In a dark crypt that lies beneath an active parish church in England, the remains of thousands of men, women and children who died in medieval Britain are stuffed into crates and stacked on wooden racks from floor to ceiling. Experts have begun examining some of the skulls one-by-one and a violent history is beginning to emerge, with one of the first medieval skulls to be examined showing signs of death by forceful blow to the head.
The BBC reports that archaeologists selected five skulls out of the remains of around 2,500 people that lie in the underground chapel beneath Holy Trinity Church in Rothwell, Northamptonshire, and one showed a fracture caused by a violent blow.
A view inside Charnel House, Rothwell, showing stacks of bones. Credit: The Rothwell Charnel Chapel Project / University of Sheffield.
Hidden Hall of Bones
The hidden hall of bones containing thousands of dead was a secret kept for centuries. Local legend says in the 1700s, a grave digger, at his work, swung his pick. The ground gave way and he tumbled headlong into a dark chamber, to be met with a horrifying sight: white, grinning skulls and piles of skeletal remains in every direction. He had inadvertently discovered the long-forgotten charnel house beneath Holy Trinity Church in Rothwell.