The Bone Chests: Unlocking the Secrets of the Anglo-Saxons

by Cat Jarman

Hardcover, 2023



Call number



William Collins (2023), 272 pages


In 1642, William Waller and his Parliamentarian army came to Winchester with destruction on their minds. They forced entry to the magnificent cathedral that had stood on the site for over 600 years and began to smash things. In the cathedral's holiest place, ten beautiful mortuary chests rested as they'd done since the 7th century. In search for treasure, the soldiers ripped open the lids and when all they found were bones they flung them at the great West Window, destroying the 14th-century stained glass with its sacred images of the Virgin Mary and St Peter. The desecration was total -- blood, glass, bayonets, bones all scattered underfoot. The chests housed the mortal remains of West Saxon kings, saints and bishops; of Queen Emma of Normandy, William Rufus, Harthacnut, Edmund Ironside and Edward the Confessor. As the soldiers left, local people picked through the damage, gathering the glass and hiding the bone chests for safekeeping. Six chests remain today -- with a jumble of the original bones. In 2014 they were opened for the first time to anthropologists and archaeologist, photographed and catalogued so that the exact position of each individual item is a matter of record. Since then, cutting edge science, including isotope analysis, carbon dating and DNA analysis has revealed astonishing new insights. In "Bone Chests", Cat Jarman builds on evidence from these bones of the men and women who witnessed and orchestrated the creation of England, fuelled and fortified by the actions of invading and settling Vikings, to tell an unforgettable new account of this early period of history.… (more)


Original language


Physical description

272 p.; 9.45 inches


0008447322 / 9780008447328

Similar in this library

Page: 0.9532 seconds