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14th century cemetery – Phase I

Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft
Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft_94002
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A photograph and plan showing the 11 burials from the first phase of the cemetery in the grout shaft. Nine were adults, one an adolescent and one a child. Yersinia pestis was found in one skeleton.

Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft_94002
The grout shaft during the excavation of the first phase of burials dating to the 14th century.

All were buried on the same south-west to north-east alignment, with their heads to the south-west. There was no sign of any grave markers, but the graves were laid out in rows with enough space to walk between them.

Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft_94002
Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft_93955
Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft_93680
Skeletons of Black Death victims found during construction of Charterhouse Square grout shaft_93644
Location of compensation grout shaft constructed in Charterhouse Square_93940
Grout shafts were used to facilitate compensation grouting - a method of stabilising the surrounding ground and buildings during the tunnelling phase of the Crossrail project.
Charterhouse cemetery reconstruction drawing
A reconstruction of what the West Smithfield cemetery may have looked like during its first phase. The scene is drawn looking south with St Bartholomew’s priory church and St Paul’s Cathedral in the background. Reconstruction drawing by Faith Vardy