On 11 Sept Bristol Post ran an in-depth article detailing what has been found so far during the archeological works taking place at St George’s Bristol. This archeology is an important part of preparations ahead of the build phase of the ‘Building a Sound Future’ project.
Reporter Eugene Byrne wrote “While St George’s is looking forward confidently to the future, its past has not been neglected. Over this summer, Avon Archaeology has been carrying out extensive excavations on the site, particularly of the church graveyard, and a number of fascinating stories are emerging, slowly and painstakingly, from the soil.
“The site was being used as a burial ground for the overspill from St Augustine’s (Bristol Cathedral) as early as 1816, and it is the graves which are the main concern of the archaeologists. At the time of writing, they had uncovered 275 graves, but expect to find more before they finish.
“The archaeologists anticipate that examination of the remains will yield a lot of information about the church’s parishioners in the first half of the 19th century and about wider Clifton society.”
Byrne goes on to quote Kevin Potter from Avon Archeology, who is managing the dig; “‘The burials at the bottom seem to be poorer and carried out with less care. At the upper end we have some burials in vaults. These vaults were not expected, and they mean we can distinguish a quite wealthy social background there.'”
There is much more to be learned about the parishioners of St Augustine’s that were buried at St George’s, which will come to light when their remains are studied in more detail by osteologists. The apparent cross section of society that has been found means that this gives a rare opportunity to see a snapshot of how Bristolians of all classes in the late Georgian and early Victorian era lived and died.
The finds on site, as well as the results of further study in to records, will be used to inform a Heritage Interpretation Space in what is now the Crypt Bar of St George’s Bristol once the renovation works are completed. The space will be open to the public, telling stories of the parishioners, and the history of St George’s Bristol and Brandon Hill.
Once we have learned what we can from these remains, they will be reinterred at a burial site in Bristol, details of which are yet to be confirmed.
Read more about what has been found and the potential significance of this site here on the Bristol Post website.
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