Skeletons discovered at bottom of pond after wall collapses in downpour
The saga of a landslip which virtually destroyed an ancient Axbridge landmark over Christmas has re-opened with another sombre chapter.
Two incomplete skeletons have been uncovered – possibly from pauper’s graves.
Torrential rain before Christmas brought the garden of a property close to the church in the town tumbling into an adjoining spring, causing widespread damage, further floods into the square and intervention of several emergency services.
Now the engineering and structural headache has turned more poignant for owners of The Rising in Axbridge with the discovery of ancient bones.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
The discovery was made as the flood water cleared and the bottom of the pond became visible.
Homeowner Maggie Stanley explained: “My husband saw something at the bottom but we weren’t sure what was there. Then as we looked closer we realised it was a bone, so we called the police.”
At the bottom of the spring, possibly washed in as part of the landslide from the neighbouring garden, officers found several bones, all believed to be ancient which could have come from a pauper’s grave.
“The find has been sent away to be dated and investigated,” said Maggie.
“Since the area borders the church we did speculate that it might be from a grave just outside the church yard which in the past would have typically have been where people who could not afford to be buried would be laid to rest.”
The couple are keen to stress that they want to be sensitive about the find and they have already contacted the local vicar to see whether the bones could be re-interred.
Archaeologists are now dating the bones, the coroner has been informed and the local police have started a formal investigation in case the discovery has a more sinister explanation.
But as all those investigations continue the owners of The Rising are left puzzling over how fate may play its next hand.
Mrs Stanley said: “It is a bit of a nightmare.The garden looks like a bomb site. We’ve been in contact with any number of officials and agencies and we still don’t know if we will get covered by insurance.”
The landslip is believed to have been caused by the sheer weight of water from the pre-Christmas downpours which saturated ground at neighbouring Church House. The price of structural repairs, complicated by the fact that both homes and the adjoining walls are in a conservation area, have not yet been estimated.