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Edward II Tomb

The burial place of a King

The Tomb of King Edward II is the only monarch’s tomb in the South West and one of only a few outside of London.

Located in the north ambulatory, the tomb is an early example of the ‘English Court’ style. The alabaster stone effigy was one of the very first of its kind, with the limestone based clad in Purbeck marble. To this day, the tomb still retains its limestone canopy. 

The history

The early 14th century was a turbulent and fascinating time in local, national and international history. Following King Edward II’s abdication, imprisonment and alleged murder at Berkeley Castle in 1327, he was buried at St Peter's Abbey, now Gloucester Cathedral.

The tomb, commissioned by Edward III, c.1330s, was visited by thousands of pilgrims, including Richard II in 1378. 

Niches were cut into the pillars on each side to enable the building of the tomb, but it is also possible that pilgrims were allowed to walk around it.

Through donations and royal patronage made by pilgrims, the Abbey remodelled the Quire and the
Cloister. Therefore, the tomb was almost certainly the original source of funding and inspiration for much of the cathedral building we know and love today. 

It is also believed that the tomb's presence may have discouraged Henry VIII from destroying the Abbey during the Reformation in the 1530’s.

Restoration and conservation

Supported by substantial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and the Summerfield Trust, restoration of the tomb began in 2007. 

Involving a range of heritage professionals and craftspeople, the requirements were complex, involving repairs to and conservation of, the plinth, alabaster effigy and ornamental canopy. 

The work on the tomb was completed in June 2008, with the Princess Royal unveiling the magnificent structure which will take pride of place in Gloucester Cathedral for generations to come.