Tyne and Wear HER(5604): Gateshead, Oakwellgate, Human burial - Details
Gateshead, Oakwellgate, Human burial
Religious Ritual and Funerary
A female skeleton was found during excavations at Oakwellgate in 1999. She was placed in a shallow north-south grave which had been cut into the road surface. She was aged between 35 and 40 at death, was around 5'1" tall and was apparently naked when buried. Dated by pottery and clay pipe in the grave fill, to the period 1645-50. She could have been a victim of the Civil War. However as the grave lay outside the boundaries of the parish churchyard and as it was not orientated east-west like a conventional Christian burial, it is also possible that she was the 'witch' whose burial in 1649 was recorded in the church warden's accounts for St. Mary. These account books contain references to events in Gateshead in the 17th century and 18th century, including references to the Gateshead witch-hunt of 1649 "Paid at Mris Watsons, when the Justices sate to examin the witches 3s. 4d, for trying the witches £1. 5s, for a grave for a witch 6d". Following their trial the Gateshead witches were carried to Durham gaol.
<< HER 5604 >> J. Nolan & J. Vaughan/Arcus, 2002, Excavations at the site of the Regional Music Centre, Oakwellgate, Gateshead, Draft Report 18th century, St Mary's Church - church warden's accounts E. MacKenzie & M. Ross, 1834, An Historical View of Durham, pp 89-90