Richard Timbs’s origins, at rst sight, appear truly obscure.1 Although his later prominence in the a airs of the town is not in doubt, Timbs was not a major Cambridge gure in 1640. at he was not yet a freeman seems a fair measure of his lowly social position. He rst appears in the records as a resident of Cambridge in 1631 when he married Mary Watson at St Andrew’s-the-Great.2 Within six years he had remarried, for in 1637 his second wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to the rst of their four children. He was then still living in the same parish.3 One of the earliest references to him describes him as a glover, but he went on to earn his living as a fellmonger, probably trading in cattle hides rather than sheep skins.4 e move from working with leather to trading in it would not have been di cult. He later claimed to have known Lowry since at least the early 1630s.5 e only public o ce he had so far achieved was a minor parish one as an overseer of the streets.6