George Sextus Willis

Author: Gerald Soper
Date published: 26/01/2022

George Sextus Willis (1827 – 1853)


George Sextus Willis was born in 1827 in Newbury, the fifth son of Mark and Eliza, nee Gould, Willis. He was baptized on 13 July 1827 in Newbury (probably at St Nicolas). His mother Eliza died in October 1834 aged 44 and was buried at St Nicolas in Newbury on 21 October 1834.


He was recorded with his father Mark, sister Eliza Catherine aged circa 20 and brother Edwin Adolphus aged 12 just off Pound Street in Newbury in the 1841 census. Mark was recorded as a schoolmaster. Also recorded in the house was his grandmother Catharine Willis.


George was educated at North Walsham Grammar school. He then entered St John’s College, Cambridge on 1 July 1846. He re-entered the college on 16 June 1851 as a “ten year man”. Under this plan he could have eventually received a bachelor of divinity degree ten years after matriculation. His brother Henry Mark Willis had entered the same college on 18 September 1836.


No trace of George in the 1851 census, perhaps he was abroad.


George was appointed headmaster of the Protestant College in Malta. The exact date of his appointment not known although it is thought he served from 1852 to 1853. At the time of his death he was curate of St Saviour’s in Chelsea.


George died 9 October 1853 at his father’s house in Newbury and he was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 14 October 1853. An announcement appeared in the Reading Mercury dated 15 October 1953 as below.


WILLIS – On the 9th inst., at his father’s residence, in his 27th year, the Rev. George S. Willis, fifth son of M. Willis, Esq., of Newbury, Berks, curate of St Saviour’s, Chelsea, and late Head Master, of the Protestant College, Malta.


An announcement appeared in dozens of other papers, most are identical although some were a shorter version.


George’s grandmother Catherine Willis was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 1 September 1852.


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