CFHS code : ML82
Parish : St Mary the Less
Inscription : Vice Admiral GEORGE DAVIES d Nov 24 1876 age 75
Monument : Headstone/Stone cross/Kerb stones
Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey
Lat Lon : 52.202654, 0.13741493 –click here for location
This cross, located in the parish area of St Mary the Less, stands in the south of the centre circle close to the path. The cross has a carved anchor at the top. The inscription of metal letters on the plinth is worn but still legible.
Vice Admiral GEORGE DAVIES entered into rest Nov: 24th 1876. In the 76th year of his age.
“So He bringeth them unto the haven where they would be.”
George Davies (15 December 1800 – 24 November 1876)
George was born in Wells, Somerset and baptised at St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells on 9 January 1801. His parents were Stephen and Anna Marie Davies, and he joined the Navy in 1824 first serving on HMS Dove. George married Julia Hume (1803-1897) on 20 July 1832 at Old Church, St Pancreas. Julia was the daughter of Joseph Hume, who lived at Somerset House and was a poet/writer and good friend of Charles Lamb and William Godwin. The couple had at least five children: Louisa Anna Maria (1834-1918), Julia Augusta (1837-1894), Rosina (1840-1925), Major & Hon. Lt Col Allan Bedford (1842-1892) and Rev. Gerald Stanley (1845-1927).
George was stationed for many years on board the Griper in Chichester Harbour, and served along the south coast where he was a lieutenant in the coastguard. In 1842 he was promoted to commander, and the family lived in Banff Castle for six years. In 1846-1847 there were ‘meal riots’ in Banff and George as coastguard commander was virtually converted into the county police. He handled the situation with distinction and as a result received the thanks of the county and ‘the public admiration of his conduct had been reported to the Secretary of State and the lords of the Admiralty’.
He then served briefly in Penzance, before he left the Navy with the rank of Captain and moved to Cambridge in 1851 to take up the newly created post of chief constable of the Cambridgeshire rural police force. Thirty five candidates applied, which were short listed to five. At the selection meeting Lord Hardwicke proposed Captain Davies saying that ‘he knew him to be an active officer full of zeal and energy in the performance of his own duties and consequently just the person to see that others did their duties in a like spirit’. The motion was supported and George Davies received 25 of the the 27 votes and he was sworn in on 3 December 1851. In 1857 his role was expanded to include Huntingdonshire.
In 1861 the family were living at Wentworth House, on Chesterton Road, they later moved to live at Pendeen House, on Hills Road. In 1871 George was described on the census as ‘retired rear admiral and county chief constable’ – it is not known when he was promoted from Captain to Rear Admiral. Pendeen House was where the annual Christ’s College Donkey race was held and in 1871 George acted as a steward at the event. A large field entered the five races held including ‘many of the very best animals in training’. The Cambridge Independent Press reported ‘several of the riders received serious falls and duckings and were carried to their rooms on wheelbarrows and stretchers’.
He died aged 74 years old, at 10 Scrope Terrace, which is where he had moved to live.
Julia Davies went to live in Brighton, and was lodging there in 1881. She then moved to Clifton which is where her son Major Allan Bedford Davies lived with his wife Lucy. Allan died in January 1892, and Julia died aged 94 years old. She was buried at Redland Cemetery, Bristol on 10 April 1897.
His daughter Louisa married the famous mathematician Isaac Todhunter, who is also buried at Mill Road Cemetery. One of his other daughters Julia Augusta was a celebrated poet and playwright under her married name of Watson.
His son Rev. Gerald Davies went to Christ’s College Cambridge, and was Assistant Master (1872-1905) and then Master of Charterhouse School (1908-1927). He was famous in his own right as an authority on Charterhouse, said to be extremely knowledgeable on a variety of subjects including art, archaeology, horse racing and a writer for Country Life.
by Claire Martinsen
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