Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Harrold > Mary Anne Saint Quintin

Mary Anne Saint Quintin

80 High Street - Quintin House May 2008
80 High Street, Quintin House, May 2008

Miss Mary Anne St.Quintin died in 1896 and received this lengthy obituary in the Bedfordshire Mercury of 25th July: "Temperance and evangelistic efforts in Harrold lose an earnest supporter by the death of the venerable Miss Mary Anne St.Quintin, whose memory will long be cherished with much affection and gratitude by those who knew her best and who have experienced benefit from her valued words and many good works. The deceased lady was one of the four daughters of the late Mr.Thomas St.Quinitin, of Hatley Park, Hatley St.George, J.P. and D.L. for Cambridgeshire, by Mary Anne, daughter of Col.Fisher, of Brentwood, Essex. Miss St.Quintin came to Harrold about forty years back, on inheriting jointly with her two unmarried sisters - Miss Jane St.Quintin and Miss F.A.St.Quintin - the estate of an aunt, Miss Bletsoe, formerly well-known and highly esteemed in the neighbourhood. Some few years later, about thirty five years ago, her life-work commenced in connection with the advent of the much revered Mr. and Mrs.Tucker to Pavenham Bury. From the lips of that honoured gentleman, Miss St.Quintin first heard the advocacy of the principles of total abstinence, and, through his sterling practice of such, she was led to a serious consideration of her position relative thereto. Upon being thoroughly convinced of the soundness of these principles, Miss St.Quintin at once adopted them, duly put them into practice in her own home and advised others to follow her example.

"Very soon afterwards she began active and more public endeavours in this parish, establishing a Temperance Society and forming a Band of Hope. Miss St.Quintin at the same time evinced deep interest in Sunday-school work as also in a Night School for young men. Considerable success attended these early efforts on behalf of her less favoured neighbours, and in those days they were sustained solely under her management with the help of a few earnest and devoted friends. One of the plans she made use of was to invite the farmers of the vicinity to listen to arguments upon the subject, by which means she endeavoured to persuade them to banish drink from the hay and harvest fields. This effort was not accompanied by any significant measure of decisive victory, but its result inaugurated a step in the right direction. Then, some twenty years or so back, upon the personal invitation of Miss St.Quintin, Mr. and Mrs.J.C.Croxford visited Harrold, and conducted a three months' mission, which comprised Gospel preaching and good work generally. These services were held in the club-room of the Old George Inn, which had been purchased by Miss St.Quintin, through whose instrumentality that long established hostelry was closed as a public-house (according to the common acceptation of the term) and converted into a "British Workman". Mission services were carried on there for a few years, and largely attended. During the winter of 1875, Miss St.Quinton made an offer to Mr.Croxford to the effect that if he would take up his residence in Harrold and carry on evangelistic work here, she would be enabled to accomplish the realization of a long-cherished desire to erect a Mission Hall, as a centre for gospel teaching with temperance advocacy and good work generally. In order to do this the "British Workman" was pulled down and on its site was built the handsome and commodious structure now one of the most prominent edifices in Harrold, and well situated for its usefulness.

The Mission Hall now Grace Baptist Church in January 2008
The Mission Hall, now Grace Baptist Church, in January 2008

"The Hall was opened in the Autumn of 1876, Mr.Croxford preaching the inaugural sermon to a crowded congregation from the words "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost". Since that time the work has been steadily and regularly carried on, two or three services being conducted in the hall each Sunday. The Night School was transferred to its precincts, where it grew to large proportions, and proved a most useful institution to the young men of the parish for many years. Bible-classes and mothers' meetings have also been associated with its work, and by it the Band of Hope became greatly strengthened, this, with the different organizations mentioned, receiving the careful superintendence of Mr. and Mrs.Croxford, who have ever supported most harmoniously the wishes of Miss St.Quintin. In all the varied services in the hall, the now-lamented lady manifested the greatest interest and sympathy, and her joy was intense at seeing the good work showing signs of progress. Practically a mission-church has been its outcome and it has been able to record a considerable membership. Through the generous-hearted foresight of Miss St.Quintin, the ownership of the hall has been vested in the hands of trustees, and so its use for work has been secured for all future time. One chief feature identical with its efforts has been the annual demonstration of the Temperance Society and Band of Hope, and thereby Harrold has been visited by almost all the noted Christian and Temperance advocates of earlier days, such as John Plat, Simeon Smithard, George Howlett and Samuel Sims, as well as by speakers well known in these more modern days.

"For the last two or three years the health of Miss St.Quintin has been perceptibly falling, chiefly through advancing age. About eighteen months back, she took to her room, and remained there, receiving meanwhile the loving attention of many dear friends, until yesterday (Friday) week, when she peacefully "fell asleep" in the presence of her attached sister (Miss F.A.St.Quintin) and a few devoted associates. The deceased lady, who was 85 years of age, it will be observed, has taken the deepest interest in the moral and spiritual welfare of the people among whom she has lived, proving herself, throughout a lengthened period, ever ready to help the poor and needy. She will be greatly missed in the parish, and many feel they have lost be her death a warm personal friend. As a tribute of affection and respect to her memory, the solemn event is to be recognized with special services at the Mission hall to-morrow (Sunday) morning and evening by Mr.Croxford.

One instance of the beneficial effect of the endeavours of the deceased might be quoted as being of much special importance. Miss St.Quintin was personally the means of influencing Mrs.Ash of Rugby to adopt the principles of total abstinence, and the latter lady was indirectly instrumental in securing for the cause the staunch and valued championship of Dr.Temple, then Master of Rugby School, and now Lord Bishop of London.

Door to Quintin House July 2008
Door to Quintin House July 2008

"Much respect was manifested on the occasion of the funeral, which took place early on Thursday afternoon. The body of the deceased lady was first borne from her late residence to the Mission Hall close by, and there a simple earnest service was conducted by Mr.Croxford, the pastor-in-charge. Miss Croxford presided at the organ, and solemn strains were played as the polished oak coffin (with brass fittings) was carried in and placed within the walls she so much loved, the rostrum being draped with black relieved by white ribbon. Silent prayer preceded the reading of select passages of Scripture, with the First Thessalonians iv 13-18 as the lesson, and further devotional exercises closing with the Lord's Prayer. Bishop Bickersteth's "Peace, perfect peace" was then sung by the congregation who filled the hall, prior to the final devotions, Handel's "Dead March" in Saul being rendered upon the organ as the body was taken out to the funeral car upon which it was conveyed to the parish church. Miss F.A.St.Quintin, as chief mourner, with one of her nephews, occupied the only carriage in the procession, all the other mourners following on foot. Beside this lady, the principal mourners included Miss C.St.Quintin, deceased's niece, and several of her nephews - Mr.J.St.Quintin, Colonel St.Quintin, Captain St.Quintin, Mr.Geoffrey St.Quintin, Mr.Ernest St.Quintin, Mr.W.A.St.Quintin and Mr.Charles Newton; Mrs.Burton Alexander, with her son, Mr.J.Tucker Burton Alexander, as a farewell tribute to the memory of the esteemed friend of her late father and mother, Mr. and Mrs.Tucker of Pavenham Bury; Mr.Stileman-Gibbard, of Sharnbrook House; Miss Arkeoll, Mr. and Mrs.Croxford, Mr. and Mrs.George Neal, Mr. and Mrs.Burbidge, Mrs.John Wilson (of Pavenham), &c. The Vicar received the body at St.Peter's gateway, and conducted the service within the church, and at the family vault, in which the interment was made. Among others who attended the obsequies were Mr.Rowland Crewe Alston, the Rev.J.Steel, the Rev.W.H.Denison (rector of Carlton-cum-Chellington), Mr.T.Knight and Mr.Wm.Manton (churchwardens), Mrs.Goff and Mrs.Smith, Mrs. and Miss Sanders, Mr. and Miss Ashwell, Miss Croxford and Miss Ermyntrude Croxford, Mr.A Beaven (Acton Green), Mr.Wells, Mrs.Osborne, Mr.John Manton, Miss Manton, Mr.Rootham, Mr.S.C.Smith, Mr.Clayson, Mr.Fenson (Carlton), Mr.Banks and Mr.W.Ball (Pavenham), Mr.Rose (Chellington), Mr.Pratt (parish clerk), Mr.Jones, Master of Beds Reformatory, and a representative of the Beds Band of Hope Union executive. Mr.T.A.Robinson was the undertaker, and on the coffin was the inscription, "Mary Anne St.Quintin, died July 17th, 1896 aged 85 years". Deceased had no great regard for flowers at funerals, and so there was not a large display of such memorials. there were four wreaths - "In most loving remembrance of my dear sister, Mary Anne St.Quintin from Elizabeth Newton"; "With fond love from Jack and Eva St.Quintin"; "In loving remembrance from all, Bedford"; and "In loving memory, from Mrs.St.Quintin and the Miss St.Quintins, 24 Roland-gardens, S.W."; also one cross, "With love, from Mrs.Osborn and Miss Laura Osborn, Chicksands Priory". The vault already contained the remains of deceased's father, who died in July 1874, aged 92; her sister Jane, who died in January 1866, aged 66; and her brother, Mr.Charles Bletsoe St.Quintin (of Lathbury Park) who died in April 1886, aged 77. The family is said to be of ancient and noble lineage, dating from the time of William I, and adopting its name from the town of St.Quintin, the capital of Lower Picardy, France".