Kenilworth historian may have solved portrait mystery

The identity of this woman, who was linked to a Kenilworth cemetery, may have been solved
The identity of this woman, who was linked to a Kenilworth cemetery, may have been solved

A Kenilworth historian believes she may have solved the mystery of a portrait which had apparent links to a Kenilworth cemetery.

Hazel Hawkswell, from Surrey, discovered the portrait of 'Grandma Grove' behind a mirror she had acquired when the funeral home she worked at had a clear out.

The note that led Hazel Hawkswell to appeal to Kenilworth for help

The note that led Hazel Hawkswell to appeal to Kenilworth for help

She has been trying to work out who the woman is in the portrait, and who her family is so it can be reunited with them.

A note with the portrait linked it to a 'Kenilworth churchyard' leading Hazel to appeal to Kenilworth for help in solving the puzzle.

Now, Kenilworth historian Susan Tall believes she has worked out who the woman is - and also thinks she may be distantly related to her.

Susan said: "She is Mary Grove (nee Hood), wife of Joseph Grove. She was born in 1803 in Nuneaton - the daughter of Thomas and Mary Hood.

Mary and Joseph Hood's tombstone in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church

Mary and Joseph Hood's tombstone in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church

"She married Joseph Grove on February 29, 1824 in Nuneaton, but they spent the majority of their married life in Leamington where her husband was an ironmonger in Regent Street.

"They had six daughters and two sons - both sons also becoming ironmongers. By 1871 they’re living and working in Castle End (now Warwick Road), Kenilworth.

"Mary died on September 6, 1873 and Joseph on September 26, 1878 and they are both buried in a tombstone in St Nicholas Church graveyard."

Susan also managed to find the exact tombstone where Mary and Joseph are buried. It can be found near the top end of the graveyard near the back of the house on High Street currently being refurbished as a project for Cllr Peter Whiting.

She added: "It’s in a bit of a state being covered in brambles and moss but I was able to read one side of it and it says “In Affectionate Remembrance of Mary wife of Joseph Grove formerly of Leamington who died September 6th 1873 aged 70 years.”

Hazel could not be immediately reached for comment.