Ghastly Discovery of Human Remains

A gruesome discovery was made a few days since in a garden attached to some cottages at Winthorpe, and which has created a great deal of talk in the neighbourhood and given rise to some rumours of an extraordinary nature.

In order to allay all fears and doubts in the matter, we will place the facts before our readers.

A few days ago a would-be tenant went to inspect one of the cottages, and in the garden outside the closet she made a most unpleasant discovery. She found there the leg and arm of a female in an advanced stage of decomposition. Subsequently some other bones, evidently of considerable age were found in the closet. These latter were nailed together. The police were at once communicated with and the remains subjected to the Medical Officer of Health for examination. He at once expressed his opinion that the leg and bones had been used for the purpose of the study of anatomy. The arteries were full of wax, and the dissection of the body had evidently been done by skilled hands.

The police have we hear elicited the following facts.

A man named Wadds nearly twelve months since gave up the occupancy of the cottage where the ghastly find was made, and he states that he left the remains in a sack on the premises where they were found as they were offensive. They were given to him by a man named Proctor who stated that they were given him by a doctor. Wadds hoped to dispose of them to some medical student or doctor, but not being able to do so left them to their fate. There seems no reason to doubt the bona fide nature of the story, but we feel that we are only doing our duty, as the representatives of public opinion, in protesting against such callous and indecent treatment of the remains of any human being. It is, of course, absolutely necessary that the study is anatomy should be practical as well as theoretical, but the interests of science are not served by such careless and we repeat indecent conduct as has been brought to light by this unpleasant circumstance. It is to be regretted that the medical man (if he was a medical man) should have carelessly allowed these portions of a human body to be circulated from hand to hand in such a manner. We yield to none in our respect for the medical profession and do not think one instance such as the above, if it is correctly reported, likely to damage their reputation in the eyes of the public.

The bones have now at length found a resting place in the churchyard. It is needless to state that the would-be tenant did not make further enquiries respecting the cottage, but at once beat a hasty retreat. We shall probably hear more of the affair.

Source: Skegness Herald 13th December 1895

In attempting to pin down the exact cottage referred to in this article, I consulted the 1891 census in the hope that Wadds would be living there. Unfortunately, it appears he was NOT residing at Winthorpe, just four years before the incident! We mustn’t forget that, around 1895, the boundary of Winthorpe extended to the junction of Burgh Road and Roman Bank, so we can’t discount the old buildings just beyond the present-day Lincolnshire Nailer.

But besides this – where were the body parts actually buried? Winthorpe Church, I assume. Anyone seen an unmaked head (less) stone there?

Hmmm, more digging needed, I fear!

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