Fresh anguish for couple looking for baby in Royston graveyard
12:14 17 July 2014
A couple trying to find the grave of a baby girl who died more than 50 years ago have been told plans revealing the burial site have been taken by a vicar.
Richard Frank and his wife Tammi have been trying to track down the grave of Mrs Frank’s baby sister Jane, who died in June 1963.
Jane – who was just 30 days old when she died – is believed to have been buried at Royston Cemetery according to data from Hertfordshire Records and Archives.
But the records do not reveal the exact location of her grave so the couple have spent the last two years trying to find the missing information.
Plans of the graveyard would identify where Jane has been buried but have not been kept up-to-date by owners St John the Baptist Church, despite it being required by law.
Mr Frank spoke to the Comet ahead of a meeting with the Arch Deacon of Hertford, Trevor Jones, scheduled for today, Thursday.
He said: “The plan was taken by the vicar at the time when he retired and this has been confirmed to us by the Arch Deacon. It was taken by one of their own and he also disappeared with a few candle sticks.
“But the church has not done any local investigations to locate baby Jane. They have not picked up the phone to his family to find out if the plan still exists or get in touch with the undertakers at the time.”
The family have already been told by the Diocese of St Albans – which represents the church – that it is unlikely that the grave would be found but they can have a memorial in the graveyard.
Mr Frank, who has come across another case in the 1960s where the graves of twin babies were subsequently found, added: “I would like for them to do more investigation locally to try to find out where she actually may be. By offering us a memorial in the graveyard with the words ‘somewhere in the graveyard is where Jane is buried’ is not good enough, it’s like looking into a crowd but not being able to find her.”
A spokesman for The Diocese of St Albans said: “There is no evidence that there ever was a black book marking graves in the churchyard, as claimed by some.
It is important to set the record straight about the requirement on churches to record on a plan, graves. This was not a requirement in the Diocese of St Albans in the 1960s. Mr Frank asserts that it was, but diocesan legal authority refutes this and Mr Frank has produced no evidence of his assertion.
The Church has been very concerned to offer Mr and Mrs Frank as much help as possible and is mindful that the scars of personal loss are borne for many years.
The Archdeacon wishes to offer the Franks a meeting in which he hopes they can make progress towards a solution and he wishes also to offer them his help on their journey of grief if they would like it.”