Friends of Hastings Cemetery

In 1877 Christina sent Cayley a “seamouse” preserved in spirits which she had found whilst at Hastings.  [Some sources say he sent it to her.]  She said in her letter on 22nd December 1875 to her brother that “Mr Cayley is going to pass Christmas with his family at Hastings”.

Charles Bagot Cayley died at his London lodgings of heart disease on 5 December 1883 - Christina Rossetti’s 53rd birthday - and was buried in Hastings, near his mother.  In the words of Christina’s brother William, he “continued to be a living personality in her heart”, and she saved every memento of him.  William wrote that as she lay dying in December 1894, she talked of him “in terms of almost passionate intensity.”

There is also a reference in the volume of her letters to Henrietta and Sophia after their deaths, news brought on a visit by their niece (Arthur’s daughter) Mary.

1881 Census - 23 Pevensy Road

Sophia Cayley / Head / 63 / Income from [International?] money / Born St Petersburg Russia

Henrietta Cayley / Sister / 50 / Income as above / Born Blackheath, Kent

Also resident, 2 servants, Housemaid and Cook.

Christina did not attend Charles’ funeral but she did come to Hastings with her mother three weeks later.

Her brother William thought that her poem “One Seaside Grave” was about a visit to Cayley’s grave.   Her “Monna Innominata, A Sonnet of Sonnets” is said to be influenced by her relationship with Cayley, probably inspired by his translation of Dante.  [Dante studied for a while under Ford Madox Brown.]

For more on the Cayley / Rossetti relationship, see CHAPTER IV CHARLES BAGOT CAYLEY "THE PRINCE'S PROGRESS" 61

Charles Bagot Cayley 1823 - 1883

Dante, La Divina Commedia (trans.), 1851 - 1855

Psyche’s Interludes (poems), 1857

Metrical translation of the Psalms, 1860

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound (trans.), 1867

The Iliad of Homer hexametrically translated, 1877

Petrarch’s Sonnets and Stanzas (trans.), 1880

Cayley, Charles Bagot, p.4