Residents Shock After Contractors Unearth Bones In Soham Churchyard
PUBLISHED: 10:21 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:27 02 June 2010
CONTRACTORS working in a Soham churchyard have disturbed graves and removed bones from the ground, appalled residents have reported. Workmen completing new toilet facilities for St Andrew s Church in the town have unearthed human remains in the course of
CONTRACTORS working in a Soham churchyard have disturbed graves and removed bones from the ground, appalled residents have reported.
Workmen completing new toilet facilities for St Andrew's Church in the town have unearthed human remains in the course of their digging and have piled the unearthed bones amid a thicket of stinging nettles and on the spoil heap, residents have said.
According to residents who contacted the Ely Standard, the headstones nearest to where a large trench has been dug by workmen date back to the 18th century but many of the names on the stones themselves have eroded away over time.
St Andrew's Church itself is located at the heart of the town and dates back as far as the 12th century.
Soham resident Jacky Hibbert, who was walking through the churchyard when she discovered that graves may have been disturbed, said: "I was shocked when I saw what was happening; I don't think the workman should be digging so close to graves, it is morally wrong.
"When they found the bones they should have taken care to put them in a box and treated them better. I don't think it was right that they piled them up in the stinging nettles, and I certainly hope they will be re-buried in a respectful manner."
"They might say that any relatives of those that are buried are long gone from Soham but that may not be the case. If I found out that any of my relatives graves were being dug up I would go and sit on or in it."
Work on installing the new toilets is expected to continue in the weeks to come with more trenches set to be dug across the yard, which contains dozens of graves. According to UK law, any grave more than 75 years old is allowed to be re-used with local authority permission.
Reverend at St Andrew's Church in Soham, Tim Alban-Jones MBE told the Ely Standard: "We had a full survey carried out before these plans were put in place and I have checked with the district council and the Diocese of Ely who were happy for us to carry out the works there.
"We have all the necessary archaeological surveys carried out a few years ago and the contractors are not doing anything they should not be."
A spokesman for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said that the building work didn't require permission from the council but said that if the remains found were human then the incident should be referred to police and the coroner.