CFHS code : HT472

Parish : Holy Trinity

Inscription : Sacred to the Memory of EMMA HOSEGOOD b May 21st 1849 d April 21st 1913 also of LUKE HOSEGOOD b July 10th 1851 d June 15th 1924

Monument : Plinth with top missing/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Hosegood grave
Hosegood monument


This stone cross with plinth, the cross of which is missing, with kerb stones, is located in the parish area of Holy Trinity beside and to the west of the eastern path just after it has curved northwards, next to the Celtic cross of Kate Harding Street and Hannah Osborn.


[east face:]
‛Sacred to the Memory of Emma Hosegood
born May 21st 1849 died April 21st 1913′
“After life’s fitful slumbers, She sleeps well.”

[south face:]
‘Also of Luke Hosegood
born July 10th 1851 died June 15th 1924’

Luke and Emma Hosegood were Master and Matron of the Cambridge Union Workhouse from 1876 to 1913 and Luke was a member of the Board of Guardians of the workhouse from 1921 to 1924.

Luke Hosegood (1851‒1924)

Luke Hosegood was born on 10 July 1851 in Poughill (pronounced ‛Poy-ill’) Village, near Crediton, Devon, and was baptised at St Michael’s Church there on 27 July 1851. His parents were George Hosegood (1826‒73), tailor, born in Poughill Village, and Margaret Hosegood (1821‒70) of Rose Ash, near South Molton, Devon. By 1861, at the age of 9, Luke was living with his grandfather, a grocer, also named Luke, still in Poughill. Why he was separated from his parents is unclear, for they did not die until a decade later.

Luke first appeared at the Cambridge workhouse in December 1870 (though may have been there previously), when the then Schoolmaster of the workhouse, John Reach, fell ill in that month, Luke was appointed temporarily in his place for the next two months. In late 1872 he deputised for the workhouse Cook for several months. By 1873 he had been appointed Schoolmaster and by the same year Emma Porter had been appointed Schoolmistress.

The Master of the workhouse when Luke first appeared was Thomas Luke Hosegood. He had been in post since 1867. He was probably Luke’s uncle (George’s younger brother, also born in Poughill). Thomas Luke’s wife was Mary Ann, and the couple had two sons, Thomas Luke, jr, and William Henry (none of these people are buried in this cemetery). In June 1873 Luke was appointed Master temporarily, in addition to his duties as Schoolmaster, while Thomas Luke took leave of absence. In November 1873 the workhouse school was visited by the Inspector of Schools, and the following report made:

I have inspected the Schools and have to report that I find the Boys School much improved and in a state that does credit to the Schoolmaster ‒ The Girls have also passed a very fair Examination though there is need of improvement in their Arithmetic. The Writing, especially that of some Girls, only seven Years old is remarkably good.

In September 1875 Emma tendered her resignation, and in the same month Luke and Emma were married in Islington. In December Emma‛s successor as Schoolmistress was appointed: Charlotte E. (‛Bessie’) Hosegood (her relationship with Luke and Emma is unclear ‒ Charlotte resigned the position in July 1878 to take up the same post at the Old Windsor workhouse).

When Thomas Luke fell ill in February 1876, Luke was again appointed acting Master ‛for a few weeks’. Then on 8 June 1876 Thomas Luke went missing, leaving his wife behind. The Guardians learned that he had ‛quitted England for the United States of America without any intention of returning to this Country’. He was duly dismissed and Mary Ann charged with temporarily discharging the duties of Master and Matron with assistance from Luke. The Guardians then acted swiftly to appoint Luke and Emma pro tem, and later when the positions were advertised they were formally appointed in June 1876, Luke then resigning the schoolmastership.

The couple served the workhouse as Master and Matron highly successfully for 36 years. Luke’s most celebrated moment came on 8 April 1883, when a fire broke out in the workhouse infirmary (at the back of the site). Luke plunged into the smoke and flames twice in order to rescue helpless elderly people, escaping just as the roof collapsed. This act of bravery earned him an award for ‛prompt and meritorious action’ and assured him fame and affection among inmates and throughout Cambridge.
Fire in the Infirmary 1883

Emma fell seriously ill towards the end of 1912, and the two tendered their resignations, which however the Guardians did not accept. Emma died on 21 April 1913, aged 63 and Luke’s resignation was then accepted. Upon hearing of Emma’s death, the Guardians recorded:

the Board desires to place on record its high opinion and appreciation of the great services rendered by the late Mrs. Hosegood as Matron of the Workhouse for the long period of thirty six years; and tenders to Mr. Hosegood and his family an expression of heartfelt sympathy in their sad bereavement.

On 19 May, Luke replied touchingly:

Dear Sir,
I have been in a most distracted, confused and unhappy frame of mind lately while passing through the period of my life’s trouble, that I am afraid, I omitted to write to the Guardians to thank them for their kind and sympathetic remarks to me, just at the time that I needed them most. And I ask you to be good enough to convey my sincere and heartfelt thanks on behalf of myself and family to the Guardians for their kind consideration and thought to me and mine, in this my hour of need.

Ten days later George and Catherine Miriam Foden were appointed the next Master and Matron. When the Fodens took over, Luke’s and Emma’s daughter Mabel Grace Hosegood (b. 1883 ‒ also not buried in Mill Road Cemetery), who in 1911 had been Assistant Matron, and who in 1913 was called ‛Master’s Clerk and Case Paper Clerk’, was informed that she was no longer required in the former capacity but would continue in the latter; however, the Local Government Board refused to accept her continuation. (She later became Campkin by marriage in 1925.)

In 1921 Luke was appointed a member of the Board of Guardians of the workhouse. Thus he continued to oversee its running and the work of the new Master and Matron, Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson. However, he survived only three more years, dying in 1924 at the age of 72, and was buried on 18 June of that year.
Luke Hosegood obituary and funeral account

Emma Hosegood (née Porter) (1849‒1913)

Emma Hosegood in the dining room c.1880
Emma Hosegood in the dining room c.1880
Emma Hosegood in parlour c.1880
Emma Hosegood in parlour c.1880

Emma Porter was born in 21 May 1849 in Bourn, near Caxton, Cambridgeshire. She was the fourth of the eight children of Bird Porter (b. c.1818), of Chrishall, Essex, a relieving officer (see below), and Ann Porter (née Kidman) (b. c.1820), of Caxton. Bird and Ann were married in 1840.

By 1871, their second daughter Emma had been appointed Schoolmistress to the Union Workhouse of Caxton. Two years later she moved to Cambridge and took up the position of Schoolmistress of the Cambridge workhouse. She married Luke Hosegood in the September 1875 in Islington, having resigned her post as Schoolmistress. Under the scandalous circumstances described above, Luke and she were appointed Master and Matron of the workhouse in June 1876, in which positions they served for 36 years, Emma dying on 21 April of that year. In 1881 her youngest sister, Ada Porter, was the Assistant Matron.

Emma Hosegood obituary and funeral account

Relieving Officer
An officer of the workhouse who administered relief to the poor, he worked under the direction of the Master and the Guardians of the workhouse. A vivid description of his work is given in the Memories of May Tebbitt, who lived in Toft, a village close to Caxton. It dates from the 1890s, after Bird Porter’s time.

The Relieving Officer from Caxton called once a week to leave the money for those on Relief, for some 2/- or 2/6 a week and for one, 3/- a week. There were no ‛extras’ as far as I can remember, so when one was too frail to fend for oneself it was the Union [workhouse] and no alternative (apart from your own family) and what a cold, unhappy place this could be.

Census reports 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
Birth, marriage and death records
Cambridgeshire Archives:
Cambridge Board of Guardians’ Minute Books 1866‒78 (G/C/AM22‒28)
Cambridge Board of Guardians’ Minute Books 1912‒15 (G/C/AM39)
Tebbitt, Mrs. May, Memories (typescript in the Cambridge Collection)

By Ian Bent

Emma Hosegood; Luke Hosegood