The remains were unexpectedly discovered in May during the groundworks for the thriving £5 million market off Cleveland Street, Snow Hill and Temple Street, and were sensitively removed with the help of a team from Worcestershire Archaeology.
Further research has confirmed the remains are from a non-conformist (‘Protestant dissenters’) burial ground associated with the former Temple Street Independent Chapel – and date back to the late 18th century.
Reverend David Wright will tomorrow, at nearby St John’s Church, lead a service based on the 16th Century ‘Book of Common Prayer’, to mark the reinterment of the 14 sets of remains that were exhumed and pay respect to the six sets of remains that did not need to be moved and are left in situ under the market.
The Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Phil Page, and the council’s Deputy Managing Director, Mark Taylor, will both give readings at the service.
The hearse containing the casket of remains will then drive past a guard of honour at the new market en route to a private burial at Danescourt Cemetery, with the Mayor also unveiling a plaque of remembrance at the market.
All proceedings will take place between 1.20pm and 2.30pm.
Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: “It was a surprise to come across these human remains during the construction of the new city centre market.
“Once we discovered them it was important they were treated sensitively – and, after completing our research, we felt it was only right to honour their memory in this way.
“Their link to the site and the former Temple Street Chapel will be forever remembered through the plaque that will sit proudly at our new market, where thousands of residents and visitors to our city will see it.
“The city centre has hosted a market for more than 800 years and the ancient burial ground linked with it gives it added historical significance.”
Contractors Speller Metcalfe successfully overcame the difficulties of exhuming the human remains to ensure the new market opened on schedule in July.
It is enjoying record footfall and trader numbers in its new position after relocating from Market Square