19 February, 2014

The Giant Buried In The Bank Of England

Lead coffin of William Daniel Jenkins
Lead coffin of William Daniel Jenkins
I published a post on Monday about A Sighting Of The Bank Of England Black Nun Ghost. This morning I picked up an old book from the 1930s I had bought at a car boot sale for a few pence. The book was titled How Much Do You Know. I opened it up at random and on page 19 the first story was What Clerk Was Buried In The Bank Of England?

It seems that the answer to the question (according to the book) is: 'An eight-foot giant named Jenkins who died in 1798.'

The book writes:

"He desired to be buried there in order that his corpse would be safe from body snatchers. This precaution was inspired by the fate of his contemporary, James O'Bryan, an Irish giant.

The latter gave instructions that he should be buried at sea, but so anxious was John Hunter, the distinguished surgeon, to have his body that he gave the undertakers 500 guineas for it.

Hunter's celebrated collection of anatomical specimens was, after his death, purchased by the British Government, and O'Bryan's skeleton now stands, alongside that of a dwarf, in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons."

Well, a bit of a Library Angel moment I thought. Then I wondered if by any chance the staid Bank of England website would have any information on the giant story - and surprisingly they did.

In August 1933 the Bank Of England was doing some rebuilding and they came across a lead coffin in what was known as the old Garden Court. The coffin bore a metal plate inscribed: 'Mr William Danl. Jenkins. Died 24 March 1798, Aged 31 - photo at top of post.

So it turns out a giant being buried in the Bank of England is actually true.

William Daniel Jenkins was a former clerk of the bank and died 'of decline'. His friends at the Bank, feared that the corpse would be stolen by body snatchers asked permission of the Directors to bury it in the Bank's Garden Court. It is quoted that 'Jenkins himself was said to have been considerably disturbed in his mind before his death, from the apprehension that his body would be taken up after burial for the use of Surgeons. The request was granted.

There was an Act of Parliament in July 1923 which said that any human remains removed from the site should be re-interred at Nunhead Cemetery or any other consecrated burial ground. Accordingly the Jenkin's coffin was removed to Nunhead (near Peckham) where it was placed in the catacomb, having been found too large for the vaults.

The two versions of the Jenkin's story are slightly different regarding what happened to the skeleton, but the Bank of England's version sounds more likely.

Other 67 Not Out Posts:
A Sighting Of The Bank Of England Black Nun Ghost
Top 10 Coincidence And Synchronicity Stories
The Little Dog Looking Down From The Top Of St Austell Church Tower

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2 comments:

  1. Definitely a library angel moment! You come up with the most fascinating stories - and then they turn out to be synchros!

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