"The Body Snatchers"
Presented by Colin Sheppard
Colin gave a fascinating talk on the early provision of bodies for medical research.
Before the 17th century the barber was an early surgeon and corpses were freely sold - with those of children being sold by the length!
In the 18th century the body snatching industry opened up - the centre of which was York.
Surgeons' thirst for knowledge to find out more about the human body led to a need to corpses being taken from recent graves in Churchyards - with the accent being on NEW corpses, as these could easily be dissected before decay set in to the body.
The 'resurrection men' (the raiders of graves) were highly paid and York was the centre of the body snatching industry due to the City's population explosion and to a high death rate in the City - the highest in the land. (Epidemics abounded and the worst was small pox - for which there is still no cure today).
Executions were another source for the provision of corpses - with three public hangings in York each week.
Many stage coaches carried corpses as cargo - and of course York was a halfway stop for coaches on their way between London and Edinburgh.
Well known professional body snatchers were Burke and Hare - two Edinburgh no-gooders who, instead of snatching from graves, murdered people and sold their bodies to Surgeons. They were eventually found out and hanged.
"Revisiting Strensall's Historic Timeline"
Presented by members of our History Group
Our April Meeting covered a variety of topics.
There was a potted history of the Robert Wilkinson Primary School in the Village whose foundation, some 300 years ago, was as the result of a trust set up by Robert Wilkinson, a farmer and landowner. On his death in 1718 a trust was set up for the benefit of children from the village with the profits to go in perpetuity to that excellent facility.
The evening also included a talk on the Enclosure Act of 1747 and its effect on field sizes. There was also an interesting insight into a map of 1765, showing local roads etc.
And to bring the meeting bang up-t-date - there were details of a drone and the images produced from it traversing the local area.