CFHS code : AG209 and AG210

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : In Memory of FANNY [BRIMLEY] BOWES wife of ROBERT BOWES b 5 Jun 1831 d 28 Feb 1903 also of ROBERT BOWES husband of the above born at Stewarton Ayrshire 22 Aug 1835 died at Cambridge [–] Feb —- In Memory of MARGARET BOWES widow of ROBERT BOWES formerly of Stewarton in Ayr born in the Isle of Arran April 2 1801 died at Cambridge Jan 19 1890 also of JANET MABEL BOWES b May 5 1871 d 24 Jan 1944 also of GEORGE BRIMLEY BOWES son of FANNY and ROBERT BOWES d Dec 7 1946 age 72 CHRISTINE ROBINETT widow of GEORGE BRIMLEY BOWES d Mar 2 1956 age 72 MARGARET ETHEL HAMILTON daughter of ROBERT and FANNY BOWES d Mar 5 1957 at Berwick on Tweed age 87

Monument : Headstone/Coped stone/Kerb stones (double grave)

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202969, 0.13639099 – click here for location

Bowes grave
Bowes monuments


Pair of identically shaped headstones joined by a single plinth, with kerb stones and cornerstones marking a double plot in the parish area of St Andrew the Great, these monuments are located close to the west boundary wall, just south of a line from the centre circle.


Bowes - left headstone
Bowes – left headstone

[left headstone:]

‘In memory of Fanny (Brimley) Bowes wife of Robert Bowes
born 5 June 1831 died 28 February 1903’
‘Also of Robert Bowes husband of the above
born at Stewarton, Ayrshire 22 August 1835 died at Cambridge [–] Feb 1919.’
“For night which follows sunset glow ……
In this as in the deeper ….. world
… resurrection …. … of purer light.”

Bowes - right headstone
Bowes – right headstone

[right headstone:]

‘In memory of Margaret Bowes widow of Robert Bowes
formerly of Stewarton in Ayr
born in the Isle of Arran April 2 1801
died at Cambridge January 19 1890’
‘Also of Janet Mabel Bowes
born May 5 1871 died 24 January 1944’


‘Also of George Brimley Bowes son of Fanny and Robert Bowes
died December 7 1946 aged 72’

[kerb stones:]
‘Christine Robinett widow of George Brimley Bowes
died March 2nd 1956 age 72’


‘Margaret Ethel Hamilton daughter of Robert and Fanny Bowes
died March 5 1957 at Berwick on Tweed aged 87.’

Fanny Brimley Bowes (née Brimley) (5 June 1831 – 28 February 1903)

Born to Augustine and Harriet Brimley, her birth was recorded at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, Cambridge. She was the younger sister of Caroline, wife of Alexander Macmillan. She married Robert Bowes on April 15th 1868 at the church of St Andrew the Great.  The couple settled at 13 Park Terrace, and Robert worked as a bookseller and publisher.  They had three children: Margaret Ethel (1869-1957), Janet Mabel (1871-1944) and George Edmund Brimley (1874-1946).  She died at Park Terrace aged 71 years old.

She was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 4 March, and the funeral was reported in the Cambridge Independent Press.  It was said that Fanny ‘took some part in philanthropic and religious work, her chief interest outside her immediate circle being devoted to the Cambridge Young Women’s Christian Association with which she was closely connected from its commencement up to the end of last year’.  The funeral service was held at St Andrew the Great Church.

Robert Bowes (22 August 1835 – 9 February 1919) see also Life Story page

Robert was born in Stewarton in Ayrshire and was the son of agricutlural labourer Robert Bowes and his wife Margaret.  He came to Cambridge when he was 11 years old in order to join the booksellers and publishers Macmillan & Co., owned by his uncles Daniel and Alexander Macmillan, at 1 Trinity Street Cambridge.  He stayed in Cambridge for 10 years, before paying a short visit to America.  In 1858 he went to London to run the Macmillan office for five years.  In 1863 he effectively swapped with his uncle Alexander, with Alexander moving to London where he vastly expanded the publishing house, and Robert returning to live in Cambridge.   In 1899 Robert took on his son, George Brimley Bowes (c1875-1946), as a partner, but retained the name ‘Macmillan & Bowes’ until 1907 when the shop became ‘Bowes & Bowes’.

Robert was an authority on book selling and treasurer of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society from 1864-1902. He was also an active member of the Associated Booksellers of Great Britain and Ireland  and served as President of the International Association of Antiquarian Booksellers from 1913-14.  He printed several books of his own and was awarded an Hon. M.A by the University in March 1918.

He was also connected with the volunteer army movement and served with the 1st Cambridge Regiment from 1863-1889.  He obtained the rank of captain and honourary Major.  He commanded D Company for the last 10 years of his service, for which the soldiers were almost entirely drawn from the Pitt Press.  Robert was a member of the Town Council (1878-1884), member of the Library committee, sat on the committee of the Old Schools of Cambridge and was a governor of the Perse School.  He was also on the committee of the ‘Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women in Cambridge’.

Robert continued to live at Park Terrace with his children, and died in 1919 after what newspapers described as a ‘brief illness’. He was 84 years old.  His funeral was reported in newspapers of the time and was said to have been ‘impressive’ with a ‘crowded congregation’.  The service was held at St. Edward’s Church, and attended by many of the leading academics from the University and members of the book selling and printing business amongst others.  The Vice Chancellor attended as well as the Masters of Peterhouse, Jesus, King’s College, Emmanuel, Downing and Sidney Sussex.

Margaret Bowes (née Macmillan) (2 April 1801 – 19 January 1890)

Margaret was the mother of Robert Bowes.  She was born on the Isle of Arran, and married Robert Bowes (1796-) at Stewarton in Ayrshire on 23 November 1826.  They had at least four children: Duncan (1828-), James (1832-), Robert (1835-1919) and Janet (1838-).  Robert Bowes Snr was an agricultural labourer.

After she was widowed she came to live in Cambridge, and was a lodger at 11 Panton Street, where she lived with widow Hannah Looker and her family.  She died aged 88 years old, and her death was subject to an inquest.  The inquest heard that Robert Bowes visited his mother every Sunday, but on going to Panton Street at 4pm on the 19 January was met by Alice Looker who had been sent to find a doctor.   Margaret had fallen down the stairs and was found at the base of the stairs with a book and spectacles in her hand. Margaret was said to be very active for her age, and had never had a fall before, nor had she complained of ‘dizziness or fits’.  She was unconscious and died a few hours later.  The post mortem found that there was bruising and bleeding on the brain tissue, but it was impossible to say that this was the conclusive reason for the fall. The cause of death was recorded as ‘accidental death’.

Janet Mabel Bowes (5 May 1871 – 24 January 1944)

Janet never married and worked as a teacher.  She lived at Park Terrace until her father’s death, and then with her brother at 21 Newton Road.  She died at Newton Road aged 72 years old and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 27 January.

George Edmund  Brimley Bowes (7 February 1874 – 7 December 1946)

George went to  the Perse School  and then to Emmanuel College in March 1892.  He was a classics foundation scholar and was awarded a B.A. in 1895, and M.A in 1899.  He studied book selling  in Glasgow, before joining the family firm in 1897.  He was appointed head of Bowes & Bowes in 1919 after the death of his father. He married Christine Scruby in 1911, and the couple lived at 5 Pemberton Terrace (1913) before moving to live at Corrie, 21 Newton Road (at least 1939 onwards).

George served as President of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association in 1923, was a member of the Stationer’ Livery Company and helped to start a scheme to train booksellers apprentices and assistants throughout the UK.  He also served as president of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and was Chairman of Governors at the Perse School.  In 1923 he announced at the Perse Speech day that they had been able to buy a further 19 acres of land due to a gift made by Sir Harold Bowden.  He was also a prominent member of the Territorial Army in Cambridgeshire, and was the first commanding officer of the 62nd Provisional Battalion in 1915, prior to that he had been the Senior Major of the 2/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment. He appears to have been known as Major Bowes in his business life.

George died at his home in Newton Road aged 72 years old.

Christine Robinett Bowes (née Scruby) (15 December 1883 – 2 March 1956)

Christine was the daughter of William and Zilpah Scruby, and grew up at 1 Shaftesbury Road. Her father was a land agent and auctioneer, and Christine went to Boarding school at Stamford Girls High School. She married George Bowes when she was c.26 years old.   Christine played an active role in town affairs and her name appeared often in newspapers of the time. She sat on the committee of the National Union of Womens Workers (1914) and was a signatory to a letter to the Home Secretary in 1917 demanding  votes ‘to the wives of local electors’.  The letter was said to have been signed by 100 Cambridge women ‘engaged in public and philanthropic work’.

Christine was still living at Newton Road until the time of her death, but died at the Evelyn Nursing Home on Trumpington Road.

Margaret Ethel Hamilton (née Bowes) (1869 – 5 March 1957)

Margaret was the eldest child of Robert and Fanny Bowes and grew up at 13 Park Terrace.  She married Henry Smail Hamilton (1876-1924) on 28 August 1908 at St Andrew the Great Church.  The service was conducted by Rev. John Macmillan, chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and one of Margaret’s cousins.  Margaret was given away by her father and wore ‘a gown of rich Duchesse satin, empire style with a long train trimmed with soft satin ribbon, orange blossom and Carrickmacross lace, the gift of her aunt Mrs. Alexander Macmillan’.  There was a large post wedding reception which was held at 13 Park Terrace and then the couple honeymooned on the Yorkshire Moors.

In 1911 Margaret and Henry were living at 109 Mayfield Road in London, and Henry was working as a printer for a wholesale pharmaceutical company. By the time Henry Hamilton died in 1924 they were living at 5 North Terrace in Berwick-upon-Tweed.  Margaret died aged 87 years old at the Marshall Meadows Hospital in Berwick in 1957, and is remembered at the family grave at Mill Road Cemetery.

University of Reading Bowes & Bowes Archive


Newspaper archives

Cambridge University Alumni Database

By Ian Bent and Claire Martinsen

Fanny Brimley Bowes; George Brimley Bowes; Janet Mabel Bowes; Margaret Bowes; Robert Bowes; Margaret Ethel Hamilton; Christine Robinett