I am delighted to welcome the wonderful ladies from All Things Georgian as my first guest bloggers. When I heard that they had stumbled upon a bodysnatchers during their research, I was thrilled when they agreed to write a guest post. So, without further ado, I give you ‘From Dressmaker to Bodysnatcher’.
A Country Burial Courtesy of Lewis Walpole Library
Two dresses designed by Mrs Bean. Courtesy of Ackermann’s Repository, June 1814.
Resurrection Men, 1792. Courtesy of the British Museum.
Resurrection men disturb’d, or, A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
Cruikshank, 1794. Courtesy of Lewis Walpole Library
Everyone recognized her but the body appeared to have been mangled in different parts in a shocking manner, as if it had been struck with a spade or some instrument whilst breaking open the coffin. Her body had been tied at the neck and heels, with rope, as if to prevent it having the appearance of a corpse in the sack. So, the body had not actually been stolen from the grave but it had been prepared ready for removal once it was dark. The shroud was lying in the bottom of the coffin, folded up.
At his trial, which took place at Westminster Sessions on July 13th1810, Webb, in his defence, presented a ‘frightful picture of ignorance and depravity’. He told an incoherent story about a man whom he called Jack assisting him and that he supposed some person would come at night and take the body over the church wall. He complained that his trial was hurried on sooner than he expected and persisted he was not guilty.
The jury, however, unanimously agreed that he was indeed guilty and he was sentenced to three months imprisonment.
Kentish Gazette 17th July 1810
Perthshire Courier 19 July 1810
Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 22 July 1810
Sarah Murden and Joanne Major are co-authors of the biography An Infamous Mistress, which tell
the story of the eighteenth-century courtesan, Grace Dalrymple Elliott and her family and the soon to be published follow up to it A Right Royal Scandal: Two Marriages That Changed History, both published by Pen and Sword Books. Both are also available at Amazon UK, Amazon US and all good bookshops.
A Right Royal Scandal is out in the UK from 30th November 2016 and in the US and elsewhere from 5thMarch 2017, but can be pre-ordered now.
If you are on twitter, you can follow Sarah at @sarahmurden and Joanne at @joannemajor3. For more information and to find out more about All Things Georgian visit the authors’ blog at All Things Georgian.