South Mimms 'Skeleton find' pair to marry

PUBLISHED: 11:10 09 August 2009 | UPDATED: 21:30 26 October 2009

Catherine and John in front of the extension

Catherine and John in front of the extension

IT was one of the most gruesome stories of recent years; the unearthing of more than 30 skeletons from beneath a home in South Mimms. But now the grisly tale has turned into a love story, as Catherine McGuigan, whose house is situated on a 17th century bu

Catherine at the time of the grim discovery

IT was one of the most gruesome stories of recent years; the unearthing of more than 30 skeletons from beneath a home in South Mimms.

But now the grisly tale has turned into a love story, as Catherine McGuigan, whose house is situated on a 17th century burial ground, is about to marry the man who first made the shocking discovery.

In March 2008, builder John Bayliss was working on Catherine's house in Blanche Lane when he and his colleagues discovered a human skeleton buried in the back garden.

It transpired Catherine's home was formerly the site of a 17th century Quaker meeting house.

At that time, Quakers were not allowed to be buried in churchyards, instead being laid to rest at their meeting points.

In total, John and his colleagues removed 29 corpses from Catherine's house. Some still remain.

And it was from these ghoulish foundations that romance blossomed.

Remarkably, Catherine and Jonathan had lived a few doors down from one another since Catherine moved to the area 14 years ago, but the pair had never met until he was hired to renovate her house.

John offered her a room at his home while the work, and the excavations, were being done.

"I had to see quite a lot of him, obviously," said Catherine, 42.

"After a while, he invited me and my son [Cameron] down to his cottage on the Isle of Wight.

"We started seeing each other after that, and it all started from there."

The two are now set to tie the knot on August 29.

"She's great, brilliant; I've never met anyone like her before," said John, 56.

"I'm sure there are lots of jokes and puns you can make about how we got together, but it's really in the past for us now.

"I guess you could say the whole thing's dead and buried!


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