The west face of Westminster Abbey has seen many alterations since 1422. On 7 November of that year, an English king was buried in the abbey after dying suddenly at the age of 35.
All of London lined the streets as the funeral procession arrived. The soldiers wore black and carried their weapons in reverse as a sign of mourning. Among the nobles, ‘an Erle armed complet hys horse trapped and garnysshed whyth the Kyngs armes rode bare hedyd… in hys hande a batylax borne wt the poynte downwarde.’
Flying the banner of St George, the king’s coffin was escorted into the abbey, accompanied by horses bearing his arms. Straw had been laid down to prevent the horses from slipping on the stone floor. Sixty men in black hoods carried torches to light the way as the king’s body was taken to the choir for the funeral service.
‘He was buried with suche solempne ceremonies, such mournyng of lords, such prayer of pryestes, such lamentynge of commons as never was before that daye sene in the Realme of Englande.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 6. Who was the king?