Looking at some of the fascinating long forgotten churchyard tales from the Isle of Wight we start in Ryde's main cemetery.

Looking around you may come across the memorial to Sam Brown, born in 1824 - he rose to become General Sam Brown V.C.

He was awarded his Victoria Cross in 1858 during a conflict whereupon he had shown outstanding bravery, also being wounded and losing his left arm.

This however did not deter him in his military service, but he had to overcome the fact that during military field manoeuvres he came across the problem of steadying his sword belt.

Isle of Wight County Press: Sam Brown's memorial crossSam Brown's memorial cross (Image: David White)

Isle of Wight County Press: St Boniface Church in BonchurchSt Boniface Church in Bonchurch (Image: Pamela Parker)

How did he overcome this problem? By employing a shoulder strap, and thus the 'Sam Brown belt' came into being. From then on, and still today all over the globe, the Sam Brown belt is used by the military forces.

Also in Ryde cemetery is the tomb of Michael Maybrick.

Born in 1844, he become mayor of Ryde on no less than five occasions, but Maybrick in his former life had another name of Stephen Adams.

This professional name he used in his occupation as a composer. During this period of the late 1880s he had composed works such as The Holy City 1892, The Maid of the Mill 1895, and Nirvan 1893, among countless other compositions.

Isle of Wight County Press: The grave of Michael Maybrick in RydeThe grave of Michael Maybrick in Ryde (Image: David White)

These compositions were worked upon, along with lyricist Frederick Weatherly, and together they were the Lennon/McCartney of the Victorian era.

Maybrick did have a darker side to his life before he came to the Island, and this involved his brother James.

James had been said to have committed a murder by poisoning using arsenic, and it is said that his brother Michael helped James escape justice by helping to throw guilt unjustly onto his brother's wife, whereupon she served a 15 year prison sentence.

It was also stated that a diary kept by brother James had implicated him (James) as the notorious Whitechapel murderer Jack the Ripper - this some say was challenged as a forgery.

Adams nee Maybrick married and then settled on the Island to become a leading figure.

Moving on, we come to St Boniface Church in Bonchurch. The story attached to one of the memorials within the churchyard is very unusual.

An empty grave marks the burial place of George Clunies-Ross, King of the Coco (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Isle of Wight County Press: George Clunies-Ross's interesting memorialGeorge Clunies-Ross's interesting memorial (Image: David White)

George was born in 1842 to become the third generation King of the Cocos. John Clunies-Ross the first had settled on the Cocos in 1827 along with his family, making himself ruler, so George eventually inherited the kingship in1871, becoming Clunies-Ross the third.

In 1886, Queen Victoria officially granted recognition of his kingship of the island, and it was while on a visit to England for medical treatment that Clunies-Ross the third was taken ill2, eventually expiring in 1910 when staying in Ventnor.

He was buried in the churchyard of St Boniface, but the story does not end there.

In 1914, the Coco Islands requested the return of their king. So dutifully he was exhumed and returned to his kingdom.

The Clunies family ruled over the island for five generations and 151 years of rule, eventually ending their kingship in 1978 after the island was sold to Australia.

If you look around the burial ground to the north westerly part of the churchyard, you will find an empty grave inscribed with the name of George Clunies-Ross, King of the Coco Islands.

Another memorial worth a mention is that of the Rev Adams, buried in Bonchurch in the 11th century old church.

Isle of Wight County Press: The gravestone of Rev Adams in BonchurchThe gravestone of Rev Adams in Bonchurch (Image: David White)

Adams gave up his ministry and came to live in Winterbourne House in Bonchurch in 1843, owing to his ill health, feeling that the mild climate and sea air would be a benefit.

While on the Island he became active within the local community and laid the stone marking the building of the now parish church on Bonchurch Shute.

He also made use of his time with his pen, leaving a legacy of written works on Christianity and faith. His most popular was The Old Man's Home, which proved a favourite of Wordsworth. Another of his works was The Shadow of the Cross.

Adams died in 1848 and his grave is marked by a cross that due to leaching metal from the cross and sometimes sunlight now permanently casts a shadow over his tomb.

Finally we come to something a little different. Just outside Newport, at the top of Hunnyhill, there is a group of houses that were built about a couple of decades ago.

Isle of Wight County Press: Homes at Hunnyhill, built over a former burial siteHomes at Hunnyhill, built over a former burial site (Image: David White)

For many years this mysterious plot lay empty covered in weeds and long grass until the houses were built. Why had this plot lain empty for so long when all around it were houses?

The answer being it was an old Quaker burial ground, and therefore could not be built on for a determinate period of time.