CFHS code : BE20

Parish : St Bene’t

Inscription : MARIA JOSEPH BOQUEL / [b] July ——- [d] remainder illegible

Monument : Stone cross

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Bouquel cross February 2019


This cross stands just west of the central path in the parish of St Bene’t. The inscription is very eroded and the burial register was used to identify the grave.We have not found an inscription for Lucien but know he was buried in this parish.


born .. July 1833 died .. Jan 1892

Maria Joseph Boquel (1833 – 1892)

Maria was born in France and came to England with her husband Lucien Boquel in 1866 they appear to have lodged at 9 Downing Terrace, Lensfield Road. In 1871 they were living at 5 College Terrace, now 115 Hills Road but later moved to 63 St Andrew’s Street (1881), where Maria taught French, and eventually 19 Trumpington St, which is where Maria died aged 59. She was buried on January 26th

Dominique Lucien Boquel (1829 – 10/9/1906) – his first name was never used in any records except at death.

Lucien was born in Lorraine, France. He came to Cambridge in 1866 to teach French and worked at Emmanuel, Girton and Newnham Colleges. His career can be traced through the advertisements he placed in the local papers. In February 1866 he was happy to teach French in “schools &  families’. By April the advert was much larger and his charges listed “One Guinea a quarter (12 weeks) for I hour a week”,  but he is keen to point out that lessons can also be paid for by the hour and that he is happy to run evening classes for several friends together “on the lowest terms” AND there were special terms for the neighbourhood. It seems he was still building his business. By 1870 he had joined forces with a group that provided “Lectures for Women”. This was the period that saw the foundation of both Girton (1869) and Newnham (1870) colleges. While continuing with this work he was also setting up his own ‘School for Ladies’ with his wife, Maria. They now occupied St George’s House at 63 St Andrew’s St (1875). A year later he was advertising for a cook and the use of a croquet lawn – maybe he was thinking of providing gentle exercise for the young ladies. By 1878 the school was taking in pupils from age 7 and there was a curriculum that included Arithmetic, Geography, History, English, French, Italian and German and was run by a Miss L Young with 2 governesses and 3 masters.

In October 1879 his book ‘A Handful of Truths’ was published. This book, aimed at parents, claimed to give insight as to why children may fail in their exams and also, intriguingly, ‘A word on bluestockings’. He produced another book in 1885,  ‘Remarks on French composition” , this was aimed more at teachers and the pupils themselves. He was by now a lecturer at Newnham College and may have given up the school when he moved to Trumpington Street c 1885. It is thought that he was the author of ‘Random Exercises in French Grammar’ publish in 1904/5.

After the death of his wife he was looked after by the family servant Sarah Chambers. At the age of 77 he died at 107 Hills Road, which was back in College Terrace. A notice appeared in the paper which makes it clear that no relatives attended the funeral although it was thought there were nieces & nephews in France. In 1907 a notice asking for claims on the estate was placed in the London Gazette on behalf of a Marie Felice Marie.

By Mary Naylor


CFHS transcripts of Parish Records
Family Search
British Newspaper Archive
There is information about 63 St Andrew’s St here

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Lucien Boquel; Maria Joseph Boquel