Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (William Ford + Emily Ford)

Since I’ve been grounded again by the Government, I thought I’d meander around the Rosary Cemetery located near to me in Norwich, in an attempt to see what stories lie there. It might not be the most fascinating blog content, but it’ll keep me quiet for a few weeks….

I nearly gave up with my researches into this family, as I was struggling to find anything of much interest relating to William Ford and his wife Mary Ford. That is, except from the very sad nature of the lives mentioned on the gravestone. Mary Ford, William’s wife, died in 1845 at the age of 58, having already lost their daughter Lucy in infancy, but then their children Hannah and Marianne both died in 1846, at the ages of 18 and 17 respectively.

I also struggled to work out where this couple lived in 1841, as I found a census record, but Mary was listed as Lucy, so I assumed it was a different family as there were no children and they only lived with their housemaid Emily Stacey. Although, everything else fitted together. William Ford worked as a shoemaker in Norwich and had premises at Colegate Street, St. George’s and he lived at Heigham Cottage.

Given the lack of obvious story, I thought I’d abandon this one, until I paid attention to the name of Emily Ford at the base of the gravestone. Emily was born in 1823, which didn’t quite make sense to anything in terms of being a child or sister of William. It then transpires that she was William’s second wife, marrying him in 1852 and living with him until he died on 23 October 1858.

Emily died on 20 December 1881, at the age of 59, and she appeared in the 1861 and 1871 censuses with her occupation being listed as living off property income. But then, something about that strange 1841 census came back, namely I realised that William had married his much younger housemaid. That’s quite impressive, marrying someone who is thirty years younger, but I wonder what Mary Ford would have thought about this arrangement.

Emily died when living at 32 Queen’s Road in Norwich, where by all accounts she lived a life of such comfort. Her death was reported in the local paper, noting that she was the relict (the archaic word for widow) of William Ford, but giving no more information. And, once again, I do wonder what Mary would have thought that her former housemaid would end up sharing a grave with her.