Skeleton find

THE remains of skeletons dating back hundreds of years have been unearthed at a Weston church. Diggers moved into the grounds of St John the Baptist Church in Lower Church Road last week to start work on a £460,000 church centre. But during the excavation

THE remains of skeletons dating back hundreds of years have been unearthed at a Weston church.Diggers moved into the grounds of St John the Baptist Church in Lower Church Road last week to start work on a £460,000 church centre.But during the excavations workmen disturbed the resting places of some former Weston residents. Shards of a late iron age jar have also been found at the site.Reverend Richard Taylor said: "We always knew it was likely there would be a former burial ground there. We had an initial exploratory dig on the site seven months ago which concluded we were likely to find remains. "An archaeologist has been on site throughout the dig and the remains have been dealt with appropriately." Once any remains are found North Somerset's county archaeologist carries on with the dig by hand so the skeletons are not damaged.Any remains are photographed and stored and will be buried at a new site in the grounds once the building work has been carried out.It is believed the bodies could date back to the 1100s when the church was built. Burials at the church ceased in the 1880s when the churchyard ran out of space.Mr Taylor said: "Because the remains date from a time when there were no marked graves before graveyard records were required to be kept, then we had no knowledge of whether there would be any remains at all. We can't tell who they are. But because we've found remains, work is proceeding carefully."Weston historian Brian Austin is upset about the discovery. He said: "When the church put in the planning application I objected to it because I knew there were bodies all over the place."I'm very distressed to see a digger in the grounds. Whoever the remains are of, I probably know about them. It could be one of my ancestors. There have been 600 years worth of burials on the site and I would expect there could be anything from 1,000-3,500 bodies in the grounds. Churchyards are supposed to be protected. This is crass.


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