More bog bodies than any other bog in Britain
In the past, bogs, with their 'will o’ the wisps’, have been regarded as sacred places to make votive offerings and possibly human sacrifices. Their treacherous pools were thought in Celtic times to be the entry to the Underworld of the Gods.Unfortunately, 1889 newspaper reports are all that remain of the bog bodies, two male, one female, which peat cutters found on the Mosses. The ‘pickling’ bog water had dissolved their bones but preserved their clothes and hair and their skin was like tanned leather. Once the bodies had been buried in Whitchurch and Whixall churchyards, these would quickly have disintegrated.
In c.1867, in a treacherous part of the bog, Henry Simpson and Thomas Woodward found the body of a young man, partly covered by a leather apron. He was 2 - 3 feet down in the peat and in a seated position, nearby was a three-legged stool.
In c.1877 the body of a woman was found by George Heath, at a similar depth.
In 1889 Henry Slack and Thomas Parsons found the naked body of a man, almost 6 feet tall, lying flat between the black and grey peat layers. He was found 4 – 5 feet down in the peat and situated to the west of Manor House (near the Main Drain). This was 200 yards from the site of the 1867 body and 300 yards from the1877 find.
The first two bodies may be Iron Age/Romano-British similar to many of the 106 British bog bodies, but the 1889 body, apparently Early Bronze Age, is one of the earliest ever found.
Only one other British bog body, like the 1867 body, had any clothing, but his stool, now lost, is unique.
In 1927 Mr Saywell found a Middle Bronze-Age looped axe or ‘palastave’,8 feet down, in thepine layer in the middle of the ‘grey peat’, this would date it to around 1400 BC.
So next time you are walking on the Mosses, think what the past might have hidden beneath your feet?