Builders renovating a building in central London have discovered a secret tomb housing the remains of five former archbishops of Canterbury dating back to the 17th century.
London Museum confirmed the remains has been discovered inside the secret tomb more than a year ago, posting a statement and video on Sunday (GMT) revealing the find.
The museum sits on a site that formerly housed the St Mary-at-Lambeth Church and is located next to Lambeth Palace in central London, the archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence.
The builders chanced upon the hidden crypt when they lifted some flagstones while doing a renovation of the building, finding a total of 30 lead coffins, one of which featured a gold mitre.
Garden Museum director Christopher Woodward said five archbishops were buried in the tomb, including Richard Bancroft.
Bancroft became archbishop in 1604 and played a major role in production of the King James Bible.
Another was reported to be John Moore (1783 to 1805) whose wife, Catherine Moore, also had a coffin plate.
The coffins have so far been left undisturbed, however, the builders have installed a glass panel in the floor above them to allow visitors to view the crypt.
The BBC reported that St Mary’s was one of the most sacred and precious sites in London, built in the 11th Century along the Embankment, opposite Westminster Abbey.
Mr Woodward told the BBC: “This church had two lives: it was the parish church of Lambeth, this little village by the river … but it was also a kind of annex to Lambeth Palace itself.
“And over the centuries a significant number of the archbishops’ families and archbishops themselves chose to worship here, and chose to be buried here.”
Discover more about the find here
– with AAP