Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

martes, 16 de octubre de 2012


Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado still today is playing one of his final tricks, the alleged first discoverer of the North west passage is trying to elude me.

Course of the expedition of Lorenzo Ferrer maldonado.
As his biography says Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado died in Madrid, where he lived, in 1625, in a inn in the "Silva" Street and by fullfiling of his will he was buried in the church of the Ntra. Sra. of the parish of San Martín. Which is supossed to be in the Desengaño street.

StMartin(the new) c/Desengaño.
There are confusing information about his history, in some places I´ve read that he was living his final days in an inn and that the family "Henestrosa" (his family) had a chapel in the church of St.Martin the Tours of the Benedictines, which is placed in the text of the biography wrongly in the Desengaño street (wrongly because in that time there wasn´t any St Martin church there as we are going to read after). In other account I´ve read that because his house belongs to the church of St Martin (in that time placed in the St.Martin Square, now "The Descalzas" square) he was buried there.

Yesterday evening I went to the current place where it is the current St.Martin church to look for the covetted tomb, but for my dissapointment (due to my inexperience as researcher I act first, ask after and find nothing) I found nothing. I asked to a nun who was there and she said to me that the original church of St Martin (placed in the Descalzas square) was destroyed by order of Napoleon while Jose I Bonaparte was governing in Spain just to "make room" to new buildings. So, this new church of St Martin only wears the name and the tradition of the original church. This new St Martin  was occupied by this parish in 1836 and built some time before.

But... I am not absolutely sure that Lorenzo was buried in the original church of St Martin (in the Descalzas square) neither, because the inn where he lived his last years was very close to the place in which the new St Martin is but some far distance  from the original St Martin church of 1625 where he was supposedly buried. It could be a confusion if the byographer was refering to the place  of the burial by the name of the current church.

Monastery of the "Descalzas Reales", Descalzas square (before St martin church and square).
And, to complicate more the things, very close to the Silva street is the church of St Idelfonso, a temple constructed as a subsidary of the parish of St Martin from the Descalzas (the original), but...it was built in the years surrounding 1629, four years after his death but this date is not absolutely sure, a pity, it is in fact a good candidate to be the correct place but in this case with an uncorrect name.

The conclusion is that I am still trying to guess where his grave was placed, and if the tomb still exists, that means, if he was buried in the original St Martin church, his remains are likely lost forever or were placed in other site before the demolition, but if he was buried in the place where St Martin is currently situated, he wouldl be lost the same, because that nun said to me that the crypt was emptied in front of a notary after the new parish came to occupy it and that there weren´t any corpse in the crypt. And finally, if St Idelfonso was the place where he was really buried, then Lorenzo premeried a good place to stay forever, though, again the current church isn´t the original, so if this is the real place, the grave could have been lost again. (However I will go there to check it on the spot).

Fourtunately I have a friend specialized in the old Madrid, so I still have a chance to discover the correct place, thanks to him I discovered (more or less) where Lady Franklin slept when he was here in the Puerta del Sol, the missing "Hotel de los Príncipes".

4 comentarios:

  1. It appears that Maldonado is even playing tricks in his afterlife! It sounds like his body was most likely moved to another location, but perhaps the record of this was lost or placed in some obscure archive. It's great that you went out to try to resolve this mystery! It is fun to travel along vicariously!

  2. Thank you for the comment Jaeschylus! I was pretty sure that anybody had understood nothing because in fact I had troubles to understand my own post as I reviewed it after publishing it. I think I missed my English inspiration for a while and that I made a complicated mix of churches in the text.

    But It has been funny feeling how the history, the names and the writen records can play chess with you. I´ve found a book where there are some records of several burials in the new church of St Idelfonso which was before the church of St Martin, but, as always happened, the visible pages in google books ends just on the place which I need more. The book is this:


    I am begining to think that Maldonado returned in his sixties to the NWP and that he invented his death to mislead me.

  3. Nice pics, my guess is that his tomb is lost/moved to an undisclosed location and the records lost.

  4. I think the same, Noelia. I believe that his remains have been lost for ever.