RESEARCHERS for a drama project about a body found by a farmer in rural County Durham nearly 100 years ago are hoping to uncover more secrets about the gruesome discovery.

Drama in the Dales is hoping to perform its play, ‘The Body on Killhope Moor’, this summer.

It is based on a mystery surrounding human remains found in a coffin at Killhope, in Weardale, in 1921.

The Northern Echo: The farm at Killhope where a body was found in 1921.The farm at Killhope where a body was found in 1921.

Durham-based researcher and historian Barbara Crosbie said: “The play will use some artistic licence when it comes to the story.

“We have a very gifted and talented team of playwrights working on it.

“In terms of research, what we know is that a body was found by a farmer Titus Harrison, at Killhope.

“There had been a bad storm the night before and he had gone out to check on his flock when he found a box – it turned out to be an old coffin.

“The police were involved and there were a lot of rumours going around at the time.

“The items found on the body were taken and preserved but we don’t know where they are now.

“It seems the body was from the 18th century and is of a male from Scotland.

“His coffin was hand made so he must have been buried and not dumped.”

The group of researchers are now engaging with coffin experts and bio-archaeologists in an effort to uncover more secrets.

Residents of Weardale are also being asked to provide any information they might have about the events of that night.

Dr Crosbie added: “There would have been a lot of gossip about it at the time and someone must have heard something.

“People pass down all sorts through the generations, and we’d love to know if anyone knows anymore details about this mystery.”

As the research team finds more information, this will guide the writing.

Research and writing workshops, which were running throughout November and December, saw members keen to share new findings and discover more about the unearthing of the body.

The workshops consist of members from across the country – from Essex to Northumberland – something that would not have happened had they met physically rather than on Zoom, due to the pandemic.

Professional writer David Napthine has been guiding the group on different styles of writing and they are now beginning to filter in some of the research findings.

The group is planning to host an exhibition of everything they have found out about the incident later in the summer at Killhope Museum, if restrictions allow.

The rehearsals and performance, are to take place in an outdoor promenade style.

Past Drama in the Dales productions – featuring actors from the local community – have been well received by audiences.