Ancient queen's head is discovered in Milton Keynes

Eleanor
Eleanor

A stone carving of the head of a famous 12th century queen has been discovered at Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes during conservation work.

The carving is believed to depict Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was one of the most powerful and influential figures of the Middle Ages.

Bradwell Abbey

Bradwell Abbey

It was unveiled at Bradwell Abbey today, along with another recent find of Medieval paint work.

Also on show was a 12th century stone from the Abbey's original priory wall, which remains in immaculate condition.

During the unveiling, it was announced that the Bradwell Abbey restoration project is to benefit from an additional £593,000 in further funding from MK Council.

Initially, the council dedicated £800,000, but recognition of the historic importance of the site has brought its total investment to almost £1.4 million.

The head carving

The head carving

Historic England has also provided £257,000 in support for the 14th Century Pilgrim Chapel repairs.

Bradwell Abbey has suffered from ageing since the 16th century, with only the chapel remaining in its entirety from the priority site.

Milton Keynes Council is now working with Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre and other partners to deliver the restoration.

Cabinet Member responsible for Cultural Heritage Councillor, Jenny Marklew, said: “I’m delighted to be able to share these finds today and announce that the Council is investing an additional £593,000 in this project. It’s important that we bring Bradwell Abbey back into use as one of the most important historic jewels of Milton Keynes."

She added: “I’d like to thank council colleagues and partners for their efforts in delivering this project.”

The council is now working with conservation experts to ensure the finds in situ can be on open display as part of a new Visitor Interpretation Centre at Bradwell Abbey.

Following the completion of the project in 2020, they will be deposited into the council's collection held at nearby MK Museum.