Heads up on king

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Your article on the Flodden commemorations (11 January) opens up a can of worms concerning the condition and whereabouts of the remains of King James IV.

His alleged corpse was buried or displayed at Sheen Abbey, Richmond, later Sheen House of the Dukes of Suffolk, and now under the 14th fairway of the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, 
a fitting resting place, perhaps, for a monarch who popularised golf.

The head (at least), however, is said to have been transferred much later to St Michael’s, Wood Street, in the City of London, 
demolished in 1897 when many bones were reinterred at 
Brookwood Cemetery.

The site of St Michael’s was recently the London office of Standard Life Edinburgh, and now a pub called The Red 
Herring (which all of this may prove to be). Authors Nigel Tranter and David Ross both campaigned for a plaque to be placed at the site, before, sadly, each died.

A head recently reburied in the graveyard of St Botolph’s, Aldgate, has also been claimed as the king’s, but was more likely that of Queen Jane Grey’s father.

Also in the City is the College of Arms with those alleged belongings of King James himself – his ring, dagger and sword.

Since the Museum of London is now just round the corner from these sites, surely an information panel in the museum would be in order, to be added to the Flodden Ecomuseum sites.

HAMISH ALLAN

New Skinner’s Close

Edinburgh