King John’s teeth

By | Category: Travel news
King John out hunting

King John out hunting – with all teeth!

Most readers will know that this is the year when we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. If you thought that the occasion merely meant that you would be able to see one of the remaining copies of the charter you would be wrong.

At the British library you can see two of the unfortunate king’s molars! And a bone from a thumb which may or may not have been his. The British Library which is putting on the exhibition aren’t sure whether that belongs to King John or not.

The obvious question is why aren’t the teeth – and for that matter, the thumb bone, still with the rest of the monarch’s remains?

According to the Curator of the exhibition Julian Harrison, “John’s tomb at Worcester Cathedral was opened for a brief period in 1797, and certain body parts removed as souvenirs… by William Wood, a stationer’s apprentice.” He doesn’t say how the teeth left Mr. Wood’s possession and got to the exhibition but the thumb bone was returned to the cathedral in 1957. Nor does he say why the tomb was opened or what else went missing.

When the British Library exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy, opens on March the 13th I wouldn’t be surprised if the teeth raise  more interest amongst viewers than the two copies of the charter do!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , ,