CFHS code : PL292

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In Memory of WILLIAM MONTGOMERY COATES Fellow & Bursar of Queens Col d 16 Jan 1912 aged 54 also of SUSAN – wife d 26 May 1927 BASIL MONTGOMERY COATES son killed in action in France 7 Sept 1915 aged 22 AILEEN MONTGOMERY COATES daughter d 28 Nov 1891 aged 14 months

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202199, 0.13619308 – click here for location

Coates grave
Coates monument


Headstone with rounded top, kerb stones with pillars at the four corners and midway, each fitted with metal hasps suggesting that there was originally a metal chain around the grave. In the parish area of St Paul, this grave is located near the Lodge, on the east side of the west path.


In memory of William Montgomery Coates
Fellow and Bursar of Queens Coll
who fell asleep January 16 1912 aged 54 years’

‘also of Susan wife of William Montgomery Coates
who died May 26 1927’

‘Basil Montgomery Coates son of the above
killed in action in France Sept 7 1915 aged 22 years’

‘Aileen Montgomery Coates daughter of the above
who died November 28 1891 aged 14 months’

“He shall gather the lambs in his arms”

[reverse side:]
“Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth on me though he die yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this? John XI. 25”

Basil Montgomery Coates (1893‒1915) WW1 soldier – see also Life Story page

Basil was born on 10 September 1893. He was the only son of William Montgomery Coates and Susan Coates (née Webb). He was educated at King’s Choir School, Cambridge, The Perse School, Cambridge, and Oundle School. He then attended Queens’ College, Cambridge as a student in 1912. He volunteered shortly after the outbreak of war and served as 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th (Service Battalion), Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own).

William Montgomery Coates (1857‒1912) – see also Life Story page

William was born in Middleton, County Cork, on 2 June 1857. He was one of at least three children born to William Coates senior. He was educated at Midleton School before attending Trinity College, Dublin between 1876 and 1879 where he won prizes for mathematics and experimental physics. William obtained a Foundation scholarship to Queens’ College, Cambridge and arrived there in January 1884. Whilst a student he won the second gold medal for mathematics and in 1886 he became Third Wrangler [i.e. the third highest scoring candidate in the Mathematics Tripos].

On graduation he was elected to a college fellowship in 1887. In 1889 he was elected mathematical lecturer and Bursar. In the same year, he married Susan Webb in Dublin, Ireland. The couple had three children: twin daughters ‒ Aileen Montgomery (1890‒1891) and Kathleen Montgomery (1890‒1958); and Basil Montgomery (1893‒1915). The family lived on Station Road and then 15 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge but appear to have had a second home at Cahirmore, Holway Road, Sheringham, Norfolk. William died unexpectedly on 16 January 1912 at his home, 15 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge. He had been an elected member of the London Mathematical Society since 13 December 1894. The Society published an obituary
William Montgomery Coates obituary

Susan Coates (née Webb) (c1864‒1927)

Susan was born in about 1864 in Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland. She married William Montgomery Coates in 1889 in Dublin. They had three children: twin daughters‒Aileen Montgomery (1890‒1891) and Kathleen Montgomery (1890‒1958); and Basil Montgomery (1893‒1915). Susan died on 26 May 1927 in Norfolk.

Aileen Montgomery Coates (1890‒1891)

Aileen was born on 11 September 1890 in Cambridge. She was the twin sister of Kathleen Montgomery Coates and the daughter of William Montgomery Coates and Susan Coates (née Webb). Aileen died aged 14 months on 28 November 1891 in Cambridge.

Kathleen Montgomery Wallace (née Coates) (1891‒1958) and War Poems

[Kathleen is not commemorated on this grave, but is included here out of interest.]

Of the children of William Montgomery Coates and Susan Coates (née Webb), Kathleen was the only one to marry and have children. She and her twin sister Aileen were born on 11 September 1890 in Cambridge. Kathleen was educated at the Perse High School for Girls, Cambridge (now the Stephen Perse Foundation). She then attended Girton College, Cambridge between 1909 and 1914.  She initially read Medieval and Modern Languages before changing to English Literature and she obtained her B.A. in 1914. She had one year off due to illness. Towards the end of her time at University Kathleen, together with four other Girton students (Monica M. Curtis, Rosalind G. Smith, Sigrid L. S. Pearson and Margaret Isabel Postgate), wrote a publication, Bits of Things.

Kathleen married Major James Hill Wallace, O.B.E., who was attached to the Canadian Mounted Rifles during the First World War, on 26 February 1917 at St. Mary’s, West Kensington, Hammersmith Road, London. The couple had four sons: David Basil (1919‒93), Hugh Leslie (1923‒75), Anthony Michael S. (1926‒75) and Patrick Julian (1927‒193).

The First World War and the death of her brother in 1915 affected Kathleen. She wrote a series of elegiac poems describing the effect of the war and her personal loss. Many of them drew on her surroundings in Cambridge. These poems were published in Lost City Verses in 1918 and included: ‛Interval’, ‛Front Row Stalls’, ‛Chestnut Sunday’, ‛Walnut-Tree Court’, ‛Yesterday’, ‛Died of Wounds’ and ‛Unreturning.’ Her fellow Girton student, Margaret Isabel Postgate, also published a number of war poems, which were published.
Kathleen Wallace War Poems
Kathleen Wallace obituary

Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837‒1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837‒1915
London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754‒1921
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837‒1915
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916‒2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858‒1966
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914‒1919
Ireland, Casualties of World War I, 1914‒1918
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914‒1918, Volume 1, Part 2, page 72
The Pelican Roll of Honour, 1918
The Irish Canadian, 8 July 1886
The Times, Marriages, Saturday, 6 January 1917
The Times, Marriages, Saturday, 24 February 1917
The Times, Obituaries, Monday, 31 March 1958
Cambridge Poets of the Great War: An Anthology, by Michael Copp
Oundle School Memorials of the Great War 1914‒1919
The Dial, Lent Term 1912, pp. 5-9; Michaelmas Term 1915, pp. 7-8

Information kindly provided by the following institutions: Queens’ College, Cambridge; Girton College, Cambridge; The Perse School, Cambridge; and Oundle School.

By Dr Jonathan Holmes, Emma Easterbrook and Ian Bent

Aileen Montgomery Coates; Basil Montgomery Coates; Susan Montgomery Coates; William Montgomery Coates