CFHS code : HS11

Parish : Holy Sepulchre

Inscription : In Loving Memory of ERNEST JOHN PARSLEY b Sept 10 1889 d Dec 14 1897 GEORGE WILLIAM PARSLEY d Jan 5 1940 age 81 In Loving Memory of ANNIE PARSLEY d Sept 24 1915 age 50 also MARY McKENZIE PARSLEY d July 4 1948 age 66

Monument : Stone cross (fallen)/Kerb stones (double grave)

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202419, 0.13744759 – click here for location

Parsley cross 2017


A few metres to the east of the central path. This monument was damaged in 2019. The cross has now fallen.


West face

In Loving Memory of ERNEST JOHN PARSLEY born Sept 10 1889 died Dec 14 1897 

GEORGE WILLIAM PARSLEY died Jan. 5 1940 age 81 

East face

In Loving Memory of ANNIE PARSLEY died Sept 24 1915 age 50 years

Also MARY McKENZIE PARSLEY died July 4th 1948 age 66 years

Relationship: Husband, son, first wife, second wife

Related monument Charles Henry Parsley HT

George William Parsley (c.1859 – 5 December 1940)

George was born in Cambridge and was the son of John and Elizabeth Parsley.  His father was a carpenter and his mother a dressmaker.  He grew up at 5 John Street (1861/1871).
St John’s College have records that show the progression of his career. He served a seven year apprenticeship with Philip Samuel Hudson PL228 at Trinity College before moving to London where he worked as a pastry chef for Mr Newens on Wandsworth High Street. His reference from Mr Newens in 1881 stated “He lived with me for 3 & 4 years and I always found him to be perfectly steady and obliging and a very good workman.” * He then appears to have moved to Cheltenham where he worked for a Mr George who was “vexed at his leaving me”.
He was employed in St John’s College kitchens from 1882 under head cook Edwin Cash. In 1889 he applied for the position of head chef at Clare College  using testimonials from E. C. Graves Fellow at St John’s, and Edwin Charles Clark, Regius Professor of Civil Law who lived at Newnham House. George had cooked meals for both gentlemen in the college kitchens which were then served at their homes.  Sadly he did not get this job so he tried for a similar position at Kings’ College in 1891. This time Edwin Cash gave him a reference. It seems he was not successful there either. He then had a stroke of luck when Cash made a proposal that he (Cash) take over St John’s College kitchen as a private concern under his complete control. The college was not keen, Cash left and Parsley took over as head cook in 1895. He held this position until 1913 when he retired to Dorset House, 95 Chesterton Road.
One of the first things he did after Cash left was to get new plates, as in 1893 he donated 26 dozen chipped plates to Mill Road workhouse.

He had married Annie Bowers in on January 3rd 1883 at St Lukes Church in Chesterton and they had four sons: Ernest John (1889-1897), Percy George (1894-1955), Sidney Bowers (1989-1986) and Stanley William (1905-1982).  The family lived at 5 Trumpington Street [1891], 67 Bridge Street [1901] and then at 95 Chesterton Road from at least 1911.

George and his sons enjoyed cricket and he was president of the college servants’ sports club in the early 1900s. In 1908 The Cambridge Independent Press reported on his charming decoration of the Masonic Hall for the ball that was held after the matches and races had taken place against the Oxford college servants.

Sadly Annie died in 1915. It is not known how he met his second wife but they married in Leith, Scotland on 29th June 1918. 

The last snippet of information we gleaned from the newspaper was that in 1920 he succeeded in gaining the (booby) prize for the lowest score in the whist drive held at the Red Lion hotel.

Annie Parsley (née Bowers) (1858 – 24 September 1915)

(Annie’s age changes on various documents throughout her life)

Annie was George Parsley’s first wife.  She was born in Cambridge and was the daughter of Nathan and Martha Bowers.  Nathan was a coal porter and later a fish monger, her mother Martha was a launderess.  Annie grew up at 3 Thompson’s Lane (1861),  at 3 Kettle’s Yard (1871) and then at 6 St Peter’s Court (1881).  By 1881 she was working as a dressmaker.  She married George and they had four sons.  Annie died in 1915.

Ernest John Parsley (1889-1897)

Ernest was born in London, but by the age of 2 was living at 5 Trumpington Street.  He died aged 8 years old.

Mary Mitchell McKenzie Parsley (nee Mayhew)  (c.1882 – 4 July 1948)

She continued to live at 95 Chesterton Road after George died.  Her probate records show that she was still living there in 1948, but died at 29 Perne Road.

British Newspaper Archive
St John’s College Archives: SJCR/SJHR/1/45, biographical information collated by Dr Malcolm Underwood.
Rachel Wroth who wrote a dissertation on staff and servants at St John’s, 1850-1900, (catalogue reference.<> [accessed 26 May 2020]
* D33.16.1.

by Mary Naylor and Claire Martinsen
[If you have any  further information about this family, please contact us at]

Annie Parsley; Ernest John Parsley; George William Parsley; Mary Mitchell McKenzie Parsley