A MYSTERY French grave dating back to 1929 has been uncovered in a Canvey cemetery.

Volunteers clearing up the graveyard at St Katherine’s, in Long Road, discovered the grave under a mound of ivy.

An inscription reads, in French, “This stone was erected by Casimir and Aimee Calipe, to our dear aunt, Adelaide Hervieu (nee Calipe) died June, 17, 1929.”

While mystery surrounds the identity of Adelaide, both her nephew and his wife appear in the 1901 Census as living in London.

Councillor Dave Blackwell, chairman of the Friends of St Katherine’s, said: “I never knew there was a French person buried on Canvey.

“We’ve had lots of Dutch people, but this grave was completely in French.

“Hopefully someone will know something. It was covered by a mound of ivy.

“One of the girls who helps out used to live in France and she said it’s a woman’s name with both the maiden and married name.

“It’s quite strange as if she was married to an Englishman you would expect it to be written with some English. It’s our own little mystery.”

The French grave is the latest headstone to be uncovered in the cemetery, which opened in 1828.

Casualties from both world wars are buried there and the graveyard is classed as a Commonwealth War Grave.

The first grave in the cemetery belongs to a 19-year-old girl who was a coastguard on the island.

She died after being run over by a train in 1898.

The cemetery has 1,855 graves and is now closed. Only people with a family plot can now be buried there.

Works to tidy up the graveyard began earlier this summer following concerns over long grass, messy flowers and dead trees.

Castle Point Council contractor Pinnacle spread weedkiller and laid down wood chips in a small area of the graveyard as part of a trial to maintain the grounds.

Mr Blackwell said: “Everyone keeps saying they can’t believe what we’ve done in a short space of time. It’s beginning to look really good.

“We’ve cut the bushes down and taken trolley loads of stuff away. We are going to do a mass spring bulb planting in October.

We want it to look superb and we’re appealing for anyone who wants to help to donate bulbs.”