Gilbert Ainslie by Frederick Bacon Barwell
Gilbert Ainslie by Frederick Bacon Barwell

Gilbert Ainslie (2 June 1793 – 9 January 1870)[1] was an English academic and clergyman.


The fourth son of Henry Ainslie MD FRCP (1760–1834), Ainslie was born at Kendal and educated at Charterhouse. His name was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, on 3 July 1810, but on 10 January 1811 he migrated to Pembroke, from where he matriculated in the Michaelmas term of 1811, gaining a scholarship. He graduated BA in 1815, when he was Eighth Wrangler, and the same year was elected a Fellow of his college. The next year he was ordained a deacon of the Church of England, and in 1818 a priest. Also in 1818 he proceeded to the degree of MA and in 1828 was appointed Master of Pembroke College, later the same year becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge for the year. In 1829 the university made him a Doctor of Divinity. He was again vice-chancellor in 1836 and remained Master of Pembroke until his death in 1870.[2]

In 1837 Ainslie laid the foundation stone of the Fitzwilliam Museum.[3]

In 1829 he married Emily, a daughter of William Coxhead Marsh, of Park Hall, Theydon Garnon, Essex. Their third son Aymer Ainslie (1841–1901), a mining engineer,[2] was named after Aymer Valence, husband of Mary Valence, Countess of Pembroke, who in the 14th century had founded Marie Valence's Hall, which grew into Pembroke College. Ainslie wrote a life of the foundress.[4]

In succession, Ainslie and his predecessor Joseph Turner held the Mastership of Pembroke College for a total of eighty-six years, becoming the two longest-serving Masters.

Ainslie died at the Master's Lodge, Pembroke College, on 9 January 1870, leaving an estate valued at some £12,000. Probate was granted to his son Gilbert Ainslie, banker, of Cambridge.[5]



  1. ^ EATH OF THE REV. GILBERT AINSLIE, D. D., MASTER OF PEMBROKE COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE . The Morning Post (London, England), Tuesday, January 11, 1870; pg. 5; Issue 2998
  2. ^ a b John Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900, p. 20
  3. ^ Jonathan Smith, Christopher Stray, eds., Cambridge in the 1830s: The Letters of Alexander Chisholm Gooden (2003), p. 101
  4. ^ a b John Roland Seymour Phillips, Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, 1307-1324 (1972), p. 7
  5. ^ Ainslie 1870, page 5, accessed 29 August 2015
Academic offices Preceded byJoseph Turner Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge 1828–1870 Succeeded byJohn Power