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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 11:57 GMT
Mass exhumation from crypt
City of London cemetery, Manor Park
The bodies will be re-buried at London cemetery
Up to 900 coffins, some dating back to the 14th Century, are to be exhumed from an ancient crypt in London.

The bodies will be taken out of St Andrew Guild Church, Holborn, central London, in a 1m operation to convert the church into a community centre.

Damage caused by bombings during World War II has led to the work.

Those exhumed will be reburied at the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park.

Memorial service

The bodies include Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney General to Elizabeth I, his wife Lady Elizabeth Hatton and renowned organist Daniel Purcell.

They will join other former members of the congregation whose bodies were moved to the cemetery 130 years ago.

A spokesman for the Corporation of London said: "Some 6,000 bodies were relocated from St Andrew's churchyard to the cemetery in 1872, to allow for the building of the Holborn Viaduct."

But since 1945, tons of rubble have fallen in to the crypt covering the contents and causing moisture to spread throughout the church.

The Corporation of London has waived reinterment costs, totalling 500,000, after the church agreed to fund the refurbishment of the St Andrew memorial at the cemetery.

A memorial service for the former parishioners will be held at the church on Wednesday - it will be led by the Lord Bishop of London, the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres.

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