Bones believed to be of human origin discovered in Belfast Orange Hall reserve

A fragment of a suspected human skull has been discovered in an Orange Hall in Belfast.

It is understood that part of a skull cap, believed to be historic, was found in a former store in Clifton Street Orange Hall, north of the city, during a clean-up on Thursday.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed they were made aware of the discovery of an ‘apparent human skull’ in the area yesterday (Thursday February 24) afternoon.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “The skull appears to be human remains. This is not considered suspicious at this time.

Work is underway at Orange Hall to organize old records to make them more accessible to those researching family history.

Both the Orange Order and the Royal Black Preceptory are known to have a number of secret rituals, called graduations, in which members participate.

It is understood that the bones may have been exposed in one of these rituals in the past.

However, a member of the orders pointed out that such practices no longer take place and have not taken place for some time.

DUP adviser Brian Kingston said: ‘I have spoken to the chairman of the hall management committee and the curator of the Belfast Orange Hall museum, Clifton Street.

“As part of the preparation of a historic library for the hall, items in a former storage room were examined.

“Those doing this work came across a wooden box which they opened to find it contained a human skull and two other bones.

“These are very old items because this store had not been used for over 50 years.

“These bones probably would have been used many, many decades ago as artifacts for display purposes, but these bone objects are not used in modern times.”

Mr Kingston said that on behalf of the Hall’s management committee, he had reported the discovery to the PSNI.

He said officers visited on Thursday evening and were satisfied that it was historical material.

“Once the police officially confirm that these bones are of no interest to them, preparations will be made to bury these bones in a Christian ceremony,” he said.

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