"Amazing find" hailed as scientists unearth 1,400-year-old skeleton of one of Britain's first Christians

Simon Garner

Scientists have discovered the remains of what is thought to be one of Britain's first ever Christians after unearthing an "excessively rare" 1,400 year old Anglo-Saxon burial site in Cambridgeshire.

The amazing grave in Trumpington Meadows contains the skeletal remains of a 16-year-old female Catholic convert lying on an ornamental bed clutching a gold and garnet cross.

It is believed the girl, from the 7th century AD, was a member of nobility, persuaded to join the Christian faith after the Pope dispatched St Augustine to England in 597AD.

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St Augustine was a benedictine monk, known as the ‘Apostle to the English’, whose job was to convert Anglo-Saxon pagan kings and their families.

Dr Sam Lewsey, an expert on the period, said: "This is an excessively rare discovery. It is the most amazing find I have ever encountered.

"Christian conversion began at the top and percolated down. To be buried in this elaborate way, with such a valuable artefact, tells us that this girl was probably nobility or even royalty.

"This cross is the kind of material culture that was in circulation at the highest sphere of society."