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St Laurence Bones

During the work that has been undertaken this summer at St Laurence some bones were found which delayed the re-opening of the church.  Many people have expressed an interest in what was found.  As the floor was being dug up to install a new heating system some bones were found in the following areas.

St Laurence Bones

As soon as bones were found work was halted and an archaeological observation was undertaken.  It identified several clusters of disarticulated bones including at least 4 craniums and several long bones in Area A.  There were also the disarticulated remains of a juvenile burial including parts of the cranium, mandible, ribs and long bones.  The age of the individual has been estimated at 11-12 years using dental eruption.  In Area B a quantity of human disarticulated remains were found mixed in with the substrate layer.

The condition of the bones suggests that they were buried originally under the floor of the church.  The bones were not dated but it is more than likely they date from the very early days of the building.  The church is a Grade I listed building (listing ref:232411), of which the west tower, the chancel and the arcades are 13th century in origin.  The chancel was largely re-built in the 15th century and reduced in width.  The former north aisle was removed at an unknown date, though likely mid-17th century, and the north side of the nave was made good in 1664.  The church was restored in 1856 and 1896 when the organ-chamber and vestry were added.

13th and 14th burial practice was for corpses to be buried in consecrated grounds, often the churchyard, for the safekeeping of the body by the church until the day of resurrection.  It was not unusual to be buried inside the church but it would only have been the rich and powerful of the village as it would have been considered a very high honour.  The bones seem to have been disturbed during the later Victorian work when the heating was installed and reburied in the state they were found.

Once the archaeological observation was over the bones were reburied inside the church under the floor by Reverend Shena Bell.

Also of interest was a stone-capped drain 0.6m wide.  The drain was capped by dressed ashlar slabs.  As it was overlain by the stone sills for the Victorian pews, the drain would seem to predate this period of church activity, and may be late medieval, or early post-medieval.  No dating evidence was found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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