
THE ETON CHAPEL WALL PAINTINGS – A PORTRAIT OF QUEEN ANNE NEVILLE?
EDWARD OF MIDDLEHAM ‘SON TO KYNG RICHARD’ & THE MYSTERIOUS SHERIFF HUTTON MONUMENT
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