What on earth were the remains of three skeletons doing under the central aisle at the Scottish chapel of Rosslyn – featured in the Dan Brown book, the Da Vinci Code? Archaeologists have been trying to get to grips with this conundrum – could they be Knights Templar or medieval knights? Well, it now seems they are from slightly later in history – the 17th century – when the chapel was abandoned during the Protestant Reformation.
In a report in Scotland on Sunday – it appears the bodies were found when the authorities were instaling a new heating system in the church and had dug up some slabs in the aisle. The bodies were placed there when locals took to burying their dead within the church to ensure they were interred in consecrated ground. This may seem odd to us but burials under church floors and in the walls were standard practice up to the nineteenth century. Most old churches in London are absolutely jam-packed with bodies under the floor and in the ground immediately around the walls. The creation of out of town cemeteries in the nineteenth century – a return to Roman practice if one thinks about it – largely put an end to this practice.