At first, it looks like just another effigy. A man in bishop’s robes carved in stone lies in peaceful repose, one hand raised in blessing, his head guarded by an angel. But beneath the effigy is another figure – shockingly, this is the figure of a rotting corpse, wrapped only in a shroud. This is the cadaver tomb of Bishop Richard Fleming at Lincoln Cathedral, and it is the oldest one still surviving in England.
Hidden behind high walls, the Charterhouse in Clerkenwell exudes an air of mystery – at least to those who, like me, spend their lunchbreaks wandering around the interesting old places close to their place of work. The Charterhouse is only open to the public for pre-booked guided tours, but a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Charterhouse to attend a wonderful lecture about the history of the site by the Charterhouse’s head archivist, Dr Stephen Porter.