Protecting against Grave Robbers


Grave Concerns


Grave robbers made staying buried on the British Isles a big problem in days gone by, says Nicola Carpenter.


Grave Robbing“Good Frend For Iesvs Sake Forebeare, To Digg The Dvst Encloased Heare.  Blese Be Ye Man Yt Spares Thes Stones, And Cvrst Be He Yt Moves My Bones.” ~ Shakespeare’s warning to potential body snatchers on his grave.

For centuries in the British Isles, staying dead and buried was a real problem.  Not only did you have to worry about actually being dead when you were buried, you also had the worry of being dug up before landing on the dissection slab.

The first recorded history of grave robbery or ‘body snatching’ was recorded during the rule of Henry VIII, when a law was passed in 1540 by King Henry himself that gave the Company of Barbers and Surgeons the rights to the bodies of four executed criminals per year.  Of course supply did not meet demand, there was a niche in the market for fresh corpses and the industrious were around to fill it.

Author: The Spooky Isles

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