Search

Amateur archeologists dig up ancient black death burial ground in Clerkenwell

12:04 24 July 2014

Volunteers hard at work

Volunteers hard at work

Archant

Amateur archeologists digging up an ancient burial ground where victims of the black death were laid to rest may have found evidence of a 600-year-old monastery.

A total of 25 plague victims were dug up at the site in Charterhouse Square, Clerkenwell, last year during work for the Crossrail project, but experts believe there could be more skeletons in the mass grave.

The new dig is to uncover evidence of a Carthusian monastery built in the 1400s to pray for victims of the bubonic plague, which killed 100million as it swept across Europe, and 90 volunteers were picked to help the team.

Nick Elsdon, from Museum of London Archaeology who is managing the project, said: “What we have found here is a medieval surface.

“What we can’t tell is whether it’s a courtyard or just a path.

“There is a good chance the kitchens and grounds are somewhere nearby. Because the Carthusians were vegetarians the meat kitchens were outside the monastery.

“We know it’s somewhere in the square but unfortunately we don’t know where.”

Maps from the 1600s clearly show a building in the square, while a team from Keele University have used radar imagery to detect possible remains several feet below the current surface.

“We wanted to dig in slightly different position,” said Mr Eldson. “But Islington Council wouldn’t let us because of the protected trees in the square.

“There is a chance what was detected by the radar is just demolished rubble. It’s was always an option.”

Joanna Cronin, one of the volunteers, said: “Although everything we find is fairly low key, you can’t help but be amazed by the history. I always apply for things like this but never get picked so I can’t believe how lucky we are.

Fellow digger Mary-Anne Brouckaert said: “Every single thing we touch is from the 14th century, which makes you think

’wow’. My children always play in the square and are really interested - they keep asking lots of questions.

Debbie Guiness, who has just qualified to be a Clerkenwell and Islington history guide, said: “It’s such a fascinating part of the world and it’s great to be able to learn more about it.”

The dig is scheduled to end on Saturday.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 17:10
Timid: Rabbit experts warn the animals are easily stressed (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA)

Animal lovers do not see the bunny side of plans for a pop-up “rabbit cafe” in Islington.

Yesterday, 15:38
Rev Simon Harvey found this intruder in his house on Wednesday afternoon

Grieving vicar Simon Harvey today told how he photographed a suspected burglar in his Upper Street home, moments before discovering his dead wife’s jewellery had been stolen.

Yesterday, 11:42
Murat Mehmet runs Electrical Embassy Supplies with his father, who imports olive oil from Cyprus to his shop on Compton Street

For Murat Mehmet and his business partner father, selling olive oil from an electrical shop is as natural as the family’s organic production farm in Cyprus. Georgie Conway reports.

Yesterday, 09:04
Richard at the former care home building in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury, where he was abused as a child. Picture: Ken Mears

Like dozens of other children in 20th-Century Islington care homes, Richard was a victim of abuse. A new website is supporting these survivors. This week, he bravely returned to the building of his former care home in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury. He told James Morris there could be hundreds more victims who have yet to come to terms with childhood trauma.

Wed, 17:08
A police car outside City and Islington College on Monday. Picture: Ken Mears

Three men have been bailed until late July after two 18-year-olds were stabbed in Owen’s Field on Monday afternoon.

Wed, 16:58
Crowds at the Whitecross Street Party two years ago. The population of Islington is set to rocket by 17 per cent in the next decade (Picture: Dieter Parry)

Islington’s population is set to soar by 37,000 over the next decade, according to government stats released today.

Wed, 16:00
Rocketspace's San Francisco offices

With more and more tech start-ups emerging from Old Street every day, the market for an all-in-one hub has never been more evident.

Wed, 14:17
Speakers at the launch of an exhibition celebrating half a century of adventure play in Islington

More than 150 people attended the launch of an exhibition telling the story of the adventure playground in Islington last week at the Islington Museum.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe