Ser­vice as Scots prison­ers of war are rein­terred

His­tory: Men cap­tives from Bat­tle of Durham

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS - Fri­day, May 18, 2018 BY TOM WILKIN­SON

The re­mains of 17th Cen­tury Scot­tish prison­ers of war will be re­buried af­ter skele­tons were dis­cov­ered dur­ing building work at Durham Uni­ver­sity.

Ex­ten­sive tests were car­ried out af­ter they were found five years ago and stud­ies showed they had been held cap­tive in the then empty Durham Cathe­dral fol­low­ing the 1650 Bat­tle of Dun­bar.

A sim­ple grave­side cer­e­mony re­flec­tive of the 17th Cen­tury will be held to­day at El­vet Hill Road Ceme­tery, less than a mile from where they were found.

Dur­ing the re­burial ser­vice peo­ple will have the op­por­tu­nity to scat­ter a hand­ful of Scot­tish soil into the grave, in ac­knowl­edge­ment of the ori­gins of many of the sol­diers.

Pro­fes­sor Chris Ger­rard, of Durham Uni­ver­sity’s Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, said: “It has been a priv­i­lege to re­search these sol­diers and, hav­ing learnt so much from their re­mains, it was im­por­tant to us to lay them to rest with re­spect and dig­nity.

“To­day we are able to give these men the burial they were de­nied when they died al­most 400 years ago.”

The re­burial ser­vice has been de­signed by Durham Cathe­dral, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Church of Scotland and the Scot­tish Epis­co­pal Church were in­vited to com­ment, to en­sure a re­spect­ful and dig­ni­fied fi­nal com­mit­tal.

Met­ri­cal Psalms from the 1650 Scot­tish Psalter and a Bi­ble read­ing from the 1611 King James Ver­sion have been in­cluded in the ser­vice.

At the Bat­tle of Dun­bar the English Par­lia­men­tar­ian army, un­der the com­mand of Oliver Cromwell, de­feated the Scot­tish Covenant­ing army who sup­ported the claims of Charles II to the Scot­tish throne.

DIS­COV­ERY: The skele­tons were found dur­ing building work at Durham Uni­ver­sity

Fa­cial re­con­struc­tion of one of the sol­diers

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