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Our Lady and the English Martyrs (Catholic Church)

History of Our Lady and the English Martyrs

According to Pevsner, the church was built 1885-1890 by Dunn and Hansom of Newcastle. It was paid for by Mrs Lyne-Stephens, as ┬áthe parapet inscription proclaims. She was formerly Yolande (Pauline) Duvernay, an operatic dancer; her late husband’s fortune came from patenting dolls’ eyes that could move. In its time it was a controversial assertion of the Catholic presence in Cambridge.

Pauline Duvernay in 1888

More information about Stephen Lyne-Stephens can be found here.

E.M.Forster, the Longest Journey, 1907:

They wait for the other tram by the Roman Catholic Church, whose florid bulk was already receding into twilight. It is the first big building ┬áthat the incoming visitor sees. ‘Oh, here come the colleges!’ cries the Protestant parent, and then learns that it was built by a Papist who made a fortune out of moveable eyes for dolls. ‘Built out of dolls’ eyes to contain idols’ – that, at all events, is the legend and the joke. It watches over the apostate city, taller by many a yard than anything within, and asserting, however wildly, that here is eternity, stability, and bubbles unbreakable upon a windless sea.


General information can be found on Wikipedia.

Catholic Church


Rattee and Kett completed the construction of the Catholic church in 1890. The photo is of their workers.

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