Tyne and Wear HER(11402): Longbenton, Church of St. Bartholomew, vault - Details
Longbenton, Church of St. Bartholomew, vault
Religious Ritual and Funerary
In September 2008 a hole appeared in the churchyard just to the left hand side of the church entrance. At the request of North Tyneside Council the County Archaeology Officer went out to site on Wednesday 24th September 2008 whilst the council staff were investigating the void. Not surprisingly the void was found to be a grave - in fact a family sized vault whose roof slab had fallen in. The vault was 2.4m x 2.6m in plan and 1.95m high, built of machine cut brick (probably late C19 or early C20) with two huge tooled sandstone slabs forming the roof. The central door had a flight of steps leading down to it. The bottom of the vault was filled with water so the contents were not fully visible, but the remains of a lead-lined coffin with human bones inside (crushed by the fallen roof slab) was found when the fallen roof slab was recovered by machine. What is peculiar is the fact that the church has no record of a vault at this location nor of a burial of such late date.It must have been one of the last graves because the churchyard passed into Local Authority hands in 1923. The family in question must have had some means to afford a vault like this so close to the church. The roof slabs have now been put back in place and the topsoil laid back on top. The human remains are still in-situ.
Pers comm. Jennifer Morrison, Archaeology Officer, 2008