Human remains and Medieval wall discovered by archaeologists at Anglesey church

By Ben Miller | 10 February 2014

Dismembered human remains have been found near a Medieval limestone wall at a 19th century Anglesey church during excavation works on an electrical cable

A photo of an archaeological rock against a dark blue background
One of the finds made at a church in Anglesey during an excavation commissioned by the Diocese of Bangor© CR Archaeology
The bodies were found among the remnants of a previous development on the site of St Ffinan's, alongside a seven-metre section of wall carved in limestone, gritstone and clay.

"A large quantity of disarticulated human remains were found dumped outside of the Medieval wall," said Catherine Rees, of investigators CR Archaeology.

A photo of various brown stone archaeological finds against a white background
Iron Age discoveries from the site© CR Archaeology
"These are believed to have originally been buried within the earlier building and were disturbed when the east-west wall of the later church cut through it.

"There was some survival of lime plaster on the internal face of the Medieval wall along with evidence of a plaster floor or raised area within the north east corner of the building.

"A carved stone corbel from the earlier structure was found within rubble on the outside of the early wall.

"The Victorian church retains some of the earlier features which have been incorporated into the current building, including a 12th century carved gritstone font and an intriguing carved gritstone block in the church wall, identified by an eagle-eyed member of our local Talwrn Historical Society."

Designer John Welch built the current church during the mid-19th century in an attempt to provide extra seating for the growing congregation. The diggers discovered iron cleats from a work boot and a tin button in the backfill of a foundation trench.

"Where the older church runs beneath the current building, the Victorian builders  appear to used the internal facing stones of the earlier structure while removing the most of the upper courses," said Rees.

"Interestingly we have a description of the old building written in around 1833 which describes it as a 'small, neat edifice', and a rare railway map from around 1799, which contains an image of the old building."

Although the exact age of the church is uncertain, archive research suggests its foundations date to the early 7th century.


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A photo of a deep, muddy archaeological trench
© CR Archaeology
A photo of a deep, muddy archaeological trench
© CR Archaeology
A photo of a church and graveyard on a sunny day
© CR Archaeology
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