It is recorded in Prickett’s History and Antiquities of Highgate that:
“Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, taking the air in Highgate, snow lying on the ground, and it came into my lord’s thought why flesh might not be preserved in snow… He alighted out of the coach… went into a poor woman’s house, and bought a hen . . . then stuffed the body with snow, my lord did help himself to do it. The snow so chilled him, he immediately fell so ill he went to the earl of Arundel’s house . . . they put him in a good bed, but it was a damp bed . . . in two or three days he died of suffocation.”
It is reliably related that the ghost of the chicken can still sometimes been seen in Pond Square!
Photo credit: From the Archive of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution