New wooden cross placed on grave of ‘unknown’ victim of historic Alfred Rouse murder at Northampton church

One villager paid for the cross and another created it

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 10:30 am
John Francklow created the new wooden cross.
John Francklow created the new wooden cross.

A replacement wooden cross has been rededicated and placed on the grave of the ‘unknown’ victim of the historic Alfred Rouse murder in Northampton.

On the night of November 6, 1930 two men returning in the early hours of the morning from a Guy Fawkes Night dance in Northampton, were walking down Hardingstone Lane in Hardingstone when they came across a Morris Minor car ablaze.

After summoning the Hardingstone village constable, Bert Copping, and the parish constable, the four men extinguished the fire with water from a nearby pond, only to discover a charred corpse lying across the front seats.

The new cross with the original wording.

Although the fire had all but destroyed the vehicle, the rear number plate was largely undamaged and the police were quickly able to determine it belonged to one Alfred Arthur Rouse of Friern Barnet. The case drew national press coverage.

Rouse was formally charged with the murder of the unknown man and was unanimously found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Rouse did lodge an appeal which would prove unsuccessful.

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The body of Rouse's victim was interred in a grave marked with a simple cross bearing the inscription "In Memory of an Unknown Man. Died Nov 6 1930" in the grounds of St. Edmunds Church, Hardingstone. A metal box containing several newspaper accounts of Rouse's trial was buried with the victim.

On Tuesday (August 2, 2022), a replacement cross was rededicated by Reverend Julie Scott, Vicar of Hardingstone.

The cross was paid for by villager Paul Jackson with fellow villager John Francklow having carved the cross with the original wording.