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Priest solves gravestone mystery after appeal

18 May 2018


The Revd Ian Walters kneels by the mystery headstone placed on a grave in St Margaret’s churchyard, Quadring

The Revd Ian Walters kneels by the mystery headstone placed on a grave in St Margaret’s churchyard, Quadring

THE mystery of a gravestone that appeared in St Margaret’s churchyard, Quadring, in Lincolnshire, has been solved after family members came forward.

The Vicar, the Revd Ian Walters made an appeal after he noticed something strange in the churchyard of St Margaret’s at about Christmas­time. What appeared to be a fresh stone tablet had been carefully positioned on the grave of Lavinia Birch, whose own gravestone said that she had died, aged 38, in July 1929.

The tribute on the new gravestone read: “A much loved Mum/Eunice Eales/1928-2011/Finally reunited with her own mother Lavinia.” The grave was also newly decorated with primrose plants and grey slate chips.

But no one had any recollection of any ceremony for Eunice Eales, and a check through local records also drew a blank.

Mr Walters said: “No one can, of course, legally place any form of memorial or decorated grave space in a graveyard or cemetery without permission. Unless someone steps forward to claim responsibility soon, then we may have to refer the matter to the police for investigation, and these items will be removed.”

But the mystery was finally solved after a last-ditch appeal by Mr Walters for information about Mrs Eales and the mysterious gravestone, amid fears that the police would have to exhume the site.

Family members have come forward and confirmed that Mrs Eales died in Torquay, where she had lived for 16 years to be closer to her children.

Her family felt obliged to bury her ashes nearly 300 miles away, in Lincolnshire, next to her mother. A quiet burial ceremony was held with the previous Vicar of St Margaret’s in May 2011, a month after Mrs Eales’s death. The children would visit the grave as often as they could.

Eventually, last October, however, it was thought that it needed freshening up. But they are baffled that no records exist: they spent days, they say, in conversation with the previous Vicar to organise their tributes.

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