Sunday, 5 July 2009

Tomb at centre of Victorian Poisoning Allegation

Lt General George Dick


This first photograph from my visit to Abbey Cemetery in Bath shows the tomb of Lieutenant General George Dick with its distinctive red cross. Dick's was the third burial to take place in the cemetery which opened in 1844. He lived with his two daughters in Bath and after his death, his son, George sailed home from India to find he had been cut out of the general's new will, written shortly before his death.

An unsightly spat took place with allegation and counter allegation appearing in the local newspapers. When George accused his sisters of poisoning their father, an exhumation was arranged. Two coroners, solicitors and doctors and a jury attended, as did the general's butler who had the unpleasant task of identifying the body. The tomb was removed and the lead coffin recovered to the cemetery's chapel where a post mortem was carried out. There was much surprise at how little decomposition had occurred in the seventeen months since General Dick was buried.

The next day, an inquest heard that there was inflammation in Dick's digestive tract. Was it caused by arsenic, prussic acid or strychnine? The jury couldn't decide, returning a verdict of death from inflamed stomach and bowels, but with no evidence to show how. The press quickly lost interest, George returned to Calcutta and his sisters retired to Devonshire. The general's body was reinterred and remains undisturbed to this day.

8 comments:

@eloh said...

What a kick in the head, so to speak.

Gale Wall said...

Great story with the picture!

The Sagittarian said...

Amazing what you can find out!

Margaret Pangert said...

i wonder what happened after the evacuation from India. Did he sue his sisters for some of the estate (elderly abuse or something like that)?

Margaret LaVonne Hall said...

What you do in your research must be fascinating when you find out the cause of death and so forth! I have enjoyed your blog and will return often...Wills and families often end up in mayhem!

swan said...

You have a great eye, I am enjoying your inspiration!

Laurie said...

Thanks everyone. He had intended to sue his sisters but without the evidence of foul play, he didn't have a leg to stand on!

I have some more material for this blog and will be posting it shortly.

Best wishes

Laurie

Chris said...

you have no idea how cool this blog is.

okay, well, as the author, I suppose you do know how cool it is, but I'm just saying.

Welcome to the Graveyard Detective

An illustrated look at the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. There are many Stories behind the Stones that Stand in them. Who knows what we might find?

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