The story of author Tom Sharpe's final resting place is set to become something of a saga itself.
Church authorities have admitted their surprise after The Journal revealed how the partner of the famous writer, who died in Spain last year, had fulfilled his final wish of being buried in a remote Northumberland cemetery.
Martin Sheppard, spokesman for the Diocese of Newcastle which maintains the site in Thockrington, Northumberland, said it wasn’t approached for permission.
“There are rules and regulations, traditions and customs around churchyards to keep them as they are,” he said. “That’s why people want to be buried there, it’s a particular kind of place.”
Mr Sharpe’s partner of 10 years, Montserrat Verdaguer, had turned up at St Aidan’s Church with a Spanish film crew in tow and carried out an impromptu service. After digging a hole in the ground with her bare hands, she lay a bottle of whisky, a Cuban cigar and his favourite pen in the earth with him.
Mr Sharpe had grown up in the area and his father, George, was the vicar there.
The Rev Michael Slade, the vicar of Chollerton who carries out services at the church, said: “It would be nice to know where he is, to keep a record for posterity’s sake at the least.”
Mr Sharpe isn’t the only well known person buried at the 900-year-old site.
The grave of Lord Beveridge, author of the Beveridge report which provided the blueprint for the Welfare State, can be found there. A special service was conducted at his graveside by the Archbishop of York in May 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.
The pioneering female aviator, Connie Leathart, also has her final resting place at St Aidan’s.
Whether Mr Sharpe remains there is open to doubt.
“We’ll be looking to talk to his family,” said Mr Sheppard.
Asked if this might mean Mr Sharpe will be disinterred, he added: “I don’t want to speculate on what might happen.”