For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Mystery deepens as Durham Cathedral message in a bottle is revealed
EXPERTS yesterday (Friday, September 27) carried out a delicate operation to ease out a message in a bottle - only for the mystery to deepen.
The century-old glass vessel, discovered under a flagstone at Durham Cathedral, was found to contain a note with the faded names of what are believed to be three gravediggers, along with the message: “This grave was opened on Sunday May 11th 1913.”
Cathedral archaeologist Norman Emery said: “Whether they opened the grave deliberately or by accident is not known.
“We will now attempt to find out who the three men were and then try and find out whose grave they opened.
“They reason why they left the note may be one part of the conundrum we will never be able to solve.”
Stonemason Steve Mann unearthed the remarkably well-preserved bottle while re-laying the flagstones near the tomb of the Venerable Bede in the cathedral’s 12 century Galilee Chapel on Tuesday.
The only tantalizing clue to what lay within was the words Globe Theatre, visible on the paper’s letterhead.
The bottle was handed over to Durham University conservator Liz Brannigan, who looked on today as freelance conservator Bob Elsey gently prised the cork out under a microscope.
Mr Elsey said: “After five minutes the cork it started to loosen.
“That was the easy bit, the hard bit was the paper which had been rolled up and then folded over and inserted. It was a delicate operation easing it out little by little.”
A theatre advert – believed to be the closest piece of paper to hand when the note was made – was for a production of English dance and folk songs at the Globe Theatre, in London, Shaftesbury Avenue.
On the back were the names Mr W Wraybole, Mr W Carter, Mr G Yeoman. They were bracketed with the word Grave and what appears to be a capital D and included a stonemason mark - along with the enigmatic message.
Mr Emery said: “The interesting thing to the advert is that it refers to the sole lessee of the Globe Theatre as Charles Frohman, the American impresario of the day. Frohman produced JM Barries’ Peter Pan.”
The Globe was renamed the Gielgud Theatre in 1994.
Comments are closed on this article.