Waltham Abbey: Search for King Harold

Today, Tuesday 14 October 2014, is the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 which is being marked at Waltham Abbey by a search for the body of defeated King Harold.

He is outside the east end of the town’s abbey church in an area which was once within the building.

The annual wreath-laying took place at the grave only last Saturday. However, some believe that the Saxon King did not die at the Battle of Hastings as depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry but lived on.

The team which found Richard III in a Leicester a car park two years ago are on site to look for a much older man.

Until now it has been thought that Harold was buried at Waltham Abbey after the battle since he had stopped there to pray on his way south to stop the Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror landing.

3 thoughts on “Waltham Abbey: Search for King Harold

  1. Kate T

    The wreaths laid last Saturday at the annual King Harold Day event were placed on the memorial stone in the Abbey church yard. It is believed that King Harold II is buried at Waltham Abbey, the memorial stone is for remembrance and is not his grave. The search today is a non evasive focused on the interior of the church.

  2. Kate T

    Just been down to see what is happening – they are currently searching outside along the far wall in the Abbey Church Yard, but concentrating on an area along the church wall near to the unusual chevron marks in the stone.

  3. Phil

    If Harold was found at all, it would be a marvellous find. The ‘official’ account is that he was brought to Waltham for burial after the battle. I am not sure why the unlikely tale that he survived and became a hermit in Chester should have any more credence than it ever did, even if a body were to be found. The biggest hurdle in the plan would be in proving any such remains are those of Harold. Could any living descendants be clearly identified to act as DNA comparators? This was the problem that scuppered the plan to examine the remains in the tomb at Bosham a few years ago. One solution may be to take a sample from Edward the Confessor’s Queen, Edith, who is buried alongside him at Westminster Abbey. Edith was Harold’s sister, so surely a brother-sister DNA match could be made as a test.

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