Music at ST MARY'S Perivale
The Ellen Nicholas memorial (2)
The Nicholas family's associations with St Mary's Perivale
Many of the great and good of 18 th and 19 th century Ealing are buried outside their own parishes at St Mary's Perivale, probably because of its idyllic, peaceful setting by the banks of the Brent. However, it might have seemed logical for Ellen Nicholas to have been buried at St Mary's in Ealing as it was immediately adjacent to her home and was where her father occasionally preached. However her late mother had strong associations with St Mary's Perivale. She was Elizabeth Pierce Shury, who had died in 1811, and was the daughter of Richard Badcock Shury, the rector of St Mary's Perivale from 1783 to 1789. He was also headmaster of Great Ealing School from 1768 to 1791. Upon Elizabeth marrying George Nicholas in 1791, he became headmaster of the school in place of his father-in-law.
Ellen Nicholas was buried in Perivale churchyard in the family grave, which included her grandfather Richard Shury and mother, Elizabeth.
Perivale churchyard c1880 showing the Shury and Nicholas chest tomb with railings around it
Entry in the Perivale burial register for Ellen Nicholas
The Quincy Adams diaries
Recent research can now give us a fuller picture of the character of Ellen Nicholas. John Quincy Adams was the US president from 1825 to 1829. While he was the American minister to Britain from 1815 to 1817 his home was at Little Boston, in what is now Windmill Road in Little Ealing. Throughout his life Quincy Adams wrote an exhaustive diary which recorded not only his political and diplomatic experiences but also his domestic and family life. Much of his time in Ealing is now described in a book, An American President in Ealing, written and published by the Little Ealing History Group (2014). Quincy Adams' sons attended Great Ealing School and Quincy Adams became very friendly with Dr George Nicholas. The two families often met up. Of all the Nicholas children, Ellen Nicholas is the one most often mentioned and she seems to have left quite an impression on the future president.
Front cover of ĎAn American President in Ealing' showing John Quincy Adams