Inside Anne Boleyn’s place of burial

If you’ve followed this blog for a while you will know of my fascination with Anne Boleyn. She was, of course, Henry VIII of England’s second wife and the mother of Elizabeth I. She was executed inside the Tower of London on 19 May 1536 after being found guilty of treason, incest and adultery.

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This memorial commemorates several people, including Anne, who were executed and it says it the spot upon which they were executed. However, it is much more likely that the execution took place near the Waterloo Barracks.

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After the execution, Anne’s body was brought to the St. Peter ad Vincula chapel.

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This chapel is only accessible if you’re going on a tour.

Last year I spotted this picture on Twitter. It was taken by Rebecca English from the DailyMail and I have her permission to post it.

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This is inside the crypt of the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula and according to Rebecca, this is also where the supposed remains of Anne Boleyn are. I say supposed because they were identified in 1876 and I’m not sure they would have had enough evidence to conclude back then if it was really her and maybe even her sister in law, Jane.

I found this picture rather interesting because I had always assumed that the bodies were still under the tiles in the chapel. Anne Boleyn even has a memorial tile there.

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Doyne C. Bell  Notices of the Historic Persons Buried in the Chapel of St. Peter Ad Vincula in the Tower of London (1877)

I did manage to find this on the website of Historic Royal Palaces:

However, after the fire of 1841 which destroyed the Grand Storehouse, the decision was taken to remove bodies from the Chapel’s graveyard which ran into the area now known as the Broadwalk. The construction of the new Waterloo Barracks encroached on this area, leading to the removal of the bodies and so the ordnance buildings were converted into a crypt for this purpose. Many of the original lead plaques from this period can be seen on the Crypt’s walls. Although new burials in the Chapel were banned after 1853, the Crypt has been used to take bodies removed from under the floor of the Chapel in the Victorian renovations of 1876 as well as remains discovered during twentieth century excavations.’[ref]http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/stories/thechapelproject/chapelhistory[/ref] – 

So perhaps there is some truth to it, but since Anne Boleyn was never identified in the era of DNA I guess we’ll never know exactly where she is!



About Moniek 1044 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

11 Comments

  1. Wow, I never knew this and this picture never seen.
    Anne Boleyn is my heroine too and what stupid of me that I’ve missed this report about a crypt where she could possibly be layed to rest in the 18 Hundreds.
    Thank you for sharing this and by the way: I love this website and all the work you do for the memory of all these wonderful people.

  2. According to the yeoman warders, although the remains were taken from under the floor,.the ones under the altar (Anne, Katheryn Howard and Lady Jane Grey) are still there.

    • Interesting that the three remaining are all Queens — given that Lady Jane Grey was nominated as his successor by Edward VI on his deathbed.

  3. I think it would be fascinating and not at all ghoulish if the Royal Family would sponsor opening Royal tombs in a respectful manner and allow (and pay for) DNA research on the bones … it would be such a boon to historians and others who would like to know more about these persons; their lives, illnesses & so on … but it will never happen 😑 Thank you for this very interesting & well researched site

  4. I thank you because i thought she was under the floor with the others her bones might still be mixed up but at least shes with her brother and sister in law and cousin she isnt alonebev

  5. She did not come into the Tower through Traitors Gate either !

    My picture on Facebook is me dressed like Anne Boleyn taken last Halloween at Hever Castle. I’m looking out the window into the courtyard ! Was so fun to spend Halloween there. I have always loved and been fascinated by Anne too. Read a book about her when I was 12 and have been hooked ever since. My favorite movie is
    Anne Of the Thousand Days. 😊

    • You are right. I am tired of websites and so called historians claiming Anne Boleyn came in via Traitors Gate. No, important prisoners came to the other steps and up into what used to be the Royal Apartments, or Saint Thomas Tower. Anne went into the Royal Apartments and so did Elizabeth I. Others came in via the Warf Steps and were held in various places, but most didn’t come through Traitors Gate as it didn’t exist. This was a late eighteenth name for the main gate that dates from the reign of Edward I and was a grand entrance to the old Royal palace and fortress. It had a grand staircase and led from the river and two huge portcullis and a private entrance led up to the Royal Apartments. The Tower was altered under Henry Viii and Elizabeth I and later as a tourist attraction much was labelled for affect and drama,but is not correct. We didn’t even use the term Traitors Gate until 200 years ago, let alone have Anne Boleyn brought in by it.

  6. I do remember reading something about them not sure who was who. Anne they thought was taller and identified her and “NO.. not a missing finger”.. Katherine Howard was the problem.. They thought because of her age her remains and become dust.. Apparently at that age they deteriorate faster.. I don’t think they were ever quite sure with those three.. But all three there it seems. Very sad even during the 1800’s they were not given a proper burial .. Two of them “Queens of England”..

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