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Archaeological site on Long Lane

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Saturday 10 August 2002 12.50pm
Does anyone have any information regarding the development at the Borough Rd end of Long Lane? This is a very large development area, and they seem to suggest on the outside hoardings that they are carrying on archaeological investigations. Anyone any ideas?
Sunday 11 August 2002 6.35am
The churchyard from ST Georges used to extend far back to past Tennis Street, burial grounds seemed to get used for the same purpose over the centuries, so perhaps more Roman remains have been found.
In the fantastic John Harvard library there iss a book called Ancient and Promiscous burial grounds, that tells you where a lot of Southwarks burial grounds were.
I found out a few years ago that the land which is now Chaucer's school football pitch is covering up possible tens of thousands of bodies.
I live in Bartholomew Street and it always puzzled me why the gardens which had been there for two hundred years almost were about fifteen feet lower than the school playground, apparently when a burial ground was full they just used to 'top' up the level with earth and re-use!

so you would have layer upon layer or bodies! No wonder I was always finding bits of bone at the end of the garden!
There was also a roman burial ground in Deverell Street.
Lets hope if they do find anything of interest they will give local people the chance to see it!
Monday 12 August 2002 10.11am
Not sure if you mean the Tabard Square Development towards the Borugh end of Long Lane (bordered by Long Ln, Tabard St, Sterry St)

There have been a few previous threads on this

(Not sure if they'll magically turn into links or you'll have to copy and paste them into your browser Address line.)

Nothing relating to archaeological digs though.
Monday 12 August 2002 12.36pm
WRT The Venerable Jan's comment about graveyards being topped up with earth - you're right - the increased height of burial grounds was caused by the sheer volume of bodies in them. But according to a book I read, they didn't actually add more earth - just buried bodies on top of other bodies until the bodies were buried so shallowly that decomposed limbs could be seen sticking out of the ground. Yuck. This prompted the Corporation of London or whatever it was called to close the churchyards and open the large cemetries in the outer boroughs of London for the burial of bodies from the inner boroughs.
Monday 12 August 2002 1.32pm
A burial site is possible - certainly Southwark had many outbreaks of plague. Also it is near the Borough Poor house. But, would a graveyard be worth the archaeological investment?
Monday 12 August 2002 3.07pm
I imagine the archaeological dig is on the site of Roman remains. Southwark's littered with them.
Tuesday 13 August 2002 8.58am
And of course, Tabard Street follows the route of the real Old Kent Road - the roman road to to the east Kent ports (it used to be called Kent Street). So there is a very real possibility of roman roadside buildings. As Long Lane has been a main road for over a thousand years, this area has been a major crossing since Norman times. No castles or cathedrals, but probably one or two very posh villas.
Friday 16 August 2002 7.52am
Saw the hoarding on Long Lane last night with the notice about an achaeological dig and it is the site of the Tabard Square Development. Also noticed there's an article on the the front page of the Southwark News/Press/errr...something newspapery regards the dig and it's accompanied by a rather striking photo of thousands and thousands of bones that have been uncovered, all packed together standing upright. Looks weird. In fact, don't know why I didn't buy the paper.
Wednesday 28 August 2002 2.42am
The Jubilee Line works site on Union Street/Redcross Way was also a burial ground - Crossbones Graveyard for paupers and prostitutes - since the 1600s I think. The Museum of London did a dig and recovered 160 skeletons including a syphilytic skull. Lots of bones were left though, and just turned over by earthmovers. For the last 4 years there has been a candle-lit procession to the site on Halloween, to honour the spirits of the dead - the ground was unconsecrated. This year is the 5th anniversary procession - email me if you'd like more details nearer the time.

If you'd like to object to Railtrack trying again to build on this sacred site (the first application was refused) please email: [email protected] for details.
Tuesday 15 October 2002 11.24pm
Way back in August I said: "And of course, Tabard Street follows the route of the real Old Kent Road - the roman road ... a very real possibility of roman roadside buildings...probably one or two very posh villas"

Oh wow! Was I spot-on or what? Do I get a prize?

Only thing wrong with the report is that Champagne wasn't bubbly untill the middle ages! Who can we lobby so that this sort of important artefact gets displayed locally rather than tucked away in a vault in Bloomsbury?

SE1 history belongs in SE1.
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