Dark History

The Bones of St Brides Church

The Bones of St Brides Church
Staff Writer

St Brides pile of bones


ANTHONY LEWIS recently visited St Brides Church in London where he discovered haunted tales and the remains of Londoners long forgotten


St Brides Skull with Bullet Hole

A skull discovered underneath St Brides. Experts believe the skull belonged to a person who had committed suicide by shooting themselves through the mouth. The death records had been faked to allow the suicide victim to be buried in holy ground.

In 1650, Tom Cox, a poor coachman, was heading home down Water Lane when he saw a darkly dressed gent hailing him. Accepting one last fare for the night he picked-up the mysterious stranger who wished to be taken to St Bride’s Church in London.

When the coach had ratted down Fleet Street to its destination, the stranger turned to face Tom, his eyes ablaze. There in the churchyard the man transformed: growing over twice the height of any person.

Matted fur burst from his skin and his teeth elongated into jagged fangs. Finally a bear-like demon bore down on Tom Cox; who spurred by primal fear, lashed out at the creature with his whip. The beast roared diabolically, vanishing in a burst of flame.

What was the cause of this visitation?

It has been theorised that churches and temples are built over the top of earlier holy sites because the location itself is a nexus of spiritual energy. St Bride’s is particularly rich in holy sites: there has been temples and chapels on the same spot for 2000 years ?

The current church incorporates a Roman footpath, a Saxon undercroft, a medieval chapel, Christopher Wren’s tallest spire and following incendiary bombing in the Blitz, a 1950s
restoration.

A church boasting such a rich ecclesiastical history is bound to have a few skeletons in its closet? And I’m not being metaphorical here!

St Brides Church, LondonBones, preserved from parishioners of the church’s various incarnations are painstakingly boxed and catalogued in St Bride’s ossuary. Because the church traditionally buried its dead in lead coffins clearly labeling the name, date and cause of death, this collection is a resource to archaeologists and medical students alike.

Just as striking is the adjoining charnel house where ancient parishioners are interred as piles of skulls and long-bones. This is where the “skull and crossbone” originates: In London, cramped churchyards were overflowing with the dead by the medieval period. To create space, skeletons were routinely “consolidated”, leaving only the skull and two long-bones.

Perhaps the concentrated energy of the souls interred here have weakened the barriers between this world and the next? Allowing creatures like Tom Cox’s Bear Demon to cross through to this earthy plane?


ANTHONY LEWIS is one half of Boo Tours, a fabulous ghost walking tour company of London. You can visit Boo Tours website here.


Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Dark History

More in Dark History

Fornham All Saints

Don’t disturb our ancient dead at Fornham Henge

Staff Writer26th March 2015
The-ruins-of-the-Greyfriars-Priory

Ghostly Dunwich and Coastal Horrors

Guest Writer18th March 2015
The Hampstead Murder Mystery

Mary Pearcey, the Hampstead Murderess

Jon Rees14th March 2015
Execution of Catherine Wilson

Catherine Wilson, the killer nurse

LH Davies13th March 2015
Madeleine Smith

The Strange Case of Madeleine Smith

MJ Steel Collins11th March 2015
Eileen Atkins as Mother Sawyer

Elizabeth Sawyer, The Witch of Edmonton

Jay Hollis11th March 2015
Statue of Grace O'Malley

Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Ireland

Ann O'Regan10th March 2015
Elizabeth-Stile-feeds-her-familiars

Elizabeth Stile, Witch of Windsor

Guest Writer9th March 2015
Lizzie Williams

Jill the Ripper? 5 women accused of being Jack

Jon Rees9th March 2015
Wicked-Women-Week

Wicked Women Week

Staff Writer8th March 2015
A mortsafe (the 'coffin') and watchhouse (wee building in front of the church) in Cadder Cemetery, Bishopbriggs, just outside Glasgow

Suzie Lennox reveals Britain’s Forgotten Bodysnatchers

MJ Steel Collins5th March 2015
Burke-and-Hare-do-the-rounds

The Life And Crimes Of Burke And Hare

MJ Steel Collins28th February 2015