CFHS code : PL358

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In Memory of ELIZABETH FRANCES DROSIER wife of WILLIAM H DROSIER MD daughter of JANE PURCHAS d Oct 23 1880 aged 56 also of the above WILLIAM HENRY DROSIER MD d May 13 1889 aged 77 JANE PURCHAS widow of WILLIAM JARDINE PURCHAS Captain RN d March 28 1874 aged 85

Monument : Stone cross (broken)/Coped stone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

The coped stone in February 2018.


This coped stone that once had a cross at the west end is located on the first row west of the central path. It is close to a large ivy bush and may be hidden from view. The inscription of metal letters is reasonably well preserved especially on the north face.


south face
JANE PURCHAS widow of WILLIAM JARDINE PURCHAS Captain RN died March 28 1874 aged 85

north face
In Memory of ELIZABETH FRANCES DROSIER wife of WILLIAM H DROSIER MD daughter of JANE PURCHAS d Oct 23 1880 aged 56 years

Also of the above WILLIAM HENRY DROSIER MD who died May 13 1889 aged 77 years

Relationships: Mother, daughter, son-in-law

Jane Purchas [nee Hills]  (1789 – 28 March 1874)

Jane was born in London, and married William Jardine Purchas at St George’s Church in Bloomsbury on 18th August 1820.  She was the neice of novelist Captain Marryat.  William Jardine had studied at Christ’s College Cambridge, and had been a Captain in the Royal Navy.  He was Mayor of Cambridge in 1828.

Jane and William had at least 3 children: William Jardine [1823-1830], Rev John [1823-1872] and Elizabeth Frances [1824-1880]. William Jardine Snr had been born in Cambridge, and the family resided at Gonville Place, Parkers Piece [1841]

Capt. Wiliam Jardine Purchas as a young man by Josiah Slater with permission from Miles Barton Period Paintings.

William Jardine Purchas died on 2nd July 1848 aged 69 and was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge.  Jane continued to live at Gonville Place with John and Elizabeth [1851] . In 1861 she was living there with Elizabeth, a cook, a housemaid and a footman and was described on the census as annuitant.  When her daughter married she continued to live at Gonville Place with them [1871] . She died at Gonville Place aged 85 years old, leaving an estate valued at under £20,000.

Elizabeth Frances Drosier [nee Purchas] (23 July 1824 – 28 October 1880)

Elizabeth was the only daughter of William Jardine and Jane Purchas.  She was born in Cambridge and baptised on 30th July 1824. She lived with her parents, and subsequently her mother at Gonville Place.  She married Wiliam Henry Drosier in 1862 when she was 38 years old – they were both from Cambridge, but married in Hastings, Sussex.

William Drosier was a fellow of Caius College, and together they lived at 3 Gonville Place.  They did not have any children, and Elizabeth died at home in October 1880 aged 56 years old.

William Henry Drosier (31 December 1811 – 13 May 1889)

William was born in Blakeney in Norfolk and was baptised there on 4th January 1812. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Drosier. He went to school in North Walsham, and then to study at  Cauis College Cambridge in 1835. He graduated with a  BA in 1839 and an MD in 1847.  He was a medical lecturer and fellow at the college for many years, fellow from 1845-1889 and Bursar from 1847-1850.

He married Elizabeth Purchas when he was  51 years old, and was widowed at the age of 68 years old.  He died at home on 13th May 1889 at the age of 77 in somewhat tragic circumstances.

The Cambridge News of 15th May 1889 reported the inquest into his death thus:


The borough coroner (Mr. H. Gotobed) held an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of William Henry Drosier, doctor of medicine, and senior fellow of Cains College, residing in Gonvile Place, Parker’s Piece. The inquiry was held at the private residence of the deceased. The first witness called was Thomas William Parr, the deceased’s butler. He said on Friday, May 3rd, about quarter to two he met the deceased in the garden bleeding from the nose. He told witness had fallen from the steps. He said had forgotten put the irons up. Witness saw him on the steps at a quarter to one. They were very good steps indeed, and were the deceased’s own contrivance. Dr. Carver was sent for immediately. Dr. Carver said was called in see the deceased on the 3rd of May, about two o’clock. Ho found him in his back kitchen washing his face with cold water. W’itncss examined him, and found that there were injuries his nose, great bruise over the right shin, and deep cut over the muscles of the other leg. also complained of a pain in his back. Witness directed him to go to bed, and he dressed his wounds. He went on very well for the first day or two, and then inflammation in the wound on the left leg. The inflammation spread, and a few days later the wound began to mortify, and the mortification gradually extended. He was very delirious, and on one occasion he was violent. On Saturday night his nose bled to an alarming extent. He sank from the exhaustion from the loss of blood, and died on Monday evening a quarter to eight. The cause of death was exhaustion from bleeding, consequent upon the accident. The jury returned verdict of Accidental death.

He was remembered as a man ‘of much integrity and wide knowledge of anatomy and natural history…a great benefactor to the College [Cauis], leaving the bulk of his estate for the foundation of scholarships and fellowships’. He was also noted as having few rivals as a skater[!]

He left an estate valued at £49,192 3s 4d [approximately £6.2m value at 2019]. Drosier Road just off Harvey Road in Cambridge was named after him.

Claire Martinsen

Source: Ancestry/Newspaper archives

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Elizabeth Frances Drosier; William Henry Drosier; Jane Purchas