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16 Union Road

History of 16 Union Road

1841 census: [16?]

Rev Bernard Shanly, 38, Catholic Clergyman

‘Catholics in Cambridge’ ed. Nicholas Rogers p.66f, records that Fr Edward Huddleston had been appointed by Bishop Thomas Walsh to establish a new mission in Cambridge. In July 1827 Fr Huddleston took up residence at Sawston Hall, the ancestral home of the Huddleston family.

By January 1828 Fr Huddleston had succeeded in raising about £900 and it appears probable, though opinions seem to differ, that £400 out of this sum was applied to the purchase of a pair of cottages, with land at the rear, in Union Road in the parish of Barnwell (or St Andrew the Less). Although Richard Huddleston was responsible for arranging this purchase, the transaction had to proceed with extreme caution, through a nominee. There was every reason to suppose that a vendor, discovering the true identity of the purchaser, or that the property was intended as the site of a future Catholic chapel, would have withdrawn in hostile indignation.

Nothing much happened though over the next few years. In 1840 the Catholic church in England was reorganised and Cambridge achieved new importance in the hierarchy of districts. Bishop Wareing appointed an Irishman, Fr Bernard Shanley, to take responsibility for establishing a Cambridge Mission.

Bishop Wareing had the site, the funds and the architect [Pugin]; Fr Shanley had the energy, imagination and persuasive fund-raising powers needed to galvanise the local (largely Irish) Catholics into a loyal and effective congregation. For the first time since the Reformation Cambridge had regular Sunday Masses, though starting in somewhat squalid and makeshift premises. Fr Shanley’s first Mass for the catholics of Cambridge was said in an upstairs room in the lodging house of Thomas Patrick Price, general dealer, in Newmarket Road, with a chalice borrowed for the occasion from Richard Huddleston. This venue was not chosen again because the floor threatened to collapse. Next followed sixteen weeks’ occupation of a little hut nearly bursting at the seams, before the pair of cottages on the Union Road frontage to the church site became vacant. One cottage served for a time as the priest’s residence and the other as the chapel for the duration of the building period.

1851 census:

Robert Huddlestone, 26, tea dealer, b Scotland

Mary, 29, b Scotland

John Milligan, lodger, 28, draper, b Scotland

William Brownridge, 24, servant, tea dealer, b Scotland

1861 census:

Mary A Chambers, 60, widow, fundholder, b Norfolk

Mary Annie, 33, daily governess, b Duxford

1901 census:

Edward Plumb Bryant, 45, commercial clerk, b Suffolk

Janet Allen, 39, b Scotland

John Douglas, 11, b Cambridge

Charles H, 10, b Cambridge

Margaret Alice, 10, b Cambridge

Frances Allen, 9, b Cambridge

Janet Elizabeth, 6, b Cambridge

Elizabeth C, 4, b Cambridge

1911 census:

Marion Hart, 64, widow, laundress, b Cambridge

Annie Pratt, 47, daughter, single, assistant in laundry, b Cambridge

Margaret Pratt, 38, daughter, single, assistant in laundry, b Cambridge


Mrs Hart


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