CFHS code : HS51

Parish : Holy Sepulchre

Inscription : In Loving Memory of WILLIAM OLIVER COWARD d Oct 24 1906 age 79 also MARY wife of above d Dec 9 1916 age 84

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202277, 0.13785054 – click here for location

This well preserved headstone is half way between the central path and the east wall. Photo November 2016
Coward monument November 2016


This well preserved headstone in the parish area of Holy Sepulchre is half way between the central path and the east wall.


‘In Loving Memory of WILLIAM OLIVER COWARD died Oct 24 1906 age 79 years’

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God”

‘Also of MARY the beloved the wife of above died Dec 9 1916 age 84 years’

Relationship – Husband and wife

William Oliver Coward (1827-1906)

William Oliver Coward was born on 16th September 1827 in Elm near Wisbech. He was the youngest of nine children born to Robert (1785-1857) and Martha (née Hall) Coward. Robert was a farmer/butcher. Three of William’s siblings emigrated to the USA and prospered as farmers and bookmakers. Each had a very complimentary obituary in the local press and were well thought of. Their descendants have prospered in the USA. William was the first to move away from farm work and became a shoemaker in Cambridge.  He also exhibited in local flower shows. When he died he was living at 6 Edward Street, Cambridge.

Mary Coward (née Ball) (1833-1916)

Mary was the second of four children born to John and Jane Ball of Harston, Cambridgeshire. When she married William on May 8th 1853, she was working as a house servant for Charles and Mercy Callum of John Street, Cambridge. The marriage took place in Christ Church on Newmarket Road in the parish of St Andrew the Less. When she died she was living in Abbey Road, Cambridge.

A family story states that after the marriage they sat on the step of their home at Adam and Eve Row and counted the total money they had between them – which was sixpence. They were still living in Adam and Eve Row in 1871 but by 1881 had moved to Edward Street, Cambridge.

William and Mary had six children ; William John (1853-1929),  Martha Ann (1856-1907), Robert (1858-1915), Sarah A (1859-1941), Louisa Mary (1862-1937) and Thomas Coward  (1866-1945)

Sources :

Cambridge Independent Press
CFHS transcripts of parish and census records

Edited by Mary Naylor using information supplied by descendant.

Mary Coward; William Oliver Coward