CFHS code : MC69

Parish : St Michael

Inscription : CAROLINE MARIA dearly beloved wife of GEORGE GATEHOUSE AYLING d Nov 3 1859 age 28 To the Memory of GEORGE GATEHOUSE AYLING d 18 Sep 1861 age 28

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.20264, 0.13766308 – click here for location

Ayling grave
Ayling headstone



Caroline Maria Ayling [nee Fisher] (27 March 1831 – 3 November 1859)

Caroline was born in Islington, and baptised at St Mary’s Church there on 19th June 1831.  She was the daughter of artist/engraver Samuel Fisher and his wife Maria.

She married George Ayling at St Andrew’s Church, Islington on 21st April 1855 when she was 24 years old. George was a chemist/druggist.  They had three children: Henry Samuel [1856-1870], Charles Taylor [1858-1901] and Mary Elizabeth Harriett [1859-1945].

They appear to have spent the first few years of married life in Tunbridge Wells, as that is where their sons were born [1856-1858], but had settled in Cambridge by the time Mary Elizabeth was born on 7th August 1859.

Caroline died in Camberwell in London on 3rd November 1859, and was buried in Cambridge on the 10th November.

George Gatehouse Ayling (1832 – 1 September 1861)

George was the only son of farmer John Ayling and his wife Harriette [nee Gatehouse].  He was born in Cocking near Chichester, and baptised there on 28th September 1832. He would appear to have been named after his maternal grandfather George Gatehouse.  John and Harriett had married in September 1831, but John died soon after his son’s birth.

Aged 8 years old, he was living with his mother and maternal grandparents in Chichester [1841].  Ten years later he was still living in Chichester, and was an apprentice chemist/druggist to William Philipson. He married aged 22 years old.

He was left a widow in 1859 with three children under 4 years old.  The census of 1861 shows him at 5 Rose Crescent, working as a chemist/druggist in his own right.  He had an apprentice chemist living with him  [John Fox], two domestic servants and his sister-in-law Elizabeth Fisher. George died later that year, aged 28 years old.  His probate records show that he died in Emsworth, Southampton, but that he was running his business still at 5 Rose Crescent.  He left an estate valued at under £1,000.

After their parents’ deaths, Henry and Charles Ayling were sent to Clapham to live at the British Orphan Asylum. More can be read about it here, but it appears to have been an orphanage for orphans whose parents ‘had fallen from prosperity into necessitous circumstances’. Henry Samuel Ayling died at the orphanage in November 1870 aged 14 years old.  His brother Charles Taylor married, and lived in Bermondsey working as a post office clerk and later railway worker. He had three children but died aged 43 years old in 1901.

Mary Elizabeth Harriett – the youngest child of George and Caroline Ayling was taken in by William and Elizabeth Press, who were wine and spirit merchants at 6 Rose Crescent [next door to George Ayling’s business].  William and Elizabeth were childless, and appear to have adopted Mary although she always went by her surname of Ayling. William and Elizabeth retired from Cambridge when Mary was in her teens, and she lived in Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk for most of her adult life.  She lived off her own means, and died in January 1945 in Wells-next-the-Sea, having outlived her parents and brothers.

Claire Martinsen

Source: Ancestry



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Caroline Maria Ayling; George Gatehouse Ayling