St SithneyRestoration at St Sithney revealed more of the church’s past than they were expecting. As work began to rebuild the floor, the building contractors discovered human skeletons. Perhaps not as significant as the discovery the skeleton of Richard III in a carpark, but these were people nevertheless, just as deserving of a high degree of dignity and respect.

A re-burial is planned and, as the remains were evidently originally entrusted to the care of St Sithney, that is where they will remain. As Revd Dr Peter Johnson said, “We want to respect those who previously worshipped and lived in the parish.”

Surprise then shock for building contractors

Nevertheless, it was certainly a surprise for the building contractors, Rothwell Historical Restorations.

“Our builders were not surprised by the finding of a few bones to begin with but then got a shock when, the more they dug, the more full skeletons were discovered,” said Shaun Rothwell.

In these situations, the police are called in and both they and the coroner must be satisfied that the remains were neither recent nor suspicious. Thankfully, that was the case and the site has now been cleared for further exploration of the skeletons.

Skeletons believed to be Victorian

St SithneyIt appears that the bones were left in situ after a Victorian restoration of the church. James Gossip from Cornwall Archaeological Unit believes the find is significant.

“It adds to our knowledge not only of life in Sithney and past burial practice, but also to understand how Sithney Church developed over time.”

The restoration has currently stopped so that archaeologists can investigate further.

Public viewing

The Parish Church Council of St Sithney Church have decided to hold a short viewing session when members of the public will get a limited view of part of the current dig. The viewing will take place on Thursday 30th August from 14.00 to 16.00.

For further information please contact: Revd Dr Peter Johnson: 0771 3624 877