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228 Later Bermuda's Governor George James Bruere Found-UPDATE

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Bianca
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« on: August 24, 2008, 10:00:56 pm »









                                  Governor George James Bruere's Remains Found After 228 Years


 


 
 

St. Peter's Church vicar Rev. David Raths and archaeologist Brent Fortenberry stand in front of a portrait of the late Governor George James Bruere. Brent discovered the remains of the late Governor while excavating under St. Peter's Church in St. George's. 
 
 
The skeletal remains of the man who was Governor of Bermuda during a significant moment in history have been found after lying forgotten for 228 years beneath the floorboards of St. Peter's Church in St. George's.





The wood coffin that once encased Governor George James Bruere has disintegrated with the passing of the centuries, but a copper name plate inscribed with his details and originally attached to the top of his coffin was found resting in the chest cavity of his skeleton by archaeologists crawling through a tiny two-foot gap beneath the church floor.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 06:12:25 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2008, 10:05:57 pm »



Archaeologist Brent Fortenberry holds a copper plate that was discovered with the remains of the late Governor George James Bruere. Brent discovered the remains of the late Governor while excavating under St. Peter's Church in St. George.




The Inscription reads



His Excellency /

George James Bruere ESQr /

Governor of Bermuda /

And LIEUt COLOl In His/

Majestys Service OB /

The 10 September 1780/

AE 59 Years. 



Photo: Glenn Tucker 
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 10:09:02 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2008, 10:12:15 pm »










Now the bones are being carefully removed, one-by-one, to be examined and analysed. It might be possible to find out if the Governor died as a result of contracting a fever, such as Yellow Fever, or if he had a condition such as arthritis. It is already clear that Bruere was five foot four inches tall — short by modern standards but average for his time — and he died aged 59.

The mystery that now needs to be solved is why was the Governor buried beneath the floor of the church without any memorial or record to mark his final resting place.

Bruere was in charge of Bermuda at the time of the infamous gunpowder plot during the American Revolutionary War, when a stash of gunpowder was plundered from the Island and then used to devastating effect against the British forces.

Bruere was reportedly indignant when he discovered what had happened and put up a reward for the capture of the Bermudians responsible — to no avail.

As reported last week in The Royal Gazette, the bones of British Navy captain Sir Jacob Wheate, who died of Yellow Fever in 1783, were uncovered as a team of archaeologists crawled beneath the floorboards of the church seeking evidence of the foundations of the church building that preceded the current one.

 

The present stone building dates back to 1713, but the first church on the site was created in 1612.

Leading a team of archaeologists from Boston University is Brent Fortenberry, who has been squeezing himself through the two-foot gap beneath the floorboards.

The tiny channel was created in the 1950s during work at the church and is now accessed through a trap-door and family vault.

The workers of yesteryear who created the small channel came precariously close to disturbing the bones of the long-forgotten Governor — missing his remains by a matter of mere inches.

Bruere was Governor from 1764 until his death on September 10, 1780. His portrait hangs in the Bermuda National Trust's Tucker House museum in the heart of St. George's.

Mr. Fortenberry and his team used citric acid wash to remove oxidisation from the copper coffin plate so they were able to read the inscription — as they did with the similar plate found with the remains of Sir Wheate.

The Boston-based archaeologist said it was almost unheard of to discover such old, 'lost' remains and know exactly who the people were from such name tag evidence.

"I would have thought he (Buere) would have been buried with full ceremony because he was someone of eminence, and he was the Governor at the time of the gunpowder plot which means he is a very significant person in the country's history," said Mr. Fortenberry.

"There has been no indication before that this practice of burying people beneath floorboards was done here. It is thought his body was going to be shipped back to England but it seems that never happened."

Now the hunt is on to piece together what happened and whether there is a parish church in England where a memorial plaque of some kind might record the Governor's passing.

St. Peter's vicar Reverend David Raths is as mystified as anyone and now wonders who else might be buried beneath the floor in the remaining space area, which will now be searched next summer when the Boston team returns.

He said: "I don't even have a picture or a record of the funeral service."

Bermudian historian Dr. Ed Harris, who invented the famous Harris Matrix System used by archaeologists around the world, said: "This is a remarkable discovery and it indicates the value of archaeology to much of Bermuda's unknown history, particularly in St. George's, which is a World Heritage Site.

"This discovery indicates how much more there is to be discovered under the streets of St. George's."

Mr. Fortenberry has been assisted by fellow Boston University students Travis Parno and Hope Shannon, professional archaeologist Sara Ayers-Rigsby and Richard Lowry, who is chairman of the Bermuda National Trust Archaeologist Committee.




http://www.royalgazette.com/siftology.royalgazette/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7d88ab330030002&sectionId=60
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 10:13:15 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2008, 06:15:12 pm »











Wall Street still hopes that the music has not stopped for goodWilliam Rees-Mogg


                              Yellow fever may be reason for Bermuda burials under floor





St Peter's Church,
St George's, Bermuda
Norman Hammond,
Archaeology Correspondent
The Times
SEPT. 23, 2008

Archaeologists in Bermuda have discovered the body of a former Governor of the British colony, buried beneath the floorboards of a church with no vault or memorial. George Bruerne was identified from a coffin plate recording his burial in 1780 at the age of 59, but the cause of his death is not yet known.

The archaeologist Brent Fortenberry tells how Bruerne was Governor of the islands from 1764 to 1780, at the time of the American Revolution. He suffered the indignity of some of his citizens plundering a gunpowder store and giving the munitions to the revolting colonists on the mainland, where it was used against British forces. Bruerne offered a reward for the capture of the Bermudians responsible, but to no avail.

Governor Bruerne’s skeleton was found during investigations below St Peter’s Church in the town of St George’s this summer.

“The coffin had disintegrated, but a copper plate with his details, originally attached to the top, was found in the chest cavity,” Mr Fortenberry said.

“I would have thought he would have been buried with full ceremony because he was someone of eminence. There has been no indication before that this practice of burying people beneath floorboards was done here. It is thought that his body was going to be shipped back to England. But it seems that never happened.”

A second burial encountered by Fortenberry’s team from Boston University under the floorboards of St Peter’s was that of Sir Jacob Wheate, captain of HMS Cerberus, a 32-gun fifth-rater which sank after hitting rocks in 1783. Historical records suggest that Sir Jacob died of yellow fever, not from the wreck: his skeleton, found in a hollow cut into the limestone bedrock in front of the pulpit, was also identified from its coffin plate.

“He should have had a more substantial burial, but we think they may have buried him quickly because he had yellow fever,” Fortenberry told Bermuda’s Royal Gazette. From the circumstances of Governor Bruerne’s interment near by, he may also have died of the disease.
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