THE mystery of a 200-year-old headstone in Partington can now be revealed.

The tombstone had, in fact, been buried in a field where it was found, in the Heath Farm Lane area, for half a century.

It was one of hundreds of headstones used in the construction of a temporary roadway for lorries during a building project at the nearby gas works in the 1960s.

The gravestones were used as 'hardcore' under a track that gave trucks access to the gas works.

After the track was no longer needed, the gravestones were left underground - and forgotten.

The gravestones were 'available' for construction projects because they had been taken up from cemeteries that had been built over during a major road building project in Manchester.

The 'Partington gravestone' was dug up last month by workmen installing poles for electricity cables - and left on the verge of a track.

That is where a dog walker found it, leaving people puzzled as to how it got there.

The mystery was solved, though, by a long-standing Partington resident, who told vicar, the Rev Peter Geddes, the full story.

Mr Geddes, from St Mary's Church in Partington, said: "It is not something I approve of, but this is what happened 50 years ago.

"People had a different view of things then."

The memorial - which dates back to 1801 - is dedicated to a family called Little. They were buried at New Windsor Chapel in Salford.

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