Ancient Bones Unearthed in Lichfield
All sorts of interesting things have been coming out of the ground in Lichfield lately. I love the fact that we live in such an historic city that even something as mundane as gas works can unearth items of significance.
Given the age of St John’s Hospital Without the Barrs, the bones could be very old indeed. The building was completed in 1135, and was thought to be used as an hostel and place of worship for pilgrims on the way to the shrine of St Chad, but whom had arrived in Lichfield after the city gates (or barrs) had been locked.
Interestingly the works seem to have unearthed the bones quite near to the building’s prominent chimney stacks (see below), which themselves date from 1495, when Bishop William Smyth re-founded the building. There’s a lovely engraving of St John’s on the Staffordshire Past Track website (c. 1762-1798) showing the chapel on a kind of grassy hillock.