Wednesday 11 October 2017

Heart Burial

I happened across this fragment of something I didn't recognise recently and was intrigued to read that it is part of a late medieval heart burial. In times of warfare or trauma related death I can understand that partial burial may occur if you do not have a complete cadaver, but a heart burial is apparently something quite different.

Scurrying off to see what the internet had to say on the matter I now know that this was quite the fashion, particularly in the times of the Crusades. Knights often died abroad and it would have been very difficult to transport a whole corpse home. Instead the heart was embalmed in spices and returned to the loved ones in a lead or ivory box for interring here. One of the most famous is that of Richard I in 1199 whose heart in buried in Rouen Cathedral. It was examined in 2012 and found to have been preserved in frankincense [traces of other materials remained too]. For those who might like to see this for themselves  St Michael's church in Exning, Norfolk has a rare double heart example.



  1. Goodness me, that's interesting. Love that box. x

  2. Hmmm. Interezting amd very freaky to me to think of hearts being seperated from body.

    1. It does seem rather strange when seen from our modern day perspective doesn't it!


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