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Henry of Almayne

The heart of Henry of Almayne (or Almain) (born 1235), son of Richard Earl of Cornwall and King of Germany and nephew of Henry III, was preserved in a golden heart shrine (or vase) near, or possibly within, the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. The Confessor's shrine from that period was later dismantled and a new one re-erected in the reign of Mary I but no heart shrine for Henry now remains in this chapel. His body was buried at Hailes Abbey near Cheltenham.

Henry had given property to the Westminster monks to finance lights to burn at the Shrine of St Edward so it seems he had a devotion to the cult of this saintly king. His wife was Constance de Bearn but they had no children. While attending Mass at the church of San Silvestro in Viterbo in Italy in 1270 he was murdered by Guy de Montfort, in revenge for the ill treatment of the body of his father (Simon de Montfort) after the battle of Evesham. Dante, in his Inferno Canto XII, mentions the fact of the preservation of the heart "on the banks of the Thames"

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

"Richard of Cornwall" by N. Denholm-Young, 1947



Henry of Almayne
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This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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