CFHS code : ML80

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : RIP FRANCIS HALL for 22 years he faithfully served the office of Sergeant-at-Mace in the Corporation of this Town and was also Verger at Kings College Chapel in the Town for 16 years d [17] Dec 1877 age 70 also WILLIAM HALL eldest son of the above d July 12 1909 age 74

Monument : Headstone

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202671, 0.13744504 – click here for location

Hall grave
Hall headstone


Decorative headstone, with top of stone broken; rondel with crown and stars; lettering in Gothic (originally partly coloured) and Roman typefaces. The headstone stands prominently in the southern part of the centre circle.

Hall inscription
Hall inscription


“Until the day break and the shadows flee away” [arranged around an haut-relief rondel with crown and four stars]

“Rest in peace”

‘Francis Hall
for 22 years he faithfully served the office of Sergeant-at-Mace to the Corporation of this Town
and was also Verger at King’s College Chapel in the Town for 16 years
he departed this life on the [illeg] day of
December 1877 aged 70’

[four lines of quotation illegible]

‘also William Hall
eldest son of the above
died July 12 1909 aged 74’

“Peace perfect peace”

Francis Hall  (1807 – 17 December 1877) see also Life Story page

Francis was born in Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire and was the son of William.  He married Mary Ekins in Eaton Socon on 26 October 1830.  They had at least three children: Sellis (1832-1852), William (1835-1909) and Charles (1838-).   He was widowed and married Lydia Looker (1807-1888) in Godmanchester on 6 September 1844. He and Lydia hada further two children: Martha (1846-1920) and Thomas (1848-)

In January 1840 Francis and John Ekins (presumably his brother in law) auctioned ‘a piece of freehold garden ground, valuable orchard, building site, a compfortable small residence and 11 cottages, yard and gardens situate near the turning of the road from Eaton Socon to St. Neots in the occupation of respectable tenants at low rents amounting to £90 a year’.  By 1851 he had moved to  11 Butchers’ Row in Cambridge.  When the census was taken he was  working as a publican and living at Butchers’ Row with his three sons and lodger William Dunn. Lydia meanwhile was living in Godmanchester with son Thomas and running a ‘small infant school’. In 1861 he was running The White Swan at 36 Petty Cury and by at least 1871 had moved to live at 2 Little St. Mary’s Lane.

Francis was the verger of King’s College Chapel for 16 years and was also Seargent-at-Mace from at least 1856 onwards (read here to learn more about the role).  In September 1870 he charged Mary Ann Smith for begging.  Mary had come to his home at 2 Little St. Mary’s Lane and asked for alms.  When he had refused she had reportedly become abusive.  Mary was sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment.

He died at Little St. Mary’s Lane aged 70 years old.  Lydia went to live with her daughter Martha and her family in Newmarket and died there in 1888.

William Hall (1835 – 12 July 1909)

William was the son of Francis and Mary Hall and was born in Eaton Socon – although the grave monument says he was the eldest son, he was actually the second son. He married Mary Phillips (1831-1864) on 12 November 1854 at Saffron Walden. In 1851 Mary had been working as  a servant for stonemason Thomas Tomson, who at that time was employing 8 men in his business. William Hall was  a stonemason who worked for Tomson for some time and this is probably how they met.  The couple lived at 2 Portland Place, New Square and had at least five children: Harry Ekins (1855-1930), Edward Humphrey (1857-1863), Eliza Charlotte (1859-1938), Louisa Mary (1861-1947) and Andrew William (1863-1945). Mary died at Portland Place on 25 May 1864 aged 33 years old.

William married for a second time in 1865 to Lucy Chapman (1834-) and they had at least four children: Helen (1866-), Walter (1867-), Caroline (1869-) and Lucy Lydia (1872-1925).  They lived at 183 East Road (1871), 99 Ainsworth Street (1881) and 20 Union Terrace (later known as Mawson Road) (1901).

William worked as a stonemason and in August 1898 was charged with stealing two hammers from fellow stonemason George Bailey of 42 Mill Road.  He had pawned the hammers at two different pawn shops and been advanced 9d on one, and 1s 6d on the other.  William initially denied having stolen the hammers, but then admitted that he ‘had had a drop of drink at the time and ran short and pledged them to get some money’. He said he had wanted the money in order to purchase paint.  George Bailey said he would have loaned William the money if he had only asked.  The magistrates moved the charge to the lesser offence of ‘unlawful pawning’.  He was ordered to repay the pawnbrokers and pay a fine of 15s or 14 days imprisonment.

In June 1899 William once again appeared in court charged with assaulting fellow stonemason Thomas Stanbridge.  The Mill Road Custodian  (Mr A. Lyon)  had seen William and his son Walter enter the cemetery with a headstone in a handcart.  Because there was a funeral taking place at the time he asked if they had permission but they would not stop and told him to ‘get out of the way or we’ll run over you’.  A tussle followed where Thomas Stanbridge was thown under the wheel of a funeral coach and was injured as a result.  William was then reported to have got abusive and the mourners were disturbed. Walter Hall was said to have taken ‘off his coat, struck witness under the chin and threatened to pull his beard out’.  William’s defence was that he had tried to erect the headstone but the Sexton of St. Paul’s  (Mr Barker) had demanded  payment of a shilling in return. The bench noted that there was some friction between the Halls and Mr Lyon, and that  it was Mr Barker’s behaviour which had started the whole affair.  ‘The Magistrates were bound to come to the conclusion that, so far as William Hall was concerned he used more force than was neccessary, and therefore they must convict him of an assault. The Bench however considered the assault to be of a trivial character. Hall, snr would be fined 1s without costs and the case against his son would be dismissed’.

William Hall died aged 74 years old.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Francis Hall; William Hall
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