Remains of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger identified at Hulton Abbey

Archaeologists believe that they have identified mutilated remains found at Hulton Abbey as those of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger, reputed to have been the lover of Edward II. The remains were first discovered in the 1970s.

Despenser, who was tried for treason in 1326, was hanged, drawn, quartered and beheaded, all of which are consistent with the remains discovered at the Abbey. "Dating of the Hulton Abbey skeleton indicates that he died no later that 1385, when this brutal and very public form of execution was handed out only to the most notorious political prisoners. This suggests that the skeleton at Hulton Abbey was a well-known political figure," said anthropologist Mary Lewis.