CFHS code : HT238

Parish : Holy Trinity

Inscription : IARO HENRY GUMBLETON who accidentally drowned in the River Cam 29 Mar 1872 aged 30

Monument : Headstone (fallen)

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Gumbleton headstone February 2017
Gumbleton inscription


The headstone, in the parish area of Holy Trinity, leans against its base and is located to the south of the south path.


In Affectionate Remembrance Of HENRY GUMBLETON who accidentally drowned in the River Cam on the 29th March 1872 aged 30 years

“Therefore be ye also ready. For in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.”

Matt 24 c  44 v

Henry Gumbleton (d 1872)
Henry was the son of Josiah and Lydia Gumbleton and was born in Leicestershire. In 1871 he was living with his brother John Thomas and John’s wife Martha. Together they ran a shoe shop at 4 Market Street. They were both described as cordwainers – shoemakers. By all accounts Henry and John were well respected in the town. They had appeared in court in January 1872 after a theft at their shop where a quick witted pawnbroker had spotted that a pair of boots being pawned were very like those the Gumbleton Brothers sold. Henry was able to identify the boots by the “private mark” that he used on the inside.

On the day of his death (Good Friday) Henry had gone canoeing on the river Cam. At Bottisham Lock he had asked a Johnathan Day to help him empty water from the canoe and then against the advice of Mr Day set off home from a dangerous stretch of the river. The current being high he was swept towards the lock, his boat overturned and he was  forced through the gates, his arm was caught and he drowned before he could be rescued.

Henry had not made a will so after his death John had to sell the business. He moved to London and later Bedfordshire.

Advert in the Cambridge Chronicle May 1872.

British Newspaper Archive –
Norfolk Chronicle April 6 1872
Cambridge Chronicle May 1872

CFHS parish transcripts
Steve’s website

Edited by Mary Naylor with help from Steve West who has given permission to use some of his research. See website below

Henry Gumbleton