AN unusual service took place at a friary in Flintshire.

The ancient bones of 20 people dating back to the Middle Ages were re-buried in a special service.

The bones of men, women, and children had been excavated in an archaeological dig near the site of the mediaeval Franciscan church in Chester, on Cuppin Street.

Archeologists revealed that although the bones were buried in the cemetery, they would probably not have received the correct rites of burial, despite being under the care of the medieval Franciscan Friars in Cheshire.

Brother Paul Coleman, who assisted in the re-interrment in Pantasaph, said: “It was very fitting that they be re-interred at a Franciscan church, albeit about 20 miles away.

“With the assistance of Brother John Cavangh, I celebrated Mass for the dead at the altar above the bones of St Primitivus and then gave proper burial rites to our brothers and sisters from so long ago.”

Br Coleman, who travelled from South East London for the re-interrment, added that: “Little could be ascertained by the archaeologists about the profession of the deceased – although one was identified as a bowman from the shape of his upper bones.”

He added: “The fact that there was a mix of men, women, and children indicates that none of them were friars. The friars would have been buried in their own part of the cemetery.”

The excavation arose out of construction work of student accommodation in Chester.

It is believed that there are hundreds more people buried in the mass grave, which they cannot dig up.

Br Coleman said: “It was nice to give these people the correct burial.

“It was moving and exciting, and we felt a part of history. There were even babies bones – so you’re aware of the responsibility.”

The ancient bones now lie in the graveyard outside the Friary church, St David’s, which dates back to 1852.