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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Curious incident of the dig in the knight time

FRESH interest has been sparked in the remarkable story of a medieval knight whose body was discovered in the churchyard of St Bees Priory.

By Andrew Clarke

The extraordinary chance discovery of ‘St Bees Man’ – and a lady lying beside him – was made in 1981. It is believed that the man is Anthony de Lucy, who lived in the 1300s, and the woman is a relative, Maud de Lucy.

And new interest in the tale has been sparked by research student Emily Cline and a separate television documentary crew, both of whom visited St Bees last week to investigate the discovery and the autopsies that followed.

They met with Chris Robson and Ian McAndrew, of the St Bees Village History Group.

Chris said: “The story of St Bees Man has laid dormant for a while, but this new interest could help us piece together a continuous narrative of what might have happened.”

Chance discoveries and subsequent scientific and historical research has produced a good idea about who ‘St Bees Man’ was and where and when he died.

It is known that Anthony de Lucy left England in 1367 with his companions to join with the Teutonic Knights in the Northern Crusade. Less is known about Maud.

Emily, from Ohio in the United States and a forensic archaeology and anthropology student at Cranfield University, has been investigating the DNA.

The lady’s bones are still available for inspection, and Emily was able to carry out some first-hand research last week.

However, Anthony was reburied following the 1981 autopsy – and Emily is appealing for anyone who was involved in the autopsy to get in touch to help with her research.

The documentary is being made by an independent film crew, with the assistance of Tim Sutherland, a battlefield archaeologist from the University of York. The film is expected to be completed by December when the team hopes to have it picked up by a television company.

Anyone who can help Emily with her research is asked to contact Chris Robson on 01946 822468.

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