Readers chip in with gravestone puzzle findings

Mystery tombstone that was dug up at Caister parish cemetery. Picture: George Ryan

Mystery tombstone that was dug up at Caister parish cemetery. Picture: George Ryan - Credit: George Ryan

The mystery of a man’s life, whose gravestone was hidden for over a century, has been partly uncovered.

William Boatwright died in 1896 and was buried at Caister, however his gravestone was not discovered until work earlier this month was carried out on a footpath at the parish cemetery.

Now, thanks to genealogy work undertaken by readers of the Mercury, part of Mr Boatwright’s life story has been pieced together.

Reader Paul Godfrey said: “A bit of detective work using reveals that William Boatwright of Caister on Sea was a retired Master Gunner in the Royal Artillery and died July 2, 1896.”

Another reader, Justin Overton, said Mr Boatwright was born on September 9, 1830 in Norwich to Ric Boatwright and Eliz Forster and was baptised at St James’ Church in Pockthorpe.

Information in the 1841 census showed that aged 10 he was living in Bull Close, Norwich.

A decade later he was living at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Greenwich, London where he was quartered as a soldier.

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He was registered as a freemason in St Ann’s Lodge at the age of 35.

By 1871 he was living in the Channel Islands, married to Harriet, and working as a master gunner.

At the age of 45 though, records show he was married to a woman called Eliza Durrant in Norwich in October 1875 at St Stephen’s Church.

He died in 1896 aged 65 and his death was registered in Flegg.

His widow, who had the address of Middle Market Road in Great Yarmouth, died four years after him and was buried in the same grave.

However, just why the gravestone was tipped over and became buried, remains a mystery.