Kent: ecumenical funeral held for medieval 'witch'

 A joint Anglican and Catholic funeral service was held in a Kent church on Saturday for a young woman possibly killed as a witch several hundred years ago.

Six years ago, archaologists working in an unconsecrated part of the Hoo St Werburgh parish church grounds discovered the remains of a medieval body.The head was found removed from the body and placed next to it - meaning the girl may have been a criminal, a suicide victim or suspected of witchcraft. They named the girl 'Holly' as she was found under a holly bush.

The Vicar of Hoo, the Rev Andy Harding, made the decision to re-bury Holly and give her a funeral that was most probably denied her at the time of her death.

More than 200 people lined the streets as the horse-drawn carriage made its way through the village to the church.

During the committal, the grave and coffin were blessed by Father Victor Darlington, Catholic priest at the Holy Family church in Hoo.

Speaking after the service Rev Harding said: "It was lovely to see so many people here having been moved by her story. "I believe everybody should receive a respectable funeral."

Funeral director Paul Hawden who helped organised the funeral with several other local companies, said: "It brought the community and people together, it showed a lot of love. Yesterday was really lovely, as long as Holly is at rest now that's the main thing."

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