Teeth of King John


When King John’s tomb was opened in 1797, its contents were described in meticulous detail, and a small number of items removed. These objects, still preserved in Worcester, are the only known remains of King John surviving outside his coffin.

A local surgeon, Mr Sandford, was present at the opening of the tomb, and it was he who interpreted the positioning of the body. John’s skeleton was aligned in the tomb exactly as the king appears in his effigy, save that his upper jaw was found near his right elbow (evidence that the body had been disturbed). This jaw contained four well-preserved teeth, two molars and two pre-molars. The molars were removed; a note kept with them reads, ‘These are two teeth taken from the head of King John by William Wood, a stationer’s apprentice, in 1797.’

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Teeth of King John
© Worcester City Museum
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