A GRAVE AFFAIR IN SHEFFIELD 1862

"the sexton had been in the habit of disinterring bodies and disposing of them for dissection"

"The same box and remains were afterwards brought to the Town-hall."

I came across the following article in "The Annuls of Yorkshire (1860-1865) 

"An extraordinary riot took place at the Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield, in consequence of a report that the sexton had been in the habit of disinterring bodies and disposing of them for dissection. The mob forcibly entered the house formerly occupied by the sexton, but recently furnished, in part of the use of the officiating clergyman, where they demolished the furniture, windows, doors, &c. They next proceeded to the house of the sexton, which they set on fire, and thus utterly destroyed the house and its contents. The damage done to the sexton's house was estimated at 500. The Rev. John Livesey, the incumbent was tried at the York Assizes on the 24th of July, for making a false entry of burial and for giving a false certificate ; was found guilty, but without any fraudulent intent, and was merely nominally sentenced to three weeks imprisonment. Isaac Howard, the sexton, was indicted for disinterring bodies, found guilty, and sentenced to three months imprisonment. Howard afterwards obtained 200 from the county, for damage done to his house."  

It seemed like a rather macabre story and so I checked The Times newspaper for the period and found that the events in the Cemetery were given in far more detail by the journalists. Here is their account of the events

The Times, June 9th, 1862; pg. 6; Issue 24267; col D

THE CEMETERY RIOTS AT SHEFFIELD
___________________

The Sheffield magistrates were engaged for several hours on Saturday in investigating the extraordinary proceedings at Wardsend Cemetery near that town. It will be remembered that on Tuesday night a large crowd of people, exasperated beyond all control by the horrible disclosures that had been made of the manner in which human remains were desecrated, broke into the sexton's house and set it on fire. Mrs. Howard narrowly escaping with her life. Damage to the extent of 500l. was done at that house and at the cemetery. The mob searched for the sexton, but could not find him, fortunately for him. As the new of the discoveries spread through the town the parents and relatives of many of the persons buried in the ground proceeded to the place, and numbers of them began excavating the graves in order to satisfy themselves that the remains had not been tampered with. In several cases no trace of the coffins could be found, and this, of course, greatly increased the excitement. The most revolting discovery of all, however, was made in an unused part of the cemetery grounds, where was found a large hole, roughly covered with earth and planks, and containing about 20 coffins, and a box in which were the remains of a main who had been dissected at the Sheffield Medical School. It was found that underneath the coffins was a mass of human remains several feet in thickness, which were alleged to have been accumulated by the throwing of dissected bodies into the hole without coffins, and the emptying of bodies from coffins removed from graves in the cemetery. A number of coffins, and 24 coffin plates, removed from coffins which had been placed in the ground within the last three years, were found in the stable. The examinations of the place which were made in the course of the week disclosed such a state of things that the Bench were loudly called upon to interfere to punish the offenders and secure the future protection of the public. Mr Jackson, chief constable, said he had to apply to the magistrates to aid him in the investigation of the circumstances which had notoriously occurred at the Wardsend burial-ground and at the sexton's house, he stated that on going to the cemetery he found in the side of the hill a large hole. It had no appearance of having been arched, but there were boards driven in at the side to support it. The hole had been covered with planks and earth, but this the people had removed. He saw a square box containing what evidently were the remains of a man, as also a number of coffins, 20 inches broad and 15 or 18 inches deep. By the directions of one of the magistrates he had the square box removed to the cemetery stable. Having got another box made sufficiently large to hold the one taken from the hole, he had it and the body put into this new box and brought to the police-officers here. It was a deal box, about 3 feet 6 inches long 20 inches broad and 15 or 18 inches deep. The box did not appear to have been buried. The body had evidently been dissected, the flesh having been removed from the bones.

Evidence was given to show that the body found in the box had been received from the Medical School in the ordinary way, and that an interment certificate had been given by the incumbent, although the remains had not been interred.

Mrs Harriet Shearman was sworn, and said, - I am the wife of William Shearman, miller, Philadelphia Mill-yard. My little boy, Edward Charles, died about eight months ago; he was then two years and one month old. He was interred at the St. Phillip's ground on the 23rd of September last. The grave was made on the left-hand side over the hill, on the lower side from the railway. I paid 1-s. for the fees of burial to the sexton, Isaac Howard. I only saw a little bit of earth put on the coffin at the time. He told me I could have a family grace by paying a further sum of 22s. within the year. In consequence of what I heard I went up to the ground on Wednesday, a little after noon. I went to a large pit there was in the cemetery, and saw some coffins there. Some of them had the lid off, and in one of these I recognized the features of my own child. I got it taken out of the pit with the coffin, and caused it to be taken home to my own house. When I got it home I examined the coffin, and found it was the same wood. I found the piece of a "bump" sheet which I had placed beneath the head of the child. I am quite sure from the features, and from this sheet, that it was my child. When I left the grave at the funeral the sexton was there. He had the care of the grave at that time. We have another child there, or it should be there. The hole where the body was found is about 200 yards from the grave where we left my child. I looked into the grave, but cannot recollect whether the soil was firm or soft, as if it had been previously dug. There were funerals going on in the ground at the same time. I don't know who performed the service. My first child was interred in the ground three years ago. This child was not buried in the same grave, because we had not bought the ground. We have not looked for the coffin of the first child.

Mr Jackson. - I have other women who have similar cases to this, but they are not here to-day.

Robert Dixon. - I am a labourer in the service of Mr Oxspring, of Wardsend. I know Isaac Howard, the sexton of this cemetery. I agreed with him to go and live in his house in the graveyard. I cannot tell exactly the day of the month, but it was some time in March last. Shortly after I had gone there I observed a curious smell in the room above the stable. I thrust some knots out of the deal boards, and looked down into the stable. We had then been there two or three weeks. I saw about 20 coffins - some of persons about 15 and 16 and 10 years old - others were those of stillborn children. None of them appeared to be the coffins of grown-up persons. I had seen Howard lock and unlock this door, and knew he had the key. The coffins were not covered over with anything, and were lying on the ground, piled in heaps on the top of each other. I saw some broken-up coffins piled in a corner by themselves - the wood appeared to be new. Those pieces are there now. The day I flitted (last Monday) I and several other men saw in the stone shelf near the house four or five sides and lids of coffins. They were in a dark corner of the shed.

Did you really see a body, or only coffins, in the shed? - I lifted up the lid of one coffin, in the shed, about six weeks ago. The night following the body had been removed from the coffin, but the coffin remained in the shed. I lifted the lid with my toe, and saw the face of the body. It looked very fresh, as though it had been buried a week or two. It looked like the face of a boy about 15 years of age. I looked at the coffin the same night, after Howard had set off to Sheffield. Had seen him go. He put two corpses into a box. One appeared to be 10, and the other 15. I saw the same coffin empty in the shed the same night. I afterwards went and looked through the holes in the floor. Tell the magistrate what you think you saw him doing. I came home earlier than usual. I thought he looked very queer and "sheepish" in my eye. I had had suspicion of him before. I saw him go in and out of the house and go up the burial-ground. I went upstairs and looked through the holes in the floor, and waited until he came back into the stable. He appeared to be cutting off the leg of a child about 10 years old. The child lay on two planks and he had a carving knife in his hand. I saw him put the bodies into a box. He put the lid on and went outside the door, and came in again immediately. He put the box on a barrow, and went to the river side. I saw him put two bodies into the box. The stable is not so large as the room overhead, in which I was. The holes were large enough to admit my finger. There is a small slide window in the top of the stable, with only four or five panes in it. I once found the stable door unlocked, about three weeks ago, and saw about 20 coffins and 24 coffin plates. I took the plates away and gave them to Mr Oxspring. They are the same he has given to the chief constable. I had previously told Mr Oxspring, and was acting under his advice in what I did. The sexton asked me to take the house. We have had a quarrel, but were good friends before I left the house. I met him on the burying-ground. I asked him if I could cultivate a bit of ground, and he consented on condition that the ground should be given up if there were any Catholic funerals. He spoke very angrily to my wife about the place, and I wished to see him, and told him he had better take those bodies out of the coach house before he said anything to my wife. We parted good friends. I have once been in trouble for stealing some corn, four years ago, at Ellaby-hall. That is the only thing of the kind I have ever been in to my knowledge. I had married just before.
Mr Jackson - He was tried and sentenced to six months' imprisonment.
Witness - Mr. Oxspring and Howards have been good friends. I don't know anything about an action of impounding cattle. I told Mr. Oxspring about six weeks ago what was going on, and he advised me to go into the stable if I had an opportunity.

Bethiah Dixon, wife of the last witness. We went to live that the house in the graveyard on the 24th of March. When we first went I noticed a peculiar smell in the room over the stable, and it got worse. I spoke to the sexton about the smell, and he said he would remove it - it would go away. I have seen the porter from the Medical School go up the burial-ground. He came more than once. I first saw him there on the Thursday in the second week we went to live there, which would be on the 3rd of April. I told the sexton that the man had been to see him, and the man came again on the Friday morning, but he did not see the sexton. I told the sexton again, and he said he had seen him, but he (the porter) had no money for him, and until he got some money he (Howard) should not let anything else go. I have seen a man named "John," who assisted Howard, remove coffins from graves and put them in the open shed. The sexton afterwards put them into the stable. The men opened the graves and removed the coffins from them. These graves were not distinguished by mounds of earth. Judging from the size of the coffins which "John" and Howard removed, I should say that they were those of children about ten or 12. About a fortnight ago I saw Howard remove some coffins from the stable into the large pit. He took some in the day time, and towards evening he got the assistance of another man. I saw a man named Coldwell helping him. Before I was married I lived four years in service in Mr. Warhurst's of Ecclesall-road. I never saw any other person at the pit than Howard and the two men assisting him. I never saw any funerals performed at that pit - not at that particular place. I have never seen any service performed at that pit. There was one small place open, so as they could slide a coffin into it, but it could be made larger. The pit was covered with planks and a thin layer of earth. There were planks placed against the hole when they were not using it. I remember the holes being made in the floor of the room over the stable. I looked down and saw coffins there. I have looked on several occasions when my husband has been away.

Mr. J. Barber, surgeon, was examined, and stated the manner in which bodies were obtained for the purposes of dissection at the Medical School from the workhouse. No bodies were obtained except by a legitimate way.

The enquiry was then adjourned until Friday next.

Under the title EXTRAORDINARY RIOT NEAR SHEFFIELD, the Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England), dated Friday, June 6, 1862; Issue 1209 used the information obtained from the Sheffield Independent to give more details of these rather macabre events

The Times, Jun 10,1862; pg. 6; Issue 24267; col D continued report the events under the title

THE CEMETERY RIOTS AT SHEFFIELD.


THE SHEFFIELD CEMETERY DISCLOSURES - Isaac Howard, the sexton of St Philip's burial-ground, was apprehended yesterday morning at the Red Lion Hotel, Masborough, by Detective-officers Airey and Brayshaw. He had sent word to the police of his intention to come to Sheffield by the first train from the South yesterday morning, having been staying at Bakewell and Derby since the riots. The officers went to meet him at the station, but he did not arrive by the early train, in consequence of having been accidentally detained at Eckington. subsequently, hearing that he had arrived at Masborough by a late train, Airey and Brayshaw went to search the public houses there, and found him at the Red Lion. He came voluntarily with them to Sheffield, supposing they had merely come to protect him from any violence that might be offered on the way. They however, held a warrant for his apprehension, issued by the magistrates at the termination of the inquiry on Saturday. Howard appeared before the magistrates in support of the application for compensation for the damage done to his house, and Detective-officer Brayshaw then produced the warrant, and applied to the Bench to remand the prisoner on a charge of having illegally removed the remains of a child of William Shearman, of Philadelphia. Howard seemed much surprised at the application, not having been previously aware that he was in custody. Mr Broadbent applied, on his behalf to the magistrates to admit him to bail, but they declined to do so, Mr. A. Smith remarking that that was quite out of the question, as it was at present impossible to say what charges might arise against the prisoner. Howard was therefore remanded until Friday next. He was evidently very nervous and excited. Howard claimed 160 for damage to his house, 200 damage to his furniture and 16 for money which was in the house. Mr Livesey applied for leave to prove damage amounting to 281 to the freehold of the cemetery and buildings, and 17.1s 6d for damage to the furniture, books etc., in the vestry. The applications were formally taken, placing both Howard and Mr Livesey in a position to bring actions against the country for recovery of the damage.

The Times, Jun 14,1862; pg. 7; Issue 24272; col D

THE CEMETERY DISCLOSURES AT SHEFFIELD

The prisoner Isaac Howard, who is charged with disinterring and mutilating human bodies at the Wardsend Cemetery,near Sheffield, of which he was the sexton, was again brought before the local magistrates yesterday. The case was taken in the Quarter Sessions Court, and the large hall and gallery were crowded to excess. Since the put full of human remains was discovered in the cemetery there have been large parties of people there, and the friends of the deceased have taken measures to ascertain whether the bodies remained in the graves in which they had been deposited. In several cases the search has been fruitless, and the conclusion is, of course, that the bodies have been removed by the sexton and sold for dissection. On the top of the pit was found a box containing the remains of a pauper who had been dissected at the Sheffield Medical School. The Act provides that the remains of persons whose bodies have been legitimately obtained for dissecting shall, before removal from the place of death, "be placed in a decent coffin or shell;" but the practice has been for the porter of the Sheffield Medical School to fetch the bodies from the workhouse in a sack, and for the sexton (Howard) to remove them from the school for interment in a rough deal box. It is but right to say, however, that the officers of the school have regularly paid a sum of money to the sexton sufficient to cover the expense of a shell and decent interment of the remains. The words "decent burial" have of course been construed to mean that the funeral service shall be read over the remains; but this has not been done, and this has evoked a fresh outburst of popular indignation against the incumbent of the parish, the Rev. J. Livesey. When the case was first brought before the magistrates the rev. gentleman said he should only have been too happy to read the service over the bodies if they had been decently coffined; but he asked "How could he take into his church a box of putrid matter, emitting a most offensive smell, and read the service over it? It would, he said, have been most indecent to do so." It is, however, alleged that he has received the fees for the proper burial of the paupers who have been dissected. On the top of the heap was also found a coffin containing the body of a child, and this body has been identified as the son of a miller, named Shearman, residing in the parish of St. Philip's. Other bodies have been identified, and their removal will be the groundwork of further indictments against the prisoner.

On Wednesday night a crowded meeting passed a resolution calling upon the Archbishop of York to take steps to investigate the case, and declaring that the parish of St. Philip's was "worthy of a better and more Protestant minister." At the meeting in the largest hall, which was crowded to excess, similar resolutions were passed, and the indignation of the people seemed to be greater against Mr. Livesey than even against the sexton.
During the hearing of the case yesterday the Town-hall was besieged by an excited mob. Howard was formally arraigned on the charge of disinterring the remains of Charles Edward Shearman. Several witnesses were examined in support of the charge and to prove the nature of the proceedings at the cemetery. The evidence, which had been briefly stated at the first hearing, was now gone into in detail, but the case had not been completed when our report was sent off.

The Times, Jun 24,1862; pg. 14; Issue 24280; col F

THE CEMETERY DISCLOSURES AT SHEFFIELD

The Rev. John Livesey, incumbent of St Philip's Church, Sheffield, appeared yesterday before the local magistrates, to answer an information charging him with making false entries in the register of burials at the Wardsend Cemetery, and with granting false certificates of burials. The public indignation which the late revolting disclosures has evoked was directed, from the first, more against Mr Livesey than the sexton, Howard, and yesterday the Session's-hall was crowded to excess.

Mr Gould appeared for the prosecution, and Mr Blanchard, Q.C., instructed by Mr Tetson, for the defendant.

Mr Gould having opened the case, the following evidence was adduced:-

The Rev. W .Marshall, curate of St Philip's, produced the register and proved that the register of the burial on the 3rd of April of Joseph Gretorex, a pauper, who died at the Sheffield Workhouse, was in the handwriting of Mr Livesey. Mr Livesey bought the burial ground and conveyed it to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He received the fees for interments there, and he had been incumbent of the district 30 years.

Moses Walton, porter at the Sheffield Medical School, said. - I have been in my present employment nearly 12 months. Two months after I came I had to see Isaac Howard, the sexton of St. Philip's, to make arrangements for the interment of a dissected body. I arranged with him to take if from the Medical-hall to the cemetery. On the 10th of March last I took the body of Joseph Gretorex from the workhouse to the Medical-hall. I saw that body at the Medical-hall many times subsequently. I had taken it there by the order of Mr Barber, the secretary. The body remained at the Medical School until the 12th of April. It was put in a box by me and Howard. Afterwards Howard took the box away on a wheelbarrow. I had seen Howard at Sheffield, and given him instructions with regard to that body, on the 3rd of April. I told him to fetch it from the Medical-hall and take it to St. Philip's Cemetery. He was to take it there for burial. It was not removed on the 3rd of April. I did not see him again until the 12th, when he fetched the body away. I paid him 5s. when he fetched the body. The witness also proved that it was the custom the Medical School to pay Howard 13s. for the interment of each body, that sum including the usual burial fees and the price of a coffin or shell.


Mr Jonathan Barber. - I am a surgeon in Sheffield and member of the Royal College of Surgeons. I hold the Secretary of State's licence to practice anatomy at the Medical School in Surrey-street. I produce the original book in which I make entries of bodies received from the Sheffield Workhouse. I received the last on the 10th of March. It was that of Joseph Gretorex. That body remained at the Medical School several weeks. After sending Walton to Mr. Livesey I received the certificate produced. I have been in the habit of making general arrangements for the interment of these bodies, and always received a certificate of their interment, signed by Mr. Livesey. They have always been in the form of the one I have produced. I have paid the fess for the interment of those bodies. I paid those fees to Howard, the sexton. I paid him for the interment 12s., and he had 5s. before, which made 18s.

Mr W. Skinner, surgeon to the Sheffield Union Workhouse, and one of the lecturers at the Medical-hall, identified the body of Gretorex as that dissected at the Medical School.

Joseph Couldwell, examined by Mr. Gould. - I know Isaac Howard and worked under him at St. Philip's burial ground. I know a stable upon the burial ground. Howard kept the key. I moved a box out of the stable into the coach-house, by Howard's directions, a month ago last Saturday. I afterwards moved it from the coach-house to the pit, which was in another part of the ground. The box was in the coach-house eight days. I removed it on the Sunday night. There were the remains of a man in the box when I removed it the last time. I did not know that the first time. I saw a thigh-bone. The body was in a bad state of decomposition. Howard took it from me at the pit. The pit or catacomb was a big hole covered with beams and planks, upon which there was a covering of earth. Howard put the box into the hole. A month ago I took some coffins to the same hole, and the box was placed upon them. It had never been interred anywhere. There was no clergyman present when the box was taken to the hole. The Burial Service was not read over the remains in the box. I saw the box and remains at the Town-hall a fortnight ago last Friday, and am sure they are the same I saw in the hole.

Mr. John Jackson, Chief Constable. - I went to the St. Philip's burial-ground on the 4th of June, and saw the pit. It was a large square hole four or five years long, and three wide. The hole was then entirely open, without any covering whatever. I saw in the hole a square box containing human remains, which I had taken out and brought to the Town-hall. The box was without a lid. The box lay on the top of some coffins; it was not covered with earth. I saw in the hole four or five coffins, two of which were open.

Jonathan Sutcliffe, mason, Sylvester -gardens, examined by Mr Gould. - I lived nearly three years in the cottage on St. Philip's burial-ground. I used to work gravestones in the shed. I know the pit in the burial-ground. I have seen Howard put bodies in the pit; they were brought in a box in a wheelbarrow. I have seen Howard turn remains out of a box, and shovel them in with a shovel. (Sensation.) The box was replaced in the barrow, and was taken sometimes into the stable, and sometimes into the shed.

Detective-officer Richard Brayshaw. - On Saturday evening the 3rd of May I and Inspector Crofts went to the Wardsend Cemetery between 7 and 8 o'clock. I saw Howard, the sexton, there. At my request he opened the coach-house door. He took the keys out of his pocket to unlock it. In the coach-house I saw a square box. I took off the lid, which was loose on. I saw portions of a human being in the box - I believe the trunk. I then proceeded to the pit. By my orders the pit was opened, and I saw very many coffins in it. The soil of the pit was dug into by a young man at my request, and after a few shovelfuls of earth, he dug up parts of a human being - the legs and thighs in a complete state of putrefaction. I went to the cemetery again on Tuesday, and there saw the same box with the remains of a body in the pit. I feel sure it was the same box and contents. The remains had the appearance of not having been interred. The same box and remains were afterwards brought to the Town-hall.

Mr Gould. - That is the case

Me Livesey said. - I reserve my defence. I leave the case entirely in the hands of counsel.

Mr Blanchard addressed the Bench at great length for the defence.

The magistrates committed Mr. Livesey for trial, but agreed to accept bail in 500, with sureties.

Notes

1861 Census - Freedom Road Nether Hallam-Walkley
Isaac Howard 56 sexton born Bakewell Derbyshire
Mary 45 wife born Swanwick Derbyshire
-------------------------------------------------------------
Mill Yard off Penistone Road
William Shearman 28 corn miller born Lincoln
Harriet 33 wife born Brattleby Lincoln
Emma 5 dau born Sheffield
Edward 1 son born Sheffield
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41 George Lane -Nether Hallam
Robert Dixon 30 quarry labourer born Rotherham Maltby
Martha 22 wife born Little Common Sheffield
George 10m born Sheffield

BETHIA is down as Martha 1861--Bertha 1871--Bethia 1891 - Possibly born Elizabeth or Bethia Hallam

From The Story of St Philips Church (A Centenary Record) 1828 -1928 by Canon W. Odom (printed in 1928)

Biographical Note

JOHN LIVESEY M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge, curate to the Rev. Charles Simeon, was appointed incumbent in July, 1831, and held the office for the long space of thirty-nine years. He was a tall man of fine presence, very active, and, as his after eventful ministry proved, a man of war. I well remember, in my early years, going to see him at his pleasant home in Wadsley Grove on some legal business.

St. Philip's parish then included the districts of Hill Foot, Owlerton, Walkley and Upperthorpe in addition to a large district near the Church, with a total population of 25,000. The Church has become the mother church of four other distinct parishes, namely, St. Mary's, Walkley; St. John the Baptist, Owlerton; St. Bartholomew's, Langsett Road; and St.Nathanael, Crookesmoor. Of these, Walkley was founded by Mr. Livesey, he having secured the site in Howard Road, and raised 1,000 by subscription for a Mission Church, which now forms part of St. Mary's Church.

In June, 1862, there was great excitement, accompanied with rioting, at Wardsend Cemetery, in consequence of reports that bodies had been sold for dissection by the sexton, whose house was burnt down. Mr. Livesey, who had at his own cost purchased and laid out the cemetery, unhappily became mixed up in the prosecutions that followed. Charged with giving a false certificate of burial, he was committed for trial at York Assizes, and sentenced to three weeks imprisonment. Resolutions of sympathy were passed, and in August a free pardon was granted to him.

He successfully asserted in the Court of Queen's Bench the rights of the incumbents of the district Churches to the fees arising from marriages as against the Vicar of Sheffield; at another time he had a warm controversy with the War Office on the question of the chaplaincy to the Barracks. He died on 11th August, 1870, in his sixty-seventh year.

Mr. Livesey introduced into St. Philip's Church what were known as "Cathedral Services," with a surpliced choir. The following notes are from an article by a Sheffield journalist, "Criticus," who was present at a service on a Sunday morning in 1869:

There was the choir at the top of the centre aisle, and there were the choristers, ten nice little boys in white surplices, five on each side, and six men, all in surplices. the singing and chanting were unquestionably good. There was nothing higgity-jiggity about the tunes, anthems, or music. The congregation did not join in the response very extensively........ The service was conducted by Mr. Livesey, whose style of reading is easy, fluent, rather rapid and somewhat familiar. In the pulpit he wore his academic gown, having never worn his surplice when preaching since 1847, when his wardens presented him with an address, thanking him for giving it up. The text was four words, "Enoch walked with God," and the sermon occupied sixteen minutes. In private life Mr. Livesey is a very worthy and estimable character. he is genial, benevolent and kind hearted. he
has a just and enlightened apprehension as to what is due to his position as incumbent or vicar of St. Philip's, and has on several occasions sacrificed himself to uphold great principles. Like Job, Mr. Livesey has had to "endure affliction," and, as in the case of that patriarch, his "latter end" yields a redundant return of peace and plenty. Sitting under his own vine and figtree in the pleasant retreat of Wadsley Grove, none daring to make him afraid, he rejoices in the esteem of his friends and parishioners.

Notes

In March 2012 I received the following e-mail

"Dear Chris,
I was just wondering if you happen to know the origin of the picture you've used on your page on your page entitled 'A Grave Affair' I was wondering if it was a picture that related directly to the Wardsend Cemetery riots, or if it was simply a generic stock image?

The reason I ask is that I'm a History student from Sheffield, currently in the process of planning my dissertation - in which I wish to write about Wardsend Cemetery and its riots. 

Otherwise I would just like to thank you for a brilliant page, that has offered up some very interesting references which I will certainly be looking into in more detail before I begin planning properly. If you had any other information regarding the riot/incident, or knew where I could find any other information this would be extremely helpful!

I will acknowledge any use of your material, and ask full permission before doing so."

I replied

"Thanks for the mail and the interest in the site. And your kind comments.

First of all please feel free to use any of the content on the site for your project

As you surmised the engraving is a generic one which I obtained from a front piece of a book called The BodySnatchers by Martin Fido if I remember correctly. He in turn probably obtained it from a periodical of the time.

The article is quite an old one (last updated Nov 2008) but funnily enough I was only thinking about it last week when I came across the activities of Dr Hall Overend and his resurectionists in Sheffield. I may do an article on this providing I can find an angle that has not been covered elsewhere. I only put content on the site that is not covered elsewhere, or if it is covered, not very well

Anyway to help you along I am attaching some material that you may find useful. It is from The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 26th July 1862 and relates to the trial and conviction of Rev Livesey and Isaac Howard in Leeds

I would like to type it up but I have not got the time at the moment but it is a great piece of reporting and should give you most of the information you require, It really is a fascinating case .

There was also a grisly affair three years later which you may find interesting

http://www.chrishobbs.com/sheffield/stjohnspark.htm

Hope it helps

Best wishes Chris"

Well Jordan did complete his dissertation, and the result of his endeavours are here - Crisis of Confidence. An impressive piece of work

 

 

 

Sources

The Annuls of Yorkshire (1860-1865) 

Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England), dated Friday, June 6, 1862; Issue 1209

The Times, June 9th, 1862; pg. 6; Issue 24267; col D

The Times, Jun 10,1862; pg. 6; Issue 24267; col D

The Times, Jun 14,1862; pg. 7; Issue 24272; col D

The Times, Jun 24,1862; pg. 14; Issue 24280; col F
 

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