The discovery of a hidden chamber beneath a car park in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town has uncovered three brick tombs almost 200 years old.
The burials were identified using a ground penetrative radar survey and careful excavation work ongoing since the initial discovery – made by civil engineers upgrading the St Mary’s Close car park – in July.
The vaults, one of which houses the bodies of husband and wife James and Ann Bryan, thought to have died in 1834 and 1841 respectively, were part of the original St Mary’s Church cemetery, but were covered up with the development of a marketplace later on in the 19th century.
Bones were also found around the site, and will be reburied as part of work to re-cover the tombs and lay a new car park in line with the regeneration of the High Street.
It is hoped the renovated site, due to be completed in November, will honour the buried in some way.
Vicar of St Mary’s Church, part of the Diocese of St Albans, Jenny Hill said: “It is lovely to know that we have some of the names of the people buried here, and we hope to be able to remember that in the future. We will certainly be remembering them in our prayers.”
Archaeologist Carina Summerfield-Hill, who helped uncover the vaults, said: “This has been an amazing find and it will give a bit more history to the area and the community that was here.”