The Aitchison family

The Aitchison family

At the west end of St. Peter’s and visible from Church Walk is the Aitchison family plot. Unfortunately, only the right-hand Headstone of the two shown in the photograph remains intact.

(This article is featured in our display at Belgrave Hall)

Captain Edward Aitchison RN 1794 – 1873. Edward, the son of Lieutenant Robert Aitchison RN, was born in Melrose, Scotland, and joined the Royal Navy at Greenwich in1808. He fought at the naval Battle of Algiers in 1816. In 1825 he married Louisa Grant. Edward and Louisa lived on Claremont Street, Belgrave after living in West Sussex and Chelsea, London.

Louisa Aitchison 1796 – 1864. Louisa Green was born in Quebec, Canada. She married William Grant, a civilian Purser in the Royal Navy. William died of Yellow Fever in the West Indies while serving on HMS Pyramus. Louisa then married Edward Aitchison. Edward and Louisa had two daughters, Mary Rawlings and Margaret Quilliam.

Mary Rawlings Grant 1826 – 1904. Brought up in West Sussex with her younger sister, Margaret Quilliam, the family moved to  Chelsea, London, Mary Rawlings attended the “The Royal Female School for the Daughters of Naval and Marine Officers”, in Richmond upon Thames. Mary married James Grant Henry and they lived on Mill Hill, Belgrave. Mary then moved to 117 Loughborough Road. Until it was damaged, the left-hand, elaborate Headstone in the photograph commemorated Mary.

James Grant Henry 1823 – 1869. James Grant Henry married Mary Rawlings Aitchison on the 3rd August 1847 in Withyham, Sussex. In 1866 a Bankruptcy petition was served on “James Grant Henry of Belgrave, Leicester, Gentleman” in the Birmingham District Court of Bankruptcy. This may account for his Headstone being the small stone cross, just visible in the photograph at the rear of the family plot.

Margaret Quilliam Green 1828 – 1886. Margaret married her cousin Henry Green in Chelsea in 1856. Her unusual middle name is probably a reference to Captain John Quilliam RN, on whose ship her father served for the first five years of his service in the Royal Navy. Margaret died at  Zoute Kloof in the Transvaal – Henry and Margaret had journeyed to Cape Town to began their journey to the Orange Free State where Henry was due to take up a position with the commissariat.

Henry Green 1816 – 1884. Born in Montreal, Canada. Henry’s father (Louisa’s brother) was the Deputy Assistant Commissary General in England. After Margaret died Henry remained in the Orange Free State and subsequently married Countess Ida Carolina Johanna Von Lilienstein.

The Trustees have recently learnt that inscribed around the base of the cover of the Font in St. Peter’s are the names of Edward Aitchison RN, Louisa Aitchison and James Grant Henry. There are no records to confirm why those names are inscribed, but a reasonable speculation is that it may have been presented to the church by Mary Rawlings Henry, wife of James Grant Henry and eldest daughter of Edward and Louisa (see above).