Why was the year 1268 expressed in such a roundabout fashion in the pavement inscriptions? It is usually suggested that 1212 plus 60 equals 1272, the date of Henry III’s death, and 60 minus 4 equals 56, the length of his reign. It would seem therefore that the inscriptions were added shortly after his death.
Abbot Richard de Ware was buried beneath the pavement. Richard Sporley, a medieval monk of Westminster, wrote “The primum mobile means this world, whose age or ending the writer estimates, as he imagines it, by increasing the numbers three-fold”. The final date is calculated by a chronology based on the mythical life-spans of animals. So a hedge lives three years, a dog nine, a horse twenty seven, a man eighty one and so on.