CFHS code : HT518

Parish : Holy Trinity

Inscription : cross In Loving Memory of JOHN SWAN of 19 Sidney Street Cambridge d November 8th 1900 aged 71 also of REBECCA wife of the above who died on Ascension Day May 21st 1914 aged 90 AMELIA SWAN d October 23rd 1882 in her 89th year JANE ANN SWAN d July 12th 1877 aged 51 kerbs ELIZABETH JANE d February 1858 JOHN SWAN d May 1866 ALICE JANE d May 1867 the infant children of EDMUND and AMELIA PURSSEY

Monument : Stone cross/Kerb stones

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Swan grave
Swan and Purssey monument



Relationship: Mother, daughter, son, daughter in law and three grandchildren

John Swan (1829 – 8 November 1900)

John was the only son of John and Amelia (née Cook) and grew up at 19 Sidney Street where his father was an auctioneer, upholster and cabinet maker.  John joined the business and it was renamed John Swan & Son.

He married Rebecca Gardner on 10 May 1859 at Ashley, near Newmarket and they had one daughter: Elizabeth Amelia (Lillie) (1860-1932). The family lived at a house above 19 Sidney Street.  John’s company was held monthly auctions of horses, carriages and agricultural property as well as property auctions and general household auctions/house clearance. They also acted as a property agent – both finding and letting property in the town.  John never ‘entered public life, but he was a director of the Gas Company and at one time of the Trowbridge Water Company’.

He died of pneumonia after a few days illness and his funeral took place on 8 November. The cortege left from Sidney Street at 3pm and was ‘conveyed to the place of interment in a glass sided hearse and the body was committed to its last resting place in the presence of many sorrowing friends’.

Rebecca Swan (née Gardner)  (1824 – 21 May 1914)

Rebecca was born in Kirtling, five miles east of Newmarket and was baptised there on 1 June 1824.  She was the fourth daughter of farmer Joseph Gardner and his wife Elizabeth and married John Swan when she was 35 years old. After she was widowed she continued to live at 19 Sidney Street with a housemaid and a cook (1901) before moving to Park Lodge, 15 Park Terrace, Parker’s Piece (1911). She died at Park Lodge aged 90 years old and her funeral took place on 25 May. The service was held at Mill Road Cemetery Chapel and the chief mourners were her daughter Lillie and son in law John Morlin Goode.

Amelia Swan (née Cook) (1794 –  23 October 1882)

Amelia was born in Cambridge and married John Swan (1791-1857) on 29 August 1822 at All Saints’ Church.  They had at least three children: Amelia Frances (1824-1902), Jane Ann (1826-1877) and John (1829-1900). John Swan was an auctioneer, upholsterer and cabinet maker and ran a business fom 19 Sidney Street.

John committed suicide in February 1857 at their home in Newnham. The Cambridge Independent Press reported ‘the melancholy affair caused quite a commotion in the town; the news rapidly spread; and the reports circulated were various and contradictory’. An inquest was held the same day and witnesses said he had been in low spirits for some years.  James Martin, tabacconist siad that he had seen a noticable change over the past week ‘deceased appeared then to be incoherent and not at all collected’. The jury returned a verdict of temporary insanity.

After she was widowed Amelia lived at 21 Hills Road with her daughter Jane, and died there aged 88 years old. Her funeral took place on 27 October 1882.

Jane Ann Swan (1826 – 12 July 1877)

Jane was the only daughter  of John and Ameila and was baptised on 16 April 1826 at All Saints’ Church, Cambridge. She lived with her mother at Hills Road and died there aged 51 years old.

Advert from September 1861

The three siblings were the children of Edmund and Amelia (née Swan) Purssey.  The couple married on 5 September 1854 in Cambridge and had at least seven children, three of whom were buried with their grandmother.  Edmund (1814-1897) worked as a meat seller, and seems to have sold his meat in Cambridge. The family lived in Peckham/Camberwell, but the children were all buried in Cambridge. Edmund and Amelia were both buried in Southwark.

Elizabeth Jane Purssey (1857 – 4 February 1858)

Elizabeth was batpised in Cambridge on 22 March 1857. She died at her grandmother’s house – 19 Sidney Street aged 1 year old. She was buried on 9 February 1858.

John Swan Purssey (1865 – 18 May 1866)

John was born in Camberwell and baptised at St. Giles’ Church, Camberwell on 23 July 1865. He died at Camden Row, Camberwell and was buried in Cambridge on 22 May.

Alice Jane Purssey (February 1862 – 29 May 1867)

Alice was born in Camberwell, and baptised at St. George’s Church, Camberwell on 18 May 1863.  She died at 2 Camden Row, Camberwell aged 5 years old and was buried in Cambridge on 3 June 1867.



Newspaper archives

Parish burial records transcribed by CFHS

by Claire Martinsen

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Alice Jane Purssey; Elizabeth Ann Purssey; John Swan Purssey; Amelia Swan; Jane Ann Swan; John Swan; Rebecca Swan