My mother was teaching students about James Lind so I wanted to know his beliefs so I discovered that his dead body has been stolen.
From contemporary correspondence still on file we know that ‘the Vicar of Portchester had it by hearsay from his predecessor that an old lady organist told him that Lind’s body had been disinterred from the Portchester vault about 20 years after the burial, and removed to the Isle of Wight’ (Summary 1953). James Lind’s son John had moved to Ryde, and is buried in Holy Trinity Church there: but there are no other Lind coffins in the church except for those of John’s wife and two of his daughters. The Commander-in-Chief then advertised in the local papers, the Evening News (Evening News 1953a; 1953b) and the Hampshire Telegraph. No definite result emerged from this that did not contradict the story already known: but by 10 May 1953, the Sunday Dispatch carried the headline ‘Body vanished fifty years ago – hospital advertises for it’ (Sunday Dispatch 1953). The article continues ‘Search is going on all over the country for the body of the great naval surgeon, James Lind, which was buried in St Mary’s Church, Portchester, Hampshire, in 1794 but had disappeared – with its coffin – when the vault was opened 50 years ago.’ After some discussion of Lind and his work the article concludes on a dramatic note: ‘Some old inhabitants of Portchester say ‘It is possible body-snatchers took it. Those were queer days. Strange things happened.’’