Christians buried nearly 1,400 years after they died

Bamburgh castle in Northumberland.Toby Melville/Reuters

Some of Britain's earliest Christian converts have been buried in a church, nearly 1,400 years after they died.

More than 100 adult and child skeletons were discovered in sand dunes near Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland during excavations carried out between 1998 and 2007.

They have now been re-interred in the crypt of St Aiden's Church near the castle after a special service conducted in old English. A special ossuary has been made in the crypt.

Archaeologists at the Bamburgh Research Project explained: "It seems both a long time ago and strangely almost like yesterday that we uncovered a cyst burial (a grave cut outlined with slabs of stone) and realised that we had identified the location of the lost burial ground at the Bowl Hole."

During the next 15 years, the project leaders worked with Durham University to analyse the skeletons and work out their story. It is believed they were linked to the court of King Oswald.

They wrote: "The results have been fascinating and we very much look forward to sharing them with you in the future, through further academic papers, a long awaited monograph and, we hope, a popular publication and visitor centre... We always intended to rebury them following their study and St Aidan's, a church whose foundation is as old as the cemetery site, is the perfect place to be their final resting place."

Jessica Turner, of Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, which worked with Bamburgh Heritage Trust on the burial ceremony and the ossuary, said: "It is incredibly fitting and moving that the final resting place for the skeletons is in the crypt of St Aidan's Church.

"It is tantalising to think the some of these people could have actually heard St Aidan preach on the same site as we know he founded his church here in 635AD."