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Published on March 25th, 2015 | by Niall Norbury


Search for Henry I planned in Reading

Last year the country was shocked by the discovery of Richard III buried underneath a car park in Leicester – a team of archaeologists and historians hope to make a similar discovery could be made in Reading this year.

The team behind the Hidden Abbey project believe they could find the bones of Henry I underneath or near Reading Abbey. The project is supported by both Philippa Langley – who helped find the remains of Richard III – and the English Heritage Fund who have pledged to carry out ground penetrating radar research of the Reading Abbey area later this year.

Many historians have long-held the belief that Henry I is buried underneath Reading Abbey. Son of William the Conqueror, Henry I founded Reading Abbey in 1121 which helped establish the town as an important cultural and political hub. He was later buried at Reading Abbey alongside his wife, Matilda of Scotland.

One of the main issues facing the upcoming Henry I search is whether the Norman king’s remains are still underneath the Abbey or have been stolen in the centuries since his burial. Additionally, the location of his burial place is uncertain with possible sites ranging from Reading Prison to Forbury Gardens.

Regardless, the Hidden Abbey team remain positive they will discover something during their search. Speaking to the BBC, project co-founder and historian, John Mullaney said: “We know he’s there in some form or another because if people did discover these bones…they would have been left there.”

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is the Editor and Creator of Alt Reading. He works in the voluntary sector supporting charities and community groups in Reading.

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