Snowing again today. In Paskell’s auction-room, amongst a lot of mixed rubbish, is a very curious thing – bones labelled as belonging to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, removed from Pomfret Castle in 1885. They consisted of part of the cranium, one femur, tibia, ulna and one or two others. There was nothing else, and no indication as to where they had come from.
At a later date, EJR added the following note about the discovery of these bones:
This was the Earl of Lancaster executed in 1322. He was considered after his death to be a saint, and pilgrims flocked to his tomb. Query – how did his bones come to be removed? At the Reformation? And how came they to be in a wooden box in Paskell & Cann’s auction room? Cannot imagine why I took no steps in this matter. I remember handling the bones, but cannot recollect any business of the War Agricultural Committee of sufficient importance to cause me to neglect to secure them.
May 12, 1951
(See “English Wayfaring Life in the XIV Century” by Jusserand pp339-41)
I would be interested to hear from anyone who can shed any light on the story of the Earl of Lancaster's bones. It appears that his bones were dug up by workmen near Pomfret Castle in 1822 and removed to Fryston Hall, near Pontefract. Fryston Hall was demolished in 1934 and so perhaps the bones were then removed again?
More details on the life of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster can be found here. Many thanks, CP
E.J. Rudsdale Talk
I will be giving a talk as part of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival on E.J. Rudsdale's Journals, entitled 'Creating History: A Civilian's Experience of the Second World War in Essex' on Thursday 30th October from 7.30-9.00pm at Anglia Ruskin University. Tickets are free. Book your ticket here. Many thanks, Catherine Pearson