THE volunteer custodians of the Dissenters’ Burying Ground at Ponsharden have uncovered another headstone which it is believed belongs to a grave that had been robbed.

Rob Nunn and Tom Weller were carrying out some routine strimming at the site when they made their discovery. "Whilst gathering up grass cuttings, Rob grabbed a clump of grass that was still attached to the soil," said Tom. "The whole piece came up in his hands, revealing a smooth slate surface below.

"We carefully exposed more of the object. We couldn't see any writing on it, so we guessed it was either the capping to a grave shaft, or a previously unseen headstone, lying face down. We think the site is scattered with fallen monuments, buried beneath 100 years of compacted leaves.

"We continued to clear around the object and from its outline we established that it was indeed a fallen slate headstone. It took a long time to clear the earth from above it, which was a foot deep in places. We noticed that this earth wasn't the normal leaf mould seen on site, but it actually matched the rough, gravelly soil which is piled around an unmarked robbed grave nearby. We now think that this headstone belonged to the robbed grave, and was thrown here face down when the grave was broken open and dug up. Why they chose to rob this grave is still a mystery to us."

The headstone is a memorial to a young man from Falmouth called Henry Jolly, who died in Rio de Janeiro in 1847 aged 25. Beneath his name is that of his mother, Esther Jolly, who died in 1870, aged 80 years. Esther was the wife of Captain Martin Jolly.

"It is unlikely Henry's body is buried at Ponsharden as he died so far from home," said Tom. "However, we do know that Esther is there, as her name appears in the burial registers."

Tom and Rob have logged the grave and will be putting its details on their website,, soon. This latest discovery is the 92nd monument uncovered on the site since the pair started restoring the derelict ground in May 2012.