Passing time with Eris Parker

Category Archives: Cemeteries

William Clare

William Clare


The soft stones of William Clare, Jane Qualtrough nee Bell and Elizabeth Williams, would disintegrate if some vandal scrubbed them with a wire brush or blitzed them with a water blaster.

Captain William Clare married Jessie Mackintosh in Bombay about 1847 and they had 3 children.

William enlisted in the 3rd Waikato Militia in 1863 arriving in Cambridge New Zealand in August 1864 with a detachment of 450 men. The land was covered with fern and ti-tree scrub and he was the first to build a permanent residence. He and his family made Cambridge their home.

William died 10 December 1878 aged 64 and was buried at the CambridgeCemetery at Hautapu. About three hundred people attended his funeral.


Jane Qualtrough, wife of Thomas, died in childbirth 13 December 1879. She was 23 years old.

“She is gone the delight of all who e’er knew her

Her remains are consigned to the dark silent tomb

She is gone and in sorrow has left us to wonder

That all flowers so fair should be nipt in thy bloom.”

Her headstone is under a camellia tree.

Mrs Elizabeth Williams nee Mata was the mother of Mrs Mary Ann Tucker and they farmed on the outskirts of Cambridge West.

Elizabeth died 19 June 1886 aged 73 years.

P12504900Waikato Advocate, New Zealand, 24 August 1895

‘The families of two well-known and respected residents of the Cambridge district have during the week been plunged in grief under circumstances peculiarly affecting. Late on Saturday evening Miss Kate Fitzgerald succumbed to a lingering illness – from consumption.

‘She had been engaged to Mr R B Bridgman and her rapidly failing health was not without its effect upon her lover. The shock produced upon him by her death was more than his enfeebled health could bear and he quickly followed, dying in convulsions on Monday.’

[Romeo and Juliet – surely!?  But there was no Coroners’ Report.]

‘The last offices of religion were performed by the Rev. L Hudson and the remains of the young people were buried in the one grave.’

They share the same headstone –

In Loving Memory of Katie third daughter of H & A Fitzgerald died 17 August 1895 aged 28

‘I will fear no evil for thou art with me

Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.’

Also Richard B Bridgman second son of J Bridgman died 19 August 1895 aged 29

‘’Tis but a voice that Jesus sends to call them to his arms.’

Army Dog Tags

In the Cambridge Historical Society collection at the Cambridge Museum, there is a round disc about 5 cm in diameter. It has a hole at the top and a number 29477 and the letters NZ and P.

It was donated to the Museum along with other buttons and badges sewn onto a fabric belt that has ‘Gloire aux Allies’ sewn into it.

After some research it has been found that this disc belonged to one of our Cambridge soldiers who died in World War One. John Preston was born 27 June 1891 to parents William and Nancy Preston. John was a farmer at Horahora when he enlisted in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 27 June 1916. He was Killed in Action 7 June 1917 and is listed on the Messines Ridge Memorial in France.

The P stands for Presbyterian.

There is no sign in the Cambridge, New Zealand Cemetery at Hautapu where Elizabeth Carroll was buried in 1899.

Cambridge Cemetery

On 15 May 1899 William Carroll, the publican of the Masonic Hotel, while in a drunken state beat and kicked his wife to such an extent as to cause injuries resulting in her death on 2 June 1899. Constable Timothy Cahill had been called to the hotel on the 15th and helped Mrs Carroll – her face swollen, bruised and bleeding, up the stairs to her room.  He said he had not arrested Carroll as he thought it was only an ordinary row between man and his wife.

A witness said later – ‘After the constable left the hotel there was a disturbance in the bedroom as if they were having a row, and there was a noise as if some heavy person had fallen on the floor.’ From 15 May to the date of her death Mrs Carroll never came downstairs.

The nurse girl Minnie Johansen – went into Mrs Carroll’s room to get the baby who was crying, and while she was there Mr Carroll struck his wife who was lying on the bed. Mrs Carroll’s face was smothered with blood and the left side of it was swollen. The next morning Mrs Carroll could not see out of her left eye.

The constable returned to the hotel but was told ‘matters were all right’. He visited Mrs Carroll a few days later and she appeared annoyed that the matter was being talked about so much. It was only after a doctor had been called that Constable Cahill on 29 May, laid an information against Carroll for grievous bodily harm.

He was convicted in the Supreme Court in Auckland of manslaughter and served ten years in prison.

  While cross referencing headstones and a Leamington (New Zealand) cemetery burial map I found four World War One soldiers without headstones. The Year of the Veteran in 2006 was the ideal opportunity to get government funding of $2000 to put this matter to rights.

 Fred Keeley died 1 July 1950, Gerald Murtagh died 14 March 1951, Don McKinnon died 23 August 1952, Bert Higgins died 4 August 1956.

  With the help of Waipa District Council’s sexton Dean Signal and cemetery staff, I was able to have these headstones lain with the soldiers, near the Colonial Soldiers’ Memorial at the far end of the cemetery. Waikato Stonecraft Ltd trimmed the bottoms of the stones as we laid them flat, in keeping with the headstone of L.N. McKinnon already in situ.

  Descendents of all the families rallied for the unveiling as they were thrilled to have found their relatives’ lost plots and to have them recognised.

The Returned Services Association helped with the formalities and Rev. Geoff Crawshaw performed the blessing.

Thomas Vane's Headstone

Thomas Vane’s Headstone

Tom was born on 12 July 1872 in Co Caven, Ireland and after serving in the British Army in the Hospital Corps he came, via Canada to New Zealand. He joined the Duke of Cambridge Lodge 25 July 1911 when he was a labourer at the Cambridge gas works.

During World War One he did ambulance work in the King George V Hospital in Rotorua, having been a St John member for most of his life. Soon after the family returned to England where his wife and three children died in the Influenza Epidemic.

Tom returned to New Zealand and settled again in Cambridge, becoming sexton of the Cambridge Cemetery at Hautapu.

His obituary in the Waikato Independent 3 May 1928 also states:

Friendly Society work was one of his chief hobbies. He was an Oddfellow of many years standing and was Past Grand of the Loyal Duke of Cambridge Lodge [1916 & 1921], also a member of the local Orange Lodge.

Although there was a plot reserved in 1914 in Thomas Vane’s name at the Cambridge Cemetery at Hautapu, and the newspaper reported he was to be buried in the place he tended so carefully, the Brothers of the M U Oddfellows Lodge erected a headstone for Thomas at the Leamington Cemetery!

ELLA cambridge NZ Cemetery

ELLA cambridge NZ Cemetery

Meandering around the headstones at the Cambridge NZ Cemetery, I came across ELLA.

I couldn’t leave it at that.

I sighted the Cambridge Burial Register which states 26 September 1917 Ellen May Lavery, 21 years, Cambridge.

So now I had Ella and Ellen and I still couldn’t leave it at that, so I sent for the death certificate.

Ella May Lavery nee Moyle
Died 27 September 1917 at Te Waikato Sanatorium
Born in New Plymouth
Parents William & Catherine Moyle nee Hickton
Married at age 19 years [1916] to Robert William Lavery
Buried by P T Williams, Anglican
In the Cambridge Cemetery

Next stop to the Anglican Burial Register which records Ella Mary Lavery Sanatorium 29 Sept 1917 age 21. Now I have Ella May and Ella Mary.

Ella’s husband had been a civil servant and was in the New Zealand Army; 22648 Sergeant Robert William Lavery, 13th Reinforcements, Army Pay Corps. He listed his father as next of kin – W Lavery c/- the Leviathan Hotel, 20 Manners St, Wellington.

I wonder if Robert was with Ella when she died of tuberculosis at Te Waikato Sanatorium? Or was he notified by letter?

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