CFHS code : MG25

Parish : St Mary the Great

Inscription : Sacred to the Memory of MARIA the beloved wife of GEORGE PURVIS d April 30 1856 in the 61st year of her age also MARIA eldest daughter of the above d Oct 20 1845 and was interred in Great St Marys Churchyard also of ISABELLA second daughter d Jan 27 1870 also of GEORGE PURVIS d April 21 1871 aged 80

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202321, 0.1374136 – click here for location

Purvis grave
Purvis headstone



Maria Purvis (née Payne) (1785 – 30 April 1856)

Maria was born in Hadleigh in Suffolk and baptised there on 24 July 1785.  She was the daughter of James and Ann Payne and she married George Purvis at St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street on 22 September 1816.  The couple lived in London until at least 1830 and had four daughters – all of whom were born in London: Maria (1819-1845), Isabella (1823-1870), Helen Harriet (1827-1916) and Georgiana (1830-1879).

By 1831 they had moved to Cambridge, where George was a shoemaker/shoe retailer and lived at 11 St Mary’s Street.  Maria seems to have run a millinery business from the next door property – 10 St Mary’s Street for some time.  In 1844 she advertised in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal ‘M. Purvis begs most respectfully to inform the ladies of the town and county of Cambridge that her show room will be ready for inspection on Thursday 9th and following days with a fashionable assortment of French Millinery, Feathers, Flowers etc suitable for the present season’.

George’s shoe business later moved to 11 Market Hill, where Maria died aged 61 years old after a ‘long illness’

Maria Purvis (21 March 1819 – 20 October 1845)

Maria  was the eldest daughter of George and Maria and was baptised at St. James’ Church in Westminster on 27 June 1824..  She died in Cambridge aged 26 years old.

Isabella Purvis (7 August 1823 – 27 January 1870)

Isabella was baptised at St. James’ Church, Westminster on 27 June 1824.  Aged 17 she was at Heath House Boarding School in Newmarket with her youngest sister Helen.  She lived at home with her father and sister Georgiana after their mother’s death.  Isabella died at Market Hill aged 46 years and was buried in Mill Road Cemetery on 1 February 1870.

George Purvis (1 June 1790 – 21 April 1871)

George was the son of Alexander and Isabel (née Pringle) Purvis. He was born in Eyemouth, on the Scottish borders and baptised there on 27 June 1790. He married Maria Payne in London when he was 26 years old.

He ran a shoe business within the town and frequently advertised the business in the newspapers of the time.  A typical advert from 1844 advertised that he had ‘just received from London an extensive assortment of Ladies’ and Gentleman’s boot and shoes…..G.P. has a superior assortment of the most fashionable gentleman’s boots, including Albert Boots, Prince George ditto, both dress and walking; also a variety of Enamel, Patent and Calf Oxonian Shoes, a variety of Shooting Boots, and an assortment of Goloshes and Clogs..Gentleman’s Paris Dress Boots and Ladies ditto shoes. St Mary’s Street, October 18 1844′.

George appeared in court several times as shoes were frequently stolen from the shop. In January 1871 Albert Arthur Haylock, a labourer aged 15 was charged with stealing a pair of boots with the value of 10s and 6d.  Georgiana Purvis had seen the boots at 4pm, but had noticed them missing by 7pm. Albert had pawned them at Lazarus Cohen’s pawnshop.  He told Lazarus that he had been given them by a man on the college backs.  He told PC Muncey that he had found them on Rose Crescent.  Albert was found guilty and sentenced to one week’s imprisonment with hard labour.

In April 1871 George was living at 17 Market Hill with his daughter Georgiana, grandson Frank Ransom and niece.  He was employing 3 men, 1 woman and 1 boy in the business at that time. He died at home aged 80 years old.

Georgiana Purvis married Thomas Russell in 1874. She died at Brooklands Farm in Bourn in May 1879.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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George Purvis; Isabella Purvis; Maria Purvis; Maria Purvis