WICKED KING JOHN'S FINAL RESTING PLACE
Worcester Cathedral, Worcester, Worcestershire
King John (1167-1216), the fourth and youngest son of Henry 11, was the archetypal wicked king, whose record of rebellion and intrigue against his brother, Richard 1st, led contemporary historian William of Newburgh (1135-1198), to denounce him as "nature’s enemy."
His bullying manner and excessive taxation provoked the powerful English barons to rebel against him, and force him to seal Magna Carta.
Later hailed as a declaration of English liberties, it was at the time, little more than a criticism of his style of government and, as such, he had no intention of adhering to its terms.
His reign ended with England wracked by civil war. But one place he had reverence for was Worcester and, as he lay dying, he made a codicil to his will ordering that he was to be buried in its cathedral, between the tombs of its two saints, St Oswald and St Wulfstan.
Their bones were long ago dispersed, but the tomb of "evil" King John can still exists.
The marble top of his tomb is the lid of his original coffin, and thought to be the oldest royal effigy in England.
The tomb itself has been opened several times, shedding light upon a legend concerning the Kings final days.
It is said that John, realising that the chances of him attaining heaven were limited, gave orders that his corpse was to be dressed in the garb of a monk.
Thus attired, he hoped to hoodwink his way into Paradise.
When the tomb was opened in 1797, the remnants of an ancient cowl were, supposedly, found wrapped around his skull!