CFHS code : ML90

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : In Loving Memory of HENRY COWLES d Mar 5 1934 age 81 EDWARD COWLES son of the above d May 16 1899 aged 19 FANNY beloved wife of HENRY COWLES d June 17 1940 age 86

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202709, 0.13734441 – click here for location

The headstone in January 2015.


This  headstone is located on the western edge of the southern section of the centre circle which belongs to the parish of Mary the Less. The inscription of metal letters is in good order and the kerbstones still in place.



In Loving Memory of HENRY COWLES . Who died Mar 5. 1934. Aged 81 years.

Also EDWARD COWLES, son of the above who died May 16, 1899 aged 19 years

And FANNY The beloved wife of HENRY COWLES.  Died  June 17. 1940. In her 87th year.

Henry Cowles (23 January 1853 – 5 March 1934)

Henry was the son of John and Mary Cowles and brother of Walter. He was baptised on 8 April 1853 at St. Paul’s Church and grew up at 18 Covent Garden (1861) and then at 19 Guildhall Place (1871).  By the age of 18 Henry was working as a servant and he married Fanny Elwood on 29 June 1875 at Great St. Mary’s Church.

The couple had eight children:  Arthur Henry (1876-1876), Edith Emily (1879-1971), Edward (1881-1899), Violet Ann (1882-1882), Florence Mary (1883-1946), Emma (1884-1954), Bertie (1890-1890) and Percy Charles (1893-1989). The family lived at the Butler’s Cottage, Southacre House on London Road (now Trumpington Road) from at least 1881 to 1901.  Henry was the butler for Rev. Henry Latham, who was eventually Master at Trinity College.  Henry Latham was a bachelor and ran a large household including at least five other domestic servants and a coachman, who lived in the Coachman’s House on the grounds.  Henry Latham died in June 1902 aged 81 years old and was his large funeral was said to have required ‘sixty carriages and black horses’.

By 1911 Henry had retired and the family was living at 16 St. John’s Road, before moving to 23 Milton Road (at least 1916 onwards).  Henry and Fanny’s son Percy fought in the First World War and in October 1916 the Cambridge Independent Press reported that Henry had ‘received a letter from his son Pte. Percy C. Cowles of the Royal West Kents (formerly of the Suffolk Yeomanry) stating that he was wounded on the right side of the face by shrapnel from a bomb last Friday, and is now in hospital in Woolwich.’

Henry died at Milton Road aged 81 years old.

Edward Cowles (15 May 1880 – 16 May 1899)

Edward died at the Butler’s Cottage at Southacre House the day after his 19th Birthday.

Fanny Cowles (née Elwood)  (29 June 1853 – 17 June 1940)

Fanny was born in Great Gransden, a village twenty five miles west of Cambridge and was baptised there  on 19 March 1854.  She was the daughter of Charles and Ann and grew up on Madingley Road (1871).  Charles Elwood was an agricultural labourer, and Ann was a dressmaker and by the age of 18 Fanny was also working as a dressmaker.

Afer she was widowed she continued to live at 23 Milton Road with daughter Florence (1939) and was recorded as being incapacitated by illness in the records of September 1939. She died at home aged 86 years old.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Edward Cowles; Fanny Cowles; Henry Cowles