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Trace the remains of King James IV

The recent discovery of the body of Richard III and the subsequent interest in history it has engendered leads me to question why there has been no attempt made to locate the remains of Scotland's lost king, James IV.

September 9 this year marks the 500th anniversary of his death on the field at Flodden, and while efforts are being made to mark the event, there seems little or no wish to find the man himself.

True, the evidence is minimal, but it was recorded that he was buried in the Carthusian monastery at Speen in Surrey, which was later destroyed during the Reformation and his body dumped in a lumber room. Although the church was destroyed, it is likely the remains of the king were placed in another location, and a search of local records might uncover where. James's head was, according to stories from the time, cut off by workers and used as a football before being kept as a curio by Queen Elizabeth's master glazier at his London home and finally thrown into a grave in St Michael's Church in Wood Street. The site of this church is now an insurance building, but it must be assumed there are records of the bodies removed before construction and where these are now located.

It seems a pity that nothing remains of Scotland's most popular king and the man whose marriage to Margaret Tudor brought about the Union of the Crowns by his great-grandson, James VI. The forthcoming anniversary provides an opportunity to put this right if the will is there.

T J Dowds,

22 Lammermoor Drive, Greenfaulds, Cumbernauld.

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