CFHS code : AL63

Parish : St Andrew the Less

Inscription : In Affectionate Remembrance of ABRAHAM NEWLAND b January 3 1800 d March 28 1885 also JANE wife of the above b January 10 1800 d April 19 1842 interred in Trinity Churchyard in this town also LUCY NEWLAND ———— [Aug] 19[1]3

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.204049, 0.13783314

Newland headstone October 2017



In Affectionate Remembrance of ABRAHAM NEWLAND
born January 3 1800 died March 28 1885

Also JANE wife of the above born January 10 1800 died April 19 1842
Interred in Trinity Churchyard in this town

also LUCY NEWLAND ———— Aug 1913

Abraham Newland (3 January 1800 – 28 March 1885)

Abraham Newland (3 January 1800 – 28 March 1885)

Abraham was born in Iver, near Windsor in Berkshire and was baptised there on 2 February 1800. He was the son of carpenter Thomas (1766-1858) and Elizabeth (née Shirley) (1780 – 1858). Abraham was a teacher and married Jane Dawson on 3 August 1823 at St. Paul’s Church, Deptford. They had at least ten children: Jane (1824-1900), Emma (1825-1827), Elizabeth (1827-1904), Thomas (1831-1902), Martha (1831-1900), Lucy (1833-1913), George (1835-1835), Abraham (1835-1835), Joseph (1838-1915) and Harriet (1840-1901). The couple moved to Cambridge in 1826 when they were asked ‘by the Governors of the Old Schools at Cambridge, to organise and conduct the first Infants’ School….in King Street’.   Abraham ran the school for 27 years and ‘it was a very popular and prosperous institution in which many tradesmen and other respectable inhabitants of Cambridge received their first lessons in the three ‘R’s’. Jane also taught at the school and after her death in April 1842, he married Matilda Mary Jacobs (1820-1894) on 23 August 1842. Abraham and Matilda had a further eight children: Edward (1844-1846), Catherine Matilda (1845-1845), Margaret Eleanor (1848-1935), Matilda May (1850-1909), Charles William (1853-1922), John Frederick (1855-1927), Florence Hope (1857-1948) and Alfred Benjamin (1859-1930). Abraham is believed to have left King Street School c.1853, and son John was born in Fen Ditton (1855), his youngest two children with Matilda were born in King’s Lynn in 1857 and 1859.

In August 1860 Abraham was appointed as temporary master of the Cambridge Union Workhouse.  The existing Master, James Hatfield was ill and therefore unable to fulfil the duties of the role.  The Board of Guardians were concerned that ‘the discipline of the house, as may generally be found in any establishment without its head – has become more lax than might be desired’.  Dr Humphry confirmed that Mr Hatfield would be unable to work for another month or so, so Abraham was appointed as temporary master at the rate of 25s per week. The role had been declined by another candidate (Mr. Walsham), and the temporary post did not end well. One element of the role, which the Guardians were especially interested in was to draw up ‘an account of the provisions consumed’ after each meal, yet Abraham appeared to have very poor control over the books.  Just a few weeks after the appointment the Clerk of the Guardians reported ‘he was compelled to complain of the temporary Master of the Workhouse neglecting to send him the Union books for examination. Unless those books were attended to, very great confusion would inevitably take place’.  Alderman Foster who had visited the Workhouse said that the books ‘had been sadly neglected’ and simply showed estimates rather than actual daily consumption. Mr Foster also complained of ‘orders for three bottles of wine, and two gallons of gin, being given without the knowledge of the temporary master, or a report being made to the Board’.  Abraham had told the Clerk that he needed 150lbs of meat but had ordered 290lbs. Furthermore, the education of the boys in the Workhouse School was said to be unsatisfactory, and another Guardian reported he ‘saw the boys the other day, and he never saw such a set of ‘ragged muffins’ in his life. Old Falstaff never had a worse set in appearance. They had dirty shoes and looked quite disgraceful’.  Alderman Foster concluded the weekly meeting of the Guardians by asking that half a dozen hammers were bought ‘for the use of the able-bodied paupers to break stones’ which was approved. A Mr. Peters was appointed as Abraham’s assistant Master to try and resolve the accounting situation, which further enraged the Guardians as they now had three wages to pay (Abraham, Peters and Hatfield).  On 22 September 1860 Abraham was re-appointed for a further three weeks, despite the book still not in order. By mid-October Mr Hatfield was still showing no signs of improvement, and Abraham’s contract at the Workhouse was extended until 22nd December. Eventually a new Master- Mr Bounds was appointed in December, by which time the books were still not satisfactory. The Guardians debated whether to retain Mr Newlands for some more time to complete the books, but Mr Bounds declared that ‘Mr. Newland was not of the slightest use to him’, and Abraham told the Board that ‘he though he should be able to complete his books that afternoon, he would do it if possible’. By mid-January Mr Bounds was in role, and his books were immaculate, but mean while Abraham’s books from August to December 1860 were still not complete. The Board proposed withholding a cheque for £16 which they owed him, until the books could be signed off. Abraham had confided to the Clerk ‘his utter incapacity to complete the books; and even if he did they would then be as inaccurate as they could be’, leaving the Board asking ‘who recommended Mr Newland and vouched for his competency?’  At the next meeting many of the Guardians said that they thought Abraham had been mistreated, and that it had not been stipulated when he was employed that he needed to do the books. It had been assumed that because he was a school master he was well versed numerically. The Chairman of the Board said, ‘the only fault I have to find with Mr. Newland is that when he had been here three or four weeks and he knew himself to be incapable of managing the books, he had not the candour and honesty to say so then’.  Eventually the Board decided to pay Abraham the £16 he was due, despite the books still being unsatisfactory.

Abraham was appointed Master of Fen Ditton endowed school by 1865, but more scandal ensued in 1866, when he was charged with ‘indecently assaulting a nine year old girl’, who was a pupil at the school. The case came to court in October 1866 and the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal reported that ‘defendant had been a respectable man, and the case was a very painful one’. He had taken her into a ‘turf house’ at the back of the school for half an hour on two consecutive days and had assaulted her there, telling the little girl not to tell her mother. A surgeon testified that he had examined the girl and found injuries consistent with an indecent assault.  Abraham’s solicitor Mr Naylor said in his defence that he had thought she had a skin disease and had ‘examined her to satisfy himself on the point’ and that he was a man ‘of highly respectable position, and that he was the father of a large family – both of which were presumptions against his doing anything so unnatural as was charged against him’.  The Chairman of the court summed up by saying ‘defendant had not the slightest business in the world to act as he had done’ and the jury after short deliberation found him guilty. He was sentenced to one year in prison, after which time he moved to live in Lowestoft. In June 1869 he applied for the role of Porter of the Workhouse, but the Guardians ‘stuck out’ his name from the list of seven applicants, without interview. In 1871 Abraham was lodging in Birmingham and working as a brush maker – his family were living elsewhere. By 1881 he had returned to Cambridge and was lodging at Victoria Road with the Cracknell family, where he was documented as an unemployed school master. He died at Norfolk Terrace aged 85 years old and was buried on 1 April. The Cambridge Independent Press printed a short but sympathetic obituary under the headline of ‘Death of an Old Cambridge Schoolmaster’ and noting that about 1,600 had been educated under him during his time at King Street.

Matilda Newland lived with her daughter Florence in Derby from at least 1881 onwards and worked as a monthly nurse. She died in Derby in September 1894 and is buried in Smalley Cemetery.

Jane Newland (née Dawson) (10 January 1800 – 19 April 1842)

Jane was born in Greenwich, the daughter of Thomas and Christiana Dawson. She was baptised on 20 July 1800 and married Abraham Newland when she was 23 years old. She taught at King Street Infant’s School and died aged 42 years old. Newspapers reported that she held the role of Mistress for nearly sixteen years and fulfilled it with ‘exemplary diligence and fidelity’. She was buried in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church.

Lucy Newland (15 February 1833 – 19 August 1913)

Lucy was the daughter of Abraham and Jane and was baptised on 10 March 1833. In 1881 she was lodging in Paddington and in 1891 was living in East Barnet.  Her occupation was noted as being ‘living on own means’. Lucy was living at 18 Russell Street, Cambridge when she died, aged 80 and was buried  on 22 August.



Newspaper archives

Parish burial records transcribed by CFHS

by Claire Martinsen

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Abraham Newland; Jane Newland; Lucy Newland