Unearthing mystery owners of Rauceby Hospital graveyards

A relative of a woman buried in a neglected graveyard which served the former Rauceby Hospital is battling to keep the site maintained.

Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143217001

Phillip Diver lives in Cambridge, but understands a relative, Hilda Cressey (married name Catling), is buried in one of the two old graveyards connected to the hospital off Willoughby Road in Greylees.

The main hospital site was sold to developers David Wilson Homes in 2003, but a question mark still hangs over who is responsible for upkeep of the two overgrown burial sites for patients and staff.

Mr Diver said: “Most of the gravestones were moved to the edges in the 1960s so it would be easier for a mower to cut, but not everybody had headstones, some graves had markers bearing numbered brass crosses.”

Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143217001

His hunt for answers regarding responsibility for maintenance has led him to contact NHS departments and councils. He said: “Obviously, the developers would not want the two cemeteries.”

Mr Diver has contacted Capita which bought Inventures, part of the NHS that manages land and properties no longer in use, and is awaiting a response.

Traditionally, closed graveyards are passed to local authorities for upkeep. Denise Gascoyne, clerk to Silk Willoughby Parish Council, believes the graveyards, which just fall inside the boundary, were last tided seven years ago by a Probation Service team, but the parish council has never had any involvement, nor could afford to.

Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143234001
Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143251001
Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143306001
Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143321001
Overgrown graveyards at Rauceby. EMN-190402-143338001