ST JAMES, England — Archaeologists are hoping to find out more about the people buried here, including who they were and what they thought.
A few hundred metres from St James Church, where a coffin bearing the inscription “The Rest of Your Life” was found in 1915, archaeologists are working to determine how and why a few hundred people from the city of Coventry were buried there in the late 19th century.
The coffin was buried in Coventry cemetery in October 1914, but the grave has been overlooked for decades.
“We are really excited about finding out more,” said Chris Wood, director of the Coventry Archaeology Trust.
He told BBC Radio Wales that he hoped the findings would help to answer a long-standing mystery.
It’s been said that the church had been built on the site of a former burial ground, but Wood said it’s possible that it was used as a cemetery in the early 19th Century.
There are now around 100 burials at St James, which dates back to about 1650.
Wood said the burial ground is a major tourist attraction, but that some people might not know that the site is there.
“We’ve been talking to some people who have a strong feeling that they don’t know the whole story about Coventry and their ancestors,” he said.
Archivists hope to find some of the names buried in the ground and try to reconstruct their lives.
For some, the hope is to find a marker that will help to connect to a past that they may not have been able to connect with before.
Many of the dead were children, and they might have been in the family that died in the battle of the Somme.
They might also have been from the English countryside, like Wood.
“It’s not only about Covidian people, it’s about people from other parts of the world who may have come here and stayed here in Covidnag and have a part to play in Covidian history,” he added.
If the findings are successful, it would provide a rare glimpse into the lives of people buried in England’s past.
While the discovery of a coffin has been celebrated in the past, it is not the only one.