what links nelson, wolsey and henry viii

What links Nelson, Wolsey and Henry VIII?

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One of the strangest stories in English History links Nelson, Wolsey and Henry VIII. 

It starts on 21st of October 1805, onboard HMS Victory, Somewhere off Cape Trafalgar.

The battle is won.

But Vice-Admiral Nelson is dead.

He was shot by a marksman on an enemy ship after being advised to take off his coat so he wouldn’t be so easily identified.

Nelson being Nelson decided against it.

He was Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and he would be damned if he were taking off his stripes to hide from the French!

The Frenchmarksman must have been rubbing their hands together with glee! 

A bullet based through his shoulder and destroyed his spine.

Before he passed he issued final instructions and got a little kiss from Hardy – the captain of the Victory.

The great naval hero died at around 4.30 in the afternoon.

His body was placed in a barrel of brandy to preserve it. The barrel was then lashed to the mainmast under constant guard.

Back in London, King George III is said to have cried when he heard the news of Nelson’s death.

Once the body was home, plans were made for an elaborate funeral in St Paul’s Cathedral.

But there was a problem.

What could be used as a tomb for such a hero? It would need to be impressive. Almost royal in nature.

This is where the link between Nelson, Wolsey and Henry VIII comes into play. 

Someone found records of an unused black marble sarcophagus.

They did some searching and managed to find it.

This was the very sarcophagus that a certain Cardinal Wolsey had commissioned for his own tomb centuries beforehand.

On Wolsey’s downfall Henry VIII took possession of the sarcophagus and made in the centrepiece of his plans for his own mega tomb.

Of course…Henry VIII’s plans were ignored by the men who once feared him and he was buried in a vault in the Quire of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle next to Jane Seymour. There wasn’t even a stone to mark the resting place, let alone an elaborate tomb.

So the black marble sarcophagus just lay around for 250 odd years doing nothing…

Until now.

And that’s is how Nelson came to be buried in the sarcophagus that was originally going to hold the body of the most infamous monarch in English history.

And to be fair, it’s pretty bloody impressive.


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