CFHS code : PL13

Parish : St Paul

Inscription : Pray for the soul of MARY ANN TREHEARN d Jan 7 1892 aged 44 erected by the Catholics Our Lady and the English Martyrs in grateful remembrance of the mistress of their school for 23 years

Monument : Stone cross

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Trehearn cross February 2017


This well preserved cross stands close to the south wall, in the parish area of St Paul.


on the cross


on the plinth

Pray for the soul of MARY ANN TREHEARN died Jan 7 1892 aged 44
Erected by the Catholics of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in grateful remembrance of the mistress of their school for 23 years.

Mary Ann Trehearn (1847 – 7 January 1892)

Mary was the daughter of William and Mary Ann Trehearn.  She was born in Brentwood in Essex, and aged 14 years old was living in Isleworth where her father was a ‘gentleman’s gardener’.  She trained to be a teacher with the Sisters of Notre Dame Teacher Training School in Liverpool, and then moved to Cambridge where she taught at the Catholic School in Union Road.  She was evidently a very gifted teacher and her trainee teachers and pupils flourished under her direction.  In 1891 the Very Rev. Provost Blackman, Diocesan Inspector reported ‘Miss Trehearn of St Andrew’s School, Cambridge has not only proved herself a most efficient teacher of children and for years obtained the highest distinction for her school, but has been unwearied in her attention to her pupil teachers, whose success tells only too well what they owe to her sound methods of instruction’.  One of her pupil teachers Mary Canty came first in the Pupil Teachers’ examination in 1890 and the school was awarded ‘excellent’ status.  The Very Rev. Blackman reported that ‘this is the fourth time the Cambridge Catholic Pupil Teachers have stood 1st in honours for religious knowledge in England, Scotland and Wales.  She would also appear to have been an excellent singer, and in a concert in 1889 Mary Ann and Mary Canty sang a duet ‘in a very admirable manner’.  Mary Ann was also an invited guest when the ‘new’ Catholic Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs was opened on Wednesday 15th October 1890.

Her funeral was reported in the Cambridge Independent Press on 15th January and appeared to have been a very sad affair, given her early death.  A great deal of Cambridge Roman Catholic children were present at the funeral.  ‘Miss Trehearn had spent nearly twenty-four years in charge of the Roman Catholic School during which period she earned the esteem of all with whom she was brought into contact, irrespective of doctorinal or denominational differences. Of this latter fact ample testamony was afforded by the number of persons who attended her funeral who profess no allegiance to the Roman Catholic doctorines’.  The service was held at the Church of Our Lady, and the members of Our Lady’s Guild of which she had been president carried the banner of the Guild and wore ‘long white tuile veils’ behind the family mourners.  These were then followed by pupils from the school – ‘many of the little girls sobbed audibly throughout the service, whilst the boys on the whole preserved that solidity of countenance which inevitably accompanies grief amongst English boys’.  Canon Scott gave the funeral sermon and  said ‘[the children]…had been deprived suddenly and unexpectedly of a mother, who, although not a mother in the flesh was still a mother because she had consecrated herself to the service of God, and employed her life in helping the children’s parents to bring them up’.  He said she had arrived at the school twenty three years earlier as a young, inexperienced teacher, but full of promise.  Pupil numbers had trebled under her tenure, as had the resources from the Government.  Her trainee teachers had passed ‘four times as the head of all pupil teachers in England, Scotland and Wales, a distinction which repeated so often was unique’. She was interred at Mill Road Cemetery after the service, the hearse was followed by five mourning carriages and then the school children and ‘a large gathering of people’

Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

Mary Ann Trehearn