CFHS code : ML87a

Parish : St Mary the Less

Monument : Stone cross (plinth only)

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202688, 0.13748977 – click here for location

The monument in 2015


This cross with kerbstones and metal bar surround  (only one bar remaining), stands in the east of the centre circle, 3 rows west of the path in the parish area of St Mary the Less. The cross has been restored . The carved inscription is badly eroded and difficult to read. The parish burial records were used to complete the entry.


east face
James Hamblin Smith

……  House
…….  canon
of Rochester Cathedral

west face
Also Mary Florence his wife
Born October 13th 1857
Died February 10th 1942
  illegible ……..  blessed  

 James Hamblin Smith (1858 – October 2nd 1887)

James was the eldest child of James Hamblin and Ellen Hales Smith. He was baptised at the church of Mary the Less on May 26th 1858 and brought up at 42 Trumpington St. His father described as a ‘gent’ at Jame’s baptism was also a well known university coach and wrote many educational books.
James  went to Peterhouse College, Cambridge in 1877 and graduated in 1881 as junior optime in the mathematical tripos. He was ordained that year and became assistant curate of Grantham parish church, becoming a priest in 1883. In 1884 he left Grantham to become a minor cannon at Rochester Cathedral.

He married Florence Mary Blow on 19th May 1885 at Layer Breton Essex. 

In May 1887 he became ill and eventually his heart was affected. He died at his father’s second home in Woodbridge, Suffolk and his body was brought to Cambridge for burial. In obituaries he was described as kind, gentle and a good preacher. He was just 29

Mary Florence Smith (1857 – 1942)

Mary was the 2nd daughter of William Blow. William was rector of Layer Breton. She bore a son James Hamblin in 1887 and a daughter Mary Hamblin, born a few months before she was widowed.
Mary continued to live in Rochester (1891 & 1901 census) she was left well provided for and able to keep a family servant. By 1911 she was living in Camberwell with her adult children James, now a bank clerk and Mary a typist. 

Mary Florence never remarried and died in Worthing aged 84

CFHS transcripts of parish and census records
Family Search
British newspaper archives – The obituary used for James appeared in the Grantham Journal on Sat Oct 8th 1887

by Mary Naylor

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James Hamblin Smith; Mary Florence Smith