Research Blog. Week 5

Zoom Research Workshop

With Barbara Crosbie.

Week 5 10 Jan

We have the names of a growing cast of characters who were involved in the case, from the farmer who found the coffin, to the vicar who reburied the body. One of the researchers has even managed to track down some photographs of Sergeant Matthew Morrison Wardell, the man who penned the police report about the find; including a fabulous picture of him looking resplendent in his uniform. It is so exciting to put a face to the name. We have still to discover any definite evidence of how Sergeant Wardell would have travelled from St. John’s Chapel police station (where he was stationed) to the burial site on Killhope moor. But we do know this was seven years before the first motorised police vehicles were introduced in County Durham; these being a motorcycle and a Daimler motor car, both of which were reserved for important transport duties in the county.  So did the local police have their own horse-drawn transport, and did they move the body in a horse-drawn hearse or on someone’s cart? If the latter what did they usually transport when they weren’t moving long-dead corpses about?  We also came across the claim that a Miss Mary Fenwick tried on the coat that the body had been wearing, and even thought it had apparently been washed before she did so this is still a most macabre story.

Dr Barbara Crosbie

Research  Mentor