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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Cemetery Sunday - Sisters of The Nativity of Our Lord

Monument to the sisters of The Nativity of Our Lord, All Saints Maidenhead Cemetery, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

"Sisters of the Nativity of our Lord"

The above gravestone had no names or dates and was placed on a large plot. 

The catholic order of the Sisters of The Nativity of Our Lord was founded by Mother Mary Joseph de Franssu and Father Lewis Bathelemy Enfantin, in France.  In 1894 the convent moved from France to Sittingbourne in England to escape religious persecution. 

At some point before the early 1940s a group from the convent came to Maidenhead, Berkshire to set up a Covent school, The Nativity Of Our Lord School, for the education of catholic and non catholic children.  The school closed in 1982 when the convent sold the building and grounds to a committee of parents, which later became Clare's Court School.

Unfortunately my research seems to have hit a brick wall.  No one seems able to tell me when the sisters moved to Maidenhead and why they left or even who is buried in the grave at All Saints Maidenhead Cemetery.


  1. Could be a plot for the nuns who died and were buried there there.

  2. That's a beautiful marker. It's a shame that no one knows who's buried there exactly.

  3. What a shame you can't identify for sure who is buried there. There doesn't seem to be a date on the marker either.

  4. I went to the school the nuns ran and every Sunday we were taken to the cemetery to pay our respects. The nuns definitely knew who was buried there but unfortunately I cannot remember!

    I still have an abiding interest in cemeteries as I visited this grave for eight years and the cemetery with it.

  5. I attended this school in the mid sixties. This grave marker was never talked about while I was there, and I had no idea of its' existence until I found this web site.

    I still have my school badge - can't remember if it was worn on a school hat, or on the uniform.

  6. After establishing themselves in Sittingbourne, the Congregation of the Nativity of Our Lord founded a second house in Eastbourne. After the outbreak of war in 1939, large areas of southern England were requisitioned by the military, the Eastbourne site being taken over by the Admiralty. The nuns found temporary quarters at a convent in Abingdon but in 1942 were able to find a more permanent home at Brookwood in Ray Mill Road East, Maidenhead. Renaming the house "Claires Court", they opened a girls' school there in May 1942. The river area flooded disastrously in March 1947 and the school was closed for over two months. Deciding to seek drier ground, in July 1947 the nuns bought "Maidenhead College", until then a private boys' school. The site re-opened as a convent school for girls in January 1948. (Claires Court reverted back to private use until 1960 when it was bought by David & Josephine Wilding who returned it to educational use as a boys' prep school.) The convent flourished as a school but by 1978 only one nun remained in a teaching capacity and the Order took the reluctant decision to withdraw from Maidenhead and concentrate in Sittingbourne. A trust took over the school and site in July 1979 and re-opened in September 1979, resurrecting the name "Maidenhead College" but as a girls' school. The College was taken over by Claires Court in 1993 and continues to flourish. The burial registers of All Saints Cemetery are in the care of RBWM but I understand that there were 4 nuns buried in two plots under the memorial that you spotlight. Coincidentally, the original founder of Maidenhead College, Andrew Millar-Inglis, and his wife are buried in the same cemetery but in an unmarked plot.

    1. Thank you for that wonderful information, Hugh. RBWM only records three burials in the plot mentioned above. I was given their birth names and dates of death/burial, but I understand that when they became nuns they were given a different name.


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