Alas Poor Yorick

“Alas, Poor Yorick! – We knew him not …”

In 1991 the pews and most of the woodwork in the Old Church were comprehensively renovated by Martin Walker, joiner of Penallt. When he began work on the pulpit steps, the space under the pulpit saw the light of day for the first time in decades. Martin was understandably startled to discover in this space a human skull – with a hole in it. As the law requires, the police took a hand and sent the skull to experts. They declared it to be “old” and that of a young male, and that the hole had been made after demise. So it was not a remnant of a grisly deed of battle or a murder after all. Another good story was lost before it was told.

The probability is that during the removal of the steps down into the chancel in 1886, workmen disturbed and damaged human remains under the floor, reburied them and then discovered that they had overlooked the skull. And who, they said to themselves, will bother to remove panels at the base of the pulpit nearby and find what we are pushing out of sight of the foreman? One hundred and five years later, the Vicar gave the skull a fitting interment, as directed by Church law, and those distant consciences were salved at last.

[from: Penallt Revisited]