Mortal Remains Of Boris Johnsons Direct Ancestor Go On Display In Swiss Museum

The mortal remains of Boris Johnson’s great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother have gone on display in a Swiss museum as part of an exhibition.

The mummified remains of a woman were found by construction workers in a grave chamber in the Barfuesserkirche (Bare feet Church) in the Swiss city of Basel in 1975.

In January 2018, scientists finally identified the remains as belonging to Anna Catharina Bischoff, a direct ancestor of Boris Johnson who lived from 1719 to 1787.

The book ‘Anna Catharina Bischoff The Mummy from the Barfusserkirche’ will be published in October by Christoph Merian Verlag Basel.

The then foreign secretary wrote on Twitter at the time: “Very excited to hear about my late great grand ‘mummy’ – a pioneer in sexual health care. Very proud.”

The Barfuesserkirche now houses the main part of the Basel Historical Museum where Bischoff’s remains went on display this week.

The mummy is on display at the museum as part of an exhibition and the general public will be able to visit it up close until 2nd January next year.

Bischoff was the well-off wife of a church minister and died of syphilis, possibly contracted while caring for patients with the STD in Strasbourg, at the age of 68, an old age for the time.

View of the Barfusserkirche in 1788, etching in watercolor.
(Staatsarchiv Basel-Stadt, picture Falk A 148/Newsflash)

Researchers believe she was treated for her condition with mercury, which is why her remains came to be so well-preserved.

Mercury was a popular remedy for syphilis until the early 20th century. Patients would eventually succumb to the bacterial infection or be fatally poisoned by the heavy metal until Salvarsan was discovered in 1910.

Genealogists revealed that Bischoff had seven children during her lifetime, but only two survived childhood.

Her surviving daughter Anna married Christian Hubert Baron Pfeffel von Kriegelstein, which is where Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson gets part of his full name from.

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Story By: William McGeeSub-EditorWilliam McGee, Agency: Newsflash

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