The marriage licences for the Cambridge area in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries have been published, including many which required a bondsman, rather than the reading of banns in the church. This is a much more exciting method in my eyes, a bondsman would guarantee financially that the marriage was legitimate, rather than it just being read out in church over a few weeks.
Picking names at random, Thomas Arks and Mary Ann Cadwell obtained a licence on 22 October 1750 to marry each other in March. The bondsman was Charles Cadwell, the father of the bride who worked as a grocer in March. Thomas Arks was also a grocer and I assume that he and Mary Ann got married at St Wendreda, the church in the town. This was also the church in 1778 where Arks was to be buried and also where Charles Cadwell had been laid to rest in 1763.
Thomas Arks seems to been a relatively successful man, so being a grocer must have been a useful exercise. In 1753, he was paid £15 by the family of Bartholomew Ramsay for the young man to become an apprentice of Arks. This likely worked out well, as in turn Ramsay received £10 in 1762 to be the master to John Eaton, who also wanted to become an apprentice grocer.
Unfortunately, the daily happenings and goings on at grocer shops in provincial towns during the mid-eighteenth century isn’t well recorded. So, to my knowledge, there is little more known around Thomas Arks……