CFHS code : AS133

Parish : All Saints

Inscription : In Memory of WILLIAM BREWSTER (Apothecary of this town) d Jan 17 1864 aged 81 also of MARTHA his wife d Oct 1 1858 aged 81 also In Remembrance of –W– BREWSTER remainder illegible

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.203413, 0.13669036 – click here for location

The headstone is stable but the inscription is badly eroded. Photo October 2016
Brewster headstone October 2016


This headstone, in the parish area of All Saints, is located one row west of the west path, close to where it turns east. The headstone is stable but the inscription is badly eroded.


In Memory of WILLIAM BREWSTER (Apothecary of this town) died Jan 17 1864 aged 81

Also of MARTHA his wife died Oct 1 1858 aged 81

Also In Remembrance of –W– BREWSTER remainder illegible

William Drury Brewster (c.1783 – 17 January 1861)

William was born in Godmanchester and married Martha on 5 December 1808 in Marylebone. The couple had at least four children: Elizabeth (1810-1855), Mary Ann (1816-1842), William Frederick (1817-1861) and Godfrey Watson (1821-1867).  William ran a druggist/chemist shop at 42 Sidney Street, and in later advertisements it was claimed the business was established in 1800.

One of the products it sold was Blistering Oil for Horses, which was often advertised in the local newspapers. The oil was said to be used by ‘many of the first sporting gentlemen in the Kingdom’ and could be used on swellings, sprains and splints.  William practised an early form of branding, and each bottle was signed in red ink to ensure its authenticity.  Bottles cost 8s each.

Both of William’s sons worked in the business with him, and he and Martha lived at Sidney Street. He died aged 81 years, and the announcement of his death read ‘deceased’s warm heart and benevolent disposition gained for him much respect’.  The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal published a short tribute: ‘we this week record the death of a man who was much respected among us in this Town, we man Mr. William Brewster. The deceased has for very many years been in business in this town, as a chemist and druggist and his shop, opposite Sidney Sussex College is known to everybody who is acquainted with Cambridge.  He was a very well informed man and one who knew more than the greater portion of the men of his generation.  To his benevolent habits and generous disposition many a poor person would at this moment bear witness, for a man or woman who was unable to pay for his physic always met a sympathising and relief-bestowing friend in Mr. Brewster. He was won for himself great respect and we have many reason to know that his decease is lamented by very many friends’.

Martha Brewster (née Watson) (1777 – 1 October 1858)

Martha was the daughter of Godfrey and Sarah Watson and was baptised in Fenstanton on 5 October 1777.  She died at Sidney Street, and notices of her death said that she was ‘the beloved and affectionate wife of Mr. William Brewster; most sincerely esteemed and regretted’.

William and Martha’s grand daughter Mary Ann Brewster Elizabeth Fuller daughter of Mary Ann is also buried at Mill Road Cemetery.

William Frederick Brewster (c.1817 – 8 May 1861)

It is assumed that the missing inscription might be for the eldest son of William and Martha, who died a few months after his father.

William (jnr) married Ann Elizabeth Living (1814-1896) at Great Chesterford on 21 September 1842.  They had at least six children: Martha Maria (1844-1887), Frederic Living (1845-1850), Charles Sydney (1847-1903), Marianne (1850-1864), Robert John (1851-) and Frederick William (1854-1904).  They lived at 31 London Road, and in the census of April 1861 William was described as a retired druggist. He died at his home aged 44 years.

He was buried at St.Mary and St. Michael Church in Trumpington with his daughter Marianne.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Martha Brewster; William Drury Brewster; William Frederick Brewster