The Chase Family Tomb

The Chase Vault or Tomb is a burial vault in Christ Church Barbados it looks just like any other Burial vault but what makes this one different from the others is the Moving Coffins inside the vault.

The vault was built originally for another man, James Elliot in 1724.But this man was never buried there. The only body that was interred there while Mr Elliot owned the Vault was Thomasina Goddard on July the 13 th , 1807.

The vault was named for Thomas chase who purchased the 1808 his infant daughter Mary was interred there on February 22 nd 1808 in a heavy lead-lined coffin.

The coffin belonging to Thomasina Goddard was not touched and Mr Chase buried his other daughter Dorcas  on July 6th 1812 she was also buried in a large lead coffin.

Then sadly Thomas the Father passed away on August the 9 th 1812. The vault was opened for Thomas to be buried there and the mourners were shocked to see that both Mary’s and Dorcas coffins had moved well more than moved it was if they had been tossed about.

Authorities assumed that vandals had broken in and  disturbed the coffins so the coffins were moved back in place and Thomas was laid to rest.

What the authorities could not decide was how vandals had broken in and moved the lead coffins as it took eight men just to move them back in place.

If this was the only case of the moving Coffins it would have all been Dead and buried (excuse the Pun) But there have been a few more occasions were the coffins have mysteriously moved.

On September the 25th  1816 Samuel Brewster another infant interred in the vault. When they opened the vault to lay him to rest they once again found the coffins moved, some of the coffins stacked on others but the entrance which consisted of a big white marble slab undisturbed.

Then on November 17th 1816 Samuel Brewster the father of the infant that had died. Once again when they went to lay him to rest they found the coffins had moved again. Once again the coffins were put right and the vault sealed tight. But the stories of the moving coffins would not go away.

On July the 17th 1819 Thomasina Clark was due to be interred in the vault and this time the local authorities where there for the opening of the crypt and even the governor of Barbados turned up  to witness the opening.

When they opened the vault once again they found the coffins had mysteriously moved, one of the coffins belonging to Goddard was in really bad shape and looked like it had been squeezed as it was all splintered and falling apart so the authorities tied the coffin together and moved it against the rear wall. The Governor of Barbados then interred the coffin of Thomasina Clark with the rest of the coffins and then had the floor covered in sand so if the vault was opened again and the coffins were moved they would be able to see any foot prints in the sand and if the vandals new about the sand this would stop them breaking in.

In April 1820 the Governor had the vault opened for inspection the seals on the entrance were intact and the sand in the vault was undisturbed but once again the coffins had been moved and looked like they had been thrown about.

The Governor declared he wanted all the coffins moved and the vault permanently  sealed.

To this day the vault remains undisturbed….By human hands anyway.

chase vault
The moving coffins



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