Lancashire

Memorial service for bodies found during Blackburn dig

Two skeletons in a grave Image copyright Headland Archaeology
Image caption The remains of two people were found in one grave

A memorial service has been held to mark the reburial of hundreds of bodies discovered in Blackburn.

The bodies of about 800 children aged under six were unearthed by archaeologists in January during the Freckleton Street link road works.

A total of 1,967 bodies were exhumed from 200 graves from the 1800s

The Bishop of Blackburn Rt Rev Julian Henderson led a service at 12:00 BST at the memorial gardens reburial site in Wainwright Way.

Image caption The Bishop of Blackburn Rt Rev Julian Henderson led the service at the memorial gardens

He acknowledged the support given to the project "particularly in the light of the sensitivities involved".

"I am grateful for the care taken by contractors and archaeologists in overseeing the work to ensure this will continue to be a site of remembrance for future generations," he said.

The land where the bodies were found was formerly the burial ground at the old St Peter's Church which opened in 1821 in Blackburn.

Image copyright Headland Archaeology
Image caption Children were found buried with colourful glass bead jewellery

The large number of children discovered was put down to a lack of good sanitation and medicines leading to a high mortality rate.

Experts believe one of the men buried at the site was a soldier injured in the Crimean War.

St Peter's Church, which would have seated 1,500 parishioners, became dilapidated in the mid-20th Century and was demolished to ground level in 1976.

Image copyright Headland Archaeology
Image caption Archaeologists worked on 30% of the burial ground in Blackburn

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