Melton: Anger as skeletons left exposed after graves are dug up
ARCHAEOLOGICAL bosses have come under fire for the “appalling” and “disrespectful” treatment of graves and skeletons that were left exposed after a recent excavation.
The gruesome discovery was made on the site of the former chapel at the old St Audry’s psychiatric hospital in Melton, near Woodbridge.
The graves are believed to date from the 19th and 20th Centuries and belong to doctors who worked there.
The skeletons are still intact and it is understood the resting places have been left open for a number of months.
Local residents have been shocked at the treatment of the graves – especially as some of the relatives may still be living locally.
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Reg and Bee Holles-Perkes were alerted to the discovery when they had tree surgery carried out at their property. They said: “It is terrible. Very disrespectful. The graves were excavated and left uncovered for more than two months. They have just been left unattended.
“These poor people are supposed to be allowed to rest in peace.
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“We’re not talking about medieval graves – these are from the 19th and 20th Centuries. They could be within living memory, with families still living in the community. It’s absolutely appalling.”
Last night the Reverend Michael Hatchett, vicar at St Andrew’s Church in Melton, said he would investigate to ensure the graves were treated in the proper manner.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it and I’m not aware that the parish church has any responsibility,” he said. “However, even if we don’t I will certainly look into it and check that the right procedures are being carried out and the graves are treated in a respectful manner. I do get inquiries here occasionally from relatives seeking the graves at St Audry’s.”
The land, close to Calder Road, is owned by Hopkins Homes and the excavation work was carried out by Archaeological Solutions Limited, which is based in Hertford.
A spokeswoman for Hopkins Homes said: “The work was carried out in accordance with archaeological department guidelines.
“It was a dig carried out by a professional team.
“They were interested to see what was there. We knew it was a graveyard and it was deemed to be of archaeological interest. The graves will be made good again.”
Jon Murray, project manager at the Hertfordshire firm, declined to comment, saying all work for clients was confidential.
However, he added: “It was a standard archaeological investigation.”