King Henry III - Part 4

Henry's 56 year reign on hindsight was a golden age of learning, the arts and especially architecture.  As well as the major rebuilding of Westminster Abbey in the Gothic style on a French cathedral plan, Henry also instigated major work on the magnificent cathedrals of Salisbury, St Alban's' Lincoln and Wells in Somerset.  His enthusiasm for learning led to the foundation of the first colleges in Oxford University of Merton, University, and Balliol which were all founded in the years between 1249 and 1264  His piousness led to the building of a new shrine in Westminster Abbey for its founder: the saintly Edward the Confessor. Henry was much taken with the cult of this Anglo-Saxon saint who had been canonised in 1161. After learning that St Edward dressed in an austere manner, Henry took to doing the same and wearing only the simplest of robes. He had a mural of the saint painted in his bedchamber for inspiration before and after sleep and even named his eldest son Edward. Henry designated Westminster, where St Edward had founded the abbey, as the fixed seat of power in England and Westminster Hall became the greatest ceremonial space of the kingdom, where the council of nobles also met.


Henry III Tomb in Westminster Abbey


Accordingly, when Henry died on the 16th of November 1272, he was himself temporarily buried in the Confessor's former coffin in the abbey while his own sarcophagus was constructed in Westminster Abbey where his bronze effigy now stands. - King Henry III Part 1 - King Henry III Part 3