Friday, 7 January 2011

Friary Skeletons

In July 1930 Harrison & Lewin (timber merchants) of Boston were excavating for the erection of new sheds on pasture land adjoining the Workhouse on Skirbeck Road when a human skeleton was discovered four feet six inches below the surface. The site of this discovery was the old St. Augustinian Friary.
Skeletons were fairly common discoveries in Boston and, during the previous twenty or thirty years to 1930 had been dug up in all parts of the town. Fydell Crescent, part of which was the site of the old Carmelite Friary, proved to be abundant with human remains. Skeletons were found in Fydell Crescent in 1926 at a depth of four feet and twenty years before that a large skull was discovered and claimed to be that of George Ripley, a noted member of the Carmelite Friars at Boston, and an alchemist, who at one time was hailed as the discoverer of the Philosopher’s Stone. He died in 1400, and was duly buried in the Friary. The Augustinian Friars site in Boston (where the 1930 skeleton was found) was founded by the Tilney family about the time of the building of St. Botolph’s Church and was purchased at the Dissolution by the Mayor and Burgesses.
As late as the 1850’s the land between the Workhouse and St. John’s cemetery (now the playground opposite the college car park) was still known as the Augustine Friar’s Pasture.

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