QUEEN ANNE NEVILL – HER BURIAL IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Queen Anne Neville from the Salisbury Roll. Anne’s mantle equates her ancestorial arms with those of England and France.
After Anne Neville’s death on the 16th March 1485 , she was given a magnificent funeral in Westminster Abbey ‘with honours no less than befitted the burial of a queen’ (1).
Those wishing to visit the Abbey to pay their respects at her grave will be unable to find it, although the general location is known. The Westminster sacrist’s accounts record the payment of ₤42.12 for her burial but there are no accounts of the funeral or any monument. The Great Chronicle of London, written in the 1530s records that Anne was buried south of the high alter ‘by the South dore that does ledyth Into Seynt Edwardys Chapell’. A late 16th century list of Westminster burials also records her burial on the south side of the Sanctuary. According to Stow, Anne was buried south of the Westminster Vestry while Crull claimed her grave stood in the south choir aisle (2).
The lack of a gravestone or monument might be explained by Richard’s own death five months later or may be due to the confined space between the high altar and the sedilia (priests seats) (3)
A leaden coffin was discovered in 1866 south of the high altar but was not disturbed (4). However it is unclear whether this was Anne’s coffin or that of another queen Anne, Anne of Cleves.
in 1960 an enamelled shield of arms with a brass plate was placed on the wall of the south ambulatory as near to the grave site as possible, by the Richard lll Society. The brass plate is inscribed with the words ANNE NEVILL 1456-1485 QUEEN OF ENGLAND YOUNGER DAUGHTER OF RICHARD EARL OF WARWICK CALLED THE KINGMAKER WIFE TO THE LAST PLANTAGENET KING RICHARD lll ‘In person she was seemly, amiable and beauteous and according to the interpretation of her name Anne full gracious’ REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
The quotation is taken from the Rous Roll.
Brass plate and enamelled shield of arms given by the Richard lll Society
Anne from the Rous Roll.
Anne’s Coat of Arms..
Maybe it will be a comfort to those that travel to Westminster Abbey only to find they cannot find Anne’s grave to contemplate that the inibility to trace it may have saved Anne’s mortal remains from the desecration and resulting loss that befell the remains of her sister, Isobel Duchess of Clarence and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Wydeville .
1. Crowland Chronicle p.175
2. Royal Tombs of Medieval England. Mark Duffy.p.264
3. Royal Tombs of Medieval England. Mark Duffy p.265
4. Memorials of the Wars of the Roses. W E Hampton p.117