CFHS code : BE29

Parish : St Bene’t

Inscription : CHARLES BROWN d October 20 1906 aged 40 also of LILY BROWN d June 11 1954 aged 86

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

The headstone in March 2021.


This headstone in the parish of St Bene’t is located roughly 5 rows from west of the central path. It is well hidden by ivy and under a large tree. At some point we may be able to clear it a bit more to check the rest of the inscription.


CHARLES BROWN Who departed this life October 20 1906 aged 40 years

“Be ye therefore ready also for the son of man cometh at an hour when you think not” Luke 12.40 King James Bible

Also of LILY BROWN d June 11 1954 aged 86

Charles Brown (1866 –  20 October 1906)

Charles married Lily Hart in 1888 and they had seven children:  Charles H (1889-), James William (1892-), George Frederick (1894-1959), Arthur (1896-), Louisa Lily (1898-1972), Clara (1900-1980) and William Edward (1902-).  In 1901 the family were living on School House Lane off Albert Street where Charles had a shop and was described as a ‘general dealer’.    He was also known as a horse dealer and worked in partnership with George Crickmore and was said to be ‘well known in many parts of the country’.

On 19 October 1906 Charles gave evidence in court in the case of Hall v Crook.  John Crook was accused of having stolen ‘a mare, set of harness and Governess car’ valued at £11.  Joseph Hall had asked Crook to drive his mare and cart out to show a Mr. Williams of Girton, and if he liked the horse Williams was to pay £11 via cheque at a later date.  John Crook claimed that Mr. Williams was not in and then tried in vain to sell the horse to several other people including Charles Brown passing the mare off as his own.   James had approached Charles at 7.30pm and offered him the mare for £8, 10s, claiming he had bought two horses and only needed one.  Charles declined to buy it and James then offered him the horse for £7 and when this was also refused  Charles was asked to name his price. James Crook was eventually apprehended and brought to trial.  The Cambridge Independent Press reported   ‘The witness Brown raised considerable laughter during an encounter with Mr. Ellis. Counsel asked him whether he minded telling a few little ‘fibs’ to get a good deal.  We very often do that replied the dealer. But so do lawyers (Laughter). The Chairman: Then he knows something about lawers as well as horsedealers does he? If you are not careful directly, Mr Ellis, he will tell you you had got squints (Loud laughter)’.

Charles died suddenly the day after giving evidence  and an inquest was held at the City Arms, Sturton Street. His wife Lily said that he had occasionally complained of of chest pains over the previous six months and had woken that morning complaining of ‘violent pains in the chest but despite this went about his business in the customary way’.  He had taken a pony to be shod, and when he returned his business partner had found him slumped in a shed in the yard.  The post mortem showed ‘the heart was extremely dilated and big and the cause of death was syncope’. Dr. Webb gave evidence that Charles’ ‘heart had probably been bad for years and he was always more or less going about in danger’.

Lily Eugene Brown (née Hart)  (19 July 1867 – 11 June  1954)

Lily was born in Fen Ditton, and aged 3 was living at the Plough Inn, Comberton with her aunt and uncle (William and Susan Patman).  She went into service and aged thirteen was working at 11 Newmarket Road  for sisters Amela and Ann Apthorpe before marrying aged 20 years.  In 1911 she was living at Albert House, Albert Street with five of her  seven children with Charles, and a eighth child named Ivy May Nellie Brown (1911-1982).  Lily died at Albert House aged 86 years old.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Charles Brown; Lily Brown
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