SALISBURY GREY FRIARS–BUCKINGHAM’S BURIAL SITE?

 

Salisbury Grey Friars has all but disappeared from the archaeological record. Founded in 1225-8 , it was never a very large house, situated near the still impressive medieval St Ann’s Gate leading into Salisbury’s Cathedral Close. At the reformation, Grey Friars was destroyed and any extant buildings and stonework sold off and re-used (several nearby houses appear to have anonymous pieces of medieval stone in their fabric). 1960’s excavations revealed little about the monastic building, no burials, no church, just a portion of where the retaining wall had stood. (One wonders if the archaeologists of the day were digging in the right spot,remembering that many, until John Ashdown-Hill correctly identified the church’s position, had mistaken the actual alignment of the buildings of Greyfriars in Leicester.)

What is interesting about Grey Friars in Salisbury is that one solitary chronicle mentioned it as the burial place of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, after his execution in the Market Square on November 2, 1483. (His ghost is said to haunt Debenhams; now that it is closed, I would what his restless shade will do?) Grey Friars Monasteries often took in the illustrious dead from the losing side battles (as in the case of Richard III in Leicester and Buckingham’s own grandfather, Humphrey Stafford, killed at the Battle of Northampton, and buried in Northampton Greyfriars (also lost). So it could well have been the case that Buckingham was interred here, although several other places in Salisbury have made the claim, and I even have another theory. In any case the tomb said to have been his now stands in Britford Church, where it was most likely moved by Anne, Buckingham’s daughter (said to have had a fling with Henry VIII!) whose husband held lands there. wherever it was dragged from after the Reformation, it is now empty…

Here is an interesting article by a local Salisbury Historian about Grey Friars’ history and its secret tunnels:

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/19079719.friars-st-ann-street-secret-passage/

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