CFHS code : PL376

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In Loving Memory of MARY WILSON GENN wife of B KING GENN b Sep 16 1815 d Feb 20 1879 also of the above B KING GENN d July 19 1886 age 81 and of WILLIAM GENN d Dec 25 1891 age 50

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey



Billett King Genn (c.1805 – 19 July 1886)

Billett was the son of Charles and Susanna [nee King] Genn. He appears to have been known by the name King throughout his life.  He was born in Ely, and baptised on 14th May 1805.  His mother died in December 1810 when he was 5 years old, and his father the following October.  It is not known who King was raised by, but on 27th October 1835 he married Mary Talbot at St Giles in the Field Church in London.

King and Mary had at least nine children: Mary Ann [1837-], Annette Talbot [1839-1921], William Henry [1841-1891], Susanna King [1844-1915], George Charles [1845-1887], John James [1846-1847], Emily [1847-1918], Martha [1850-] and Florence Kate [1862-1939].

King was a tailor, robemaker and hatter and had a shop on Rose Crescent. He was resident there from at least 1837 onwards and appears in city directories from this date. In April 1844 however the business appears to have entered difficulty and he exercised an indenture of assignment [a form of voluntary liquidation]. In the same month the local newspapers advertised the auction that took place on 18th April where King’s effects were auctioned for sale.  The items covered household items [4 post beds, feather bes and bedding, dining and ‘pembroke’ tables, plate, linen and kitchen requisites] as well as stock in trade [beaver and other hats, caps, silk, drill and lengths of twill].  Even his policy of assurance was auctioned – a policy which would pay out £500 in May 1857, and had a premium of £13, 8s and 9d per year.

The family lived briefly at Willow Walk, as that was where his son John James died in early 1847.  By 1851 they were at Brunswick Place, and King was had re-established himself as an accountant.  They were still living at Brunswick Place in 1858, but in 1861 were at Nelson Place.  The Cambridge Independent Press of 10th January 1863 reported a court case where King was taken to court to eject him from the ‘house, gardens and premises of Nelson’s Place’ – although the reason for his ejection is not described, he was unsuccessful in his opposition.

In 1871 he was living at 29 Bullen Place and continued to work as an accountant. He then moved to 16 Union Road, as that is where his wife Mary died in 1879.  King continued to live at Union Road, and in the census of 1881 was living there with his daughter Susannah – he was 75 years old at this point and his occupation is given as an accountant.

His death record shows that he died in Wandsworth in London aged 81 years old.

Mary Wilson Genn [nee Talbot] (16 September 1815 – 20 February 1879)

Mary was the daughter of William and Ann Talbot.  She was born in Cambridge and baptised on 8th November 1815. She married King Genn aged 20 years old.  She died aged 63 years old at 16 Union Road.

William Henry Genn (1841 – 25 December 1891)

William was the son of King and Mary Genn.    He grew up at  Rose Crescent, Willow Walk, Brunswick Place and Nelson Place. He was a landscape artist, although no records of his work as an artist can be found.  The local newspapers of the time showed the various prizes that he won, and exhibitions of local artwork where his work received special praise.  In 1863 he was a pupil teacher at the Cambridge School of Art.  In 1865 he was living at 31 Sun Street, and appears on the city poll book and electoral register as resident there and working as an artist. In 1869 he was living on Newmarket Road and working as an artist.  In 1871 he was living at home with his parents.

He married Emily Sarah Styles [1851-1933] on 18th April 1876 in Richmond, Surrey.  They had one daughter Violet Birdie Genn [1884-1962] at lived at 6 Holland Street, Victoria Road.  His painting of new scenery for the 1889 production by the Cambridge Conservative Club Bijou Amateur Players received special note in the newspapers.  He died on Christmas Day 1891 aged 50 years old.  He left an estate valued at £231 to his widow.

Claire Martinsen

Source: Ancestry/Newspaper archives

[If you have any further information about this family, please contact us at]

Billett King Genn; Mary Wilson Genn; William Genn