Just when we were talking on our blog about there being no ‘time’ in the next world, I was fascinated to hear this piece of news from the BBC, entitled “Eynsham’s medieval monks reburied in church”. These faithful Catholics, who surely suffered greatly for their Faith during those Penal years as the examination of their skeletons reveals, will now at last be recognised and given a “proper burial”.
“A collection of centuries-old skeletons excavated in Oxfordshire and stored in a museum are to be reburied as part of a “celebration” Mass. The human remains were found during the extension of a church graveyard in Eynsham leading to excavations between 1989 and 1992.
Six bodies are thought to be monks from the medieval Eynsham Abbey. The remains of two women and a man have been dated to after the Reformation, and are believed to have been secretly buried in the consecrated ground. The Catholic church was built on the site of the ancient abbey in the 1940s.
Father Flatman said: “Suddenly it dawned on me that I didn’t know where the bodies were. I found out they were in the museum’s storage and I applied to have them back. As a Catholic we honour the dead and we wouldn’t want to leave them, particularly those faithful 16th and 17th Century Catholics who faced persecution.”
Carol Anderson, service manager at the Oxfordshire Museum, said the remains were “respectfully looked after” until the handover.
“The three post-medieval skeletons, two of whom were women, were buried in wooden coffins. Investigation of the male skeleton showed that in life he had suffered multiple fractures of his collar bone, arms and ribs, all of which had healed with varying degrees of success. The multiple rib fractures were of a type that is usually regarded as being the result of interpersonal violence… otherwise known as brawling.”…..
Dr Bernard Longley, the Archbishop of Birmingham will be in attendance at the requiem mass. Also present will be the Reverend Morey Andrews of St Leonard’s, the nearby Church of England site where the remains were found.”
And a similar report on June 25, 2012, by Thomas L. McDonald
Five monks , two men, and two women will be reburied two decades after they were discovered, and then forgotten, by archaeologists excavating Eynsham Abbey, Oxfordshire. The four laypeople had been buried secretly, possibly because they were Catholic recusants and unwilling to be buried according to protestant rites.
Nine bodies left languishing in a storeroom for decades will finally be laid to rest tomorrow.
Some of the skeletons, uncovered at Eynsham Abbey in an archaeological dig, have waited more than 400 years for a proper burial.
They were discovered in the late 1980s and early 1990s and kept in a storeroom at the Oxfordshire Museum’s Resource Centre in Standlake.
That was until their existence was discovered by a local priest, who decided to bring them back and return them to their rightful home.
Father Martin Flatman, of St Peter’s Church, in Abbey Street, Eynsham, said: “When I found out these bodies were still in a storeroom I felt very strongly that they should be reverently buried.
“I am particularly delighted that the three who were buried secretly will get a funeral.”
The bodies are of five medieval monks and a family of two males and two females, believed to have been Catholics, dating to the post-Reformation period.
It is believed they were buried in secret as they refused to give up their Catholic faith and receive a Protestant funeral.
They were discovered during a three-year archaeological dig which started on the site in 1989.
Eynsham Abbey was one of the last abbeys to be founded by the Saxon king Aethelred and was occupied for hundreds of years.
The buildings disappeared after the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the 16th century.