CFHS code : AL180

Parish : St Andrew the Less

Inscription : In Loving Memory of SABINA wife of ADAM MATHESON d Oct 5 1895 aged 62 also of ADAM MATHESON d Nov 25 1904 aged 76

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

The headstone in April 2021.


This headstone stands 4 rows east of the central path next to the north path (behind a bench), in the parish of St Andrew the Less. The inscription of metal letters is complete but does get covered by ivy.


In Loving Memory of SABINA wife of ADAM MATHESON who died Oct. 5 1895 aged 62.

“…. sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him”

Also of ADAM MATHESON who died Nov. 25. 1904 aged 76

” Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.”

Adam Matheson (1828 – 25 November 1904)

Adam was born in Loth in Sutherland, and was the son of John and Elizabeth (known as Bessy) Matheson. John Matheson worked as an agricultural labourer.  Adam married widow Ellen Munsey (née Howes) in Edinburgh on 15th September 1860.

Ellen had been born in Cambridge, and had married John Munsey (1818-1851) in 1846.  John was a coach maker, and the couple had lived at 4 Rupel Street, and had one daughter: Mary Ann Rebecca (1850-1933).  John died in 1851 and Ellen remarried Adam Matheson aged 40 years old.  In 1861 the couple were living in Carlisle with her daughter from her first marriage who went by the name of Rebecca.  Adam Matheson was working as a book agent at this time.  Ellen and Adam had a daughter named Ellen Elizabeth (1863-1926) who went by the name of Bessie.  By 1871 the family had moved to Chorlton near Manchester, and were living at 104 Mornington Street.  Adam was working as a ‘publishers manager ‘(sic), and Ellen’s mother Mary Howes was also living with them, as well as Adam’s two brothers Alexander and Samuel.

In 1881 the family had moved to Cambridge and were living at Emery Street. Adam’s profession on the census of that year was described as a ‘house owner’. Ellen Matheson died in 1887.  Adam continued to live at 21 Emery Street with step daughter Rebecca acting as housekeeper (1891).

He married for a second time to Sabina Rice (née Reeve) on 2nd April 1892 at Cotton End, Cardington, Bedfordshire.   The marriage was short lived as Sabina died at home in 1895, three and a half years after getting married.

Adam married for a third time on 20th April 1898 at the age of 70.  He married Fanny Chapman (1861-1942) who was 28 years old at the time.  They married in the Non-Conformist Church in West Yorkshire, which is where Fanny was from. They returned to live at 21 Emery Street, and had three children: Alexander Henry (1899-1959), Adam Gordon (1900-1997) and Mary Marjorie (1902-1983).

He was a prominent member of the passive resistance movement and was opposed to the 1902 Education Act (otherwise known as the Balfour Act).  In this act funding for schools was moved to a more uniform basis.   Previously some schools were run by local school boards, and some were run by churches (either Church of England or Catholic).  The 1902 Act established local education authorities (LEAs) who were in charge of paying school teachers and ensuring they were sufficiently qualified.  They paid the teachers in church schools, with churches providing and maintaining the school buildings and providing religious instruction.  Members of the Baptist and Methodist Churches ran a campaign of passive resistance for many years after the introduction of the Act, whereby they withheld the educational element from their taxes. They objected to their taxes being used to educate children in a religion different to their own, and were also unhappy at loosing previous involvement on the now abolished school boards. Adam appeared in court in 1903 and 1904 for non-payment of  tax.

Adam Matheson died at home in Emery Street in November 1904 aged 76 years old.

Sabina Matheson (formerly Rice née Reeve) (7 October 1832 – 5 October 1895)

Sabina was born in Framlingham and baptised there on 21st January 1833.  She was the daughter of farmer Thomas Reeve and his wife Hannah and grew up in Earl Soham, where her father farmed 63 acres.  She married James Rice (1843-1887) in Bermondsey in 1867.  James was a draper and in 1871 the couple were running a linen store at 113 Kentish Town Road in London, assisted by a draper’s assistant and a domestic servant.  By 1881 they had moved to Croydon and were running a similar business there.  James Rice died in Worthing in June 1887, and Sabina was widowed aged 55 years old.

She married Adam Matheson in 1892, but died at their home in Emery Street two days before her 63rd birthday.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen and Mary Naylor

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Adam Matheson; Sabina Matheson