The Outcast Dead: London's Cross Bones Graveyard
November 7, 2013 11:05 AM   Subscribe

The Outcast Dead: London's Cross Bones Graveyard
Southwark’s Cross Bones graveyard began life as a dumping ground for the medieval Bishop of Winchester’s dead whores. Today, it's a shrine to our own era’s outcast dead, where 50,000 people a year attend regular vigils led by a shamanic local writer and attach their own offerings to the site gates. PlanetSlade's latest free book is the most comprehensive history yet of this fascinating burial ground, and you can read it all at the link above.

For over four centuries, the streets surrounding Cross Bones were home to London's legalised brothels, policed and taxed by the 12th century's Bishop William Gifford and his successors. Nick-named "Winchester Geese" to reflect the Bishop's role as their master, the girls who worked these brothels were nonetheless refused burial in consecrated ground - so their bodies ended up at Cross Bones instead. Since then, the hideously over-stuffed site has been used for the parish's pauper burials, pressed into service as a plague pit and targeted by London's most notorious gang of grave-robbers.
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