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George Dormer Fawcus was married twice. His first wife was named Ellen.
The original contributor suspected some sinister deeds at play, but the story played out to a more sad conclusion - she died during or shortly after giving birth, losing her infant daughter too.

The Mystery of the death of Ellen Fawcus (nee Sharples).

Ellen Sharples (aged about 30) married George Dormer Fawcus (aged about 27) in 1886 in Wisbech. A copy of the 1881 census for Wisbech, showing the Sharples household, is attached (William was a surgeon). In 1891 William (retired surgeon) and Eleanor were living in Lincoln. In 1881 George Dormer Fawcus, aged 22, born North Shields, was in Tynemouth and shown as an assistant to his father George, dockowner and shipbuilder!

In the Church of St Peter in a village named Claybrooke Parva is a brass plaque. The dates are confimed by Ellen's death certificate which also confirms her death occurred in Genoa Italy.

The grave is in the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa but is very simple and not a sculptural masterpiece as many others in there.

Her ‘gravestone’ is cast metal (as will be seen from the lettering) & must be some sort of alloy. After more than 120 years, it is not chipped, rusted, deteriorated in any way or got creeper etc growing on it. Even lichen have not inhabited it. I’m told the area in the cemetery where this is located is overgrown. The family were involved in shipbuilding so metal & a foundry would have been in their possession. What long lasting alloy did they have/discover?

The Fawcus family are short on words as far as the ‘stone’ is concerned but its shape may contain all sorts of messages. Could be simple and taken at face value or is there a ‘message’? (Am I a cynic? ... never!). The shape is that of a Maltese Cross which contains many Christian messages and a number of them concern suffering including persecution.

She had been married one year. If she died in childbirth (or near to) I’d expect there to be 2 names if child died too. If the child survived I presume the father would have brought it up.

With the Fawcus wealth & owning ships etc, why did they not transport the poor girl back to her parents in England. Being buried in Genoa, I suspect her parents did not attend the funeral.

The plaque in the Church of St Peter in Claybrooke Parva mentions only Ellen & no husband.

Beta Fawcus's death certificate original in Italian and translated to English. She died October 10, 1887

George Dormer Fawcus's death certificate original in Italian and translated to English
George Dormer Fawcus's tomb in the Protestant Boulevard Genoa's Staglieno cemetary


Thanks to Nicholas C. Jenkins for research, and providing the images used on this page.
Thanks also to Emanuela Mantero for the picture of George Fawcus's tomb. Emanuela is part of a voluntary organization that maintains the Staglieno cemetary in Genoa.

© 2000-2018 Mark Fawcus