MY DEAR SIR,—In 1869 Mr.
Pilbrow communicated, to the Society of Antiquaries, an account of
"Discoveries made during Excavations at Canterbury in 1868."
This included, among other interesting matters, a description of a
leaden coffin, to which I now draw your attention, in connection with a
sketch kindly given me by Mr. Pilbrow, and my brief remarks.
Mr. Pilbrow thus describes the coffin:—
"In Bridge Street, at the upper part, were found four skeletons,
four feet deep. Still nearer the top of this street, a leaden coffin was
found entire, lying north and south, having a skeleton within it, head
to the north. The coffin was six feet below the present surface; but
when placed there it could not have been more than three feet below, as
was proved by the natural and made ground. This coffin was
four feet eight inches long, very sound, and of thick
cast lead; ornamented at the top only, which was a parallelogram, by two
diagonal lines or cords crossing in the centre, at which place there was
a rose ornament; and four other simpler circular ones half way up the
lines towards the corners. This centre ornament and one of the others
will be seen in the specimens exhibited, as also the thickness and
quality of the lead. The skeleton was that of a female, not more than
twelve or thirteen years of age. The body appeared to have been laid
within the coffin on a thick bed of lime, and then packed closely round
with clay. The coffin had also been coated thickly on the exterior with
whitewash. No ornament of any kind was within the coffin."