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Perth search for royal murder victim launched

King James I of Scotland.
King James I of Scotland.

A bid to locate the body of James I of Scotland has been launched in Perth — 580 years to the day after his brutal murder.

It has long been known than an elaborate tomb for the king was housed in the city’s Charterhouse monastery but the exact location has been lost in the mists of time.

Now academics from across Scotland have joined forces with Perth’s archaeology, heritage and cultural bodies to locate and virtually recreate the lost tombs and buildings from one of the most bloody chapters of local history.

Project lead Professor Richard Oram, dean of arts and humanities at the University of Stirling, 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.

“Working with our archaeology colleagues and the wider community in Perth, we aim to locate 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.

“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.”

A search of archives and the use of ground penetrating radar to locate the buildings will be followed by archaeological test pit digs.

The public will have a chance to learn more about the project on Saturday February 25 at a digital presentation at Perth Museum and Gallery from 10am to 12 noon.

A walking tour of the city from 12.30pm to 2pm will help the understanding of  King James I’s dreams to make Perth the capital of Scotland and  how these were violently ended on February 21 1437.

* For more on this story see Wednesday’s Courier, also available as a digital edition.

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