Diary of a Resurrectionist, Friday 17th January 1812

Friday 17th.
Went & look out: came home met at 11, party except Dan’l, Went to the Hospital Crib & got 4, was stopt by the patrols, Butler, Horse & Cart were taken.

The party went to the Hospital crib (in Snow’s Fields) and resurrected four bodies, but were stopped by the patrols and one of the members of the party, Butler, was taken in, along with the horse and cart.

This is one of the only entries in the diary of which an external account of the incident described is available, because the ‘stoppage’ was reported in the local newspapers, and repeated as news from London across the country; this full accountis found in the Ipswich Journal;

25th January 1812,
“On Saturday morning, about 4 o’clock, as the Constable of Bermondsey parish was going his rounds, he observed a man in Snow’s-field driving a horse and cart; he went up to him, stopped the horse, and inquired what he had got; the man replied goods which he had brought from the country; this answer, however, not satisfying the officer, he proceeded to search the cart, which he soon discovered contained not less than four dead bodies, 2 males and 2 females, quite naked, and apparently just taken from the ground; he secured the man and conveyed the bodies to the workhouse, and in the course of the morning, the man was taken before G Hicks Esq. by whom he was held at bail to answer for the misdemeanour at the sessions. “

This is the first encounter with the law mentioned in the diary. The constable in question was not a policeman, for there was no police force; he was a representative of the law, however, usually appointed by a justice of the peace, but nominated by the local vestry (the effective governing body of the parish).


About theresurrectionists

My name is Kirsty Chilton. I am a Medical Historian working in London and relentlessly searching for the body snatchers of 18th and 19th century London. Currently, the content of this blog is a personal project to repost and comment on the diary of 19th century Resurrectionist Joseph Naples 200 years from the time it was written.
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