The New Churchyard: From Moorfields marsh to Bethlem burial ground, Brokers Row and Liverpool Street

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Modern Liverpool Street was once on the margins of London: the story of its development - from the medieval marsh of Moorfields to municipal, non-parochial, burial ground and later suburb - is illustrated by archaeological investigations undertaken as part of the Crossrail Central development. Excavation also recovered a wealth of well-preserved artefactual evidence for the local inhabitants, from the 16th century to the 19th-century households of Brokers Row. The New Churchyard, or 'Bethlem' as it was later known, was established after the severe plague of 1563 and was in use from 1569 to 1739; archaeological evidence suggests c 25,000 people in total were buried here. Contemporary accounts and parish registers, combined with tombstones and detailed osteological analysis of one quarter of the 3354 burials excavated, enable the reconstruction of some of their lives, and their deaths. They included migrants, many of the city's poor and those on the fringes of society. Some were the victims of recurrent epidemics and outbreaks of plague - confirmed by the identification of the plague pathogen in five skeletons - when mass, but orderly, graves were dug

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Museum of London Archaeology
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