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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Tayler

Rothwell Bone Crypt

"Deep under the floor of the church, near the south door exists Holy Trinity’s crypt or Charnel House. Local legend suggests that little was known about its existence until the day a hapless gravedigger fell into the crypt whilst working in the church many years ago. Falling some twelve feet through pitch darkness into a mass of bones was too much for the individual to bear, and it is reputed that he lost his mind through the incident, remaining that way until the day he died.

The 13th century crypt contains the remains of around 2500 individuals"

So today I decided to take a visit to the bone crypt in Rothwell, Northants. I had to wait 30 minutes for the next tour to start. When I finally got to go down the stairs to where the bones lay, I didn't feel anything initially. It definitely wasn't haunted and nothing attached to the bones. Thought this was a good time to open myself up and see how these poor souls died as it still remains a mystery. First thing I got was the pain in my chest and struggling to breathe. Then came the lower parts of my legs, they had either fallen off or I was bed bound. Then the sickness hit and that's when I had to leave because it affected me quite strongly. Walking back to my car I got the impression these people digested something, some kind of poison but I didn't know what. Back at home I start my research and I come across two medieval illnesses that aren't well known today.

1. Ergot poisoning which is a fungus that grows on grain. Symptoms include - contortions, twitching and hullincations. Nausea, burning sores, pain and loss of limps (lower legs) this was called the St Anthony's Fire.

2. The English Sweating Sickness. Symptoms include - feelings of apprehension, fever, extreme aches, stomach pain and vomiting. Profuse sweating followed, extreme chills, then weakness, differently breathing, chest pain and finally death.

- Liz.

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