Ancient burial - Background St Bees Man

The eastern end of St Bees church, showing site of granve

In 1981, a 600 year-old body of a knight was found in St Bees, later revealed to be that of Anthony de Lucy, who had died on Crusade in Prussia (Lithuania) in 1368. He had been sent home in a lead coffin, sealed with beeswax, which had then been buried in a wooden coffin at the east end of St Bees Church. 

When the coffin was opened, it was found to have preserved not just the body but his liquid blood and all his organs (apart from his brain). An autopsy was carried out which showed he had died a violent death – having had porridge and raisins for breakfast that morning.

His sister Maud was later buried alongside him after her death in 1398

For more information about St Bees, and St Bees Man, see the village website

The full story can be found in Alexander Grant "The St Bees lord and lady, and their lineage", in Keith J. Stringer (ed.). North-West England from the Romans to the Tudors : essays in memory of John Macnair Todd. Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society. (2014) pp.171–200.

Text, and photo showing the location of the find beside St Bees Church, by Bill Shannon