CFHS code : AG47

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : Here rests in God HENRY JOHN ANSELL b Aug 11 1835 d May 5 1888 line illegible for ———- years Libr—-

Monument : Stone cross (broken)

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202586, 0.13719215 – click here for location

The monument in January 1919.


This small plinth with broken cross, located in the south section of the parish area for  Andrew the Great,  stand roughly 4 rows west of the central path just before it reaches the centre circle. The carved inscription is badly worn and very little is now legible.

Inscription The grave register shows that Henry’s sister Mary is buried in the next plot.

Here rests in God HENRY JOHN ANSELL b Aug 11 1835 d May 5 1888 line illegible for ———- years Libr—

Henry John Ansell (11 August 1835 – 5 May 1888)

Henry was the youngest son of William Ansell (1789-1864) and his wife Alice (née Hamaway) (1792-1871). He was baptised in the non-conformist church on 28 September 1835.  William and Alice had all five of their children baptised on the same day.

The family lived at 22 Fitzwilliam Street, and William Ansell was a cabinet maker, who in 1851 was employing six men. By at least 1858 Henry was working as a university librarian, a job he did for his whole life.  After his parents died he continued to live at 22 Fitzwilliam Street with his sister Mary Ann (1818 – 1907), who was running a Lodging House from there in 1881.  By the time he died in May 1888 he was living with Mary Ann at 42 New Square.

He was found dead on the platform at Ely train station and an inquest was held into his death.  The inquest heard that he had travelled to Ely to spend the evening there, and was found dead on the Cambridge bound platform.  At 10.30pm he had asked a signalman what time the next train to Cambridge was, and was told it would be the 12.20am mail train.  The signalman said that he did not appear drunk, spoke rationally and did not seem ill.  Apparently Henry had been heading towards the gallery and had fallen.  William Long and George Fenn heard the fall and went to find Henry lying with his lips moving.  They called the station master and Dr Beckett, but when the doctor arrived he was already dead.  The postmortem found his heart to be very ‘fatty’ and was said to weigh 22oz, which was twice the size of a healthy heart.  Henry was estimated to weigh 12 stone, and the inquest found that ‘he was just the sort of man who hurrying to catch a train would fall dead’.  It was said that ‘he had suffered no pain’.  The Coroner said that he was aware of the rumours that were circulating in Cambridge around the circumstances of Henry’s death, but that he wished to clarify that it was not suicide and neither was he ‘a drinking man; no spirits or beer were to be found inside’.  The jury returned a verdict that ‘Henry John Ansell died from syncope produced by fatty degeneration of the heart’.

Mary Ann Ansell (1818 – 21 July1907)

Mary died at 60 Tenison Road aged 89.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Henry John Ansell
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