London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Latest News 

"Face of a Plantagenet child bride" : LAMAS in the Sunday Times 

As LAMAS members will already be aware, the latest volume of the LAMAS Transactions (2016) features a piece by Bruce Watson and William White on the child princess, Lady Anne Mowbray, married into the House of York at the apex of the Wars of the Roses at just the age of eight, and whose skeleton was found in the '60s beneath the street of Minories in East London. The article examines past and present knowledge on the child's skeletal remains, and its findings were picked up by Times Archaeology Correspondent, Norman Hammond (published in print on November 25th 2017). Read it here on the Times Online website, or check it out below!


The new reconstruction of Lady Anne Mowbray’s face by Amy Thornton for John Ashdown-Hill


The face of a Plantagenet princess has been reconstructed from her skeleton, while her bones and hair have yielded data on her stature and health at the time of her death in 1481. The remains of Lady Anne Mowbray also have the potential to illuminate one of English history’s greatest mysteries: the fate of the Princes in the Tower. Lady Anne was the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, his only child and, after his death in 1476, the greatest heiress in England. Edward IV got papal leave to have her married to his younger son, Richard, Duke of York, in 1478, although she was related to the Plantagenets and both were legally too young to marry. However, Anne died before her ninth birthday, leaving Richard a widower at the age of eight. Interred in Westminster Abbey, she was later ejected by Henry VII in 1502 when he built his own mortuary chapel at the eastern end. Her coffin was then reburied in St Clare’s Abbey near Aldgate, the home of her mother, the dowager duchess of Norfolk.

In 1964 a digging machine uncovered her vault while clearing wartime bomb damage, as Bruce Watson reports in Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological SocietyDr Francis Celoria of the London Museum (now the Museum of London) realised from the finely engraved plate on the lead coffin who was inside it and set up a multidisciplinary scientific investigation to study her remains. A fuss in parliament and in the press about the failure to obtain a burial licence curtailed the study, and its results have never been fully published. They do, however, show that she was about 4ft 4in tall — small for a modern child of nine, but the norm until the late 19th century due to deficiencies in diet. Her hair had high levels of arsenic and antimony, perhaps from her medicines, and she seems to have suffered from ill-health. When her body was prepared for burial her shroud appears to have been treated with beeswax and decorated with gold leaf or thread, and a separate cloth covered her face.

Individuals like Anne who are precisely dated are vital, so her remains are of international importance. A recent survey of more than 4,600 juvenile burials from 95 British medieval and early post-medieval sites included no named individuals”, so their precise dates of birth and death could not be ascertained, Mr Watson notes.

Of more general interest was a congenital dental anomaly — missing upper and lower permanent second molars on the left side — that Lady Anne shared with the two juvenile skeletons found in the Tower of London in 1674, assumed to be those of her husband, Richard Duke of York, and his brother, King Edward V (the Princes in the Tower). The bones, which are interred in a splendid marble urn in Westminster Abbey, have not been examined since 1933, but reanalysis of photographs has suggested that the two juveniles were 13½-14½ and 11½-12½ years old when they died. If they were indeed the bones of Edward V and his brother, then the overlapping spans show that they could have died in 1484, pinning the blame on their uncle, King Richard III (The Times, May 21, 1987). A slightly later date in the reign of Henry VII is also possible, Mr Watson says, but “the debate over the identity of these undated juveniles will continue until their remains are re-examined. They could be radiocarbon dated and DNA extracted to confirm if they are related to each other and to Richard III.”

Since Richard’s skeleton was discovered five years ago and intensively studied before his reburial in 2015, his DNA is available and a link through the male Plantagenet line could be established, Mr Watson notes. Despite many suggestions in recent decades that the putative remains of the Princes in the Tower should be subjected to the minimal sampling needed using modern technology, the authorities at Westminster Abbey (a “Royal Peculiar” outside the Church of England’s control) have resisted.

It is extremely rare for the remains of named pre-Reformation individuals to be studied in England,” Mr Watson says. Richard III’s rapid interment without perhaps even a shroud was “completely untypical and can be attributed to the unexpected manner of his death”. Anne Mowbray’s burial was that of an aristocrat with royal links and “undoubtedly of value to our understanding of death and burial during the late 15th century”. The new reconstruction shows us how her princely bridegroom may have seen her.

Norman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent. Sunday Times. 

Read it in the Transactions: "Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York: a 15th-century child burial from the Abbey of St Clare, of St Clare, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets". Bruce Watson and William White. London & Middlesex Archaeological Society, Vol 67, pp. 227 - 260.



Volume 67 (2016) of the LAMAS transactions has been published!

LAMAS trans Cover 67

All members should have now received their copy of the new volume. The cover depicts a royal wedding: the marriage of Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York (the younger son of Edward IV), and Lady Anne Mowbray, Duchess of Norfolk, on 15 January 1478, as imagined by James Northcote RA (1821). What made this wedding very unusual were the ages of the bride (5 years) and the groom (4). Their short lives, the burial of Anne (died 1481), plus the rediscovery of Anne’s remains in 1964 and their subsequent study are discussed at length in Anne Mowbray, Duchess of York: a 15th-century child burial from the Abbey of St Clare, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets by Bruce Watson and the late William White.

Other articles include the following: Archaeological investigations at 70 Station Road, West Drayton by Peter Boyer; A possible early Roman settlement boundary and medieval city ditch: excavations at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London EC3 by Robin Wroe-Brown; plus another article on a different stretch of the same feature, The medieval city ditch at Bishopsgate, Heron Tower, London EC3 by David Sorapure; An archaeological investigation in the east wing of Somerset House, City of Westminster by Neil Hawkins; Part of a 13th-century barge from Leamouth and other vessels from the lower Lea Valley in the London Borough of Newham by Damian Goodburn; Fields of food for London? Supplies from the Hoo Peninsula, Kent, in the Middle Ages by Gillian Draper; Carters in the City: the operation and regulation of commercial carriage in the City of London, 1250–1550 by Claire Martin; Excavations at Finsbury Avenue Square, London EC2: from suburban medieval garden to Victorian railway station goods yard by Isca Howell; and ‘The louse, the itch, or the pox’: diseases of the prisoners in 18th-century Middlesex by Audrey Eccles. There are also illustrated summaries of the lectures given at the latest Archaeology (2017) and Local History (2016) conferences, plus a number of book reviews and a tribute to the late Ivor Noël Hume, City of London archaeologist (1950–57).

It is hoped to include in LAMAS Transactions Volume 68 (2017) articles on St Mary’s church, Harrow-on-the-Hill, the archaeological evidence for the Great Fire from 11–23 New Fetter Lane, Early Neolithic activity at Kew Bridge Road, Hounslow, the historical development of the east wing of Somerset House and the account of John of Cologne, the King’s Linen-Armourer (1330).



Volume 66 (2015) of the LAMAS transactions has been published!

Cover 66 outside

All members should have now received their copy of the new volume. The cover serves as a vivid reminder that this year was the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.Therefore, in remembrance of this conflagration which dramatically changed the appearance of London we published a number of themed articles: Dorian Gerhold reconsidered the location of the bakehouse where it started; Professor Harvey produced a post-script to his (1960) foreign visitor’s eye witness description to the destruction and Nigel Jeffries has described the contemporary material culture as revealed by excavations at One New Change. The history and architecture of one of the City of London’s parish churches which was severely damaged by this conflagration, St Dunstan in the East, was described in another article by Jennifer Ledfors. Other articles included fieldwork at Westminster Abbey by Paw Jorgensen, Ironmonger Row Baths (Islington) by Peter Boyer, HM Tower of London by Anthony Mackinder and Graham Keevill and the City of London priory of the Crossed Friars by Antonietta Lerz and Nick Holder. John Clark described the religious controversy that took place at the enigmatic London Stone in Cannon Street during the 16th century. There are also illustrated summaries of the lectures given at the latest Archaeology (2016) and Local History (2015) conferences, plus a number of book reviews.

LAMAS membership services survey
The purpose of this survey is to find out how the present range of membership services are being utilised by our members. For instance, we would like to find out what proportion of our membership regularly attends the Society’s lectures and conferences. Likewise, we want to know if we could make more use of our website and improve access to some of the Society’s outreach, such as giving people the option of receiving the Newsletter in a digital format. Therefore we (the LAMAS Council and committees) hope that you will complete this survey to tell us what you think, so we can review and improve our membership services.

The survey can be completed online: There is also a paper copy with the September 2016 issue of the Newsletter, which all members receive.

The results of survey will be analysed and published in the May 2017 edition of the Newsletter. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and your opinions, so please make use of the free-text boxes through the survey:

LAMAS Special Papers nos 1-15 are now available to download from our website
Visit the Special Papers page to find them.

Local History Committee Seeks New Members
LAMAS Local History Committee is seeking new members. The Committee meets three times a year, and between meetings members (who attend as individual members of LAMAS or as representatives of their affiliated Local History Society) carry forward the decisions of the committee. More details of the committee may be found on the local history pages of the LAMAS website. If you are interested in joining, please contact either Eileen Bowlt on 01895 638060 (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or John Hinshelwood on 020 8348 3375 (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

LAMAS Transactions Volumes 59 and 60 are now online!
They can be accessed, alongside all the other volumes published between 1860 and 2009, from the Transactions Archive page.

LAMAS Special Paper 17 is now available for purchase

London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Special Paper 17, 2014
Price £25 + £3.20 post and packing (Special Price: £20 + £3.20 post and packing until 31 December 2014)
ISBN 978-0-903290-68-5, published July 2014

This volume is a tribute to John Clark and his long career in the Guildhall Museum and the Museum of London. It celebrates his work on many aspects of Saxon and medieval archaeology and history, and his enquiries into the myths and legends that have built up around London and its people. The book is edited by five of his former Museum colleagues, and there are 37 other contributors. It is illustrated in colour throughout. It is available for purchase in the Museum of London shop or from Karen Thomas, using this order form.

- London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Special Paper 16, 2013
Excavations at South Mimms Castle, Hertfordshire (by John Kent, Derek Renn and Anthony Streeten). This is the long-awaited final report of the archaeological and documentary investigation of a motte-and-bailey castle at South Mimms. Order your copy now, price £30 + £2.50 post and packing