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.’
- Article by:
- Nicholas Vincent
- Clauses and content, Medieval origins
The agreement at Runnymede in 1215 had broad consequences for medieval England. Professor Nicholas Vincent explores the immediate impact of Magna Carta, considering the Civil War, the re-issue of the charter and the formation of early forms of parliament.