CHURCH officials have apologised to a woman after she stumbled
over human remains in a graveyard.
Kirsty Olley was searching for clues about her ancestors among
headstones at St Margaret's, Old Catton, near Norwich, when she
found bones - including a skull fragment, and a jaw bone still
holding some teeth. They are believed to have come from a part of
the cemetery last used in 1899.
Ms Olley told the Eastern Daily Press: "It was quite
obvious by the state of the churchyard that they had recently had
some groundworks, but to find human remains of these poor people
who were laid to rest many years ago was, without a doubt,
disturbing, and very upsetting."
Now the PCC of St Margaret's have apologised on behalf of
contractors working on improvements to the church, which dates
fromthe 11th century.
In a statement, the PCC secretary, Sharon Money, said that it
was "regrettable" that proper procedures had not been followed, and
the contractor was "extremely apologetic" for the oversight.
She said: "While most of the work was carried out within the
church building, there was some excavation. Under Church of England
regulations, excavated soil from a consecrated churchyard cannot be
removed, and has to remain in the churchyard. Some may be reused
for backfilling, but the remainder has to be stockpiled, and then
spread and levelled within the churchyard."
The bones had been discovered during the spreading of the
excavated material, and should have been collected by the
contractor and stored for reinterment. After Ms Olley's discovery,
they were bagged and removed from the churchyard. "The bones will
all be returned to the church, and . . . reinterred," Ms Money