CFHS code : PL564

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : In Ever Loving Memory of ELLEN CATLING d May 1st 1902 aged 61 also of her little grandson ROLAND CATLING d Oct 21 1917 aged 7 also ROBERT THURGOOD (BERT) son of the above ELLEN CATLING d Dec 7th 1922 the 52nd year of his age also ETHEL LILIAN CATLING d Aug 20th 1945 aged 64 also HARRY DEBRON CATLING d Jun 23rd 1947 aged 78

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202417, 0.1360572 – click here for location

This well preserved headstone was recently uncovered during routine clearance. Photo January 2017
Catling headstone January 2017


This well preserved headstone, in the parish area of St Paul, is located on the south of the western path.



‘In Ever Loving Memory of ELLEN CATLING who died May 1st 1902 aged 61 years.’

“Peace perfect peace”

‘Also of her little grandson ROLAND CATLING who died Oct. 21 1917 aged 7 years

Also ROBERT THURGOOD (BERT) son of the above Ellen Catling died Dec 7th 1922 in the 52nd year of his age.’


‘Also ETHEL LILIAN CATLING died Aug 20th 1945 aged 64

Also HARRY DEBRON CATLING died Jun 23rd 1947 aged 78

Ellen Catling (née Debron) (1840 – 1 May 1902)

Ellen was born in Ely and was the daughter of Robert and Jane.  She was baptised at St. Mary’s Church, Ely on 1 January 1841. Her father was a farmer/nurseryman and she grew up at West End in Ely.  Ellen married James Catling (1842-1907) on 27 July 1867 at St. Lukes Church, Finsbury Park, London.  James was an accountant when they married although he later became an auctioneer/value, founding the company Messrs Catling & Son in 1871.

The couple lived at Free School Lane (1871/1881), 2 Fitzwilliam Terrace (1891) and then Caius House, 11 Hills Road (1901).  They had at least four children:  Catherine Ellen (1868-1928), Harry Debron (1869-1947), Robert Thurgood (1871-1922) and Ethel Lilian (1880-1945). Ellen died at Caius House aged 61 of what newspapers described as a  ‘long and painful illness’.   She was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 5 May after a service at St. Mary the Great Church. The Cambridge Daily News reported that ‘a large number of sympathisers were present in the church’ and that the coffin was processed up the aisle by the choir singing ‘Peace, perfect peace’.

James Catling married for a second time in 1905 to Bessie Sophia Norman (1858-1912). He moved to live in Bedford and died there in March 1907 aged 65 years old.

Roland James Thurgood Catling (1910 – 21 October 1917)

Roland was the only son of Robert and Ethel (née Unwin) Catling and died at Caius House of rheumatic fever. He was taken ill on a Thursday and died three days later.  His death was said to have been a ‘terrible blow to his parents’ and Roland was buried at Mill Road Cemetery  on 24 October after a service at St. Paul’s Church.

Robert Thurgood (Bert)  Catling (1871 – 7 December 1922)

Bert was the second son of James and Ellen Catling and worked as an auctioneer in the family business.  He lived at home with his parents and married Ethel Kate Unwin ( 1879-) on10 July 1907 at St. Paul’s Church.

The wedding was reported in great detail by the Cambridge Independent Press who reported that the wedding was ‘well attended by a large number of friends and well wishers’.  Ethel wore an ivory dress of duchesse satin ’empire style, trimmed with silver tissue and Indian silver lace bretelles with a long train’ and carried a wreath of orange blossoms. Her sisters Florence and Nancy acted as bridesmaids and wore dresses ‘of saxe blue ninon de soie trimmed with gold lace and tassels and wore hats of ivory white crinoline and net, trimmed with roses.  They carried shower bouquets of William Allan Richardson roses, asparagus trails and cream ribbons’.  A reception for 160 guests was held at the Masonic Hall, after which the newly weds left in a motor car [lent by the best man] for a motor tour of the Lake District. An extremely long list of wedding presents was carefully documented in great detail and included an enamelled garden seat, hot water ewer, silver muffineer, silver powder pot, cress dish and a gong and beater.

The couple lived at Caius House (1911 to at least 1916), however Bert died at 11 Market Hill aged 51 years old.

Ethel Lilian Catling (13 October 1880 – 19 August 1945)

Ethel was the youngest daughter of James and Ellen. In 1901 she was living with her elder sister Catherine Ellen at their Uncle Thomas Catling’s house in Lambeth. Thomas Catling was their father’s brother and was editor of Lloyd’s newspaper. By 1911 both girls were hospitalised at St Andrew’s  General Lunatic Asylum in Northampton, and Ethel appears to have been hospitalised for the rest of her life.  She died at the Fulbourn Asylum in Cambridge aged 64 years old.

See the Capturing Cambridge website to see some postcards sent to Ethel in 1903 and 1904

Harry Debron Catling (26 April 1869 – 23 June 1947)

Harry was the eldest son of James and Ellen Catling. In 1901 he was living in Islington and working as an assistant schoolmaster.

He married Edith Emily Freeman (1871-1946) in Cambridge in 1905.  The couple had at least one child: Ellen Debron (1906-1977) and in 1911 were living at  Quernmore, Hinton Avenue where he was described as a valuer for the Inland Revenue.

In 1925 he was living at 1 Bayham Road in Sevenoaks and had an office in King Street, Westminster. By 1939 he was back living in Cambridge and was described on the records of that year as a retired aucioneer and land agent. When he died aged 78 years he was living at Twyford Abbey, Park Royal in North London.

James Catling’s sister  Emily Rebecca Catling is also buried at Mill Road Cemetery.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Ellen Catling; Ethel Lilian Catling; Harry Debron Catling; Roland Catling; Robert Thurgood (Bert)