Village commemorates unknown woman with memorial gravestone

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RESIDENTS of a Dales’ community have paid a final tribute to a woman whose body was found in their midst and whose name remains unknown.

The body of the woman, which was discovered more than eight years ago above Horton in Ribblesdale, has never been identified and was finally laid to rest several years ago at St Oswald’s Church in the village.

Yesterday, a simple service of dedication was held to add a memorial stone to mark the grave of the unknown woman who became known as The Lady of the Hills.

Vice chairman of Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council, Councillor Sheila Millman, who led a campaign to raise funds to buy the block of native limestone and a brass plaque, joined 11 others at the service which included readings from several religions.

“We are still no nearer to finding out who she is or where she came from,” said Coun Millman.

“We felt it would bring our part of it to a closure if we got the limestone and the plaque.

“If there is someone somewhere who really does know who she is, at least if there’s a plaque up they can come and pay their respects to her,” she added.

People from the local area and nearby Settle raised funds for the memorial stone.

A group of walkers were following the Pennine Way from Pen-y-ghent towards Horton in Ribblesdale when they discovered the woman’s body near to Sell Gill Pot on September 20, 2004. A post mortem examination showed the woman, of Oriental origin, had been dead for one to three weeks.

She was aged between 20 and 40, was 4ft 11in tall, weighed about 10 stone and had shoulder-length dark brown hair.

In spite of an extensive investigation by North Yorkshire Police, which has stretched overseas, the woman’s identity and way in which she died remains a mystery.

In 2007, she was laid to rest in a plot provided by the local parish council.

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