CFHS code : ED35

Parish : St Edward

Inscription : In Loving Memory of ROBERT HILLS b April 1861 also of WILLIAM MAURICE HILLS two lines illegible also of HELEN LOUISA HILLS beloved wife of ROBERT HILLS b 20.5[18-4] d Oct 5 1919

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.203077, 0.13737671 – click here for location


Hills family monument

This Gothic-pointed limestone headstone, in the parish area of St Edward, is located six rows west of the central path 20 yards north of the centre circle. Its east face is badly weathered, making the inscription indecipherable in parts. The stonemason is identified at bottom-left as Ivett & Reed.


In loving memory of Robert Hills
born April [??] 1861

Also of Henry Maurice Hills
[illegible  line] died August 20[?]th 1889

Also of Helena Louisa Hills, beloved wife of Robert Hills
born May 20th 1854 died October 5th 1919

[stonemason:] Ivett & Reed

Relationship: Henry Maurice Hills was the son of Robert and Helena Louisa Hills.

Robert Hills (1861‒1910)

Robert was born in Oxford in April 1861, the son of Robert Hills, photographer.  Nothing of his childhood or schooling is currently known.

Robert married Helena Louisa Donagan (see below) of Rose Crescent, Cambridge on 4 September 1878 at St Michael’s Church, the banns having been read out on 25 August at the churches of both St Michael (Helena’s parish) and St Mary the Great (Robert’s).  Robert senior was a photographer, and Robert junior followed in his footsteps, establishing himself at the prestigious address of 15 King’s Parade, opposite King’s College, three doors south of St Edward’s Passage.  By 1881, the business was trading under the name ‛Hills and Saunders, photographers, and at Oxford, Eton, Harrow, & London’. In the 1891 census return he styled himself as  ‛photographic artist’.  The couple went on to have at least five children, one of whom became a college cook and another an electrical engineer.

Robert died in September 1910 at the age of 59, and his body was buried on the 30th of that month in Mill Road Cemetery, in row XXVIII of the St Edward parish area, in grave 2, at a depth of 9 feet.

Henry Maurice Hills (1887‒1889)

Henry was baptised privately at St Edward’s Church, Cambridge on 24 October 1887, the son of Robert and Helena Louisa Hills of King’s Parade. He died aged 2 on 20[?] August 1889 and was buried on the 23rd of that month in Mill Road Cemetery, in row XXVIII of the St Edward parish area, in grave 2, at a depth of 10 feet.

Helena Louisa Hills (née Donagan) (1854‒1919)

Helena Louisa Donagan was born in Cambridge in the second quarter of 1856, the daughter of Alfred Frederic Donagan, hairdresser and perfumer of Rose Crescent, and his wife Louisa, and was baptised at the Church of St Mary the Great on 16 November of that year. She had two younger siblings: Emily Anne (1856‒) and Charlotte Augusta (1857‒). Nothing else is known of her childhood,  except that by 1861 the family address was 1 Trinity Lane, where the household included a nursery governess and two house servants, the hairdressing business being on the corner, at 38 Trinity Street.

Helena married Robert Hills, photographer of Cambridge, on 4 September 1878, and the couple lived at 15 King’s Parade. There they had several children: Robert Alfred (c.1880‒), Charles Edward (c.1881‒), William (c.1882‒), Helena Dorothy (c.1885‒), Henry Maurice (1887‒89), and George Kenneth (c.1891‒).

By 1901, the family home was 67 Victoria Road, Chesterton. Robert died in 1910, and Helena lived at 8 Beaconsfield Terrace, Victoria Road (perhaps the same address), with George Kenneth and one domestic servant. By 1919, at the time of her death on 5 October, she was at 55 Windsor Road, Ealing (London), aged 64. Her body was brought back to Cambridge and buried on 13 October in Mill Road Cemetery, in row XXVIII of the St Edward parish area, grave 2, at a depth of 8 feet.

[If you have any information about these three persons, please contact us at]

England census returns 1861, 1881‒1901
England and Wales census return 1911
Spalding’s Street Directory of Cambridge 1881
England & Wales Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837‒1915
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538‒1975
St Edward Church, Cambridge: baptismal register (Henry), burial register and grave book (Robert, Henry, Helena)
St Michael’s Church, Cambridge, banns and marriage register (Robert & Helena)
St Mary the Great Church, Cambridge, baptismal register, banns register (Robert & Helena)

By Ian Bent

Helen Louisa Hills; Henry Maurice Hills; Robert Hills