Calls to find the body of king murdered in a sewer 600 years ago

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484px-King_James_I_of_ScotlandAN MSP is calling for the body of a Scottish king murdered 600-years ago to be found, after the sensational discovery of Richard III.

Murdo Fraser MSP, a history enthusiast, is leading calls for the body of James I, thought to be somewhere in Perth to be located.

James I was savagely killed in a sewer in 1437 after his cousin allowed a band of the king’s enemies to enter the monastery where he was staying , but the exact location of his grave is not known.

Experts proved a skeleton lying under a Leicester car park was Richard III, the English king killed in battle in 1485.

Fraser, a former deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, warned the logistics could be challenging but exhuming James I would bring international acclaim.

He said: “Leicester will no doubt benefit from the worldwide attention brought by the exhumation of Richard III.

“A similar project in Perth would have the potential to attract similar global acclaim – which can do no harm in promoting the city.

“The story behind the assassination of King James I is well known and historians are almost certain that he lies buried underneath hospital street in Perth.

 

Finances

“The logistics behind and disinterment would be considerable.

“However if finances can be found, this project would provide historians and archaeologists with another fascinating look into our often bloody past.”

It is known James I was buried on the grounds of the Carthusian monastery he founded, but the site of the cemetery has become lost.

There is a memorial at the corner of Perth’s Kin Street and Hospital Street to mark the fact.

Local history enthusiast George McPhee, 50, said: “There are interesting parallels with the discovery of the skeleton of Richard III and the resting place of the Scots king James I.

“The Leicester search sounded an impossible task but they proved the doubters wrong.

“I would love to see the money raised to finance a similar search in Perth.”

 

Plausible

 But Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust archaeologist David Strachan expressed caution over expectations.

The site is now home to King James VI Hospital, tenements, shops and a car park.

He said: “It could be quite a borad area but a search is entirely plausible.

“You only know when you do it but looking for a skeleton of that period is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

James I was killed in February 1437 as he stayed in Perth’s Blackfriars Monastery.

The year before, he had been defeated by the English in his bid to recapture Roxburgh castle in the Borders.

His cousin, Sir Robert Stewart, allowed a small band of the king’s enemies into the monastery.

The King had time to hide in a sewer, but its exit had been blocked off to prevent tennis balls being lost, and he was stabbed to death.

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