Benjamin Bathurst: Missing Regency Era Diplomat

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Benjamin Bathurst (18 March 1784 – 1809?) was a British diplomatic envoy who disappeared in Germany during the Napoleonic Wars. He was the third son of Henry Bathurst, Bishop of Norwich.

Bathurst disappeared on or about 25 November 1809, sparking much debate and speculation about his ultimate fate, especially in science fiction stories, based on a perception (fostered by secondary sources) that his disappearance was a case of particularly sudden, perhaps supernatural, vanishing. Recent research suggests the circumstances of Bathurst’s disappearance were wildly exaggerated, and that he was almost certainly murdered.

Benjamin Bathurst entered the diplomatic service at an early age and was promoted to the post of Secretary of the British Legation at Livorno. In 1805, he married Phillida Call, daughter of Sir John Call, a Cornish landowner and baronet.

In 1809, he was dispatched to Vienna as an envoy…

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7 thoughts on “Benjamin Bathurst: Missing Regency Era Diplomat

  1. An unsolved mystery is always entertaining. Nonetheless, I am going with the body discovered in 1852 as the murdered Bathurst. But why take away his pantaloons to be discovered elsewhere? Perhaps they were trying to distract the police away from the scene of the crime.
    (Pantaloons. That’s a great word, we should bring it back)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • beetleypete, I am not certain about 1854, but early on there were laws about transporting a body (as in grave robbers, better known as resurrectionists). If the body was fully clothed, a person (if caught by the authorities) could be charged with theft of the clothing, but not the body. Medical schools required more bodies for anatomy courses than the government gave them. (When sentenced to death, a person’s body would be donated to the medical schools to the tune of about 50 per year. The schools needed about five times that many.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, the ‘Burke and Hare’ days. Perhaps he served to educate foreign doctors after his demise instead of being the man in the cellar. An even deeper mystery. Good stuff indeed Regina.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

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