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    Church Windows

                                                                                                              GEORGE COPLEY


The stained glass window above the altar was dedicated to George Copley, City of Peterborough Bank Manager, who died 8 March 1888 age 56, by his friends and associates.


George was born in 1832 in Longthorpe, the second child of Lydia Copley. By 1851 George had started his professional life as a banker’s clerk in Spalding. George married Emily Althorp, of Stamford, in 1866. Emily was the daughter of James and Elizabeth. It would appear to be an advantageous match for George, as James was a magistrate, alderman and chemist employing 4 men who undoubtedly had useful professional contacts.


George and Emily were a young successful professional family. By 1881 they were living comfortably in London Road, with at least three servants, and George had risen to the position of bank manager. They had seven children in quick succession William 1868, George 1869, Edwin 1871, Charles 1872, Mildred 1875, Margaret 1877 and Dora 1880 and all except Charles survived to adulthood. George, Edwin, Mildred, Margaret and Dora were all baptised at St. Margarets.


George and Emily obviously had aspirations for their young family as in 1881 William and George were boarding at the private Laxton House School in Oundle.


But their happiness would not be long lived as Emily died on the 25th May 1881 suffering from pymeia (blood poisoning) and George himself died just seven years later on 8th March 1888. George's will notes that his personal estate totalled £13,493 9s 10d, approximately £808,000.00 today and included property in Nottinghamshire.


Following the death of both parents the young family were scattered. In the 1891 census Edwin is lodging in Dudley and George was lodging at 8 Elm St, Peterborough, both employed as bank clerks. Margaret and Dora were being cared for in the family home by their aunt Mary Althorp. Mildred was a pupil at Gt Harrowden Hall, a ladies school. One of her contempories there was Princess Victoria Ka'iulani, heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. William it would appear was either employed overseas or was travelling as his death is recorded in South Africa sometime during 1893.


Mary, Emily’s sister, was bequeathed a legacy of £5,000 in George’s will to care for his six children providing that she remained unmarried. Whether this was a harsh stipulation or an agreement made amicably prior to George’s death will never be known. However Mary cared for the children until 1911 when she went to live with her unmarried brother Henry and sister Charlotte in Tunbridge Wells. Henry, Charlotte and Fanny Althorp all remained single and lived together in various groupings so evidence would suggest this was a family caring for one another.


George’s aspirations were continued by his son George. In 1901 George was hotel proprietor of the Saracens Head Hotel, Peterborough, which would have stood opposite what, is now Rivergate and by 1911 he was proprietor of the Bull Hotel, Peterborough. Both of these were both impressive and important establishments.

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