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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Remains of 18th century French cleric found during work for Channel Tunnel
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 The body of an 18th century French archbishop, discovered during building work for the Channel Tunnel rail link, has been reinterred in a French cathedral. The remains of the Archbishop of Narbonne, Arthur Richard Dillon, were found in 2004 during excavations of the St Pancras churchyard for the rail link. Dillon, the fifth son of an Irish Jacobite officer, was born in France in 1721 and became primate of France in 1763. He fled during the revolution and died in London in 1806. According to the Catholic Encylopedia: 'Archbishop Dillon was a man of broad sympathies and varied accomplishments. A staunch Catholic, he, nevertheless, publicly applauded the recognition of Protestant marriages in the Assembly of the Clergy of 1788, over which he presided. His appointment to the primatial See of Narbonne made him practically Viceroy of Languedoc. He won there great popularity not only as bishop but also as promoter of great public works, such as roads, bridges, canals, harbours, etc." When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, Dillon, already nearly 70, rather than take the constitutional oath, emigrated to Coblenz with the French nobility, and from Coblenz went to London, where he was at the time the Concordat was signed." More than 200 years after his death, the Archbishops' coffin was placed on a barge that sailed in state along the Canal de la Robine to Narbonne, where it was then conveyed in a procession along the medieval streets, to the cathedral where it was re-interred.
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