Woolston / Heathcote Cemetery Tour - Christchurch City Libraries


Woolston / Heathcote Cemetery Tour - Christchurch City Libraries


… found old Mr. Cholmondeley at home, busy at harvest work - wild but not

dangerous. He received us all courteously, gave us bread, cheese, butter and

milk and introduced us to his family who seem simple and good. The burden

of the old man’s song the whole time we were there was a rhyme descriptive

of the miseries of a colonist’s life …. He ought not to have been brought away

from home. He talks of returning but I suppose dira necessitas will keep him

here to grumble out the rest of his days.

Georgiana Adelaide Cholmondeley died at her home, ‘Vale Royal’, Port Levy, on 15

July 1866. Her funeral notice reads:

The remains of the late Georgiana Adelaide Cholmondeley will leave the

Heathcote Parsonage [the home of her brother, the Rev. G. J. Cholmondeley]

for interment in the Lower Heathcote Cemetery on Thursday 19 th instant at 3

o’clock p.m.

This was the first burial in the cemetery.

Christchurch City Libraries’ church register transcrips contain the information that, on

1 October 1863 at Port Levy, John Fry, full age, bachelor, labourer, married Caroline

Elizabeth Cholmondeley, full age, spinster, the witnesses being Mary Christian and

Charles Cholmondeley, and the officiating priest the Rev. G. J. Cholmondeley.

The marriage was reported in the newspapers: ‘1 October 1863 at Port Levy, by the

Rev. G. J. Cholmondeley, Mr. John Fry, farm servant, to Miss Caroline

Cholmondeley’. The newspapers also report: ‘2 October 1863, at Port Levy, the wife

of John Fry, of a daughter’.

It could be that John Fry was the father of Caroline’s child and that the

Cholmondeleys, hostile to a marriage because of John’s low social status, put the

wedding off till the last moment possible. Perhaps John was not the father but brought

in at a late stage so that Caroline’s daughter would be born to a married couple.

On 18 July 1952 chronicler George Ranald Macdonald commented on the marriage

and birth: ‘Not quite in the nick of time or born in the vestry but very near it’. The

child born within a day of the marriage, Mary Jane, spent her latter years on the

Cashmere Hills and died, as a spinster, at 80, in May 1943.

Another daughter, Matilda Elizabeth, was born to Caroline and John Fry on 28

January 1865 and baptised by the Rev. G. J. Cholmondeley on 7 February. Her father

was, by this time, a farmer of Port Levy.

On 13 July 1865 Caroline was admitted to Sunnyside Asylum. She remained there,

eventually contracting pulmonary tuberculosis, becoming greatly emaciated and dying

in 1878. The post mortem showed that she had suffered no violence and that her lungs

Woolston / Heathcote Cemetery



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