Mrs Sophia DARLING née Lawrence (c.1791–1866)
St Paul section: Row 9, Grave A21 (St Paul ref. R6)
IN MEMORY OF THE LATE
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE
MARCH 14, 1866
AGED 74 YEARS
[The next part of the text
is obscured, but may relate
to her friend Miss Ann Taylor:
Sophia Lawrence was born in Standlake in c.1791.
On 25 December 1816 at St Cross Church, Holywell, Oxford she married George Darling: both were described as being of that parish, and George worked as a printer. They had the following children:
- Charlotte Sophia Darling (born in Holywell in 1817 and baptised at St Cross Church on 7 December)
- Mary Ann Darling (born in Holywell in 1819 and baptised at St Cross Church on 7 February; died aged 12 and buried in St Cross churchyard on 14 October 1831)
- Elizabeth Darling (born in Holywell in 1822 and baptised at St Cross Church on 12 May; died aged three months and buried in St Cross churchyard on 11 August)
- George Darling junior (born in Holywell in 1823 and baptised at St Cross Church on 26 December; died aged 13 and buried in St Cross churchyard on 4 December 1836)
The couple spent their married life in Holywell parish, and buried their baby daughter Elizabeth there in 1822 and their twelve-year-old daughter Mary Ann there in 1831.
Sophia’s husband George Darling died at the age of 34 in 1825, and was buried at St Cross churchyard on 27 June. Sophia, who then had two surviving children aged one and seven, did not marry again.
Sophia’s only surviving son George Darling junior died in 1836 at the age of 13 and was buried at Holywell with his sisters. Her last surviving child, and the only one who reached adulthood, Charlotte Sophia Darling, died in 1840 at the age of 22 in St Thomas’s parish and was buried there on 25 April.
At the time of the 1851 census Sophia Darling was a milliner of about 61 (her age fluctuates) and was playing a visit to another widow, Mrs Ann Taylor, a cook who lived at 29 Great Clarendon Street. By 1861 she was boarding with her, and was described as a dressmaker.
Her landlady and friend Mrs Ann Taylor died in Clarendon Street in 1864 at the age of 80, and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 21 April with the same church plot reference as that for Sophia. It is possible that she too is buried in this grave; but as she died before Sophia, her name ought to have appeared at the top of the gravestone, so there is some doubt.
Sophia died two years later in 1866:
† Mrs Sophia Darling née Lawrence died at Great Clarendon Street at the age of 74 on 14 March 1866 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 21 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
Her effects came to under £450, and her executor was William Darling, a cabinet maker of 289 High Street, Poplar. (He may be the William, son of William & Mary Darling, who was baptised at St Thomas’s Church on 27 February 1834.)