THE UNEARTHED medieval remains of 20 bodies that were discovered during renovation works in Gainsborough town centre in June last year have been reburied.
Contractors carrying out the £1.8 million phase of the Gainsborough town centre regeneration project, raised the alarm when they found bones barely a metre down.
A total of 17 adults, one child and two infant skeletons of medieval date were retrieved from Bridge Street and Silver Street.
Television crews, press and local dignitaries gathered as the bodies were laid to rest at Gainsborough Cemetery on the afternoon of Tuesday 15th March.
Gainsborough growth point manager Jo Walker said it was important that the bodies were given a proper burial.
“It’s good to have closure to this particular part of the project and it’s important to the people of Gainsborough that our ancestors are given a proper resting place,” she said.
“We found that they dated from the 12th Century and we believe that they were of Christian origin due to the way they were originally buried - so it’s good to be able to give them a Christian funeral.”
Funeral Directors Cliff Bradley and Sons donated their services for free.
“It’s a privilege to be involved,” said Cliff.
“We’ve never done anything like this before but these people are part of our heritage so this has got to be done properly, which is why we have supplied the coffin, flowers and our services free of charge.”
Rev Phillip Wain was performing the ceremony and said it was unusual but essential.
“It is quite a strange ceremony and we don’t do things like this that often but it’s important that we mark the event and treat them with the same respect as anyone else as they re-enter the Christian world,” he said.
He continued: “It may be a rarity but it’s nice to be able to take part in sending their remains back to God’s keeping.”
Mayor Tim Davies added: “This is all about some of Gainsborough’s oldest citizens returning home. It would be interesting to see if they are related to anyone living in modern Gainsborough.”
Colin Palmer-Brown, a director of Saxilby-based Pre-Construct Archaeological Services has been involved in examining the bones.
He said: “The reason why the bodies were found in Silver Street is because there were two medieval chapels located in this part of the town. Provided that we continue to monitor all below-ground developments in this area of the town, it is only a matter of time before the actual sites of the chapels are found.”