A PROJECT to restore a listed tomb to its former glory is under way.

The sarcophagus tomb stands in the churchyard at St Mary’s on the Hill, in Tintern.

St Mary’s Church stands on the site of a medieval chapel that was built as a retreat for the monks of Tintern Abbey.

It was used for services until 1972, but burials continued until the church was destroyed by fire in 1977.

Tintern community council carried out research on the graveyard and found two of the monuments were listed but had no inscriptions remaining.

The tomb was originally believed it be that of Robert Thompson (1757-1821), who married into the Crawshay dynasty, in Merthyr Tydfil, in 1790 and his wife Elizabeth, who was the sister of Richard Crawshay.

Elizabeth and Robert, who was also High Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1817, and held the lease for the Tintern wireworks, were both buried at St Mary’s Churchyard.

But after extensive research and an examination of the eroded inscription on the cast plates the tomb is believed to belong to Richard White, a wealthy ironworks leaseholder who died in 1765.

Mr White was the son of George White, who owned the New Weir Forge and Furnace at Symonds Yat and Monmouth Forge.

He leased the wireworks for nearly 30 years and was described on his memorial as ‘inoffensive and benevolent, he lived without an enemy and died, beloved by all.’ The community council is using a restoration grant from Adventa, the sustainable development fund, and The Leche Trust to fund the work carried out by Mark Hancock, of Centreline Stone, in Painswick.

A council spokeswoman said: “We wanted to get this rather lovely old tomb restored, especially as the person buried there had local connections with the ironworks and was obviously well-thought of.”

The restoration work is expected to be completed later this month.