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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 17:17 GMT
Uncovered shrine goes on display
Lichfield Angel
The Lichfield Angel was created to mark Chad's resting place
The remains of a church house and a shrine to a Midlands' saint are going on display on Saturday.

Archaeologists claim to have found the house built around St Chad's grave along with the shrine, known as the Lichfield Angel.

The discovery was made during a dig underneath the nave of Staffordshire's Lichfield Cathedral.

Chad became the fifth Bishop of the Mercians in AD 669 and moved the Bishopric from Repton to Lichfield.

The Lichfield Angel, created in AD 700, will be on display until the end of March before being taken away for further research.

It will be placed alongside the Lichfield Gospels - an illuminated manuscript commissioned in the 8th Century to adorn the shrine and which has been digitised for people to read the pages, written in Latin and early Welsh.

European importance

It will be on show for a month before being moved for further research.

Archaeologists have hailed the finds as being of European importance.

British Museum trustee Professor Rosemary Cramp said finding the shrine was crucially important.

"Only a handful of sites have produces sculptures which are archaeologically stratified as belonging to the pre-conquest period," she said.

Chad died in AD 672 and church historian Venerable Bede reported he had been buried close to the church of St Mary and later moved to the church of St Peter.

The site of these churches has never been known, but archaeologists speculated the cathedral was built on the site of one of them.

Recent excavations have now led them to believe the cathedral is on the site of both churches.

The latest finds, which include St Peter's church, the shrine and a number of high status burials were made as the nave was dug up to prepare the way for a motorised retractable nave.




SEE ALSO:
Early Welsh in digital on display
24 Feb 06 |  South West Wales



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