CFHS code : AL402

Parish : St Andrew the Less

Inscription : In Loving Remembrance of our dear good mother JANE CLARK d 29 Jan 1886 age 79 also MARION ROOTS her daughter and sister of GEORGE CLARK d 6 Jan 1943 age 94 also In Memory of GEORGE CLARK d 8 Feb 1932 age 87 also his daughter CIS O’SULLIVAN Died 4th October 2004 aged 88 years

Monument : Column

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Clark, Roots and O'Sullivan grave
Clark, Roots and O’Sullivan monument



Jane Clark (née Gurling) (c.1806 -29 January 1886)

Jane was born in Farnham, Suffolk – a small village near Aldeburgh.  She married butcher Jacob Clark (1805-1879) and the couple had at least nine children: Abraham (1836-), Sarah Ann (1837-), Jacob (1839-1887), John Thomas (1842-), Martha Jane (1843-), George (1845-1932), Elizabeth (1848-), Marion (1848-1943) and James (1851-).  In 1851 the family were living at White Lion Street in Clerkenwell, and in 1861 at Edward Square in Islington. 

After she was widowed in 1879 she went to live with her daughter Marion at Gothic House, 184 Gwydir Street (1881). Jane died in Cambridge in 1886.


Marion Roots (née Clark) (30 November 1848 – 6 January 1943)

Marion was the youngest daughter of Jacob and Jane Clark.  She married Frederick Richard Roots (1846-1908) at St Pancras Church on 26 December 1870.  Initially the couple lived at Stanmore Street London (1871) where Frederick was manager to a potato salesman.  In 1881 they were living at 184 Gwydir Street with her mother Ann, and Frederick was working as a butcher. They then moved back to London where Frederick worked as a butchers clerk (1891) and then a potato salesman (1901). 

They were living at 36 Leighton Grove, when Frederick died in 1908.  Marion continued to live in London with her sister Martha Jane Clark  – and in 1911 the two sisters were living at 19 Oseney Crescent in Kentish Town, and both were documented as living under their own means.   By 1939 she had returned to live in Cambridge and was living at 75 Alpha Road with Rosa Graveling and Muriel Coningsby – Marion is documented on the records as being an invalid. She died at Alpha Road aged 94 years.


George Clark (c.1845 – 4 February 1932)

George was born in Clerkenwell and by the age of 16 was working as a butchers boy.  He married Ellen Jane Reeve (1852-1929) in Norfolk in 1870.  In 1871 they were living together in Marylebone and George was working as a butcher.  They appear to have lived briefly in Norwich, as son Bertie (1878-) was born there. But they then settled in Cambridge and ran a butchery shop on Petty Cury,  whilst residing at 73 Burleigh Street (1881/1891).  George had the tender to supply Addenbrookes Hospital (1890, 1892) as well as several Cambridge colleges (including Caius, Trinity and Queen’s).

George appeared in front of Cambridge magistrates very many times, all of which were documented in newspapers of the time. Many of these were minor incidents – e.g for keeping a horse without a license (August 1873), leaving a cart in Petty Cury (April 1875), leaving a handcart in Guildhall Street for more than one hour (November 1889), keeping pigs on his property not for slaughter (October 1891), keeping a two horse carriage without a license (September 1898) and allowing 17 sheep to stray onto Queen’s Road (January 1901).  There were also many cases where farmers claimed he had not paid them for animals supplied. One case in July 1890 was brought by Charles Dewar, who claimed he was owed £79 – the case was found in Dewar’s favour.

George was central to the Cambridge Meat Scandal, which was widely reported in the national as well as local news and which also involved Warwick Fuller.  He was charged with over invoicing Caius College for meat between 1888 and 1898 and the case eventually came to trial in June 1902.  When police had gone to collect ledgers from George Clark’s business as evidence, his brother James had claimed the ledgers from 1895-1897 had been destroyed in a fire.  Police had then found the ledgers being taken away by George in a handcart and hidden below some meat carcasses, and yet more ledgers were found hidden at Burleigh Street. It was found that a very complicated system of recording prices and inventory had taken place for years, with some quantities entered in pen and others in pencil.  James Clark was the whistleblower in the case, and seems to have been blackmailing George – a letter read ‘unless I have a share of my late brother Jacob’s money I will completely bake you.  You are a fraud, a sharp and a swindler but mind withal a fool to allow things to come to this.  Now this is from a much-wronged man, for as a brother I will never own you.  You have too much tarnished the family’s name – Jim’.  The factor which ignited James’ rage seems to have been a dispute over their brother Jacob’s property in France.   James believed the property had been worth £10,000 and he was owed a share, whereas George said the value was only £1,200 and this had been swallowed up by debts owed.

The charge was complicated, but the prosecution claimed that George had charged for meat that was not delivered – by underweighing it. It was said that Caius College had been overcharged £5,000 over the period.  In the fraud were said to be George Clark, his brother in law James Reeve and brother James Clark.  The profits were split 66% to George, and 33% to the other two.  John Fuller, the cook at Caius was said to have been  complicit and in return received meat to the value of £50-£60 per year delivered to his home on the Huntingdon Road.  John Fuller’s annual salary was £300 per year, so this would have been a significant sum. 

In defence George claimed that the entire fraud had been masterminded by his brother and he was innocent.  He had employed his brother in 1886, by which time George said he was focussed on buying cattle and was only spending c. 2 hours per week in the shop.  He did admit to delivering meat to Fuller’s house and invoicing it to Caius, but said he had only done this on Fuller’s instructions. The judge in his summing up said that ‘no doubt George Clark was a person who had had a very good position and so far as he knew was a person of good character’. After two hours the jury returned a verdict of not guilty for all the men – on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to prove them guilty.    The trial lasted three days and drew a great audience.  George was treated as a hero after the verdict and was met with cheers on the steps of the court.  The pony was removed from his carriage, and it was drawn by supporters through the town to cheers.

By 1911 George and Ellen  had moved to live at Riversdale, 79 Chesterton Road and he was described on the census of that year as a retired butcher/farmer.  The 1911 census shows a second son: Alfred Clark (1903-) who might in fact have been a grandson.  Ellen died at Chesterton Road in January 1929.  George married for a second time later the same year to Bertha May Fox.  He died at 147 Chesterton Road aged 87 years.


Cis O’Sullivan (d 2004)

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Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

George Clark; Jane Clark; Cis O’Sullivan; Marion Roots