Crossrail archaeologists expect to unearth 3,000 skeletons in forgotten graveyard

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Crossrail archaeologists expect to unearth 3,000 skeletons in forgotten graveyard

The remains of a former Mayor of London could soon be unearthed at the Crossrail site in Liverpool Street.

The excavation of the “Bedlam” burial ground beneath the station will start next month with the major project set for completion in four years.

The site forms part of a long-forgotten 16th/17th century cemetery and is thought to be the final resting place of one of Britain’s great left-wing heroes Robert Lockyer who was executed by firing squad in April 1649.

Archaeologists, who are investigating the site in preparation for the construction of the eastern entrance of Crossrail’s station complex at Liverpool Street, expect to unearth some 3,000 skeletons potentially including Lockyer.

The activist took part in England’s first democratic political movement – the Levellers.

He was also active in the parliamentarian army against Charles I at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1645 before becoming a Leveller and being elected as “agitator”.

But parliamentarian military bosses wanted Lockyer and his leftist troops to leave the capital. Lockyer was sentenced to death after he refused and was executed by firing squad in St Paul’s Cathedral churchyard.

For left-wing London, he became a martyr. Some 4000 Londoners, many defiantly wearing Leveller symbols, attended his funeral at Bedlam.

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