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Henry I's skeleton 'under a car park in Reading' says historian who discovered Richard III

NewsHenry I's skeleton 'under a car park in Reading' says historian who discovered Richard III

Philippa Langley, 60, is an author and historian with an unusual gift: she has a sixth sense for royal burial sites. 

Through a combination of painstaking research and what she calls a “strange sensation”, Ms Langley believes she may now have discovered her second burial site under a car park. 

The first came in 2012, when she famously identified the exact location in a Leicester car park (painted with an ‘R’ for reserved) which, when excavated, proved to hold the bones of the 15th-century king, Richard III.

The discovery earned her international recognition, an MBE and portrayal in a 2022 feature film, The Lost King. 

And now, Ms Langley believes she might know where to dig for King Henry I, Richard III’s predecessor by some 400 years, who ruled England from 1100 to his death in 1135.

READ MORE: Richard III vindicated as book sheds new light on murder accusations

Using the same research methods previously deployed, as well as analysis of the site and her sixth sense, she believes the son of William the Conqueror could be buried under the letter ‘K’ in the parking lot of a Ministry of Justice-owned car park at Reading Prison.

Speaking to the Mail on Monday, Ms Langley said there were “powerful arguments for the location of the king’s grave here. 

“It is therefore my contention that not only do we have another king in a car park in Reading, but that K is for king.”

She has deployed her self-started Hidden Abbey project to help raise funds for the cost of a dig to excavate the site, estimated around £55,000. 

Ms Langley said her research had led her to believe that Henry I may have been buried at the site when it was still part of Reading Abbey. 

She said: “For a long time it was believed the grave was under a nursery school building, but from my research it looks like he is under the car park of Reading Prison, so it’s another king in a car park.

“And it looks like Henry is buried under the letter K for king, which would be hilarious.”

A similar feat of detective work led to the discovery of the infamous Richard III 11 years ago, when she determined the Leicester car park was once occupied by the church of the Greyfriars, a 13th-century monastic friary, where Richard was buried following his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Her conviction was reinforced when visiting the site, describing a physical reaction to being there. 

She said: “It had never happened before, that feeling I was walking on someone’s grave. Whenever I was standing in that area, I would get the feeling.

“It’s an interesting aspect of the story and I don’t know how to explain it. Scientists are interested in it. I believe there is research going on that looks at whether we, as humans, sometimes have a sixth sense.”

She credits the feeling with being the “catalyst” for forging ahead with the dig which eventually revealed the skeleton of Richard III — and now, she might be on the brink of unearthing another. 

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