The churchyard of the pittoresque Church of St Mary near Provender House, Norton, Kent, Great Britain, is truly beautiful. It is small but most interesting. Where you’d expect local residents with British sounding names, you’ll find Scots, a Finnish woman and some Romanoffs.
Here you will find the graves of Andrew Alexandervitch Romanoff and his wife Nadine née McDougall, several family members. The stones read:
“In loving memory of Nadine, eldest daughter of Sylvia and Herbert McDougall, wife of Prince Andrew Alexandervitch. Born at Loyterton June 5th 1908. Died at Provender June 6th 2000. Love goes on forever-even after death.”
“Andrew Alexandervitch, eldest son of H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Xenia and H.I.H. Grand Duke Alexander. Born at the Winter Palace St Petersburg January 25th 1897. Joined the Russian Navy and later Lieutenant in the Chevalier Gardes. Died at Provender May 8th 1981. Love goes on forever-even after death.”
Luckily a friend had written down some relatives of Nadine McDougall in female line, so it was easy to spot the graves of some other family members. One of the graves read (I think) “in loving memory of Lieut. Col. Herbert McDougall, who served his country in three wars, 3rd Hussars 9th Scottish Division, Natal Mounted Rifles 1879-1967. R.I.P.” This was Nadine’s father, married to a Finnish woman called Sylvia Borgström, the one who bought Provender House in 1912. The other graves show the names of Dorothy, youngest daughter of James and Margaret McDougall, 24 January 1884-15 May 1958. The grave on the photo in the middle is of Constance Borgström, widow of Emil Borgström of Helsingfors, Finland and daughter of Colonel James Paterson, The Buffs November 24 1846-July 26 1915. I clearly missed a few graves in the heavy rain, or they were nearly unreadable, as also Sylvia, Herbert McDougall’s wife was buried at the churchyard, as well as Emmeline Alice Aline Borgström (1876-1960), widow of Lt Gen George Macdonogh, another daughter of Emil Borgström. Almost unbelievable as the churchyard is really small. Graves at St Marys Churchyard.
Most interesting however was the grave next to the two Romanoff ones. This is the grave of Anastasie Mannerheim, the eldest daughter of Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, president of Finland between 1944 and 1946, and his wife Anastasia Arapova, whom he married in 1892 and divorced in 1919. Their daughter Anatasie was educated in France and moved to England during World War I. She was orthodox, but converted to Catholicism and became a Carmelite nun in England. Her grave reads: “Anastasie Mannerheim. Born at St. Petersburg 23rd April 1893, died at Faversham 19th April 1978. Elder daughter of the Regent of Finland Field-Marshal Baron Mannerheim. Resquiescat in pace.” Interesting maybe for readers in London, a lecture about her will be held by The Anglo-Finnish Society on 15 May 2014.