Parish : St Bene’t

Note: This grave has no monument, and may never have had one; but the burial is verified by the parish Burial Register.  The location of the burial plot is unknown but is in the parish area of St Bene’t.

Anderson Marsh (1822‒1871)

Anderson Marsh was born c.May 1822 in Cambridge, son of James Marsh (1789‒1871), cabinet maker, and his wife Ann (née Radford), of King Street, Cambridge, and baptised on 18 May 1823 at the age of 12 months.  He had six elder siblings, William (1811‒), Thomas (1812‒), Mary Ann (1814‒), Harriett (1816‒; later married as Harriet Hazell), Sarah (1818‒) and Martha (1819‒), and by 1841 at least six younger siblings: Emma (c.1824‒), John (c.1826‒), Elizabeth (c.1828‒30), Eliza (c.1830‒), Ann/Anne Maria (1832‒) and James (1834‒).  (Of these, William was sentenced to transportation aged 13, and remained in Australia all his life; and Harriet had an illegitimate daughter, Frances, who emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 17.)  Whereas three of his siblings worked as servants, and one was a master plumber and glazier, Anderson himself was already apprenticed at the age of 19.  We know from his regimental report that his trade, like that of his father, was cabinet maker.

James and Ann continued to live on King Street, the street number being cited in 1861 as 67.  In the 1851 census, James’s occupation was still “cabinet maker”, and Ann’s was “greengrocer”.  At that time, the couple had living with them one son (John), and four grandchildren with surnames Marsh and Rogers.  In the 1861 census, when the household comprised just the parents, James’s was “cabinet maker & greengrocer”, with no occupation against Ann’s name.  James died on 31 January 1871 of “Senectus” (i.e. old age), his address at that time being given as 57 King Street.

To return now to Anderson: he abandoned his trade in 1847 and joined the army, serving for nine years and eleven months with the 15th The King’s Hussars, a cavalry regiment that served in India from 1840 to 1854.  Anderson thus served much of his time in Bangalore, in the southern state of Karnataka in British India.  During this unusually long period of service abroad he seems to have experienced ill-health – very likely mental illness: at the 1871 inquest his brother Thomas gave evidence that while in India he had suffered “two sun-strokes, and was quite out of his mind”.  A report by his colonel dated 3 March 1857 described him as “inefficient”, and stated: “it appears that his conduct has been that of an indifferent soldier and is not in [illegible word] of a distinguishing mark”.  Ultimately, however, he was given his discharge on grounds of physical illness at Chatham, Kent, on 7 April 1857, a month before his 35th birthday, the cause given being a large inguinal hernia in the right groin that rendered him “unfit for further service”.

His whereabouts at the time of the 1861 England census are unknown; but we know that he returned to Cambridge in 1861, where his father and now just three of his siblings still lived.  In that year, there was a dispute between the Guardians of the Cambridge Union Workhouse at 81A Mill Road and the Guardians of St Giles, Cripplegate, in London, as to whose responsibility Marsh was, though the details are unclear.  According to his brother Thomas “For some time he had appeared very strange, and like a lost man; was very irritable, and could never bear to be spoken to, but was not given to drink”. He was in and out of the Cambridge Workhouse over a period of many years.  The workhouse punishment book includes two entries relating to him:

15 June 1863: offence: neglect of work & insolence to Master; punishment: confined to the lockup 4 hours
22 December 1863: offence refusing to work; punishment: confined in receiving ward 10 hours.

In the Workhouse’s 1871 census return, he is listed as an “inmate [aged] 50”.  There was clearly some paranoia, for his sister reported him saying that they “were building a place in the Union to smother him ‒ he had heard them whispering to one another about it”.  He sought help from the vicar of Christ Church, who tried in vain to free him from his “delusion”.

Anderson took his own life on 1 May 1871, aged 49.  A witness gave evidence that about 6.15 p.m.:

whilst crossing Midsummer Common, [I] saw deceased deliberately cut his throat twice with a razor, causing frightful wounds.  [I] ran up, and after some trou­ble, took away the razor (produced); and sent a passer-by for medical aid”.

He was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but died later that evening.  The inquest on his death returned a verdict of “temporary insanity”.  (Click here for inquest report.)

His body was buried in the parish area of St Benedict (Bene’t) in Mill Road Cemetery on 5 May ― The Addenbrooke’s site at the time lay on the east side of Trumpington Street (now the Judge Business School) within the parish boundaries of St Bene’t’s Church, hence the bodies of many of those who died there were laid to rest in that area of the cemetery.

England census reports 1841-1871
England Select Births and Christenings 1538‒1975
15th Hussars: discharge report (16,372) and medical report
St Bene’t’s Church, Cambridge, burial register
Cambridge Chronicle, 6 May 1871
Cambridge Independent Press, 16 and 23 February, 23 March 1861

By Jill Bowden (fourth great niece of Anderson March) and Ian Bent

Anderson Marsh