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Walt Disney's family found in the village of Quadring?

Could Walt Disney be traced back to a South Holland village? That's what some are wondering after the discovery of a previously hidden grave in Quadring churchyard.

It was uncovered during a huge clear up of overgrowth by a team carrying out community service with help from churchyard volunteer Geoff Reynolds. He is one of those fascinated by the discovery.

He said: "We understand Walt Disney's family came from nearby Norton Disney (near Lincoln) and we are looking into whether there are any ties between him and the names we found on the gravestone."

Churchyard volunteer Geoff Reynolds next to the Disneys' grave (15016843)
Churchyard volunteer Geoff Reynolds next to the Disneys' grave (15016843)

Norton Disney is said to be the seat of the Disney family, the name being an Anglicised version of the original French surname d'Isigny-sur-Mer in Normandy.

The grave is thought to be the oldest in the churchyard of St Margaret's in Quadring and the names on it are those of William and Mary Disney and their son Richard. The death dates are 1766, 1765 and 1779 respectively.

Geoff has written to a Disney historian asking if he has any further information on the names found on the gravestone.

Quadring's St Margaret's Church
Quadring's St Margaret's Church

The historian told Geoff that, based on geography, it seems 'very possible' that the Disneys' names found are connected to Walt Disney's family in some way.

In 1949 Walt visited Norton Disney to seek out his ancestors. Some reports have said that he was adopted and others say that he did not have a birth certificate.

According to a programme broadcast on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, called 'When Disney came to Lincolnshire', Walt himself believed his ancestors were from the area. He talked to the locals, apparently played a game of darts in the local pub and visited St Peter's Church where at least five Disneys are buried, including Joan Disney, the oldest.

The family are said to have lived there for 500-600 years and were 'well-to-do' landowners.

The Disneys' grave in Quadring churchyard (15017148)
The Disneys' grave in Quadring churchyard (15017148)

It is understood that his family later moved to Ireland, before emigrating to America in 1834.

Geoff said: "There is lots of contradicting information on the internet and one website says he is an adopted child of the Disney family.

"There are an awful lot of William and Richard Disneys scattered throughout all the references I've found so I'd hazard a guess there is a link between the Disneys of Norton Disney and 'our' William and Richard."

The Commonwealth War Grave in Quadring churchyard for Harold Robert Hunt
The Commonwealth War Grave in Quadring churchyard for Harold Robert Hunt

He is not convinced they are blood relatives of Walt but would love to hear from anybody who might have more information about the family.

The churchyard is also home to a Commonwealth War Grave in memory of Harold Robert Hunt and Geoff would also like to hear from anybody in his family.

He praised the work done by the community workforce team who have been helping clear up the churchyard from rubbish and overgrowth since December, saying they have done a fantastic job.

  • The church has an open day on Saturday, September 21, where people can see the Disney grave, have a go at bell-ringing and take a tour of the building.


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