With Halloween in 2020 looking a little less exciting than usual, we thought we would turn the clock back to 1820 and offer some seasonal advice to Body Snatchers looking to escape the city and broaden their horizons...

Times are tough for Londons’ body snatchers around this time of year – what with the change in the weather, and more and more living people hanging around in graveyards as we draw close to All Hallow’s Eve.

We are aware that people in your profession need to make ends meet, just like the rest of us, so Visit Colchester is here to help.

Why not make the short journey to Colchester, where the graveyards are plentiful – a one hour journey by train from London Liverpool Street will see you positively falling over cadavers – with little competition. Body snatching hasn’t really caught on here yet, so the graves are yours to pick over…

Here are some of our recommendations...

St Botolphs' Priory

There is no manned watchtower to keep an eye on you in the ruins of St Botolph's Priory where there are large vaults alongside the smaller graves. Being far from the police station means you are less likely to be caught with your newly acquired corpse, and it is conveniently close to Colchester Town Train Station so you can make a quick getaway back to the city…

In the graveyard of All Saints Church (now the Natural History Museum) mourners don’t hang around for too long - we’ve heard in your neck of the woods, they can sometimes wait for up to 3 days for the body to start to decompose to keep the likes of you away. Thankfully there's no such paranoia here...

St Mary's Church (now Colchester Arts Centre)

At St Mary's at the Walls (now Colchester Arts Centre) there are many pubs, bars and taverns nearby to display your finds to willing customers if you don’t fancy taking them back to London with you. A nice quick way of earning some extra cash.

Trinity Church & it's graveyard are in the centre of the town, so there are plenty of refuse bins around to dispose of the clothing to avoid being caught stealing not just the bodies but also the garments. No one wants to be caught doing two crimes at once, the shame.

St Martin's Church

St Martins' Churchyard in the Dutch Quarter has plentiful graves and some larger tombs just waiting to be robbed. Rumour has it that a rather eligible batchelor has been recently buried there who was 'in breach of promise', so you may have to fight off the local ladies trying to get a piece of him…

Butt Road is home to a Roman Cemetery (& Roman Church), and is very close to the (former) Essex County Hospital – plenty of surgeons around willing to pay top prices for the freshest cadavers to dissect for their research…? However some of the bodies in this burial ground may be slightly past their sell by date.

All Saint's Church (now the Natural History Museum) & a large tomb at St Martin's Church

We do hope you have found this guide most informative and suited to all your body snatching needs.

Whatever your reason for visiting Colchester - work or play, we’re happy to give recommendations and advice about what to see & do.

Happy Halloween!

Many thanks to Town Tour Guide Claire Partner for sharing with us her rather macabre knowledge of the practices of 19th century Body Snatchers.


St Botolph's Priory, Colchester
St Botolph's Priory at Sunset

The first English Augustinian priory church, founded at the end of the eleventh century from the Anglo-Saxon minster community of Colchester. Only the ruined remains of the nave survive today, under the care of English Heritage.

Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church

Colchester's only surviving Saxon building which has an arrowhead (triangle arches) doorway in the tower and features re-used Roman bricks.



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