THE skeleton of a mystery woman, found during excavations in Ebberston in October 2012, has been formally reinterred in the village’s church.

The remains of the woman were found during refurbishment works at the west end of the Church of St Marys the Virgin in Ebberston, on a site where an even older church once stood.

The bones were in good condition and identified as those of a woman.

A 35-page report by a York-based company concluded the remains were around 800 years old, and dated from the 13th century.

It added that the woman was between 17 and 23-years-old when she died.

Rev Sally Gough, assistant curate of the parish, said: “She was found under the nave of the old church.

“It’s very unusual - for her to be buried there she must have been a person of note in the area. She was the only burial that we found there.” Other burials at the time would have taken place in the old graveyard.

Found with the young woman were a number of items of pottery. The digs also revealed evidence of a major landscaping programme between the 12th and 14th centuries, during which a level terrace was created by cutting into the hillslope.

The earliest church on the site is believed to date to the 12th century, consisting of a simple aisleless nave.

The woman’s funeral and reinterment service took place on Tuesday, September 4.

The casket was carried by Phil Dickinson and Andrew Jenkinson, and the service was presided over by Rev Dr Jo White, rector of the benefice of Thornton Dale, with Rev Gough assisting. Church warden John Tomlinson and a small congregation were present.

Claire Potter, manager of FA Stockill and Son Funeral Directors, which helped facilitate and fund the reinterment, said: “We were honoured to be asked to help.

“This lady must have been of much significance in her community of Ebberston as she was laid to rest as any other member of a congregation - but inside the church building.

“It was a sunny and calm afternoon at the beautiful St Mary the Virgin Church, Ebberston; a perfect setting. Words of acknowledgement for her life and a nod to her first funeral were shared. It was a most respectful affair.”