CFHS code : ML32

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : ELIZABETH FLORA wife of RALPH LEESON b 23 January 1841 d 4 November 1868

Monument : Not described

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202826, 0.1378476 – click here for location



Elizabeth Flora Leeson [nee Harding] (23 January 1841 – 4 November 1868)

Elizabeth was born in Ash Priors, in Somerset.  Her parents were Rev George Rogers and Elizabeth Harding.  She grew up in Keynsham, where her father was the Vicar.  She married Captain Ralph Leeson [31st Regiment] at St George’s Hanover Square Church in Mayfair on 5th September 1860. Ralph was original from Dawlish in Devon, and had fought in the Crimean War from 1854-1855. He was also the nephew of the Earl of Miltown.  They moved to Cambridge after soon after marriage as Ralph had been appointed Adjutant of the Cambridge University Volunteers in July of that year. However in April 1861 the newly weds were staying with Elizabeth’s parents in Wandsworth where Rev. Harding was by now the Vicar of St. Anne’s Church, Wandsworth

Elizabeth and Ralph had three children: Herbert [1862-1879], Elizabeth Flora [1863-1936] and Frances Lillian [1868-]. Their life in Cambridge appears to have been very social.  The Cambridge Independent Press of October 1860 reported on the Cambridge County Ball, which Elizabeth and Ralph attended : ‘this annual festive gathering took place under auspicious circumstances, at the Lion Hotel, on Thursday evening last.  Since the non-existence of the Bachelor’s Ball, the County Ball has become the popular feature of interest among the fashionable and influential community of our county.  The large room at the Lion was the scene of the gay assemblage’.  Elizabeth was also a patron of a four-day Bazaar held at the Guildhall in May 1866 in aid of funds for the Second Administrative Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteers.  Ralph Leeson was awarded a Master of Arts by Downing College in February 1868.  That same month the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal reported on the Cambridge University Volunteers ‘on Tuesday last the University Volunteers had a march out to the residence of Lieut. Col. Wale [Shelford], the Colonel of the corps.  The corps mustered about 200 strong and were accompanied by their band.  The corps were under the command of Major Evans, and Adjutant Leeson.  They arrived at Shelford about one o’clock where a splendid luncheon was prepared, after which they had a parade drill, under the command and inspection of the Colonel. The corps returned to Cambridge about half past three o’clock, well satisfied with the day’s proceedings’

Elizabeth died in Cambridge aged 28 years old. Her daughters Elizabeth and Frances went to live with their maternal grandparents George and Elizabeth Harding. Her son Herbert was living at 23 Fitzwilliam Street in Cambridge in 1871 with his father Ralph, and two domestic servants. Ralph Leeson retired from the army as a Major and was then appointed Secretary Superintendent of the Middlesex Hospital.  Herbert Leeson died in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire in 1879 aged 17 years old, his death was also announced in Cambridge.

Major Ralph Leeson married widow Wilhelmina Anne Matilda Swindell [nee O’Grady](1853-1913) in Hastings in 1890.   They lived in Hampshire and he died at his home in 1920 aged 86 years old.

Claire Martinsen

Source: Ancestry/newspaper archives

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Elizabeth Flora Leeson