Current work: Medical and nonfic
Listening to: Kathryn Williams, The Quickening (new album - is excellent)
Reading: Tess Gerritsen, The Bone Garden (enjoying very much and is highly appropriate, given what I was looking for at Mersea…)
Mersea Island is the most easterly inhabited island in Britain. It’s been colonised since at least Roman times (a Roman mosaic floor has been discovered here, and there are lots of Roman bricks in the church of St Peter in West Mersea). The Danes had an encampment here (probably near the church at East Mersea) and some interesting burials have been found here, such as the ‘wheel’ tomb in West Mersea and the Roman barrow. Not to mention the fact that under the present-day causeway are piles that have been dated to the 7th century – making it the earliest dated causeway in Britain. (It's also meant to be haunted by a centurion.)
What was I after? There are no remains of the priory at West Mersea. But in East Mersea churchyard there’s something unusual.
There’s a legend that because this grave is on the north side of the church, the poor 15-year-old buried here in the mid-19th century was a witch, and this is a cage to keep her in her grave. It’s actually far more likely that she had an illegitimate child (hence the burial site), and this is actually a mortsafe – this protects the grave from being dug up by ‘resurrection men’ (who procured corpses for anatomy practice at medical schools, at a time when you could only dissect corpses of convicted murderers. Mortsafes are found more in places such as Edinburgh (mainly becayse of Burke and Hare’s notorious actions) and they weren’t really necessary after the 1832 Anatomy Act was passed (meaning that other corpses could be dissected, with permission from the family or the workhouse). And it’s slightly odd that Sarah Wrench’s grave is the only one with a mortsafe. But… interesting.
Plan for today: guitar, visit Dad, crack on with book(s).