Slingsby Church Time Capsule

On February 28th  2015 the Time Capsule, buried beneath the foundation stone of the church when it was rebuilt in 1867, was discovered and excavated. Half of the stone which was located behind the altar was removed by Matthias Garn, stonemason, and his foreman John who did the repair work to the Church Tower a short while ago.  The capsule was then excavated by Dr. Dav Smith of the University of York, ably assisted by Evan Smurthwaite of Slingsby School.

Dav and Evan examine the finds (photo by Richard Flint)
Dav and Evan examine the finds (photo by Richard Flint)

The capsule appears to be a French fruit bottle, sealed with lead and a wax seal of Castle Howard. It was covered with slate and mortar, but sadly, at some point in the past, the bottle was broken as a result of environmental conditions, or possibly the weight of the stone above.

Newspaper reports of 1867 suggested that the capsule contained a parchment explaining the circumstances of the church’s rebuilding, a copy of a newspaper, a photograph of the medieval church, and some coins. The excavation revealed that the coins have survived, but the paper, parchment and photographs have decayed. The contents were  taken to the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York where, sadly, conservators found the decayed contents too far gone to recover .

new Time Capsule contents - photo by Kate Giles
new Time Capsule contents – photo by Kate Giles

A new Time Capsule was buried in the church on Sunday 12th June 2016 on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th Birthday weekend, at a very well attended and lively celebration service devised by Kate Giles & presented by both All Saints’ & Methodist Church members. The capsule was blessed by the Reverend John Warden at the end of the service and has now been sealed. We hope to install a newly inscribed stone cover to mark its presence next year, on the 150th Anniversary of the start of the rebuilding of the church. The final contents of the capsule (a glass cylinder packed inside a lead box) are: a series of children’s drawings of Slingsby plus explanatory map and notes, all printed on acid free paper; photos of HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Street Party; Victorian coins and modern coins; a small Nokia mobile phone; a Morrison’s ‘Match & More’ Card; a Yale key (all locks could be electronic in a few years’ time); a small model of a current make of 4 x 4 vehicle; a poll card for the  EU Referendum; a photo of Maypole dancing in 2016.

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