One of the mysteries of the graveyard at Lyng centres upon the large grave in one corner commemorating the life of George Marston.
George wasn’t a local resident. He was, however, a famous national figure. As an artist he had accompanied Shackleton on his two journeys of exploration to the Antarctic. He helped to write and illustrate a book on their experiences, called ‘Antarctic Days’.
So how did a man who had travelled so extensively end his days in Lyng?
George Marston was born in March 1882, one of five children. His parents lived at Southsea where his father was a coach builder . He attended his local elementary school but by the age of 20, and to the great dismay of his parents, George took himself off to London where he began to study art at the Putney School of Art and later at the Regent Street Polytechnic. His artistic skills were quickly recognised and the life of an artist beckoned him.
In 1907, however, George Marston joined Ernest Shackleton’s first Antarctic Expedition. According to Shackleton himself, George was on a walking tour of Cornwall when he received news via a telegram from Shackleton inviting him for interview. Impressed by his enthusiasm Shackleton engaged him immediately, and he became the official artist of the Antarctic Expeditions.
Upon his return to Britain, George Marston became a teacher in Hampshire. By 1925 he had become a member of the Rural Industries Bureau. This was an organisation which sought to regenerate and support rural industries. From 1934 he was the Director and played a major role in helping rural craftsmen. It may well have been this aspect of his work which brought him to Lyng and to the Rose and Crown. He died of a coronary thrombosis at the age of 59.
The gravestone used on George's grave is adorned with a sailing ship in commemoration of his participation in the famous expeditions.