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Tony Grist

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Ossuary [Aug. 28th, 2017|10:56 am]
Tony Grist
The ossuary in the crypt of St Leonard's church in Hythe is one of only two in the UK. It was common in the Middle Ages to dig up old burials to make way for new, with the detritus being housed in charnel houses. This practice was discontinued in the early modern period and most communities eventually disposed of their bone collections one way or another- but Hythe was old fashioned. The ossuary has a long wall of femurs interspersed with skulls running the length of the room and shelves of skulls in alcoves reaching up to the vaulted ceiling. It makes me think of an old-time, family shoe shop.






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Comments:
[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2017-08-28 01:02 pm (UTC)
What an amazing survival. I didn't realise we had any ossuaries at all in this country...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-08-28 03:29 pm (UTC)
I think the other one is in Northants.
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[User Picture]From: fflo
2017-08-28 02:15 pm (UTC)
Wow. "Cool" doesn't seem quite right, but nice post.

Do the piece-of-paper placeholder notes say something like what theater company a skull has been lent to to serve as Yorick? ;)

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-08-28 03:32 pm (UTC)
They mostly say things like "These are our ancestors, do not touch".

In the first picture you'll notice there's a skull that's yellow instead of white. That's because someone stole it, polished it up and kept it on their desk. When the thief died their heirs returned it to the crypt.
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[User Picture]From: fflo
2017-08-28 03:34 pm (UTC)
Wow. Strange trophy. Reminds me a little of how people here in the States have often thought nothing of collecting and trading in "Indian" bones.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-08-28 04:11 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, people thought nothing of owning skulls. The poet Walter de la Mare had one that was given him by an admirer. He called it Adam and kept it in a hat box.

I wouldn't mind having one myself...
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[User Picture]From: fflo
2017-08-28 04:30 pm (UTC)
I think I'd like to know whose skull I had. Even if it's generally whose. Tho generally-generally, we're all, like, more or less the same.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-08-28 05:22 pm (UTC)
I believe de la Mare's skull came out of a churchyard that was being eroded by the sea.
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[User Picture]From: fflo
2017-08-28 06:45 pm (UTC)
Ha! Apropos.
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