Sudbury: Skull of beheaded Lord Chancellor to be scanned at West Suffolk Hospital

Beheaded Lord Chancellor to get hospital treatment

A HOSPITAL will be carrying out an unusual medical procedure next week when it scans the skull of a 630-year-old patient.

This isn’t a case of hospital waiting lists getting out of hand but the day one of England’s most historic figures begins a reconstruction project to reveal his face.

Staff in the radiography department at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds will be scanning the skull of Simon of Sudbury who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1381.

His mummified head, which has sat in a cubbyhole in the town’s St Gregory’s Church for six centuries, will be carefully transported to Bury on Wednesday, when several CT scans will be carried out.


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The results will be analysed by a specialist team from Dundee University where a facial reconstruction will take place to reveal what the former Archbishop of Canterbury looked like.

The university team is headed by Dr Caroline Wilkinson – one of the world’s leading figures in facial reconstruction and a regular expert on TV shows, including Meet the Ancestors.

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Nigel Beeton, imaging services manager at the West Suffolk, said: “We are really pleased to be able to help with this fascinating project to reconstruct the face of this important historical figure. Our staff are really enthusiastic about working with such an unusual and interesting artefact and are looking forward to the final result.”

Simon of Sudbury, whose parents are buried under the organ in St Gregory’s Church, was the son of a rich merchant family in Sudbury.

Choosing a religious career path he became Bishop of London in 1362, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1375 and then Lord Chancellor of England in 1380.

After Watt Tyler’s mob hacked off his head in the Peasants’ Revolt his body was buried in Canterbury Cathedral but his head brought back home.

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