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Margaret Mysie Aglio Dibdin

b. 27 May 1896, Mayfield Grange Rd., Sutton, Surrey

m. 24 Jun 1922, All Saints, West Dulwich

d. 1978

Arthur Gerald Cowham

b. 1895, Lewisham 4/4


Links to 

Mystery Play written by Margaret while working in  Lancashire 

Letter to Lionel and Cecily Dibdin from India 1930

Letter to Peter H Dibdin from India 1935

Dibdin Family Photograph

Margaret is musical, intellectual, a poet in a small way. She worked in the Bank of England for a short time. Also did some teaching. She married Rev. Gerard Cowham. Much of their married life was spent in India, where he was chaplain in the Indian Army. After 1947 he had a living in Kew but is now retired and they are living in Sussex. Mary is a very successful executive secretary to a hospital clinic in New York. Christine is one of the very clever members of the family. Last heard of she was editing an encyclopedic and statistical atlas in Oxford. Hugh was in the Indian Army during the latter part of the war up to 1947. After graduating from Cambridge he taught for a few years at a private school in Hampstead, then went to Nigeria to organize Boy Scouts. Is now back in England organizing physical training in Welwyn, Herts. He has married and started what looks like being a large family. [74]


Mary Margaret Cowham - Mary the lively one of Margaretís offspring, now lives in America, having left home and emigrated to Canada in her thirties.   She has written a very moving autobiography and has a sound perspective on the family. [75]

Christine Aglio (Audrey) Cowham. Christine died in 2002.

Hugh Nicholas Gerard Cowham. Hugh died 2004.

See the web page of Robert Cowham Ė grandson of Margaret Dibdin Cowham. [76]

Grandpa (Rev. Arthur Gerald Cowham) was accepted into the Indian Ecclesiastical Service shortly thereafter (1927) and the whole family went with him to India, initially to the diocese of Calcutta. At the age of 2 Dad (Hugh) was already demonstrating his view that sermons should be kept short. Apparently they stayed with the Bishop of Bombay who used to say his morning office in place of grace at breakfast, which could be somewhat of a trial for hungry visitors. After 5 minutes, Dad opened his eyes, saw a bowl of fruit and when the bishop next paused for breath said a loud "Amen" and grabbed a banana.

Hugh was born in Atherton, a mining and milling town north of Manchester where his father Arthur Gerard was curate in charge. As it later turned out, and unknown to my grandparents, Dadís healthy birth was see as removing the curse of the house he was born in, the former owner of which had committed suicide. [77]

It may be that Hugh was born in Bolton and Christine his sister was born in Atherton [75]

From Dibdin History by Mary Bole

Additional Comments

Up to date information on Cowham Family Site

Gerard Cowham considered himself to be an Anglo-catholic priest and was understood to be very high church. His wife Margaret (nee Dibdin), being very dramatic by nature, went along with this approach to life and it is felt that this had an immense impact on their offspring. He was still working as priest in the 1960's in the parish at Kew a stones throw from the famous Kew Gardens.

Because of their strong, shall we say obsession views, they would not allow her to have a necessity and feasible operation as it was felt that "her affliction was the will of God". Having an afflicted child who had to stay at home meant  that Margaret had an permanent companion, almost slave. 

Mary had to "run away" from home in her thirties early one morning, and was surprised to find a network of friends and family waiting to greet her. Within a short time she obtained the necessary operation and then emigrated. Her life story is an inspiration to all that read it.

There is evidence of Gerard's strong attitudes in the 1920's. A letter to his Brother-in-law Rex Dibdin while he was mentally ill after the First World War, seems less than helpful and Margaret's condemnation of her brother, because his wife left him and he lived with his housekeeper, continued through his death and was express at Rex's funeral in 1957.

It must be said that at the time of W.J.Dibin's death in 1925, Lionel writes in a letter to his sister Marian Montford in Australia that Margaret and Gerard had been very helpful especially looking after Marian Dibdin their mother.

Further insight of Margaret can be obtained from two available letters from India,  one to her nephew Peter, two years after his parents died and another to her brother Lionel in 1930, three years before he died. These letters give us some background to Gerard and her life in India as well as comments relating to other members of the family. 

By about 1939 she was back in England leaving Gerard in India and settling temporally with her three children in a family house sharing it with Marian Montford, her sister and her three children after they return from Australia after the death of Paul Montford. The drama of this situation is beautifully documented in an unpublished autobiography "Unspoken Hope" by Mary Cowham.

Letter to Lionel and Cecily Dibdin from India 1930

Letter to Peter H Dibdin from India 1935

Four Family Photographs from the archives.

Margaret Cowham (nee Dibdin)

Also see Dibdin Family Photograph

Up to date information on Cowham Family Site