Lazarus Potter Marsh was born in West Wratting (a village south-east of Cambridge) in about 1855/56, the son of John Precious Marsh, a farm worker and local Methodist preacher, and Mary (née Potter). Lazarus had moved to Cambridge by 1881, when he was lodging with his sister and husband in the Kite district, and was by then a police constable in the Cambridge Borough Police Force.
Lazarus married Elizabeth Mary (née Benson) in 1884 and by 1891 they were living in a tied police house, 48 Covent Garden, in the Mill Road area. By 1895, Lazarus had been promoted to the rank of detective police constable, by 1913 to that of detective police sergeant and by 1922 he had retired. He continued to live in the Covent Garden house until his death in 1938.
The name ‘Lazarus’ comes from the New Testament of the Bible. Biblical names were common in Victorian England, especially among those families whose religion was Methodist or Baptist – and we have already seen that Lazarus’s father was a Methodist preacher. Of the two people of that name in the Bible, (1) Lazarus of Bethany was restored to life by Jesus four days after his death, the miracle being known as the ‘raising of Lazarus’ (St John’s Gospel, chap 11, vss 1–43); (2) Lazarus was a beggar who lay at the gates of a rich man’s house but was given nothing; when the two men died, Lazarus was carried to heaven by angels, whereas the rich man went to hell; the story is generally known as ‘Dives and Lazarus’ (St Luke’s Gospel, chap 16, vss 19–31). Lazarus Marsh had a brother named ‘Moses’, another Biblical name, this time from the Old Testament.
Lazarus’s middle name, ‘Potter’, was the surname of his mother before marriage.
Parish : St Clement
census returns 1861–1911
Spalding Cambridge street directories
General Record Office indexes of births, marriages and deaths
International Genealogical Index (IGI)
British Army WWI Pensions Records (National Archives).
By Ian Bent with thanks to Judy Lester