A search has begun for the lost tomb of one of the ancient kings of Scotland.

Perth's Charterhouse, a “magnificent” monastery of Carthusian monks destroyed in the 16th century during the Reformation, held the body of James I as well as other royalty.

James I, a tragic figure recently brought to dramatic life by the National Theatre of Scotland’s James Plays, was murdered 580 years ago this month.

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James I (1394 to 1437) was killed by Sir Robert Graham, a follower of the Earl of Atholl, in the bloody struggle for control of the Scottish throne

James attempted to escape his murderers but his exit through a sewer tunnel at the Blackfriars Monastery was blocked, and he was killed, although his wife, although wounded, survived.

Later James I’s wife, Joan Beaufort, was also buried in the Charterhouse, the building which had been commissioned as the future mausoleum of the Stewart dynasty.

Now a coalition of academic institutions, including Glasgow School of Art, the University of Stirling, and the University of the Highlands and Islands, are tojoin forces with Perth’s archaeology, heritage and cultural bodies in a project to locate and recreate lost Charterhouse and its Royal Tombs.

The building also held the bodies of the sister of Henry VIII of England, Margaret Tudor, consort of King James IV of Scotland.

The plan is to recreate the building as a “virtual museum for the 21st century.”

Professor Richard Oram, Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, who is leading the project, said: “Perth’s Charterhouse was unique in Scotland.

“James built it to be the spiritual focus of his dynasty and poured huge sums of money into it to create a splendid setting for his tomb.

“Medieval descriptions speak of the magnificence of the church, but nothing of it remains above ground to be seen today – the whole monastery was plundered and demolished at the Reformation.”

The University of Stirling experts aim to locate the precise location of the Charterhouse buildings, and “recover as much of their plan as possible to allow us to ‘build’ a virtual reconstruction of the complex and restore the jewel in the crown of the city’s lost medieval heritage.”

Professor Oram added: “Unearthing this almost forgotten building will transform understanding of Perth’s place in James I’s ambitions: locating the royal tombs within the church would be the icing on the cake.”

Dr Lucy Dean, of the Centre for History team at the University of the Highlands and Islands and co-investigator on the project, adds: “The murder of James I was a pivotal moment that saw a rapid end to Perth’s status.

“The Charterhouse Project will allow the local, national and world communities the opportunity to discover and re-discover the fascinating history of this lost capital through innovative research and delivery methods. “Moreover, both the research and the products it will produce will offer innovative educational tools and involvement for all levels from primary to high education and beyond.”

The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation will be involved in the project.

It will use 3D visualization techniques and provide a “a vivid sensory experience of James I’s burial place in 360 / 3D Super High definition which would be accessible across a range of different platforms and devices.”

The public will have a chance to learn more about the project on Saturday 25 February through a digital presentation at Perth Museum.