American visits Mundesley grave of drowned great uncle

Russell Sparkes (left), chairman of Mundesley Visitor Centre, shows Colin Carter the grave of his great uncle George de Nyst Clarke in Mundesley churchyard. Picture: SUBMITTED Russell Sparkes (left), chairman of Mundesley Visitor Centre, shows Colin Carter the grave of his great uncle George de Nyst Clarke in Mundesley churchyard. Picture: SUBMITTED

Saturday, June 21, 2014
3:30 PM

A distant relative of a man who drowned at Mundesley more than 100 years ago has returned to the coastal village to pay homage to his ancestor.

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An extract from the Eastern Daily Press's 1898 report of the inquest into George de Nyst Clarke's death.An extract from the Eastern Daily Press's 1898 report of the inquest into George de Nyst Clarke's death.

Architect George de Nyst Clarke died in 1898 while taking an early morning swim with his wife Laura.

The couple had been holidaying in the village when Mr Clarke got out of his depth and drifted out to sea.

An inquest held at Bacton’s Ship Inn heard how Mr Clarke’s body was discovered washed up on the beach the next morning.

And now, his great nephew Colin Carter, 72, has flown to the UK from America to visit the site where his relative died, and pay his respects where he is buried at Mundesley All Saints church.

Mr Carter, a retired accountant who lives in Wisconsin, has spent the last 10 years learning about his family history.

He said: “I am interested in my family history and it means a great deal to come here.”

Mr Carter, who was born in Slough, moved to the United States 30 years ago and returned for a summer break with his wife Mary Jane.

He was shown the sites by the Mundesley visitor centre’s chairman Russell Sparkes, who responded to Mr Carter’s message to the centre in the autumn.

Mr Sparkes searched the cemetery at the church, and discovered Mr Clarke’s wife had been buried beside him when she died years later.

Mr Sparkes showed Mr Carter the steps in Bacton where his relative’s body was discovered and the former pub the Ship Inn at Bacton where the inquest discovered what happened at his death.

An Eastern Daily Press report from August 22 1898 drew attention to the dangerous spot at which the pair had been swimming and suggested the village of Mundesley employed a man in the “bathing season” to warn visitors against going into the sea.

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