This monograph presents the results of archaeological excavation of 244 burials and associated charnel from a burial ground in North Shields, used by the Society of Friends between 1711 and 1829. The site was located within an open public park, which fortuitously preserved the entirety of the former burial ground and apart from the removal of three skeletons in 1961, there had been little disturbance to the burials, providing a rare opportunity to examine a Quaker burial ground in its entirety.
The publication considers aspects of the layout and chronological use of the burial ground, use of coffins, coffin fittings and grave markers, treatment of the body and burial customs, demographics and health of the population. The excavated remains broadly concur with the accepted doctrine of simple burial, unadorned coffins and burial in unmarked graves. There are exceptions, however, such as the recovery of a pair of very ornate gold cufflinks from the grave of an elderly woman. Wealthy ship-owner John Walker (not a member of the Society of Friends at the time of his death) was buried in an elaborate triple-lined grave containing a lead coffin, within a timber casing, and had been interred within a brick-lined single vault.
Detailed reports on human osteology, coffin construction and fittings as well as other associated finds accompany the discussion of Quaker burial practices as revealed by these excavations. Documentary research has enabled the lives of four of the families buried at Coach Lane to be investigated in more detail. The results of this monograph should be of particular interest to students of post-medieval human osteology, Quaker and other post-medieval burial practices, as well as those interested in the history of the locality.
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