CFHS code : PL135

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : side 1 In Memory of N OATES d March 7 1884 aged 79 side 2 MARY OATES d Oct 6 1881 aged 41 side 3 JANE OATES d Jan 29 1864 aged —

Monument : Altar tomb

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

The tomb in 2018


This chest tomb is on the west of the central path. I row north of the south path. It is hidden by a large bush. We could only see the carved  inscription on the east face.


east face
In Memory of SIMON OATES died  March 7th 1884. Aged 79 years

EMMA OATES. Died Jan 10th 1892. Aged 61 years.

side 2
MARY OATES died  Oct 6 1881. Aged 41 years

side 3
JANE OATES died Jan 29 1864 aged 64 years

Relationship: Husband, first wife, second wife, son and daughter

Simon Oates (c.1805 – 7 March 1884)

Simon was born in Westwick,  just outside North Walsham, Norfolk and was baptised there on 3 August 1807. He was the son of John and Elizabeth (née Rice) and married Jane Stirman on 13 December 1824 in North Walsham. They had at least six children: Samuel (1828-1856), Ann (1829-1892), Elizabeth (1831-1831), Simon (1833-), James (1834-) and Mary (1837-1881).  Simon worked as a carpenter, and the first five children were born in North Walsham, but by the time Mary was born in 1837 they had moved to Madingley Road, Cambridge.  He later became a builder, and in 1851 was living at 12 Butcher’s Row, employing 10 men in his business.

He built many houses in and around Cambridge including accomodation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital (1844), Stapleford school (1847) and Ely Corn Exchange (1847). But in March1855 he was declared bankrupt with  unsecured debts of £462 11s and 3d, and secured debts of £800. He appears to have rebuilt the  business and by 1861 the family was living at 36 Union Road and he was employing 12 men and 1 boy in the building business.

He was widowed in 1864 and married Emma Marshall on 11 November 1865 at St. Paul’s Church. Simon andd Emma had at least six children: Simon (1866-1866), Jane (1867-), Alice Alethea (1871-), Simon James (1872-1928) and Matthew John (1875-). By 1871 he has retired and was living with his second family at Fitzwilliam Road, they later moved to Annesley Cottage Panton Street (at least 1881 onwards).

In 1865 he was employed by a Mr. Charles Bamford who had bought Impington Hall and wished to remodel it from a ‘Queen Anne’ style to an ‘Elizabethan’ style. A price of £3,000 was agreed in April 1866, with the agreement that all work over and above those in the contract would be charged in addition. The two men ended up in court in December 1868 as the final bill came to £6,962, 14s and 2d (£805,000 at 2020 values). Charles Bamford was only prepared to by £6,340 which left a remaining amount owing of £622, 14s and 2d. Simon’s solicitor stated that Charles had made many amendments and additions to the building over and above those agreed. Simon Oates had charged mortar at 6d per hod, and Mr Bamford’s solicitor argued it should have been seperately  charged as lime, sand and labour. He had also charged labour at 2s and 6d per day which was disputed. Mr Thompson, a surveyor called by Simon Oates gave evidence that he thought the labour charge was an under rather than over charge and that the invoicing of 6d per hod of mortar was ‘fair and usual’.  Charles Bamford meanwhile called Mr John Bird ‘surveyor and architect to the Duke of Mancester’ who disputed how the mortar had been calculated and said that Bamford had been overcharged by £1 and 1s. The case was adjourned and it is not known what the court eventually decided.   Charles offered  Impington Hall for sale in September 1872 giving the reason that he was leaving the country. It was described as a ‘mansion …built in the pre-Elizabethan style…the Hall has been thoroughly and substantially restored with great taste and judgement, almost regardless of expense, with Red brick and Stone facings’. The estate consisted of the Hall , seventeen acres of park and a farm of 289 acres of ‘rich arable and pasture land, including farm-house, lodge and gamekeeper’s cottage’. It was sold at auction on 16 November 1872 at the Lion Hotel, Cambridge and was bought by W.B. Caldwell, of Cheltenham for £26,500 (c.£3m at 2020 values)

Simon was part of the committee who helped develop St. Barnabas Church. The land for the church was given by the Masters and Fellow of Gonville and Cauis College and over £1,000 was raised for a new church to be built in Mill Road.  In 1869 Mill Road was home to 600 or 700 people and was rapidly increasing so it was felt there was a need for a new church to serve the local area. In June 1869 the plans for the new church were reported by the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal ‘when completed the church will consist of a nave and two aisles, 80ft by 22ft and is computed to accomodate 600 persons. It will be erected in the Early Decorated style of architecture of a simple character with a bell turret at the north-west angle, and a porch on the side fronting the road. It is to be built of brick and Bath stone, with a slated roof. At present, however it is proposed to build only the chancel end (40ft by 22ft, inside measurements) to accomodate 200 persons, and leave the completion of the building to an after effort as the district increases. The seats are to be entirely free’. The foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Ely on 7 June 1869 and it was to be the companion church to St. Paul’s Church.  The newspaper reported it was the fourth new church to be built in Barnwell in the last few years.

Simon Oates died at home aged 79 years old and his funeral took place on 12 March 1884.

Emma Oates (née Marshall) (c.1830 – 10 January 1892)

Emma was the daughter of William and Sarah Ann (née Jolly) Marshall and was born in Trumpington. Her father was an agricultural labourer, and in 1851/1861 Emma was working as a dressmaker and living with her sister Caroline at 32 Union Road, where she was also a neighbour of the Oates family.  She married widower Simon Oates when she was 33 years old and after his death lived at 33 Union Road with her daughter Alice (1891).  She died at home and her funeral took place on 14 January.

After Emma’s death the contents of Annesley Cottage were auctioned and included ‘dining and library tables, chimney glasses, carpets, bedsteads, 4 feather beds, 2 wardrobes, 3 ladders, kitchen utensils and other requisites, 2 carpenters’ benches’.

Mary Oates (1837 – 6 October 1881)

Mary was the daughter of Simon and Jane (née Stirman) Oates and was born in Cambridge. She was baptised at St. Benet’s Church on 5 November 1837 and died at Union Road aged c.43 years old (although the age on the death registration papers and grave monument reads 41 years).

Jane Oates (née Stirman)  (c.1799 – 29 January 1864)

Jane was Simon Oate’s first wife and was born in North Walsham. She died at Union Road and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 3 February 1864.

From Parish burial recods it is known that at least one more child of Simon Oates is buried in the family grave.

Simon Oates  (July 1866 – August 1866)

Simon was the son of Simon and Emma and was baptised on 24 July 1866 at St. Paul’s Church.  He died aged 14 days old and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 9 August 1866.



Newspaper archives

Parish burial records transcribed by CFHS

by Claire Martinsen

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Emma Oates; Jane Oates; Mary Ann Oates; Simon Oates