CFHS code : AG484

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : In Loving Memory of MARGARET COWLES d 19 Mar 1933 aged 52 WALTER COWLES d 11 June 1905 aged 53 HERBERT JOHN COWLES d 21 June 1884 aged 5 months also FANNY wife of WALTER COWLES d 20 Aug 1928 aged 78

Monument : Stone cross/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Cowles monument April 2018


Located in the north west section of the parish of St Andrew the Great, close to the centre circle. The plinth has it was not possible to check the entire inscription.


In Loving Memory of MARGARET COWLES d 19 Mar 1933 aged 52

WALTER COWLES d 11 June 1905 aged 53

HERBERT JOHN COWLES d 21 June 1884 aged 5 months

Also FANNY WALTER COWLES who died 20 Aug 1928 aged 78 years

Relationships: Husband, wife, daughter and daughter

Margaret Emma Cowles (1880 – 19 March 1933)

Margaret was the eldest daughter of Walter and Fanny Cowles. She was a member of the St. Andrew the Great Sunday school and in January 1890 won the Class 3 prize at the annual prize giving. She trained to be a primary school teacher at St. Philip’s School and was awarded a 2nd class award in the 4th Year Ely Diocese Religious Knowledge examinations (1900) and 2nd class in the Cambridge  Technical instruction in physiography (1899) .  She worked as a  primary schoolteacher and by at least 1920 was Headmistress of St. Matthew’s Girls’ School.

In 1911 Margaret was living with her sisters Charlotte, Ellen and Bessie at  2 Victoria Road. By at least 1920 with sisters Charlotte and Ellen she had moved to live at 77 De Freville Avenue and died at De Freville Avenue aged 52 years old.

Walter Cowles (c.1852 – 11 June 1905)

Walter was the eldest of at least nine children born to John and Mary Cowles and brother of Henry. His father was a groom/domestic coachman and was born in Cambridge and his mother was from Oxfordshire.  The family appear to have lived briefly in Oxfordshire and Walter was born in Milcomb,  a village five miles south west of Banbury.  By at least 1953 they had returned to Cambridge and lived at 53 Covent Garden (1861) and then at 19 Guildhall Place.  In 1871 Walter was living at Gosden House in Gosden, Surrey and was working as a groom for Rev. James Bumpsted.  He married Fanny Gilby on 21 November 1874 at St. Saviour’s Church in Battersea – on the marriage register he was noted as being a coachman.

The couple returned to live in Cambridge and Walter worked as a college servant.  They had at least seven children: Sydney Ranner (1876-1959), Frederic Walter (1878-1968), Margaret Emma, Charlotte Mary (1882-1962), Herbert (1884-1884), Ellen May (1885-1941) and Bessie Caroline (1887-1963). The family lived at 56 City Road (1881) and then at 8 Christ’s Lane (1891). Walter died at Christ’s Lane aged 53 years old.

Herbert John Cowles (c.January 1884 – 21 June 1884)

Herbert died aged 5 months old.

Fanny Walters Cowles  (née Gilby) (c.1849 – 20 August 1928)

Fanny was born in Balsham and baptised there on 11 March 1849.  She was the illegitimate child of Charlotte Gilby and was grew up with her grandfather Robert Gilby, mother and aunt at Fen End Road in Balsham.  In 1871 she was also working in Gosden as a housemaid for Rev. Bumpsted where she met her future husband Walter Cowles.  On the marriage certificate she appears to have ‘invented’ a father who she named Walter Gilby, a farm bailiff.

After she was widowed she was hospitalised for some time and in 1911 was living at the St. Andrew’s Psychiatric Hospital in Northampton.  She returned to live with her daughters at 77 De Freville Avenue and died there aged 78 years.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Fanny Cowles; Herbert John Cowles; Margaret Cowles; Walter Cowles