Strong jaws for George and Richard…?

This is an aside really. But although this above picture of George of Clarence isn’t contemporary, I can’t help noticing that the general shape of the face, especially the jaw, is very like Richard as we now know him from the discovery in Leicester. Were these York brothers known for their strong jaws?

George’s last resting place is Tewkesbury Abbey (he held Tewkesbury at the time of his death). There are bones there, said to be George and his wife, Isabel Neville. They are in a subterranean chamber that is sometimes open to the public, and are displayed in what resembles a glass fish tank suspended on the wall.

Unfortunately, there is a strong likelihood that they are actually the remains of an older man and his wife, possibly a merchant. George and Isabel’s bones are said to have been disturbed during the time of Henry VIII. However, if the contents of this tank were to be closely examined for DNA, is there any chance that some of George still exists? If so, his DNA would surely match his brother Richard’s.

I’m not saying this would prove my observation about strong jawlines, so please don’t think it. But DNA might point to similarities between the brothers? No? Well, there’s only one way to find out if some of George (or Isabel) is still there in Tewkesbury Abbey, and that is to be allowed to open, examine and test what’s in that tank. There would be religious objections and claims of lack of respect, of course, but to be honest, I don’t see what’s respectful about a fish tank that can be gawped at by the public, as I once gawped!

There’s more about the bones in Tewkesbury at


  1. I think the bones in the tank should be examined and seperated into individuals by an osteologist so that they are not jumbled up together which isn’t very dignified (to say nothing of being insidethe tank.) Once ‘put together’ they could possibly make a better analysis of the remains and see if one could fit George’s profile. A pity no teeth to test (best for getting dna.)


  2. I’d like that. Assembling the skulls and having the portraits overlaid is also an option.


  3. I don’t think he/they had a ‘strong jaw’ so much as no overbite. Most people have a slight one. When pronounced, it is called ‘buck teeth.’ The opposite, an underbite is the Hapsburg jaw.


  4. this reminded me of something i’d read about edmund of langley, 1st duke of york- his tomb was opened during building work during the 19 centuary = after some searching i found the comment made by prof. rollerston who examined his skeleton and remarked that the ‘chin and lower jaw were powerfully developed’ – so maybe it was a genetic feature?


  5. Quite possible. High, sharp cheekbones seem to have been a Plantagenet feature, passed on to some of the Tudors. Not a sign of Native American ancestry at all.


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