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1 Hills Road, Our Lady and the English Martyrs Presbytery, Catholic Rectory, (Lensfield House)

History of OLEM, Hills Road

Lensfield House

Built in 1810 on part of John Lens’s land allocation for prominent and well-connected banker Julian Skrine who was later in partnership with Charles Humfrey. This house later became the property of the Wentworth family until purchased by the catholic Church and demolished to make way for their new church.


Joseph Wentworth, auctioneer

Martha, 28, daughter

Joseph, 23, auctioneer, b Cambridge

Eliza, 19, b Cambridge

Sarah Edwards, 34, cook

Lucy Mallby, 20, housemaid, b Cambridge

Josiah Adam Bryans, 23, groom, b Ickleton

Eliza Underwood, 30, b Herts

Thomas Baxter George, 35, visitor, b Surrey

1861 (1 Hills Road)

Joseph Wentworth, J P auctioneer

Martha, daughter, unmarried

Maude S, granddaughter, 4, b Cambridge

Sarah Edmonds, 40, cook, b Babraham

Sarah A Edmonds, 14, nurse, b Cambridge

Sophia Miller, 19, housemaid, b Burwell

William Mason, 21, gardener, b London

1871 (1 Hills Road)

Joseph Wentworth, auctioneer, 75, b Cambridge

Martha, 43, b Cambridge

Eliza, 33, b Cambridge

Sarah Edmonds, 52, cook, b Babraham

Sarah Topsham, housemaid,  b Cambridge


The Wentworth family had always refused to sell their land known as the Lensfield Estate to the Catholic Mission in Cambridge. The property was bought by Henry John Matthew of the Trinity Street firm Matthew and Son but he died suddenly aged only 39 on 12th September 1879. This gave Canon Quinlivan the opportunity to secure this ‘valuable freehold property, adjoining the church’, ‘the best in all Cambridge’, at a cost of £2000. the Duke of Norfolk was persuaded to advance almost the half of this cost.

Josiah Chater refers to the Lensfield Estate in his diary in 1879. He was looking for a site for a new Presbyterian Church:

I attended the sale of the Lensfield Estate; had a commission to buy Lot 3 for £1,010, but it was sold in one Lot for £6,100, so I lost my chance.

1881 (1 Hills Road)


1885 Lensfield House demolished

1891 (R C Presbytry)

Christopher Scott

Edward Coulson, boarder, 43, museum attendant, b Cambridge

Mary Kent, servant, widow, 62, housekeeper, b Cambridge

Susannah Yeoman, servant, 27, housemaid, Gt Gidding

[Christopher Scott was one of the most important figures in the catholic community in Cambridge at the end of the 19th century. He steered the project that led to the building of Our Lady and the English Martyrs church. For detailed information about his life and works see ‘Catholics in Cambridge’ ed. Nicholas Rogers.]

1901 (Catholic Rectory Hills Road)

Christopher Scott, 62, Roman Catholic Priest, b Cambridge

William H Read, boarder, 30, Roman Catholic Priest, b Norwich

Stbelbert [?] Smith, 26, nephew, photographer, b Norfolk

Clarence Mills, boarder, 25, sacristan church, b Burwell

Emily Keen, 52, housekeeper, b Staffs.

Winifred Lewis, 17, housemaid, born King’s Lynn

1905 Hugh Benson came to be curate to Canon Christopher Scott after finishing his studies at Llandaff House. he preached for the first time 4th July 1905.


Christopher Scott, 72, Roman Catholic Priest, b Cambridge

Andrew Joseph Kay, boarder, 31, Roman Catholic Priest, b Lancs

Pierre Guillaume Prevost, visitor, 32, Roman Catholic Priest, b Switzerland

Clarence Mills, boarder, 35, sacristan, b Burwell

[Edward Conybeare recalled in his diary: 1916 February 21st – first lesson in winding church clock as Clarence [Mills] is called up]

Elizabeth Hubbard, servant, 40, housekeeper, b Hunts [she moved to Southport in 1924]

Agnes Dean, servant, 26, housemaid, b Gt Shelford [she had lived at Benet House]


Rt Rev Monsignor Provost Scott, DD VG MR Roman Catholic Rectory

Rev A J Kay assistant priest


James B Marshall, b 1878, parish priest

Edward H Watts, b 1897, assistant priest, ARP

Charles H Grant, b 1906, assistant priest, ARP

Eric M Phillips, b 1910, assistant priest, ARP

Clarence Mills, b 1876, sacristan organist

Marie E Holmes, b 1892, housekeeper [she took over as housekeeper in 1924. She was a Belgian war widow and came with her daughter Madeleine. Madeleine married and left in 1939. Mrs Holmes carried on as housekeeper until 1946 when she left for Ely with Canon Marshall.]

Clarence Mills served the church from 1890-1946. He had been reared in an orphanage and then befriended by Canon Scott. He was first trained as sacristan but then through a musical education moved into this area of worship as well. His eyesight was too poor for active service in WWI but he spent the conflict in industry. After the retirement of the organist Otto Wehrle, Clarence took over in 1919 as choirmaster and deputy organist. He died in 1948. (see ‘Catholics in Cambridge’ p167-8)


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