21 Ancient Human Skulls Are Stolen From A Church Crypt In England

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It seems that someone in Hythe, England, recently had the desire to abduct more than 20 ancient human skulls from a church crypt in Kent, England, on Sunday night. However, it is unclear exactly what one would want to do with 20 human skulls.

According to Kent Online, the burglary took place sometime between “4 p.m. on Sunday and 10:40 a.m. the following day at the St. Leonard’s Church in Oak Walk.”

In total, 21 human skulls were taken from St. Leonard’s Church after the perpetrator or perpetrators damaged a lock to gain entry to the crypt. The human skulls are estimated to be around 700 years old and were stored, on display, on shelving within the crypt.

Considered the largest collection of ancient human bones, the Visit Kent website also reveals that the crypt hosts more than 1,000 human skulls in the collection. In addition to the skulls, there is also a collection of other assorted bones. While it is unclear who these bones belong to, the general consensus is that they are the ancient remains of Hythe residents that were originally buried in the churchyard and, apparently, dug up in the 13th century.

According to BBC News, this crypt is normally open to the public, with people able to walk through and view the “best-preserved collection of ancient human skulls and bones in Britain.”

21 ancient human skulls are stolen from a church crypt
Featured image credit: Kent Police

Inspector Maxine Harris, who is investigating the crime, told Kent Online that they are eager to have the human skulls returned to their rightful home within St. Leonard’s Church.

“We recognize this is perhaps an unusual theft, but these skulls were not free for the taking. They are part of an important collection, we are keen to see them back in their rightful place in the crypt.”

Harris has urged witnesses to come forward with any information they might have in regard to the matter.

“We would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time of the burglary.”

She also asked that people notify them if they come across any skulls “offered for sale.”

Rev. Andrew Sweeney, who is the priest-in-charge at St. Leonard’s, reminded everyone that these skulls once belonged to living humans and that they should remain inside the church.

“Each skull represents the mortal remains of a human being who deserves to rest in peace,” he said. “This crime is shocking and unsettling for those in our community and we are grateful to the police for their help in this matter.”

Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to contact Kent Police at 01843 222289. They need to quote the reference number 16-419. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, at 0800 555 111.