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James Ward - and his family tomb


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
Captain Cook.
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.

Brenda Paulding


Click any image for a larger version

St. Michael's Church

The church and Ward family tomb

Inscription on the tomb


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 14, volume 30, number 2 (2007).

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Kalsi, you are right. Some photos of the tomb can be found on our website at
A biography of James Ward can be found at
By Ian Boreham, webmaster on 11/17/2018 12:21:34 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Hello, If I am not mistaken, the burial place of James is Berechurch in Essex. Ralph Ward lived in East Donyland an Estate alongside the Ward family of West Bergholt Hall and Mersea Island all in Essex. My direct ancestor died there of Plague in 1644 in Colchester as are many Wards for almost 500 years including Many divines and the Wards that are related to the Churchill, Spencer, Taylor, Middleton, Sherman's,Parson families. I may be wrong so please don't quote me.. Excellent website, I have 35 more James Wards in the family tree to research, then I start on the Nelsons...Horatio Nelson's daughter Horatia married Rev. Phillip Ward. Merchants and Sailors and the clergy, what a combination with farming roots. Kalsi
By Kalsi Lang on 11/16/2018 6:47:02 PM Like:0 DisLike:0

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