The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
Chapel of Henry V.
Just large enough to hold the tomb of that monarch. This chapel is divided from that of St. Edward the Confessor by a grand iron gate of open work, divided into lozenges, containing quatrefoils. Over the arch of the gate is a profusion of exquisitely rich Gothic workmanship, of the most delicate texture; but very little, if at all, inferior to the canopies in the frieze of the screen opposite already described. Here are canopies, divided by small buttresses. In these canopies are small, beautiful statues, in tolerably good preservation. The middle statue, however, is gone; and the next to it, on the south side, has lost its head.
The gate is bounded by Gothic towers, containing winding stairs round octagon pillars, whose capitals are praying angels.
Over the doors are statues as large as life; they represent saints in speaking attitudes: behind them are pointed windows, with mullions. On the other sides, nearest to the gate are prelates, on pedestals, and on their canopies kings, probably Henry V. and Edward the Confessor; the , however, Mr. Malcolm takes for Henry III. On the north-west and south-west sides are priests and monarchs. On each corner are buttresses; and over the windows semi-hexagon projections on every side, each containing beautiful niches, once all filled by statues, but some of the statues are gone.
The great arch or roof over the tomb is full of ribs and pannels.
The tomb itself is very plain, and the effigy is without a head, which was supposed to have been of massy silver, and has been gone ever since the Reformation. The thief, however, was probably disappointed, as it is likely that this head was only plated or silvered over. The rough unornamented cushion still remains. The exterior of this little chapel would indicate a much more elegant effigy, which is extremely plain, though well executed.
We now take our leave of the chapel of Edward the Confessor. We may notice, however, that here was interred the heart of Henry, son of Richard, king of the Romans, brother of Henry III. He was assassinated in the church of St. Silvester, at Viterbo, as he was performing his devotions before the high altar. Simon and Guido Montfort, sons of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, were the assassins, in revenge for their father's death, who, with their brother Henry, were slain at the battle of Evesham, fighting against their sovereign. The body of Henry was brought to England, and buried in the nunnery of St. Helen; but his heart was put in a cup, and placed near St. Edward's shrine. Nothing of this can now be seen.