With the help of Mrs. Finch, who tends the Willis grave in the old Ewell churchyard, I recently contacted Mr. Brian Fausset, grandson of John Ordway Willis. John Ordway was the last Willis to run the family ironmonger’s shop at 9 High Street, Ewell (now A.E. Booth and Son, antique dealers). He was the younger brother of Cloudesley Willis, the well-remembered local historian.
Cloudesley died in 1955 aged 90, and his name is on the stone above the second Willis family grave, but he is not buried there. Brian told me that his understanding was that after the burials of his great grandparents in 1903 and 1914 there was only one space left in the family grave reserved for their eldest son, Cloudesley (known to him and the family as Uncle Bill). When his younger brother died before him, Cloudesley decided that he, John Ordway, should be buried there. When Cloudesley died five years later he was cremated, but Brian did not know where since he was abroad at the time. Some time later he told me that he had traced the cremation to Kingston Crematorium on December 20 1955.
He told me that he and his brother have many letters and photographs of ‘Uncle Bill’ which they are quite willing to show to anyone interested. So if anyone is interested in writing about our local celebrity, here is a valuable contact. I have his address.