Saturday, March 21, 2009

Putting the Past to Rest

No one knows her real name, who she really was, or exactly how she died.

In fact, no one would have known the teenager ever existed if not for an archeological dig in England six years ago. Archaeologists were called in prior to work starting on a housing development in Hoo, Kent, England. That’s when they found the 700-year-old remains of a 14-year-old girl buried under a holly bush in an unconsecrated part of the church grounds.

The girl’s head had been removed from her body and placed next to it. According to historians, people in the Middle Ages believed that removing the head was a sure way of denying a person eternal life. Scientists can’t say if she was killed by decapitation, or if her head was removed after. However, they do know that such a method of burial means the girl was either a criminal, a suicide, or she was suspected of witchcraft.

Locals called the girl Holly, and once archaeologists were through studying her remains, they decided to give her the proper burial she never had. Earlier this month, Holly’s body was taken to Hoo St. Werburgh Parish Church and a joint Anglican/Catholic service was held in her honor. More than 200 people showed up to pay their respects.

According to Reverend Andy Harding who officiated at the service along with a Catholic priest, "We just wanted to give her a funeral that was denied to her at the time. She obviously came from Hoo so she will probably be buried close to the rest of her family. We don’t know exactly what happened to her but what we do know is that her life came to an horrific end and even in death she was treated appallingly. We wanted to put her back where she should have been when she first died, and we will be placing her with her head on her shoulders as it should be."

I came across this information yesterday just after I read Lori’s post about, "Where do you get your ideas?" I don’t know about you, but this story sparks at least a dozen for me!

I also think there’s probably one less ghost haunting Hoo these days.

Rest in peace, Holly.


azteclady said...

That is a lovely gesture--thank you for sharing this, Casey.

Freaky: spamcatcha is "diess"

Jess Granger said...

There is certainly a story there. It makes me sad. I'm glad she's been "put right," but the end of her life, had to have been tragic.


Natalie Hatch said...

Oh Casey it does doesn't it? Why was she suspected of witchcraft? and was she really a witch or just an innocent taking the blame... and taking her head off? Hmmm

Jess Granger said...

It might not have been witchcraft. What if she was accused of being a criminal? What if she was accused of murder, but she was really innocent?

There are all sorts of possibilities. It makes you wonder.


moonduster said...

Definitely sparks ideas. 14 is so young today

Casey said...

Wouldn't it be fun to do an anthology...each author doing a different take on the story. That would be very interesting!