CBA Occasional Papers

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Life and Death in Spitalfields 1700 to 1850

Margaret Cox

CBA Occasional Papers No. 21 (1996)

ISBN 1 872414 62 1
ISSN 014178 1 9


Title page of report 21

This is an account of an archaeological project, and of life and death in East London during the 18th and 19th centuries. The project took place at Christ Church, Spitalfields between 1984 and 1989. It centered around the excavation of vaults beneath the church, and analysis of the skeletons and artefacts within them. Almost 1000 skeletons were recovered, of which 387 were of known name and age. They had been buried from 1729 to 1859. The circumstances made the excavation one of the most important ever undertaken.


  • Title pages
  • Frontispiece
  • Contents(p i-v)
  • Introduction(p vi)
  • Acknowledgements(p vi)
  • Part 1: The background
    • Spitalfields(pp 1-3)
    • Christ Church(pp 3-7)
  • Part 2: The excavations 1984-86
    • The decision to excavate(p 8)
    • Clearance of the vaults(pp 8-11)
    • Skeletal and historical analysis(pp 11-13)
    • Preservation(pp 13-15)
  • Part 3: The named sample
    • Origins(pp 16-19)
    • Infancy and childhood (pp 20-26)
    • Marriage and motherhood (pp 27-38)
    • Families and relations (pp 38-42)
    • Physical appearance (p 43)
    • Living conditions (pp 43-50)
    • The diet of the middle classes (pp 50-7)
    • Occupations (pp 57-68)
    • Social and economic status (pp 68-73)
    • In sickness and in health (pp 73-85)
    • Oral health (pp 85-92)
    • Old age and death (pp 93-7)
  • Part 4: Disposal of the dead
    • The burial vaults (pp 98-9)
    • The coffins (pp 99-102)
    • Coffin fittings (pp 102-5)
    • Burial practice (pp 105-6)
    • The Ressurectionists (pp 106-8)
    • The funeral industry in London 1729-1867 (pp 108-11)
    • Death and burial at Christ Church, Spitalfields (pp 111-17)
  • Part 5: Epilogue
    • Epilogue(p 118)
    • An alphabetical list of the named sample (pp 119-25)
    • A chronological list of the named sample (pp 126-32)
  • Further reading (pp 133-4)
  • Index by Lynn Greenwood (pp 135-42)

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