Family Scarper After Breaking Ancient Artefact In The Name Of A Selfie
An 800-year-old artefact at an Essex museum has been damaged after a child sat inside it for a photograph.
The child had been lifted over a barrier for the snap, but proved too much for a stone coffin that was already in three separate pieces before the incident.
A chunk of the coffin came loose when the coffin fell off its stand as the kid attempted to get in position for a photo opportunity - clearly after a classic new profile pic.
The alleged culprits fled before the damage that they caused was noticed, but CCTV cameras captured the moment at which the accident took place at the beginning of August.
The coffin before and after the damage; Credit: SWNS
The medieval coffin, which is made of sandstone and is thought to have once belonged to a monk, was part of an exhibit at Prittlewell Priory Museum in the seaside town of Southend.
It was discovered, complete with skeleton inside, on the grounds of the Priory back in 1921 and was preserved.
Clare Reed, the conservator entrusted with repairing the damaged coffin, said: "The care of our collections is of paramount importance to us and this isolated incident has been upsetting for the museum's service, whose staff strive to protect Southend's heritage for the benefit of our visitors and enrichment of their experience within our historic sites."
Fortunately, Ann Holland, the executive councillor for culture of Southend Borough Council, said that there would be "negligible" costs incurred by the incident and that the area of the museum that was affected would be open to the public again "as soon as possible".
"In the mean time, we would like to remind all visitors that they should observe and respect any barriers and signs in place that are there to protect our important heritage and history," she said.
Prittlewell Priory is on the outskirts of Southend, close to London Southend Airport.
It was founded in the 12th century by the Cluniac Order and records say that around 18 monks were living there in the 13th century, from which the coffin dates.
The Priory was ravaged in 1536 during Henry VII's dissolution of the monasteries - designed to limit the influence of the Catholic Church in England - and was later heavily altered in the 18th century.
It was restored in the early part of the last century and opened to the public in 1920 as an historical attraction.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS