CFHS code : PL375

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In Memory of JANE LANGFORD an affectionate mother and the beloved wife of RICHARD LANGFORD d 5 Feb 1879 age 74 also RICHARD LANGFORD d Nov 10 1899 age 99

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey



Jane Langford (née Marvell) (April 1803 – 5 February 1879)

Jane was born in St. Ives, Huntingdon and was the daughter of Joshua and Elizabeth. She was baptised with her siblings Ann and Joshua on 20 December 1808 at the St. Ives Non Conformist Chapel. Jane married Richard Langford in St Ives in 1826 and they had at least five children: Joshua (1832-), Abraham (1834-1917), Samuel (1836-1870), Richard (1837-1875) and Jane (1838-1900). Richard was a coal merchant/brewer and the family lived at Pickerel Yard (1851). In 1861 Jane was living with her brother in King Street, and in 1871 was lodging at 78 King Street.  Meanwhile Richard Langford was living elsewhere in Cambridge, so maybe they had become estranged by this point.  Jane died at King Street and notices of her death said she was the ‘wife of Richard Langford of 25 James Street’.  Her grave monument gives her age as 74 years, but according to the date on the baptism records she was 75 years old.

Richard Langford (1799 – 10 November 1899)

Richard was born in Cambridge and worked as a coal merchant. In 1861 he was living by himself at 1 Shelley Row, and was documented as a general dealer. By 1871 he had moved to 28 John Street and thereafter was noted as a money lender. From at least 1879 onwards he lived at 25 James Street.

Richard was no stranger to the courts, and there were many occasions of him appearing in front of magistrates!  In May 1843 he was charged with an ‘infringement of the Bye-laws of the Conservators of the Cam, by making a warehouse of the river, for the sale of his coals, his lighters being stationed a much longer time than necessary for discharging their cargo, which being proved he was fined 20s. This case excited considerable interest amongst the merchants, master watermen and bridge porters, who have suffered much from Langford’s selling below trade price, which he was enabled to do by avoiding all landing expenses, rent, rates and repairs, and by carting the coals himself’.

In August 1848 Richard and Jane’s daughter Jane fell into ‘deep water between Fisher’s Lane and St. John’s Few Bridge’. She was rescued by a passing schoolmaster who dived in to rescue her, but the Cambridge General Advertiser noted ‘it is astonishing that parents will continue to let their children play in such dangerous localities so near to deep water; if not observed the instant they fall into the water, death is inevitable’.

In March 1850 Richard was charged with assaulting William Warboys on St. Andrew’s Street. William owed Richard some money and claimed that he had been struck twice in the neck. Richard denied this and said that he had taken hold of his coat and shaken him.  He was found guilty, fined 5s and 7s costs. In December 1852 he took his sons Joshua and Abraham to court accusing them of assaulting him and ‘behaving very improperly’. The sons were fined 5s and costs each or 14 days imprisonment. He took two customers to court in 1855 for non payment of their coal bills. In July 1857 he charged Gideon Bebag with using obscene language in Northampton Street, but as the evidence was conflicting the case was dismissed.

By 1861 he was described as ‘a well known money lender’ when he took Benjamin Crouch to court for non payment of money lent and interest accrued. In September 1869 he was charged with assaulting sisters Cecilia Scott and Susannah Whitehead, both of whom were married women.  Richard had befriended the sisters over many months and had invited them for tea, bought them beer and brandy at local pubs. Over time it was claimed his intentions became amorous and he promised both women a house and bought them earrings.  The reporting of the case in local newpapers was very delicate but Cecilia testified he had ‘attempted to kiss me. I endevoured to prevent him all ways, but he was successful and did kiss me and my sister as well. He tried to put his hands up our clothes, but we did not allow him [witness detailed a most indelicate expression]’. Richard counter testified that the two sisters were trying to get money from him, by saying they would tell their husbands that he had been inappropriate. He was found guilty and fined 20s and costs.

In November 1879 he was back in court accused of ‘threatening and assaulting Jane Langford’ of Coldham Lane on two occassions. He was bound over to keep the peace for six months. In both 1880 and 1883 he was taken to court to pay for the maintenance of his grandchildren Francis and Ada Langford.  In 1880 he was asked to pay 3s. per week, which he appeared not to have done.  In January 1883 the workhouse master Luke Hosegood summonsed him to court as Ada Langford was by then chargeable to the union. Having paid nothing again the original court order he owed £8, 5s by 1883.  Richard had recently donated £100 to the Evangelical Mission, and the court wanted to know why he was therefore unable to pay for his grandchildren. Richard claimed to know ‘nothing of the children; they came from a long way’. He reluctantly offered to pay if the relieving officer would accompany him to the bank.  In October 1884 his brother William took Richard to court for ‘threating to shoot him at James Street’. He was found guilty, asked to find sureties of £20 and to keep the peace for three months.

Cambridge Daily News 1899

Richard died at home aged 99 years old.  Much was made of his age in local newspapers, but all census records and documents through his life gave his year of birth as c.1806. For example the 1891 census recorded him as being 85 years old. Maybe that was just the last twist in a very colourful life.



Newspaper archives

Parish burial records transcribed by CFHS

by Claire Martinsen

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Jane Langford; Richard Langford