CFHS code : ML52

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : JAMES PRIME d aged — July 18 1869 also ELIZABETH ANN PRIME daughter d Jan 9 1916 aged 82 also SARAH ANN PRIME d Jan 28 1882 aged 70

Monument : Stone cross (broken)

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202787, 0.13797747 – click here for location



James Prime (c.1809 – 18 July 1869)

James was born in Kingston,  a village seven miles west of Cambridge and was the illegitimate son of Catherine. He was baptised on 30  October 1814 in Kingston and married Sarah Smith on 7 October 1832 at St. Giles’ Church, Cambridge. James was a boatwright (1841) and later worked as a boat builder.  He and Sarah had at least five children: Elizabeth Ann (1833-1916), Ann (1835-), Thomas James (known as James) (1840-1918), Sarah Jane (known as Jane) (1844-1917) and Mary Louisa (1847-1932). The family lived at Victoria Road (1841), Ely Road (1851) and 5 Milton Road (at least 1861 onwards).

James worked in partnership with Isaac Strange from Chesterton Road and the men also rented out boats on the Cam.  In March 1861 some of their boats were fastened near Garrett Hostel Bridge and were ‘let loose’ by Alfred Rutt and Martin Johnson.  At court Rutt and Johnson said that they had broken the chains because James and Isaac were ‘infringing upon the privileges of Mr Rutt, sen. which he had enjoyed for upwards of 39 years and that the complainants were endevouring to get his customers away’.  In July 1866 James Prime and Isaac Strange were charged with taking fish of of the Cam ‘the private property of Mr. R.P. Clayton, fishmonger’.  The police had seen the two men in a boat with a net ready to cast and an ‘eel gleave’.  They had been observed taking a can out of the boat and putting a fish into it. At court Isaac Strange said he had been taking a piece of wood out of the water and that the can was actually full of mud rather than fish. However the magistrates accepted the police statements and the two men were fined 1s each plus costs.

James died at Milton Road ‘after a few hours illness’. His son James Prime, jun took over the running of the business.

Elizabeth Ann Prime (1833 – 9 January 1916)

Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of James and Sarah. Aged 28 she was working as cook for Henry Cookson, the Master of St. Peter’s College and was then cook for a clergyman at 12 Scrope Terrace (1871). By 1891 she was living with her brother James Prime and his family at 23 Silver Street, and then ran a University Lodging House from 2 Silver Street (at least 1894 onwards).  Elizabeth died at 2 Silver Street and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 13 January.

Sarah Ann Prime (née Smith)  (1812 – 28 January 1882)

Sarah was born in Balsham, nine miles south east of Cambridge and married James Prime when she was 20 years old. After she was widowed she lived at 5 Milton Road (1871) and then 13 Mill Lane with son James and his family (1881).



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Elizabeth Ann Prime; James Prime; Sarah Ann Prime