The city of Cambridge: Roman Catholicism

Page 138

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.

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The Roman Catholic Church of St. Andrew was built in 1853 through the efforts of the Revd. Bernard Shanley near the junction of Union Road and Hills Road. It was intended to meet the needs of the Irish workmen who had recently come to Barnwell. It was designed by A. W. Pugin, and Wiseman preached at the consecration. In 1890 the church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs was built a short distance away at the junction of Lensfield Road and Hills Road, and the site of St. Andrew's was used for the extension of the Roman Catholic school in Union Road. (fn. 36) The site of the new church was given by the Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 37) and the church was built at the expense of Mrs. Y. M. L. Lyne-Stephens, who also left £5,000 for its maintenance. (fn. 38) The church is widely known for its ring of eight bells with a ninth for tune-playing. There is also a church dedicated to St. Lawrence in High Street, Chesterton. St. Edmund's House, founded under a trust deed of 1898, was established on a site given by the Duke of Norfolk as a hostel for future priests attending the University.

Although the religious tests were removed in the mid-19th century, Roman Catholics had been debarred in 1867 by their own ecclesiastical authorities from attending Oxford and Cambridge. The necessary permission was not granted until 1895. In 1899 the Cambridge University Catholic Association rented rooms in Green Street for the use of a chaplain to Roman Catholic undergraduates. Several houses were leased for the university chaplaincy until the 'Black Swan' public house in Guildhall Street, with the billiard rooms and dance hall adjoining it, was purchased as a permanent centre in 1924. These buildings were adapted and renamed 'Fisher House', and the chapel, which had originally been a billiard room, was opened on 4 May 1925, the feast of Blessed John Fisher. Part of the buildings continued to be let out until in 1951 they were converted into a library and club-room, the former club-room being fitted out as an additional chapel. (fn. 39)


  • 36. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1933); see below, p. 144.
  • 37. Atkinson, Cambridge Described, 177–8.
  • 38. Char. Com. files.
  • 39. Camb. Univ. Catholic Assoc., Ann. Rep. 1924–5; H. O. Evennett, 'The Cambridge Prelude to 1895', Dublin Review, Apr. 1946, and 'Catholics and the Universities', in The English Catholics, 1850–1950, ed. Bishop G. A. Beck. Both Monsignor A. N. Gilbey and Mr. Evennett have given valuable help in compiling this paragraph.