Henry I in Reading

There are moves to find the body of Henry I who is buried in Reading.

The main report is in The Daily Telegraph.

Henry I was the son of William the Conqueror and brother of William II. Henry died in France on 1 December 1135 and his body was buried a month later, on 4 January 1136, in the abbey which had founded in Reading.

The Thames Path guide has always maintained that Henry is under the school playground next to St James’s Church.

This is the modern successor of the Reading Abbey which covered much of the adjoining Forbury Gardens park.

There were recent suggestions that the body was under the park but Philippa Langley, who was involved in the search for Richard III, has said that the King may lie under the playground or school car park. The latter spot, south-east of today’s St James’s church, now seems to be the most likely area for initial investigation.

The burial was near the abbey’s high altar but the exact length of the abbey church is uncertain.

The church’s dedication to St James recalls that the abbey church held the hand of St James the Great whose remains are now in Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain. The hand was the gift of Henry’s daughter Matilda who had inherited the relic through marriage.


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