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Identifying the Buried at London’s Bedlam Cemetery

Monday, February 9, 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND—Volunteers have examined parish burial records kept at the London Metropolitan Archives and compiled a database of the estimated 5,000 people who were buried in Bedlam cemetery in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Named for the nearby Bethlem Hospital, which housed the mentally ill, the cemetery was established in 1569 during outbreaks of plague and other epidemics. It is being excavated to clear the site for new Crossrail train tunnels and a station. “These people lived through Civil Wars, the Restoration, Shakespeare’s plays, the birth of modern industry, plague, and the Great Fire,” lead archaeologist Jay Carver told London 24. Among the dead known to have been buried at Bedlam were Sir Ambrose Nicholas, Lord Mayor of London in 1575; and Dr. John Lamb, astrologer to the First Duke of Buckingham. All of the skeletons will be reburied at another location. To read in-depth about the excavation of another London cemetery, see "Haunt of the Resurrection Men."

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