CFHS code : ML25

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : In Affectionate Remembrance of RICHARD SHILLETO MA Fellow of Peterhouse b 25 Nov 1809 d 24 Sept 1876 ISABELLA SHILLETO b 3 Sept 1838 d 16 Oct 1855 ISABELLA SNELGAR bur Sept 26 1871 age 81 RICHARD SHILLETO bur Dec 27 1878 age 44 ISABELLA SARAH HOMER SHILLETO bur Feb 8 1889 age 77 ARTHUR RICHARD SHILLETO bur Jan 25 1894 age 45

Monument : Cruciform Coped stone vault

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202781, 0.1378162 – click here for location

Shilleto and Snelgar grave
Shilleto and Snelgar monument


This cruciform coped stone, in the parish area of St Mary the Less, is located five rows north of the path from the centre circle to the east path and two rows east.


In Affectionate Remembrance of

RICHARD SHILLETO MA Fellow of Peterhouse b 25 Nov 1809 d 24 Sept 1876 ISABELLA SHILLETO b 3 Sept 1838 d 16 Oct 1855

ISABELLA SNELGAR bur Sept 26 1871 age 81

RICHARD SHILLETO bur Dec 27 1878 age 44


ARTHUR RICHARD SHILLETO bur Jan 25 1894 age 45

Richard Shilletto (1809-1876)

Richard was born in Ulleskelf, near Tadcaster in the West Riding of Yorkshire on 25 November 1809, the second son of John Shilleto. He attended Repton School in Derbyshire and Shrewsbury School in Shropshire, where he was Head Boy. He was admitted to Trinity College, as a pensioner, on 12 February 1828, matriculating in 1828. He gained his BA in the Classical Tripos in 1832 and MA in 1835. After his BA at that time it was necessary for a candidate for Classical honours to proceed in the Mathematical Tripos which he also completed – he passed, however was bracketed in last place receiving ‘the wooden spoon’. In the Classical Tripos he was placed second in the first class.

On 23 December 1838 he was ordained as deacon in Gloucester and as a priest on 22 December 1839.
He married Isabella Sarah Homer Snelgar on 7 January 1834.

In the 1841 census they were recorded at 2 Hills Road along with their four children, Isabella’s parents, and several servants. It is likely that no 2 was Wanstead House on the corner of Union Lane.

Richard and Isabella had a large family: Richard [1834-1878], John Hawtrey Richard [1837-1895], Isabella (1836-1836 9 months), Isabella [1838-1855], Catherine Isabella [1840-1855], Edward Richard (1841 – 1842 9 months), William Richard [1842- 1842 6 weeks], Ellen Isabella [1844-1920], Edward Richard [1846-1913], Arthur Richard [1848 – 1894], William Frederick Richard [1849-1915], Mary Whymper Isabella [1851-1900].
The 3 children who died in infancy were buried in Great St Mary’s churchyard in the centre of Cambridge. Their monument was recorded by CFHS but has not been located to photograph.

From 1843-1845 he was Assistant Master at Harrow School. In 1851 the family were living at 5 Park Terrace, and the census described Richard as a clergyman without cure of souls [effectively without a parish]. By 1861 they were living on Trumpington Street, and he was once again described as a clergyman without cure. By 1871 Richard and his family were living at 1 Scroope Terrace and he was by then a fellow of Peterhouse. He died at his home at 4 Bateman Street in 1876 aged 66 years old. He had reportedly been in ill health for some months before his death.
Newspapers of the time feature his name often in correspondence as he worked largely as a tutor [he was called the great Cambridge Coach post humorously] and there were various articles about the role of tutors in the town. The report of his death in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal [30th September 1876] sheds more light on his difficult relationship with the University at times. ‘The deceased ..was justly considered on of the most accomplished Greek scholars in the University’. But despite Richard Shilleto graduating with very high honours in the Classical Tripos and being a peer of illustrious fellow scholars who went on to receive the highest positions in the University, he never did rise to the top level. It was his decision to marry Isabella in 1838 which made it impossible for him to receive a fellowship and therefore progress academically. It was not until 1867 that the Master and Fellows of Peterhouse ‘recognised his 40 years of labour in the University by electing him to a Fellowship on account of his eminence in classical learning’. Richard Shilleto was the first married man to receive a Fellowship from the University.

His inability to work directly in the University system for so many years made him turn to tutoring as a career. He was said to have instructed ‘the majority of the best classical scholars in the University’ – including Lord Lyttleton. One University scholar wrote after his death ‘in Mr Shilleto Cambridge and even England have lost one of their most eminent scholars. Though his knowledge of Latin was very far above the average of that of even professed scholars, it was not to be compared with his knowledge of Greek for the delicacies and fine shades of which language he had a very wonderful sensibility. His acquaintance with the facts of the Greek language was unequalled’. The tutoring business was said to be highly profitable but was said to leave him with little time outside working and his family. However in1839 and 1840 he was one of the examiners for the Classical Tripos, and he did some lectures at both Trinity and Kings College. He was described after his death as having ‘a kindly and social disposition’

Isabella Shilleto (1838-1855)

Isabella was born on 3 September 1838, the daughter of Richard and Isabella Shilleto. She was baptised on 6th July 1843 aged 4 years old. She grew up at 5 Park Terrace [1851] and died on 16 October 1855 aged 17 years old.

Isabella Snelgar (nee Treacher) (c 1790 – 1871)

Isabella was the mother of Isabella Shilleto – Richard’s wife. She was born in High Wycombe, and was the daughter of chairmaker Samuel Treacher and his wife Lydia. She married Jacob Snelgar in High Wycombe on 19th December 1809. They had at least two children: Isabella Sarah Homer and Jacob Bannister [1814-1855].

Jacob Snelgar [1788-1843] was born in Wareham and educated at Hoxton Dissenting College. He became a dissenting minister at High Wycombe around the time of his marriage to Isabella in 1809. He later was a minister at Hampstead, before joining the Church of England. He went to St John’s College Cambridge in 1831 as a ‘ten year man’. Under the University’s statutes of 1570 a man over twenty-four could proceed to a BD degree ten years after matriculation without first gaining a BA or MA degree.   The ten-year route was used by men who had already been ordained as clergy and wanted to increase their status by taking a degree, and Jacob Snelgar followed in this pattern. He was ordained as a Church of England priest on 2nd June 1833. He was at first curate of Banningham and Burgh in Norfolk, before becoming Vicar of Royston. He died by hanging himself in his bedroom on 13th July 1843 when he was 55 years old. The reports into his death reported that he had been very unsettled for the last 12 months of his life. Witnesses at the inquest reported that ‘the extraordinary nature of his sermons during the last twelve months was quite sufficient to establish the fact of his insanity’. He also thought that the Rural Dean was treating him cruelly and that certain members of the congregation were reporting allegations of him to the Bishop. Clearly this must have been a very difficult time for Isabella.

Jacob and Isabella’s son Jacob Bannister was born in High Wycome, and went up to Jesus College Cambridge in 1835. He too became a priest and was ordained in 1840. He was curate of Barnack, Northampton [1840-1843], and then in Mathon, Worcestershire [1843-1845]. He too suffered from mental health problems and was hospitalised from January 1846 until his death in May 1855 aged 41 years old.

Isabella lived with her daughter and son-in-law from at least 1851 onwards. Firstly at 5 Park Terrace, then Trumpington Street, and 1 Scroope Terrace. She died on 26 September 1871 at Scroope Terrace, leaving her effects to Isabella ‘the only next of kin’.

Richard Shilleto (1834-  1878)

Richard was born on 1 November 1834, the eldest child of Richard and Isabella Shilleto. He was baptised on 12th February 1835. Richard went to school at Eton College. He married famer’s daughter Sarah Varley in Slaithwaite, Yorkshire on 24th July 1861. Sarah and Richard had two children: Percival Richard [1862-1899] and Maude Gertrude Varley [1870-1945].

Richard appears to have abandoned his family and in 1871 was living as a lodger with robemaker James Bullis and his family at 69 King Street. His occupation on the census was described as ‘printer reader unemployed’. His wife Sarah Shilleto had to go to court to get money for the children. An order for payment was made by the courts in Huddersfield on 9th March 1872, but it appears that no money was forthcoming. She then took his father Richard [Senior] to court in April 1872 claiming money of £1 per week for the children from their grandfather. The case was reported in the Cambridge Chronicle on 20th April. Richard [Senior] was said to have an income of £1,500 per annum which he disputed and he claimed not to have the funds to pay for his grandchildren. Richard Junior was told by his wife’s lawyers that he should work outside to support his wife, and if this was not possible he should work in the workhouse. Instead he was said to be walking around Cambridge ‘like a gentleman’ saying he had no intention of working.

Richard died in Cambridge aged 44 years old on 22 December 1878. Sarah Shilleto remarried in September 1880 to letter press printer George Hall Woodhouse. She died in Salford in 1909.

 Isabella Sarah Homer Shilleto (1811 – 1889)

Isabella was born on 2 April 1811 in High Wycombe and was the daughter of Jacob and Isabella Snelgar. She was baptised at the Crenden Lane Independent Meeting House in High Wycombe on 5th May 1811. She married Richard Shilleto on 7th January 1834 when she was 22 years old.

She was widowed in 1876 and continued to live at 4 Bateman Street with her daughter Catherine and son William Frederick [1881]. She died at Bateman Street on 8 February 1889 aged 77 years old.

Arthur Richard Shilleto (1848 – 1894)

Arthur was born on 18  June 1848, the sixth son of Richard and Isabella. He was baptised at St Mary the Less Church on 23rd September 1853. Arthur went to school at Harrow, and then to Trinity College in April 1867. He got his BA in 1871 and his MA in 1876. He was ordained as a priest in 1872. He was curate of Lambourne in Essex [1871-1873], curate of Hoxton, London [1874-1875],curate of Haigh in Lancashire [1876], curate of Satterthwaite in Lancashire [1881-1883] and curate of Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire [1883-1885].

He was also a school master and was second master of King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford on Avon [1877-1879] and then Head Master of Ulverston School [1879-1883].

He married Rose Blanche Storey on 25th November 1874 at Ridgeway in Derbyshire. They had four daughters: Alice Isabel [1875-], Amy Rose [1876-1972], Frederica Mary [1877-1959] and Margaret Elizabeth [1879-]. The marriage does not appear to have been a harmonious one, as less than two years after getting married Rose applied for a divorce on 25th October 1876, but it was withdrawn on 21st February 1877.

After 1885 the family had returned to Cambridge and were living at at 40 Milton Road where Arthur took work as a classical tutor like his father before him. He published translations of Pausanias, Plutarch’s Morals and Josephus, and annotated Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. Reports of his life describe him as ‘mentally diseased for some years before his death’. He was hospitalised in Camberwell on 10th January 1894 and died there on the 19th aged 45 years old.

Rose Shilleto moved with her daughters to Bournemouth where she ran a lodging house. She died in October 1929 aged 77 years old.

ACAD – A Cambridge Alumni Database
Newspaper archives
CFHS transcripts of census and parish records

by Sheila Plaister and Claire Martinsen

Arthur Richard Shilleto; Isabella Shilleto; Isabella Sarah Homer Shilleto; Richard Shilleto; Isabella Snelgar