CFHS code : AG288

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : Sacred to the Memory of THOMAS WICKS d April 13 1851 in the 76th year of his age also MARY his wife d July 7 1808 aged 35 and of ROSE his second wife d Sept 17 1852

Monument : Celtic cross

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.203039, 0.13646755 – click here for location

Wicks headstone  2014 and the tableware found at the site of the Wicks’ home. Cambridge Archaeology Unit


This small Celtic cross is located four rows from the west wall. This area is generally overgrown but as there is a Commonwealth War Grave (Gentry) close by there is usually a path leading from the west path.


Sacred to the Memory of THOMAS WICKS Who departed this life April 13. 1851. In the 76th year of his age.

Also MARY his wife who died July 7 1808 aged 35

And of ROSE his second wife died Sept 17 1852

Thomas Wicks (1874 – 1851)

Thomas was the son of Henry and Sarah Wicks. He was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge on November 23rd 1774 and in 1792 was apprenticed as a cook to a Samuel Cook for 3 years.
He married Mary Claxton at St Mary’s Church Tuddenham, Suffolk on 22 September 1795. This would have been at the end of his apprenticeship.. It is not known if they lived in Tuddenham for a while but they were living in Cambridge when their third child was born in 1801. Mary died after the birth of their 7th child in 1808.

Two years after Mary’s death Thomas married Rose Grain. Thomas was cook at Emanuel College from 1807 until his death.  He owned a house opposite the college where he lived with Rose and his children.

In 1833 there was a thanksgiving service at all the churches in Cambridge for the ending of the cholera  epidemic. A Thomas Wicks, churchwarden, donated a picture to the church of St Andrew the Great believed to be an original portrait of Annibale Caracci. We do not know if this was this Thomas Wicks or his son.

His death was the subject of an inquest as it was very sudden.  The house servant Charlotte Townsend gave this statement :

“He had complained of a little pain in his chest. I gave him a Galls pill, a pill  he had been used to take.”
“On Sunday in the morning I heard Mrs (Mistress’) bell ring. I went to her room and found her on the side of the bed crying out master was dead. I went to master and found he was quite gone. It seemed as if he had gone in his sleep.”
The coroner recorded death by natural causes after the 12 jurors had concluded that he died by visitation of God.

Before the demolition and rebuilding of Robert Sayles  (now John Lewis) in 2006 the Cambridge Archaeological Unit were able to excavate the site and pottery with Thomas’ name on was uncovered.

After his death the premises at 21 St Andrew’s Street were let out and eventually sold by Auction in 1860. The house was described as having “Entrance Hall, Dining and Drawing Rooms, Four Bedrooms, two Kitchens, Pantry,  Store-room, Cellar, Water Closet,  a private office, a clerk’s office, and a small garden at the rear.

Mary Wicks née Claxton (1774 – 1808)

Mary was born in Tuddenham, Suffolk to Thomas & Sarah Claxton.

Thomas & Mary had at least 7 children: Thomas Claxton (1796 – 1805),  George (1798-1852), Ann (1801 – 1802), Ann (1802-1860), Mary (1804), Claxton (1806) and Thomas (1808). Claxton & Thomas were baptised 2 days after the burial of Mary.

Because Mary died in 1808 she is only commemorated here and would have been buried in the graveyard of St Benedict’s church.

Of the their children

Ann married a William Case in 1822 after she was widowed she married Count Antoine Ladislas Bzrezanski and died, a Countess, in Paris in 1860.

Claxton became a corn merchant and then a farmer. He sold his house & farm in Cherry Hinton in 1872 and in 1881 was with his son in Bichester, Oxfordshire.

Thomas married Elizabeth and they had 2 children before she died in 1839. He then married  widow Sarah Redfarn of Parkers Piece in February 1841. She was at least 20 years older than him. In July 1841 he put an advert in the Cambridge Chronicle “CAUTION I Thomas Wicks late of 17 Parker’s Piece do hereby give this public caution – that I will not be answerable for any debts my wife Sarah Wicks may here contract.”  Had he married a spendthrift or had her previous husband been a debtor? In 1851 he was in Norwich and Sarah lodging in Cambridge. Sarah died in Cambridge and Thomas went on to marry his housekeeper in 1876 and died in Yarmouth in 1892 aged 83.

Rose Wicks née Grain (1777 – 1872)

Rose was the daughter of Thomas & Sarah Grain. She was baptised at St Peter’s Church Horningsea on October 19th 1777. It is thought that her father Thomas may have been a farmer who died when she was 6.  The Grain family were related to the Burbage family. The Burbage  family lived next door to Thomas & Rose

When Rose married Thomas Wicks she was 33 and became stepmother to 5 children under 12. She does not seem to have had any children of her own. 

Rose died on September 15th 1852 at her home 6 Hills Road. Most of her estate of £300 was left to her stepson Claxton.

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This page is being edited by Mary Naylor

Cambridge Archaeological unit The full report of the excavations can be found here
Emanuel College servants in the 19th century by the late Rachael Wroth
CFHS transcripts of parish records
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Mary Wicks; Rose Wicks; Thomas Wicks