In 1990 I saw an oil painting of James Ward on display in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, where his sea chest is also kept.
I was born a Ward and so the name caught my interest. It seemed to me that a person had to be of note to warrant being painted for posterity. He sailed with Captain Cook and is thought to be the first person to espy Hawaii. Thanks to information provided by John Robson, [see Cook's Log, page 24, vol. 29, no. 2 (2006)] my husband, Norman, and I found the church where he is buried.
Norman ventured through the narrow approach and confirmed the correct location. Then I joined him, plodding through overgrowth amid occasional snow flurries. The Ward family tomb lies close to Audley Chapel, dedicated to St. Michael. The memorial records details of James Ward and his sisters Maria and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was married to Vice Admiral of the White, Nicholas Tomlinson.
The inscription on the tomb reads:
Here lies the body of
James Ward Esq,
lieutenant of His Majesty's Navy
who sailed round the world with
Son of Ralph Ward Esq.,
and Ann his wife, and grandson of
Knox Ward Esq.,
garter king at arms.
He died on the 28 day of September 1806,
aged 45 years
The church and grounds are now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 14, volume 30, number 2 (2007).