Family Breaks 800-Year-Old Coffin After Putting Child Into It For Photo

Prohibition_of_photographingWe have previously discussed tourists who damage art and artifacts by their thoughtless conduct (here and here and here and here).  Unfortunately, we have yet another such example.According to Southend Echo visitors to the Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex, visitors damaged a unique  800-year-old stone coffin to snap a picture.

The coffin was found on the priory grounds in 1921 is believed to have been made for a senior monk.  The visitors placed a child in the coffin and snapped a picture.  Part of the sarcophagus then tumbled over and a chunk fell off.  The family then fled the museum but they were recorded on CCTV.

 

46 thoughts on “Family Breaks 800-Year-Old Coffin After Putting Child Into It For Photo

  1. Well, my horehound candy just came in, and I am now on a sugar rush. Sooo, let me try to channel all that energy into an Irish Poem! With proper English you know, because some high faluting Brit is liable to read this:

    Tomb It May Concern???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was ancient old tomb,
    That a kid went and sat on – KABOOM!
    It hit with a THUNK!
    And busted a chunk!
    Did they catch who done it? Or whom???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    Note: I am not sure which word is right. You use “who” if you ask “who done it?” Because “he” done it. BUT, if the term “who done it” is the object, then, did they catch “him”, and “whom” would be the right usage. Who knows? Maybe Hume, but he is dead, I think. And I doubt he would be sure, either.

  2. Alas, there are clueless people in every country. The worst part is that they fled the scene and did not own up to their actions.

  3. Harsher punishments would deter most people, but unless the law has a get out of jail card free clause, it would be difficult to get passed. Lawyers for the upper middle classes must always be able to prevent any undue unpleasantness for their client(s).

    • Vandalism derived from recklessness is a class b misdemeanor in New York. It doesn’t matter if you retain a ‘lawyer for the upper middle class’, or you’ve got a (likely more experienced) public defender. You’ll receive fines, community service, &c. and seldom anything else unless you’ve got a considerable rap sheet. The liability here is predominantly civil, not criminal.

  4. It pains me to see artifacts damaged or destroyed. How frustrating that they did not respect the barrier, specifically put up to prevent the boors from pawing the museum displays.

    Plus the added insult is that it is unbelievably macabre to photograph a child in a coffin for giggles. Are we so far removed from the fact that up until recently, it was a miracle for any child to survive to adulthood? Loss is still a tragedy too many parents suffer. Bad form.

    • Are we so far removed from the fact that up until recently, it was a miracle for any child to survive to adulthood?

      It wasn’t a miracle. High mortality rates in infancy and childhood were common in the medieval period. Didn’t mean most did not survive.

      • The infant mortality rate was anywhere from 30% to 50% in the Middle Ages, around the time this coffin was made. A significant number of women died in or shortly after childbirth, due to the lack of hygiene knowledge. If they were lucky enough to survive illness, accident, or war, they would live until their 40s, with most of their teeth gone by then. One must also recall that records are often of the wealthy or upper middle class, which would have access to better food, shelter, and care. One would expect that mortality was higher amongst the poorer classes, but it’s conjecture.

        But besides the Middle Ages, just look on ancestry.com at your own ancestry. There were a lot of infant mortality in our history, with the Spanish Flu and other pandemics, as well as accidents before the discovery of antibiotics and germ theory. This assumption that everyone is going to survive to ancient old age is a recent phenomenon.

        I am a fan of the the Patrick O’Brian Master and Commander series. A great read, if you have the time. 26 books were not enough, and I plan to ask him behind the Pearly Gates about his intentions for Dr Maturin’s story. In any case, the series was remarkably well researched. One of the main characters, Dr Maturin, was a ship surgeon in the early 1800s. HIs technique was described in detail. Surgeon’s tools were often coated in rust and old blood, their aprons were filthy, and they used the same tools from patient to patient. Dr Maturin devised a method of spilling spirits on the belly of his victims, as well as his tools, because it was associated with more positive outcomes. He wondered if it was a placebo effect, as it seemed to assure his patients that he was looking out for their care…his completely conscious surgical patients.

        And I recall my own grandfather telling me that in his 80s, he’d outlived anyone he knew as a child. He said that people just didn’t live that long back then, maybe into their 60s was the highest he ever saw. The death of children, adults, and the elderly was common.

        In any case, paws off museum artifacts.

      • Think of all the buildings and infrastructure where slave labor contributed to its construction. Think of the White House. Many of these buildings are kept intact for historical reasons. Do they go into museums as well and do we tear up a lot of infrastructure so that no portion of slave labor remains? Where will Dave 137 end? Think of all the artwork that is not inside of museums and think of the things that required slave labor that left an indelible mark on society. There is no end to this nonsense and when we are done with the slaves maybe we should start consider other groups that were mistreated.

  5. This is the fault of iPhones and other smartphones. Prior to those, this would not have happened. Sue Apple for repairs, they have the money.

  6. Museum sites and artifacts, world wide, should be off limits to Americans. They should be kept at a distance from all exhibits and watched carefully. They are not to be trusted with valuable items. No one can be sure what stupid thing they might do next.

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