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Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson

Castle Brae, Chesterton Lane

History of Castle Brae, Chesterton Lane

Listed building

Mid/Late C19. In the Tudor style. Red brick with stone dressings and blue brick decorations. 2 storeys and attic. 3 and 5-light mullion and transom windows.

In March 1890 Agnes and her husband, Samuel Savage Lewis, lived with Agnes’s twin sister Margaret at Castle Brae. Agnes and Samuel had married in 1887 and lived first in Harvey Road. Samuel died on a train in 1891 apparently of heart failure.


Agnes Smith Lewis, widow, 48, living on her own means, b Irvine Scotland

Margaret D Gibson, married[?], sister, 48

Jane Lewis, 51, sister in law, b London

Mary B Burton, visitor, 29, b Ipswich

Douglas B Bunning, law student, 21, b Scotland

Sarah A Spanwick, 30, cook, b Middlesex

Julia Broker, 23, housemaid, b Cambs

Coach House:

Alfred Rayfield, 35, coachman, b Kent

Elizabeth, 34, b Surrey

Edward A, 5, b Long Ditton

Arthur, 2, b Cambridge


George Bourne, 29, gardener, b Hants

Mary Ann, 28, b Soham


Agnes Smith Lewis, head, widow, 68, b Scotland

Margaret Dunlop Gibson, twin sister, 68, widow, b Scotland

Frances Emma Hern, servant, 25, cook, b Gt Wilbraham

Emily Agnes Free, 35, parlourmaid, b Hildersham

Annie White, 22, housemaid, b Cambridge

John Mitchell, visitor, 36, presbyterian minister, b Scotland

Agnes Smith Lewis (1843–1926) and Margaret Dunlop Gibson (1843–1920), nées Agnes and Margaret Smith(sometimes referred to as the Westminster Sisters), were Semitic scholars. Born the twin daughters of John Smith of Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, they learned more than twelve languages between them, and became pioneers in their academic work, and benefactors to the Presbyterian Church of England, especially to Westminster College, Cambridge.

Agnes’s discovery of the Syriac Sinaiticus, on one of her many journeys to Sinai, was the most important manuscript find since that of the Codex Sinaiticus in 1859 and “the contribution the twins made in cataloguing the Arabic and Syriac manuscripts at Saint Catherine’s Monastery was literally incalculable.” (from Wikipedia)

See Mill Road Cemetery entry


Mrs Agnes Lewis DD, PhD, LLD

Mrs Margaret Gibson, DD, LLD


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