CFHS code : ML9

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : IFMO JOHN MASSEY bur Oct 28 1875 age 79

Monument : Stone cross (broken)

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey



John Massey (c.1796 – 24 October 1875)

John is believed to have been the son of John and Mary and in 1851 was working as butler to the President of  Queen’s College.  It is thought that soon after he was made curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum (which had opened in 1848) and when his niece Mary Ann Massey married in June 1852 it was reported she was the niece of ‘Mr. John Massey of the Fitzwilliam Museum’.  In February 1855 the annual meeting of the Church of England Young Men’s Society reported that 50 volumes had been donated to their library – of these 10 had been donated by John. In April 1866 John’s wages were increased from £100 to £135 per annum, by the Senate. The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal reported that ‘for thirty-one years Mr. Massey  has faithfully fulfilled his duties’.  He is also known to have been a generous donor to the Victoria Benefit Societies’ Asylum and in October 1868 was appointed auditor of the newly formed Cambridge Junior Conservative Club.  John did not marry and lived at 11 Fitzwilliam Street. He died at home aged 79 years old and announcements of his death read ‘for many years curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum’.

He left an estate valued at c.£3,000 and the executors of his will were surgeon John Deighton, and college manciple Edward Haggis.  In October 1879 solicitors Poland Adcock offered a reward of £5 for anyone who could produce the baptismal certificate for either John or his brother George (1807-1844) , and adverts stated that they believed the brothers had been baptised in either Whittlesey or King’s Lynn. Records show that George Massey was baptised in Cambridge on 23 February 1812 and John Massey put his birth place as the parish of St. Clements on census returns.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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John Massey
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