Friday, 22 August 2014

A bit of skullduggery in Hythe??

This week I had a day out in the ancient 'cinque port ' town of Hythe with 3 friends......we wandered along the quaint high street....which is full of quirky,individual shops rather than the usual 'chain' stores
had a delicious lunch in one of the many cafes....and spent far too long in the 'Sewing Space'......an inspiring fabric shop....it took great willpower to only buy one piece of fabric!!
We then took a seriously steep climb up to St Leonards church
which contains one of only two ossuaries in England.....small,but fascinating.....and strangely enough.....not spooky at all.....quite peaceful,in fact.
It holds over 2000 skulls and about 8000 thigh bones....they date from the medieval period....when it was apparently believed that at least a skull and thigh bone were needed to be preserved in order for the dead to enter the afterlife.
The skulls have also been used to find out more about the genetic make up and health of our predecessors.....interestingly there are a lot of teeth in surprisingly good condition......sugar has a lot to answer for!!!!
Some of the skulls are individually displayed with explanations of how and why the person died.....axe wounds.....congenital deformities.....illness.....it would seem some even died of plain old age.
And we weren't allowed to touch the skulls as the oil from hands eventually makes the skulls all shiny.
It was fascinating......and also took me back to the day that 6 year old DD1 came home from school and announced that she never wanted to go to heaven because it would be full of skeletons.....not sure how much she would have liked this crypt!!

13 comments:

Kathyk said...

Fascinating facts about the ossuaries .... not really sure how I feel about them though so I'll take your word for it about it being peaceful and not a bit spooky! Looks like a lovely place, one I might like to visit too

Looking forward to our meet in September too

Kathyk

Sian said...

Great title! It looks really interesting: I always think of seeing something like that in Europe not England. Now I'm wondering how many of them there are around the place

Barbara Eads said...

What a wonderful post. I love traveling along with you. Those shops look like so much fun to browse. As for the church---that looks really interesting. Definitely something I would enjoy exploring.

Sheena said...

Looks like a fabulous day out x
I'd really like to visit that church after seeing your pics .

Helen Philipps said...

A lovely town to visit, and the church is fascinating. The skulls reminded me of churches we visited in Italy. Thank you for sharing your interesting day out.
Happy weekend.
Helen xox

Louise said...

How fascinating x

Karen said...

Sounds like my kind of town. Ossurary is a new word to me; absolutely fascinating!

Melissa said...

Sounds like it was a very interesting day - I've never seen that many skulls in one place!

Sandra said...

I've just shown your photos to hubby, and asked how far this is lol ... I've got to see, if not just the sewing shop :)

Lynne in NI said...

That looks like a really interesting visit!

Karen said...

You always do such interesting posts about the places you visit but I am not 100% sure I would like the Ossurary.

Becky said...

How fascinating! Looks like a really good day out :)

Jennifer Grace said...

Ooh Hythe sounds intriguing! All those skulls look a bit spooky on my computer screen but I wonder how I'd feel seeing them in person. hopefully peaceful. x