COUNTY NEWS: Burial site unearthed beneath Sussex venue

Nine skeletons have been uncovered during the renovation of the a Sussex music venue this week.

The dig at the Corn Exchange (Photograph: Carlotta Luke)
The dig at the Corn Exchange (Photograph: Carlotta Luke)

The remains under the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange are thought to be from a 200-year-old Quaker burial ground known as ‘Quakers Croft’, before the Royal Pavilion Estate was built.

The skeletons are in the process of being exhumed from underneath the area that was formerly the venue’s mini conference room.

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Alan Robins, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s tourism, development and culture committee said: “We understand that up to nine graves have been uncovered during the excavations. The remains are now being carefully exhumed and will be examined to determine more about the deceased before being re-buried or cremated.

The site is thought to have been a Quaker burial ground (Photograph: Carlotta Luke)

“The find isn’t totally unexpected as the Royal Pavilion Estate site has so many strong historic links but this is a significant find for the archaeologists and another important addition to the city’s rich cultural story.”

Darryl Palmer of Archaeology South-East who is managing the dig on site, said: “This is a significant find that shines a light on an important historical moment in the city. The Quaker meeting house and cemetery at the Dome is recorded on the Bishop’s map of 1803 and absent by the OS town plan of 1876. The best clue as to when worship and burial ceased is when the Quaker meeting house moved to the current location on Meeting House Lane in 1805.”

A spokesperson for Brighton Quakers said: “We are excited at the news of this discovery. We have known for a long time about the burial ground being used from 1700 to 1805 but did not know that any Quakers were left buried there. We are fascinated to hear of this link with our past and look forward to learning more.”

For more on the works at the Corn Exchange, click here.