Builders renovating the Garden Museum accidentally found 30 coffins in a crypt where five of them were discovered to be remains of Archbishops of Canterbury dating back to the 1660s. The site managers exclaimed that they have even found a golden crown on top of one of the coffins.
While renovating the area since October 2015, the team "accidentally" sliced a six-inch diameter on the floor which led to a hidden crypt underneath them. They used a mobile phone camera to discover what's down the chamber and found a stairway leading down to a tomb.
Karl Patten told BBC News, "We discovered numerous coffins - and one of them had a gold crown on top of it." The coffins were stacked on top of each other, and there was a red and gold miter resting on top of one of the archbishop's coffins.
There were nameplates attached to the coffins to which The Telegraph noted: Richard Bancroft (1604 to 1610); John Moore (1783 to 1805), whose wife Catherine Moore's name scribbled in the plate as well; Frederick Cornwallis (1768 to 1783); Matthew Hutton (1757 to 1758); and Thomas Tenison (1695 to 1715).
The site also stated that there's a sixth archbishop's coffin found in the churchyard, Thomas Secker (1758 to 1768). Other than the five bishops, a certain Dean of Arches John Bettesworth, judge of the ecclesiastical court of the Archbishop of Canterbury was also buried in the tomb.
The team kept silent about the discovery for months so that they can keep the chamber safe in preparation for the reopening of the museum. Currently, a manhole had been created on the floor for guests to glimpse on the stairway to the vault.
The Garden Museum will open on May 22 after it was closed for 18 months and was due to be renovated under a £7.5 million or $9.4 million grant.