CFHS code : AG9

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : In Memory of MARY ANNE beloved wife of JOHN VAIL b Nov 1 1834 d Mar 1895 also JOHN VAIL b ——– d Dec — 1912

Monument : Celtic cross

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.20258597, 0.13729331 – click here for location

Vail monument June 2017


The tall cross, in the parish area of St Andrew the Great, is in dense undergrowth near the centre circle.


In Memory of MARY ANNE beloved wife of JOHN VAIL born Nov 1 1834 died Mar 1895

Also JOHN VAIL born [23. July 1837] died Dec — 1912

Mary Ann (née Barnes) Vail (1834 – 1895)

Mary Ann was born to Rebecca Barnes in the village of Heckfield, Hampshire. She was living with her mother or mother, grandmother and uncles in 1841 aged 8.  (It is also possible that these were her father’s family). By 1851 she was probably working as a servant and living with a different household. When she married John Vail, her occupation was given as a servant living in Cambridge.

John Vail (1837 – 1912)

John Vail in his mason’s regalia. This photo is held at the Cambridgeshire Collection.

John was the third child of John and Elizabeth Vail. He was born on July 23rd 1837 in Blue Lion Yard and baptised in the church of St Andrew the Great, Cambridge on August 13th that year. He followed his father into the family business of whitesmith (general ironmongers) and bell hangers. He became a notable figure in the town being on the Board of Guardians, a town councillor, a church warden and a mason.
On February 7th 1860 he married Mary Ann Barnes. They moved to 9 Clarendon Street, Cambridge. The couple had at least five children: (dates in brackets are baptism dates) Frances Mary (1862), Henry John (1863), Frederick Herbert (1865) John Barnes (1868) William Edward Bruce (privately baptised 1871).

The family moved to 2 Victoria Street c1864 and after the death of John Vail senior they moved to 1 Post Office Terrace and carried on the family business.

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Sources :

CFHS transcripts of parish records
Family Search
Cambridgeshire Collection

by Mary Naylor using information received from Susan Fahnstrom. You may contact Susan through us

John Vail; Mary Anne Vail