Mortsafes were contraptions designed to protect the bodies of the dead from disturbance. There had been body-snatching close to the schools of anatomy in Scotland since the early 18th century. This was due to the necessity for medical students to learn anatomy by attending dissections of human subjects, which was frustrated by the very limited allowance of dead bodies - for example the corpses of executed criminals - granted by the government, which controlled the supply.
“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.”~Henry David Thoreau (Painting: The Premonition by Michael Vincent Manalo)