CFHS code : BE136

Parish : St Bene’t

Inscription : In Memory of ROBERT THOMAS GREEF d Jan 28 1876 in his 43rd year also LOUISA the beloved wife of ROBERT THOMAS GREEF d Jan 9 1913 in her 85th year also of LOUISA ELLEN infant daughter of ROBERT THOMAS GREEF d ———– age — weeks

Monument : Stone cross

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202542, 0.13612173 – click here for location

Greef monument October 2017


This broken cross, in the parish area of St Bene’t is located on the west of the western path.  The cross is behind the plinth.


east face
In Memory of ROBERT THOMAS GREEF who died Jan 28 1876 in his 43rd year.

south face
Also LOUISA the beloved wife of ROBERT THOMAS GREEF died Jan 9 1913 in her 85th year.

north face
Also of LOUISA ELLEN infant daughter of ROBERT THOMAS GREEF died August — 1864 age 6 weeks

Robert Thomas Greef (1833 – 1876) 

 Robert was the third child of Thomas and Ann Elizabeth Greef. He was baptised in the parish church of St Benedict on July 10th 1833 when the family were living on King’s Parade. His grandfather Thomas Greef and his great uncle Robert Greef, both of Swaffham, Norfolk had helped to found the well known plumbing and glazing business ‘Westwood and Greef’ on King’s Parade in the late 1700s. It was a successful business, working extensively for the University. However, a recurring problem adversely affected the health of the company: premature death.  Robert Thomas’s own father, Thomas Greef (born in 1801 in Swaffham) died in Cambridge in 1838 aged just 37. Thomas Robert’s mother Ann Greef (nee Scaplehorn) was was left with three children under 11 but took on the running of the business after her husband’s death. Her elder son, Thomas Robert Greef died in 1846 aged 18.  Robert Thomas was the youngest child and for 20 years worked in the family business, but when he died at the age of 42 he left no heir.

He married Louisa Headdey at All Saints Church, Cambridge, on July 7th 1863

Louisa Greef (née Headdey) (1829 – 1913) 

Louisa was born in Cambridge in 1829, the fourth  child of William Watson and Elizabeth Chess (née Headley) Headdey. Her father was a butler at Clare Hall. Louisa grew up in Rhadegund buildings, Jesus Lane. Later the family moved to Wray’s Court off Sidney Street. Before her marriage she worked as a governess.
Following the death of her husband Robert Thomas Greef in 1876, she assumed responsibility for running the plumbing business, just as her mother-in-law had done in the previous generation. But unlike Ann Greef, Louisa bore no male heir. Her only known child, Louisa Ellen Greef, was born and also died in 1864. Instead, she looked to her nephew, Henry Edward Fuller (born 1858) to help continue the plumbing service. Henry even legally changed his name to Henry Edward Greef. Louisa died on 13th January 1913. It is believed that Henry continued the company until his death in 1942. He donated a beer jug named in memory of  Thomas Greef  which is now on display at the Museum of Cambridge.

Louisa Ellen Greef (1864 – 1864)

Louisa was the only child of Robert and Louisa. Her birth and death took place at the family home and business on Kings Parade.

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

Greef family Archive
CFHS parish and census records

by Mary Naylor from information supplied by a descendant.

Louisa Greef; Louisa Ellen Greef; Robert Thomas Greef