Ancient coffin found near Richard III site to be opened

A lead-lined stone coffin dating back to the 14th century, found near the final resting place of Richard III, will be opened for the first time this week.

A team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester believe the coffin, found at the Grey Friars estate, could contain a knight such as Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, who died between 1356 and 1362, or one of two high-ranking Franciscans at the friary.

These include two leaders of the English Grey Friars order - Peter Swynsfeld, who died in 1272, and William of Nottingham, who died in 1330.

The stone coffin was found near the resting place of Richard III - but is thought to date back around 100 years before he was buried there Credit: University of Leicester

The experts suspect the coffin was buried in the 14th century, more than 100 years before Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth and buried there.

Grey Friars site director Mathew Morris, of the university's archaeological services, said: "Stone coffins are unusual in Leicester – and this is the first time we have found a fully intact stone coffin during all our excavations of medieval sites in the city. I am excited it appears to be intact.

"We plan to get a plan of the coffin by measuring it and taking photos. Then we will lift the lid up to see what is inside.

The archaeological dig site at Grey Friars, Leicester, where the coffin was found Credit: University of Leicester