Skeletons in the Library Cupboard!

During the month of July 1904 excavations and building work were carried out at the western end of Bideford Long Bridge. The former chemist’s shop owned by Mr Hogg and the Posting Station next door owned by the Pridham family had been purchased by the Town Council, and on these sites were to be erected the New Municipal Building (the forward part of the Town Hall together with balcony) and the new Free Library. During this work eight adult skeletons were unearthed, together with copper and silver coins, the latter dating from the time of King Henry VIII.

Shortly after this discovery, Mr Inkerman Rogers, a well-known local historian of Bideford, related that at one time he had had a conversation with Mr Sanders, the caretaker of the Bridge Hall (which stood on the site of the present Bridge Buildings). Mr Sanders recalled that when the foundations were being dug for the present Town Hall, constructed in 1850, a large number of skeletons were discovered at that location. It was thought that they were the remains of French prisoners of war who had been confined in the old cells which were beneath the old Town Hall which had been built in 1698.

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