Bones of Spanish sailors could lie beneath Shantallow

Human remains found in Shantallow in the 1950s may have belonged to sailors from the Spanish Armada, a local archaeologist has claimed.

The elderly residents of Greenhaw Avenue may remember tales of human remains being discovered in their gardens when their new homes were being developed.

Ian Leitch said: “I’ve been informed that while the workmen were spreading top soil, which was taken from land at Ballynagalliagh, they found what they believed to be human bones. One of the elderly residents told me that bones were scattered on the land of which the gardens of Greenhaw Avenue now lie. As archaeology was in its infancy then it is possible the records chronicling this find have been lost,” said Mr. Leitch.

The local archaeologist is now asking anyone with information to come forward so that the aging mystery may be solved.

He believes that the remains were removed from a possible mass grave of Spanish Armada sailers put to death after the ill fated invasion attempts of their fleet.

“In 1588 the floundering La Trinidad Valencera and around 500 men came ashore but were taken prisoner by the English and some rogue Irish. They were marched to a place called ‘Elagh’ which is now Elaghmore Road in Ballynagalliagh,” claimed Mr. Leitch.

“They were taken into an open field and butchered. It is likely that these men were buried in a mass grave somewhere near to Castle Elagh.

“I believe that it is possible that the developer who built the homes in Greenhaw Avenue, unknowingly came across the human remains of the Spanish Navy in topsoil removed from Ballynagard some 500 years after the Armada landed.”