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Time capsule and corner stone found at cathedral here

RARE DISCOVERY: The rector of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Monsignor Philip Heng, with a part of the base of the pillar in which the foundation stone is embedded.


    Jun 30, 2016

    Time capsule and corner stone found at cathedral here

    A 173-YEAR-OLD time capsule and granite foundation stone of the country's oldest Catholic church have been unearthed, in what experts describe as a "rare discovery".

    Contractors found the hitherto missing capsule and foundation stone earlier this year while restoring the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd along Queen Street.

    The time capsule - possibly the oldest one found here - comprises publications such as a prayer booklet and newspapers from 1843, as well as 24 international 18th- and 19th-century coins and tokens.

    Meanwhile, a foundation or corner stone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation.

    Ho Weng Hin of Studio Lapis, the cathedral's conservation specialist consultant, said both artefacts mark the times in which they were constructed and embodied the values the community held dear.

    They were buried by one of Singapore's early founding communities - French Catholic missionary priests of the church, among others.

    Highlighting the significance, archaeologist Lim Chen Sian said: "A church being erected in mid-19th century is a major event for the nascent European community... remember, it's just about 24 years since Singapore's founding."

    It was also one of the largest and monumental buildings of its time, experts said.

    The church was conferred the status of a cathedral - the seat of a bishop - later in 1888. It was gazetted as a national monument in 1973.

    The time-capsule pit, about the size of a shoe box, was found under a column base on a series of granite steps along the cathedral's Victoria Street facade on Jan 29. It had been sealed shut by the foundation stone.