Archaeologists searching for the remains of King Richard III have commented on the second skeleton found at the Church of Grey Friars in Leicester.
– Mathew Morris, University of Leicester Archaeological Services’ site director
It wasn’t unexpected finding the remains of a woman buried in the friary. We know of at least one woman connected with the friary, Ellen Luenor, a possible benefactor and founder with her husband, Gilbert.However the friary would have administered to the poor, sick and homeless as well, and without knowing where Ellen Luenor had been originally buried we are unlikely to ever know who the remains are of, or why she was buried there.
Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist of the Grey Friars project and co-director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, said that at some point in the past, the bones had been disturbed and subsequently reburied. He said the skeleton may have been dug up by a gardener when the site was the garden of a mansion house in the 17th century. The remains were then reburied at a higher level than the church floor.
– Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist
These bones comprise what is known as ‘charnel’ and there is evidence on many sites of respect being according to disturbed human remains which were carefully gathered up and reburied or stored in charnel houses.
Philippa Langley who did extensive research ahead of the dig established seven potential named burials in addition to King Richard’s in the church of the Grey Friars. Only one of these was female- Ellen Luenor, wife of Gilbert Luenor, a possible founder and benefactor of the Grey Friars.
– Philippa Langley
It’s a slim chance that they could be Ellen, but at least we have a female name to attribute to them and at the moment there is no other.
The university is currently analysing another skeleton - the only set of articulated remains exhumed on the site – which has apparent battle wounds and curvature of the spine, and could be the remains of Richard III.