The Chase Vault

The Chase Vault is found in the Christ Church Parish Church. It is chiefly noted that within the sealed Chase Vault coffins mysteriously moved around. The vault belonged to the Chase family, a wealthy plantation family, although they were not the first owners. The family patriarch was one Colonel Thomas Chase, a man with the reputation of having a bad temper and a propensity for cruelty to his slaves and family alike. The first Chase burial was on February 22nd 1808. Since that first burial, every time the vault was opened it was found in disarray and the leaden coffins appeared in a jumbled mess with coffins being shifted with such violence that one wooden coffin had practically disintegrated.

The vault was thoroughly inspected for cracks in the walls, floor, ceiling, or hidden entrances, but the structure proved as solid as it ever was. On July 7th 1819 the tomb was reopened and this time the newly appointed and popular governor of Barbados, Sir Stapleton Cotton, Viscount Combermere was on hand to witness the opening. The heavy marble door slab was broken from its mortar seal and moved away by four workers and the interior was a jumbled mess of coffins once again.

On April 18th 1820 an investigation was done by the Governor, Lord Combermere and other dignitaries, but still the mystery has not been solved. The Chase Vault was immediately emptied and its occupants given separate burials elsewhere in the cemetery. Today it sits empty, dead, and at last, quiet.

Many theories have been put forward as to what caused the coffins to move around including vandals, gas, floods, earthquake, magnetic and supernatural causes. Some said it was the restless spirits of the Chase family who took their family feuds to the grave.

It was also believed that the family turmoil which was caused by one of the General's sons marrying a catholic woman into a protestant family, was transferred to the great beyond. Later, it was then decided that the body of the Catholic woman should be buried somewhere else. Others have claimed the tension was actually between Mrs. Thomasina Goddard, the first occupant of the Vault, and the Chases who were later interred there.

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The Chase Vault

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