Mark Ward

Author: Doug Larsen
Date published: 24/06/2013
© Doug Larsen

The story of Mark Ward came about because of a visit by his family during the Heritage Open Days of the 8th and 9th of September, 2012. Although Mark died in 1923, his family remembered that he was buried at the Newtown Road Cemetery and had come there to look for his grave. With our assistance, they found the grave which is in Group One of the Margaret Pattison grave records at plot W52 along the West Wall.

The grave monument consisted of 4 kerbstones with inlaid letters on one of the side kerbstones. It had suffered some subsidence but we managed to expose enough of the inscription to make out the following words:

“In Loving memory of Mark Ward, who died Jan.24th. 1923 aged 55”. There was also the inscription “Rest in Peace” on the end kerbstone.

The family were very moved by seeing his grave which brought back memories of his life which I’ll relate below.

Mark was a cowman who worked for the Butlers at Sandleford farm, which entitled him to one of the tied cottages from the group of four on Monk’s Lane owned by the Butlers. He and his wife, Sarah, had 5 children, Edie, Florence, Reg, Jack and Wally.

At the age of 55, Mark Ward died of a Dilated Heart and Asthma and was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on January 27th, 1923. His address was given as 149 Monkey Lane on the death certificate although his family recalled them living on Monk’s Lane. His death was announced as follows in the “Births, Marriages and Deaths” column of Newbury Weekly News on February 1st, 1923:

“WARD.- Jan. 24th at Wash Common, Newbury, Mark Ward, aged 55.- His end was peace”

In the same edition the following announcement was made in the Personal column:

“MRS WARD and FAMILY desire to thank all kind friends for the sympathy in their sad bereavement; also to Dr. Hickman for his kind attention and for the beautiful flowers sent.- Wash Common, Newbury.”

Mark Ward’s granddaughter, Doris Arlett, was one of the visitors from the family and she informed us that, because they lived in a tied cottage, the family had to move out of their home in Wash Common. One of Sarah’s sons, Reg, had some property in Newtown so she moved there where she lived, until her death, and was buried at Newtown Church churchyard south of Newbury.

The visitors to the Open Day from Mark Ward’s family, apart from his granddaughter, Doris, mentioned earlier, were her husband, Dennis and their daughter Patricia. Doris was the daughter of Florence, Mark and Sarah’s daughter, who had been in service before she got married to Doris’s father.

We thank all of them for providing this snapshot of the life of farm workers in Newbury in the early years of the last century.


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