Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cross Bones Graveyard, Southwark

The above plaque (on Redcross Way, Southwark SE1) reads:

In medieval times this was an unconsecrated graveyard for prostitutes or 'Winchester Geese'. By the 18th century it had become a paupers' burial ground, which closed in 1853. Here, local people have created a memorial shrine.

The Outcast Dead

Up to 15,000 people are said to be buried here, in what is now just a wasteland, with only the plaque and gate covered with flowers to tell of its past. Local prostitutes were known as Winchester Geese because they were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work within Liberty of the Clink, an area of Southwark which lay outside the jurisdiction of the City of London.

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