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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Unearthed: the fat monk, the silver crozier, and the skeleton (and ghost?) of Furness

    Let's get the ghosts out of the way; they would appear to have no bearing (or vice versa) on the main interest of the story - the important historical discovery - the best of its kind in half a century - of the skeleton in the presbytery at the second-richest-and-most-powerful abbey of its time in England - the Cistercian Abbey in Furness (but, hey, everybody likes a ghost story or three):
    There are also many stories and sightings claiming that Furness Abbey is haunted, there are three main ghosts which have supposedly been sighted numerous times at this location. Firstly, one of the monks that was brutally murdered in the Reformation is said to be seen climbing one of the staircases in the Abbey. The figure appears to be leaning on the banister as being pulled up the stairs. Another sighting is that of a squire's daughter and her partner. These figures were known for attempting to repair the Abbey ruins after the Reformation, one day her partner took a journey out to sea from which he never returned. It is thought that the girl went back to the Abbey every day until her death to take in the site she and her partner once loved, the track she walked is today still known as "My Lady's Walk." There have also been many sightings of a white lady, although due to possible conflicting stories, it is unknown whether the White lady and the ghost of the squire's daughter are the same person or not. Possibly the most famous ghost of Furness Abbey is a headless monk on horseback, who rides underneath the sandstone arch near the Abbey Tavern, this death of this individual is also likely to be attributed to the Reformation. (Graham, E., and E. Torkington, 'The Spirits of Furness Abbey' as mentioned on the Furness Abbey Wiki page)
    Extraordinary discovery of 12th century abbot's grave: 2012 technology
    could unmask his identity - and that of a ghost that roams the site
    (Daily Mail)
    For something like seven centuries he had lain undisturbed.

    He – or at least his remains – survived Henry VIII’s destruction of his abbey in 1537, eluded the grave-robbers that followed, and avoided discovery by Victorian archaeologists.

    Even deep excavations and the underpinning of the crumbling building in the 1930s failed to unearth him.

    But the abbot who headed Britain’s second richest and most powerful Cistercian monastery may soon be unmasked – along with the identity, perhaps, of one of the site’s ghosts.
    [The discovery's] significance was immediately apparent. Whoever was buried here had been placed in the presbytery – the most prestigious position in the abbey, usually reserved for those held in greatest esteem.

    With the remains were rare medieval jewellery and a silver and gilt crozier, a senior abbot’s staff of office.
    Although he could have died as early as the 1150s, English Heritage curator Susan Harrison believes the grave more likely dates from the 1350s to early 1500s.

    ‘This is a very significant discovery,’ she said. ‘There has been no comparative grave found for the last 50 years in British archaeology.’
    Harrison said that, although the crozier and ring were rare, of more interest was the fact that such an important grave could be excavated and analysed using the most modern techniques to harvest as much information as possible.

    Dating the grave could even produce a name for the abbot when matched against historical listings.

    And the ghost? ‘I’d like to thoroughly quash all the ghost stories around this and concentrate on reality,’ Miss Harrison said.
    much more of the story, with pictures, at DM link above

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    This one may move forums shortly - I unintentionally clicked it into Crimes in the News instead of Up to the Minute (or Bizarre and Offbeat would work too). Of course, were it proven the abbot had been murdered in the purges of the monasteries ordered by Henry VIII - hey, crimes in the news! Or at least news back then! Anyway, notified the mods of my faux pas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    The Furness Abbey English Heritage site.

    The Guardian's "we're a broadsheet; no tabloid ghosts, thanks" look at this same tale:

    Furness Abbey grave yields treasures of a prosperous medieval abbot

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Cajun Country, Louisiana
    Wow, this is so interesting!

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