CFHS code : PL224b

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In loving memory of MARY SUSANNA STOKES who died December 30 1899 aged 75 years

This grave was not located and recorded by the Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.2021969, 0.13617858 – click here for location

Stokes wife grave
Stokes wife monument

Monument

This monument is grave 42 in row 14 of the St Paul’s parish area and was not located by the CFHS survey.  The Sexton’s grave register reports it as follows:

XIV/42
Mary Susanna Stokes                   Jany 3rd 1900   [Aged] 75 brick
George Gabriel Stokes                 Feb 5 1903      [Aged] 83

This stone cross on double plinth, the cross now lost and the top plinth stone badly cracked, with brick vault below, is located near the junction of the southern and western paths, across the western path from the Lodge.

Inscription

‘In loving memory of Mary Susanna Stokes
who died December 30 1899 aged 75 years’
“My peace be unto you.”

[There is no visible inscription to George Gabriel Stokes, but the Sexton’s record and the funeral description ascertain the presence of his body.]

Relationships

Mary Susanna and Sir George Gabriel Stokes were husband and wife. Two of their five children, Susanna Elizabeth and William George Gabriel, are buried in the neighbouring grave plot (see illustration of the two graves below).

Mary Susanna Stokes (née Robinson) (c.1825‒99)

Mary Susanna was born in about 1825 in Ireland. She was one of three children born to the Revd Thomas Romney Robinson (1792‒1882) and his first wife, Elizabeth Robinson (née Rambaut) (c.1792‒1839).

Mary married George Gabriel Stokes on 4 July 1857 in Armagh, Ireland.  The couple lived subsequently in Cambridge, and had five children: Arthur Romney (1858‒1916), Susanna Elizabeth (1859‒63), Isabella Lucy (1861‒1934), William George Gabriel (1863‒93), and Dora Susanna (c.1868‒68).

At the time of the 1861 and 1871 census reports, one of Mary’s relatives, Maria Edgeworth (c.1840‒?), was staying as a visitor in the household.  Maria was a relative of Mary’s step-mother, Lucy Jane Robinson (née Edgeworth) (1805‒98).  At some point after the death of Mary’s father in 1882 her step-mother came over from Ireland to live with the Stokes household in Cambridge.

Mary Susanna died on 30 December 1899 in Ireland, and was buried in Cambridge on 3 January 1900 at St Paul’s Church and Mill Road Cemetery. See funeral report.

Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Bart (1819–1903) – see also life story page

George Gabriel Stokes was born in Skreen, County Sligo, Ireland on 13 August 1819, the son of a Protestant minister. He entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1837 to read mathematics, and graduated ‘senior wrangler’ (i.e. the highest-scoring mathematician of his year) in 1841. He was immediately awarded a fellowship of the college, beginning his research, publishing papers, and becoming recognized as a leading mathematician.  The 1841 census reports him as a fellow of the college, the 1851 census records him as Professor of Mathematics, presumably living in the college on both occasions.

In 1857 he married Mary Susannah Robinson (c.1825–99), the daughter of the Dublin-born Rev. Thomas Romney Robinson (1792–1882), astronomer, physicist, director of the Armagh Astronomical Observatory in Northern Ireland. At that time, fellows of Cambridge colleges were required not to be married, so Stokes resigned his fellowship, taking it up again in 1862 when that rule was changed.

The family home was ‘Lensfield’ – a house on Lensfield Road, the site of which is now occupied by the Scott Polar Institute. Stokes and his wife had five children: Arthur Romney (1858-1916), Susanna Elizabeth (1859–63), Isabella Lucy (1861–1934),William George Gabriel (1863–93), and Dora Susanna (c.1868–1868). Of these, Susanna and William are buried in the St Paul’s area of Mill Road Cemetery, as is his wife.

Isabella married Lawrence Humphry (1856–1920), Physician to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in 1889, and she and her husband are buried in the St Mary the Great area of the cemetery.  By the time of George Gabriel Stokes’s death on 1 February 1903 aged 81, Isabella and Lawrence had moved into ‘Lensfield’ and Lawrence was head of household.

Sources:

Census reports: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538–1975
Ireland, Select Marriages, 1619-1898
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1966
Memoirs and Scientific Correspondence of the late Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Bart., ed. Joseph Larmor (Cambridge
University Press, rev 2010), p. 49 (by Isabella Lucy Humphry [née Stokes])
Private communications from Dr Simon Brook, Archivist of St Paul’s Church, Cambridge

By Stephen Morris, Emma Easterbrook and Ian Bent

Mary Susanna Stokes: Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Bart