Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rothwell Charnel Chapel visit

On Saturday 10th August, I visited the medieval charnel chapel in Rothwell church's crypt. The church and charnel chapel were built around 1350 and held approximately 1000 complete skeletons, and it is one of only 2 surviving in England due to Henry XIII's reformation in the 16th centaury, and outlawing the worship and reverence of bones in England. It was discovered around 1700 by a grave digger who (supposedly) went mad due to what he saw. Over 100 years after the discovery Victorians who studied the crypt removed most of the bones excluding the femurs and skulls, as they believed they were in there by accident as they believed you only needed your femur and skull to get into heaven. This has since been proven to contradict medieval beliefs as they believed that god would reassemble them on the day of judgement, no matter how dismembered they were. I found my visit very interesting, and the students from the university of Sheffield who were studying the site were very informative and knowledgeable.

by John D.

[Sorry it has taken so long to include this John. Thanks for sending it in. Ed.]