In the 18th century there were anatomists who did public dissections. They obtained bodies from pauper families who could not afford a funeral or from criminals who had been hanged or died in prison. When the supply dried up unscrupulous thieves stole newly buried bodies from graveyards. In order to prevent this, some graveyards had a ‘bodysnatcher stone’ – a huge stone which was placed over the grave temporarily to thwart bodysnatchers.
In 1777 The old House, next door to the chapel, was bought by Nehemiah Bradford, a surgeon, and there may have been worries that he would be looking for bodies to dissect.