Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events/Christopher Pivett


Christopher Pivett died at York, in 1796, at the advanced age of ninety-three years. He was by trade a carver and gilder, but in early life had served in the army, and been present in several battles—Fontenoy, Dettingen, and the siege of Carlisle.

After he settled at York, his house was accidentally burnt down; and he then formed the singular resolution never again to sleep in a bed, lest he should be burned to death whilst asleep, or not have sufficient time to remove his property, should an accident again occur. This resolution he strictly adhered to for the remaining forty years of his life.

His practice was to repose upon the floor, or on two chairs, or sitting in a chair, but always dressed.

During the whole period he dwelt alone he was his own cook, and seldom suffered anyone to enter the house. He would not tell anyone where he had been born or to whom he was related, and there can be little doubt that the name of Pivett was an assumed one. Among other singularities, he kept a human skull in his house, and strictly ordered that it should be buried with him.