HEART-BURIAL, the burial of the heart apart from the body. This is a very ancient practice, the special reverence shown towards the heart being doubtless due to its early association with the soul of man, His affections, courage arid conscience. In medieval Europe heart-burial was fairly common. Some of the more notable cases are those of Richard I., whose heart, preserved in a casket, was placed in Rouen cathedral; Henry III., buried in Normandy; Eleanor, queen of Edward I., at Lincoln; Edward I., at Jerusalem; Louis IX., Philip III., Louis XIII. and Louis XIV., in Paris. Since the lyth century the hearts of deceased members of the house of Habsburg have been buried apart from the body in the Loretto chapel in the Augustiner Kirche, Vienna. The most romantic story of heart-burial is that of Robert Bruce. He wished his heart to rest at Jerusalem in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, and on his deathbed entrusted the fulfilment of his wish to Douglas. The latter broke his journey to join the Spaniards in their war with the Moorish king of Granada, and was killed in battle, the heart of Bruce enclosed in a silver casket hanging round'his neck. Subsequently the heart was buried at Melrose Abbey. The heart of James, marquess of Montrose, executed by the Scottish Covenanters in 1650, was recovered from his body, which had been buried by the roadside outside Edinburgh, and, enclosed in a steel box, was sent to the duke of Montrose, then in exile. It was lost on its journey, and years afterwards was discovered in a curiosity shop in Flanders. Taken by a member of the Montrose family to India, it was stolen as an amulet by a native chief, was once more regained, and finally lost in France during the Revolution. Of notable 17th-century cases there is that of James II., whose heart was buried in the church of the convent of the Visitation at Chaillot near Paris, and that of Sir William Temple, at Moor Park, Farnham. The last ceremonial burial of a heart in England was that of Paul Whitehead, secretary to the Monks of Medmenham club, in 1775, the interment taking place in the Le Despenser mausoleum at High Wycombe, Bucks. Of later cases the most notable are those of Daniel O'Connell, whose heart is at Rome, Shelley at Bournemouth, Louis XVII. at Venice, Kosciusko at the Polish museum at Rapperschwyll, Lake Zurich, and the marquess of Bute, taken by his widow to Jerusalem for burial in 1900. Sometimes other parts of the body, removed in the process of embalming, are given separate and solemn burial. Thus the viscera of the popes from Sixtus V. (1590) onward have been preserved in the parish church of the Quirinal. The custom of heart-burial was forbidden by Pope Boniface VIII. (1294- 1303), but Benedict XI. withdrew the prohibition.
See Pettigrew, Chronicles of the Tombs (1857).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)