CFHS code : PL16

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : JANET FRENCH d Sep 8 1928 aged 40 also of EDGAR FRENCH d 20 Jan 1929 aged 43 also CHARLES GILBERT (BILLIE) d Jan 19 1921 aged 21 also of JANET GILBERT (mother) d July 30 1929 aged 65

Monument : Stone cross (broken and fallen)/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

French and Gilbert monument November 2017


The cross is no longer on the plinth but stands at the west end of the grave set.


west face

JANET FRENCH died Sep 8 1928 aged 40 years

“How I miss you no tongue can tell.”

Also of EDGAR FRENCH passed away on the  20 Jan 1929 aged 43 years

south face

Also CHARLES GILBERT (BILLIE) d Jan 19 1921 aged 21

Also of JANET GILBERT (mother) d July 30 1929 aged 65

Janet French (née Gilbert) (1888 – 8 September 1928)

Janet was the eldest child of Willie and Janet (née Brown) Gilbert and was born in Newmarket where her father was a racehorse trainer. Aged 23 Janet was living in Llandudno and working as a milliner for draper William Williams (1911). She married Edgar French in 1924 and they lived at 5 Collingham Gardens, Kensington. Janet died at home and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 12 September.

Edgar French (1885 – 20 January 1929)

Edgar was the son of Herbert and Elizabeth and was born in Whittlesford. His father was a farmer and he grew up on the High Street in Whittlesford (1891).  Herbert later ran the Bridge Inn Hotel in Waterbeach (1901) and Edgar trained as a chef. In 1911 he was working at a hotel in Llandudno, which is presumably where he met his future wife. He was living in Surbiton in 1929 but died at 1 Colville Square, Kensington. He reportedly committed suicide as he could not face life without Janet. His body was brought to Cambridge and he was buried on 23 January 1929


Charles (Billie) French (1898 – 19 January 1921)

Billie was the sixth child of Willie and Janet Gilbert and was also born in Newmarket.  By  at least 1919 he had moved with his parents to 78 Mawson Road, where Billie died in January 1921.

(N.B. the grave monument records his age as 21 years, the death registration documentation gave his age as 22 years).

Janet Gilbert (née Brown) (1864 – 20 July  1929)

Janet was born in Cambridge and grew up at 56 Hills Road with her parents Richard and Betsy (née Hogg) Brown.  Her parents were Scottish and had moved to Cambridge where Richard was a draper. Janet married racehorse trainer Willie Gilbert (1861-) on 30 March 1887 at St. Sepulchre Church, Holborn. The couple had seven children: Janet, Gertrude Emma (1889-1964), William Richard (1890-1951), Ann May (1892-1968), John Stanley (1895-1950), Frank Willie (1897-1977) and Charles. Willie was the son of trainer William Gilbert and after his father died in 1883 took over as trainer for the Duke of Richmond, Lord Churchill and Lord Cadogan. He trained at Park Paddocks House in Newmarket but was declared bankrupt in 1889.  The house was auctioned in September 1889 and consisted of a ‘villa residence with lawn and highly productive walled in kitchen garden in the rear, and a pretty flower border in front, separated from the stable yard by neat iron pallisades’ and stalls and boxes for 20 horses.

They continued to live in Newmarket, and Willie resumed training (1901), but later worked as a journalist (1911).  They retired to live at Mawson Road, Cambridge. In May 1926 Willie was fined for posing as a magistrate (see attached) which was reported nationally.  The Scotsman reported that ‘recently he had lived on allowances from a fund and charitable contributions from well-known horse owners’. Janet died at 78 Mawson Road and her funeral took place on 1 August 1929.

Willie Gilbert was still living in Cambridge in 1930, but it is not known where or when he died.



Newspaper archives

Parish burial records transcribed by CFHS

by Claire Martinsen

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Edgar French; Janet French; Charles (Billie) Gilbert; Janet Gilbert