The crypt beneath King’s Chapel contains twenty-one tombs, and all but one were owned by families. There are ten tombs on either wall running the length of the chapel, each containing the remains of tomb owners and their family members. One larger tomb opposite to the crypt entrance is called the Stranger’s Tomb that was used for those who could not afford a burial and other “strangers” to the church.
Due to the fact that owning a tomb in the crypt was expensive, these spaces enabled families to exhibit their social and economic influence even in death. Despite the inherent display of wealth behind a tomb, they were all similarly and modestly constructed. There was little need for elaborate structural design, as simply owning a tomb in the King’s Chapel crypt was more than enough for most families.
Each tomb is a fully-enclosed brick structure with a vaulted ceiling, although, at the time of the crypt’s construction and use, the entrances had doors so remains could easily be interred. The tombs are shaped like sections of tunnel, resembling mailboxes with their arched roofs. On the interior, they extend back to the outer stone wall of the chapel and deep enough that a few steps lead down to their floors. Most of the tombs are estimated to contain ten to fifteen stacked coffins along the inside walls. While some of the tombs once displayed memorials over the entrances, the lack of decoration and overall simplicity of the tombs within the crypt was not uncommon. People did not generally visit the remains of their families in the crypt. Since the crypt was seen only as a place to bury the dead, families would have displayed memorials above in the Sanctuary rather down in the crypt to remember departed loved ones.