Christ Church, Spitalfields: investigations of the burial crypt 1984-1986

Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields, 2003

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Jez Reeve
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Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields (2003) Christ Church, Spitalfields: investigations of the burial crypt 1984-1986 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Christ Church Spitalfields image

The crypt of Christ Church with All Saints, Spitalfields, East London, was the first post-medieval burial vault to have been comprehensively investigated by archaeological methods. The excavations were carried out between October 1984 and April 1986 and the post-excavation analysis between 1986 and 1993. The project was funded initially by grants from the Greater London Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Nuffield Foundation and English Heritage, with Mrs Elizabeth Frayne and the Natural History Museum also providing financial support.

The excavations could not have taken place without the support of the Rector, Parochial Council and Friends of Christ Church; Whitfield Partners Architects; Greater London Council; Council for British Archaeology; Council for the Care of Churches; the Museum of London; the Victoria and Albert Museum; R.W Bowman Ltd, builders; the East London Crematorium; Centre for Diseases Control, Atlanta; Communicable Diseases Control Unit; Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland; the Australian Society of Geneologists; the Guildhall Library; the Greater London Record Office; Tower Hamlets Library; Department of Archaeology, University College London; Department of Archaeological Sciences, Bradford University and the hard work of the team: Max Adams, Portia Askew, Mark Bowis, David Bowsher, Julie Carr, Susan Cole, Simon Cottrell, Michael Dawson, Liz Dyson, Jenny Lamprell, Cath Mason, David Parkin, Robert Pearce, Deirdre Power, Jez Reeve and Alison Steele.

The Christ Church investigations were published in 1993 in CBA Research Report 85, The Spitalfields Project: Volume 1 the archaeology: across the Styx (by Jez Reeve and Max Adams) and in CBA Research Report 86, The Spitalfields Project: Volume 2 the anthropology: the middling sort (by Theya Molleson and Margaret Cox with A H Waldron and D K Whittaker). A further popular publication was published by the CBA in 1996, Life and Death in Spitalfields 1700 to 1850 (by Margaret Cox).

The finds and paper archive from the excavations are deposited with the Museum of London and the human remains with the Natural History Museum. The limited digital archive was passed to the Archaeology Data Service by the Spitalfields Project team in 2000. The archive as deposited consisted of files in a variety of proprietary file formats most of which are now archaic and all the files were migrated into formats suitable for long-term preservation. Limited digitisation of the paper archive was funded by the PATOIS project.

Contents of the Archive

The archive reports and raw data from Christ Church, Spitalfields are offered here as a learning and teaching resource. Those aspects available in the digital archive include:

  • Unpublished historical and post-excavation reports
  • The burial catalogue
  • Extracts from the parish registers for births, marriages and deaths
  • Colour images of the excavations in progress and a selection of finds
  • A sample vault folder containing the excavators' interpretative notes and diagrams

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