A creepy tale about the Duke of Buckingham’s severed head….

King’s House, Salisbury Cathedral Close

According to this site  when Henry, Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason in 1483 in Salisbury, his head was taken to King Richard III, then lodging at the King’s House in the Cathedral Close.

Buckingham had turned upon his cousin Richard, who rightly called him “the most untrue creature living”. Shakespeare would have us believe that on seeing the head, Richard said “And so much for Buckingham”. I doubt it very much, because Richard had been very hurt by Buckingham’s treachery and those words smack much more of Shakespeare than the real Richard.

I don’t know if Richard had even asked to see the gory head, or whether his friends just thought he would appreciate the gesture. Anyway, the head rolled and fell on the floor in front of them all, leaving a nasty bloodstain which, it seems, was never cleaned properly. How disgusting! Still, if they’d scrubbed the floor of all trace, there wouldn’t be a juicy creepy story to tell, would there?

But this wasn’t Glastonbury and King Arthur, or Gloucester and King Edward II, this was Salisbury and the unlovely Buckingham wasn’t likely to attract hordes of fee-paying pilgrims….

Henry, Duke of Buckingham

To learn more about the Cathedral Close at Salisbury, go to this site.


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