Winchester Geese

cross 2South Bank Fleshpots and the women who choose or were forced to work in them were often ostracized by their neighbours, even in death. They were refused a Christian burial, as noted by John Stow in 1603: I have heard of ancient men, of good credit, report that these single women were forbidden the rites of the church. So long as they continued that sinful life, and were excluded from Christian burial. There was a plot of ground called the Single Woman’s churchyard, appointed for them far from the parish church. The final resting place of the medieval Winchester geese was lost for centuries until building excavations at the junction of Redcross Way and Union Street in the 1990s uncovered hundred of female skeletons, many of which showed signs of syphilis, a common occupational hazard for prostitutes in this era. Since then, the people of Southwark have taken the final resting place of the prostitutes to their hearts and have energetically opposed any development of the site, preferring that the area be transformed into a public park.

Fiona Rule –  Book on London’s Docklands


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