CFHS code : MG104

Parish : St Mary the Great

Inscription : In Loving Memory of GEORGE BENFIELD d July 8 1921 aged 69

Monument : Stone cross/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202149, 0.1379761 – click here for location

Benfield grave
Benfield cross


Rough stone base with cross. inscribed with metal letters which are intact. Roughly 7 rows west of the east path


Who passed away July 8 1921 aged 69 years
“Till the day break.”

George Herd Benfield (1852 –  8 July 1921)

George was the son of George & Ann (née Barker) Benfield  and was given the middle name of Herd after his paternal grandmother’s maiden name.  His father worked as  a college servant and in 1871 the family were living at 79 Castle Street.  Aged 17 George (Jnr) was also documented as being a college servant.

In 1881 he was working as an assistant school master at the Farm School for Boys in Reigate, which was a school for young criminals and the children of criminals. He married Phillis Collyer (1857-1946) in Cambridge in 1886 and they had five children: Charles Harold (1886-1953),  Claud William Collyer (1889-1973), Oscar Barker (1892-1917), Edith Gladys (1898-1983) and Alice Amelia Phillis (1901-1961).  George worked as head porter at Selwyn College (1891/1901) and then as head porter at Peterhouse. The family lived at 26 Green Street (1891), 29 St. Mary’s Street (1901), 26 Trinity Street (1907) and The Lodge, Warkworth Street (1911).

In June 1907 George was charged by Ernest Lyon of causing £2, 12s and 6d of damage to his cycle as a result of a collision.  George counter sued for £1, 18s and 6d for personal injuries.  Ernest had been cycling along Sidney Street at nine o’clock one evening when he alleged George had come out of Green Street on the wrong side and although he had called out to George to warn him they had collided.  George refused to give his name or details and rode off, but was later identified by a passer by.  He cycled past ten minutes later and was apprehended by a policeman who had been called by Ernest Lyon.  George Benfield stated that Ernest had been riding at 14 m.p.h. and showed  the policeman his grazed finger. Ernest had later taken an estimate of the cycle damage to George but he had ‘absolutely refused to have anything to do with it’ so the case was taken to the magistrate’s court. George testified that he had got to the top of Green Street and seen three cycles riding abreast, behind them two horse and carts and behind those Ernest Lyon ‘travelling at a very fast rate – from 12 to 14 miles an hour’.  He said he had bruised his right leg from top to bottom, his hand was bleeding and as a result had laid in bed for three days, attended by a doctor.  The case was found for George Benfield on the grounds of the fact he had done everything he could to prevent the collision, but his claim for counter damages was dismissed.

George and Phillis retired to live at 70 Mawson Road (at least 1916 onwards) and died there in July 1921.

Phillis Benfield moved to live at 33 Emery Street (1939) and lived with daughter Alice, who was a nurse.  She died in Cardiff at the home of her other daughter Edith.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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George Herd Benfield