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Byline: Helen Thomas

A DIG is being held at an historic Warwickshire village church to find out if it is hiding any secrets.

A previous excavation at St Andrew's Church, Shilton, just outside Coventry, discovered coffins, medieval tiles, pottery and ironwork and even an early 18th century wig curler.

The next dig will be held on March 19 as the church prepares for an extension on its North Porch and the installation of footing and draining. The work will give the building running water and toilets for the first time in its 800-year history.

The church building dates back to the 13th century but historical finds suggest there has been human activity on the site for about 4,500 years.

In the initial evaluation last year four coffins were uncovered, all about two feet below the current ground level and covered by a layer of clay.

The archaeologists believe the coffins were associated with ground-works for the outer north aisle, which was added to the church in 1865.

Pottery and ironwork dating from the 18th and 19th century were also discovered and an early 18th century wig curler.

Wig curlers were worn by the well to do until the 1770s, after becoming less popular during the reign of George III.

On the March 19 excavation, which has to be carried out before the extension can start, some graves will be removed before being re-consecrated within the churchya rd.

The site will be open to the public from March 19-21 between 10am-4pm and the church itself will be open for visitors to see the plans for the extension.

Church warden Lawrence Barlow said: "This is the first major development to the church for 150 years and the archaeological work is required by law before we can begin any building work.

"The Shilton & Ansty Trust made a generous donation of pounds 2,500 to help towards the cost.

"We are doing lots of fundraising events to fund the building of the extension.

"Visitors are welcome to come along, talk to the archaeologists and see what historical treasures may be uncovered."


UNEARTHING THE PAST: St Andrew's Church, in Shilton
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 10, 2012
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