New dig near Warsop could prove if bones are the skeletons of ancient warriors

Paul Jameson, chairman of the Battle of Hatfield  Society ouside Cuckney church where hundreds of skeletons are believed to be buried.
Paul Jameson, chairman of the Battle of Hatfield Society ouside Cuckney church where hundreds of skeletons are believed to be buried.

A group of archaeologists investigating whether an ancient battle took place near Warsop are hoping to analyse skeletons thought to be of more than 800 warriors who were killed there.

The Battle of Hatfield Historical Society (BOHIS) has produced compelling evidence that the Battle of Hatfield took place at Cuckney.

Now the group wants to take things a step further by taking samples from skeletons thought to have been pinpointed during ground penetrating radar tests.

BOHIS is urging members of the public to attend a public meeting at Cuckney Village Hall on October 14 to discuss phase two of the project.

Chairman Paul Jameson said: “It is vitally important that people attend to discuss and vote upon the project subjects and what skeletal sampling - which may relate to the battle - to request.

“We need to demonstrate a strong level of community support in order to obtain sampling permissions from the P.C.C. and the Diocese of Southwell and to obtain funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

The group hopes its fieldwork could relocate the site of the death of Edwin - England’s first Christian king of Northumbria - from near Doncaster to Cuckney.

Last November, BOHIS located nine sites at St. Mary’s, Cuckney which they say may signify both reinterments from 1950/51 and original burial sites, all possibly dating from 632 AD.

Experts using ground penetrating radar have discovered what may represent a large mass burial pit in the north east portion of St Mary’s grounds.

They have also identified five other sites of potential interest and pits dotted around the grounds, most thought to be re-interment sites.

The group has spent three years trying to resolve the mystery of the skeletons discovered in mass burial pits by subsidence contractors at St. Mary’s Church, Cuckney in 1950/51.

These were said to be the bodies of young adult males with perfect sets of teeth. Unfortunately, however, this was not corroborated by scientific analysis at the time.

The second phase could also include digging at the probable site of Cuckney Castle and researching the history of Norton Prisoner of War Camp.