CONTRAST the scenes: the beautiful mansion in this picture and a mystery veiled woman at the back of a graveyard.

The two are interlinked in one of the county’s saddest love stories.

It came to light when Miranda Michels spotted this photo of the Fosse, the Georgian house on Castle Green, Hereford, in the Big Picture slot of the Hereford Times (print edition) on October 3. It immediately brought back memories of her great uncle Lawrence (Larry) Wilmot. For it was at the Fosse where young Larry met the love of his life, Eunice (Tisty) Parker.

A love that went unrequited for more than 50 years, right up to the day that Larry was buried at Yatton while Tisty stood back from the other mourners, her faced covered, and then silently stepped away with her memories and who-knows-what feelings.

Decades before, 12-year-old Larry had been a regular visitor to the Fosse, where his friend from Hereford Cathedral School, Jack Parker, lived. It was there he met Jack’s sister, Tisty, and the pair fell in love.

In this picture Larry is just going on 16. It was 1914, the start of the First World War, and he had volunteered to fight.

Tisty, unwilling to let him go, wrote many letters of love. A gifted artist, she sent him hand-painted Valentines every year he was away.

Larry, really still a child, asked his mother to ensure Tisty was looked after should the worst happen, that she was to have all his things. But Larry survived.

Tisty was overjoyed. It should have been the renewal of a great love story: Larry and Tisty together again.

But the war had scarred Larry. Shot, gassed, terrified, his three brothers dead and one of very few who survived the influenza outbreak in Egypt, he returned to Herefordshire in 1919 a broken man.

Tisty found a shadow of the boy she knew. He had nothing left to give her.

He bid her farewell and boarded a merchant ship, sailing away from his sorrows.

Years later he returned to settle in Newent, but the pair never met again. Nor did either of them marry.

At his funeral in 1971 no one recognised the silent veiled figure in the churchyard, and she left before anyone could ask her who she was.

As Miranda explains: “I knew nothing of this until I inherited my great uncle’s belongings, among which were the Valentines, letters, and a photograph of a dark-eyed girl signed ‘Tisty’.

“Only a chance meeting in the late 70s with a doctor who told me he was lodging in an extraordinary house with an extraordinary old lady called Tisty did I realise she had been close by all the time.

“I called on her and found her, still beautiful, surrounded by her precious things, a modern-day Miss Havisham but without the cobwebs.

“At first, she pretended indifference but not for long, telling me Larry had been the only one for her, that she had been the veiled figure in the graveyard.

Even after so long she clearly still loved him.

“How different their lives would have been had war not intervened.

She never did marry, and when she died in 1979 she left the house and everything in it to her Polish gardener.”

Two lives and young love destroyed by war.