The Heady Days of Student bodysnatchers

I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to the Celebrate Scotland website following the publication of ‘Digging up the Untold Stories of Britain’s Resurrection Men’ and wanted to capture the readers imagination of this macabre period in history with tales from the days of student bodysnatchers.

Although students and anatomists continued to rob graves throughout what has been referred to as ‘Resurrection Times’, there was a certain time in this often untold period in history where students would more often than not, be found with spade in hand in a churchyard trying to secure a cadaver for the morning’s anatomy class. 

Without the drive and curiosity of the anatomists and their students, the rise of the professional bodysnatcher would perhaps never have taken place. The demand for bodies for the dissecting tables was just too great and the limited numbers of cadavers provided by the students, and the law, was no longer sufficient. With reputations at stake, the days the student bodysnatcher was drawing to an end but I am forever thankful for the often amusing tales that they have left behind. 

Want to know more about Britain’s Forgotten Bodysnatchers? 

‘Digging up the Untold Stories of Britain’s Resurrection Men’ is published by  Pen and Sword Books and is also available via  or