CFHS code : PL361

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : ARO WILLIAM BENNETT PIKE MA Formerly Scholar of Trinity Fellow & Tutor of Downing d 16 May 1873 aged 42 also ELIZABETH his wife d 18 Feb 1908 aged 71 also WILLIAM BENNETT their 2nd son Barrister who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea 8 Feb 1905 aged 32

Monument : Stone cross/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

The monument in January 2019.


This tall cross on a rough stone plinth is located 1 row to the west of the central path in the parish of St Paul’s. Mature ivy covers most of the monument and the small section that was cut away to reveal the inscription  revealed that it is quite hard to read.


east face
In Affectionate Remembrance of
WILLIAM BENNETT PIKE MA Formerly Scholar of Trinity, Fellow & Tutor of Downing d 16 May 1873 aged 42

Also ELIZABETH his wife d 18 Feb 1908 aged 71

Also WILLIAM BENNETT their 2nd son Barrister who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea 8 Feb 1905 aged 32

William Bennett Pike (17 August 1831 – 16 May 1873)

William Bennett Pike

William was born in Exeter and was the son of Richard and Mary Jane Pike.  His father was an actuary with the Devon & Exeter Savings Bank, and William attending Exeter school. He went up to Trinity College in March 1849 and obtained his BA at the college in 1853, before migrating to Downing  in 1855 where he obtained his MA.

He married Anne Elizabeth Fisher on 6th August 1864 at Marylebone Church, London when he was 32 years old.  They had at least six children together: Mary Helen Bennett (1866-1951), Annie Elizabeth Bennett (1867-1956), Constance Rose Bennett (1868-1930) Margaret Lilian Bennett (1870-1952), a son who died in infancy (c.1872), and William Bennett (1873-1905).

The family lived at 44 Parkside (Petersfield House) and then later at Paston House, Bateman Street. William was a fellow, tutor and chaplain of Downing College from 1855 until his death aged 42 years.   He had been ill for some time and newspapers of the time reported ‘the severity of the attacks from which he suffered increased, and his respected parents were summoned from Exeter to his bedside. On Saturday, we regret to state the case terminated fatally’. He died a wealthy man, leaving effects of just under £18,000 on his death (£1.4 in 2019 values).

His obituary reported that he was ‘endowed with refined and cultivated tastes for art and music, and possessed of the most amiable temper and the gentlest disposition. The taking of such a one in the very midst of life’s tenderest duties and surrounded by loving friends, is a blow that will long be felt by all who had intercourse with his bright spirit and gentle nature’

Anne Elizabeth Pike (née Fisher)  (7 August 1836 – 18 February 1908)

Anne with William Aubrey Monsell Pike

Elizabeth was born Anne Elizabeth in Paris. Her parents were Anthony Lax and Jane Fisher.  Anthony Fisher was a doctor and surgeon, and appears to have mainly worked overseas as her brother had been born in Napoli some 5 years earlier.  The family returned to live in London, and her mother died in London in March 1851 when Elizabeth was 15 years old.  By that time they were living at 9 Pall Mall East, where her father was described as a Parisian doctor and member of the College of Surgeons in London.  In 1861 Anne was living alone with her father at 14 York Place,  Portman Square, London with a governess, and four further servants including a footman.   She appears to have led a very comfortable life, and when her father died in 1867 he left £40,000 (£3.1m in 2019 values)

She married William Bennett Pike in London in 1864 when she was 27 years old.  He died less than 10 years later leaving her with five children – the last of whom was born two months after the death of William.

She married for a second time on 1st November 1875 to Rev James Amos.  He was a widower with six children: Rev Andrew Amos (1864-1931), Ada Frances (1865-1923), Herbert Gilbert McLachlan (1866-1924), Rev. James Perry Lax (1868-1958), Archibald Drakeford Craddock (1869-1943])and Margaret Cornelia Anna Louise (1871-1965).  His wife had died the same year as William Bennett Pike, and James had crossed over at Trinity College with William Pike.  James Amos’s father was a law tutor at Downing, and the family name of Lax runs in both families, so one can only presume that the families were well known to each other.

Elizabeth continued to live at Paston House with her new husband and extended family, although his parish was not in Cambridge.  James Amos was found dead in his dressing room at Paston House in March 1896, and Elizabeth was widowed for a second time.

In 1901 she was living alone at Paston House with an upper and under housemaid. She died there in February 1908 aged 71 years, leaving effects valued at £19,053 0d 6s. After her death Paston House was sold to St Mary’s School for £3,150 who continue to use the building as part of the school.

 William Bennett Pike (12 July 1873 – 8 February 1905)

William was the youngest child of William and Elizabeth Pike,  He was born in Cambridge just a few months after the death of his father and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 6th August 1873.  He grew up at Paston House with his step father James Amos. He went to Rugby School and then up to Trinity College in June 1892. He obtained his BA in 1895 and his MA in 1901.  He was called to the Bar in 1898, and practised on the South Eastern Circuit.

He married Anne Elizabeth Monsell (1880-1946) on 7th September 1904 at Adare Church, Limerick.  He died at sea, whilst a passenger aboard the P&O cruiser China.  P&O ship records show that he was reported missing on the 8th February and although the ship was searched no sign could be found of him.  On searching the cabin they found the porthole open, and his death was presumed to be ‘suicide by getting through the porthole of his cabin’.

The Yorkshire Post in February 1905 reported ‘the death of Mr W.B. Pike, a young barrister who was rapidly coming to the front in divorce and Admiralty work. Just recovering from an attack of influenza, Mr Pike was advised to try a sea voyage, and it appears that on Wednesday night he was lost overboard from a P&O steamer. The incident is rendered the more painful as Mr Pike was married as recently as September last’

His widow Anne Elizabeth commemorated his death on 18th November 1905 in Islington, his mother commemorated his death in Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge.  His son William Aubrey Monsell Pike (1905 – 1987) was born five months after his father’s death and grew up not knowing his father like William Bennett before him.

 Anne Pike married Sir William Henry Clark in December 1909. Sir William was  a distinguished civil servant, and she became Lady Anne Clark.  They later lived at Binnbrook, Grange Road, Cambridge and had two daughters together.  She died in 1946 and is buried at Ascension Burial Ground, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge together with her second husband.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

Many thanks to the Pike family for the family photos

[If you have any further information about this family, please contact us at]

Elizabeth Pike; William Bennett Pike; William Bennett Pike