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Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge

The Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs (commonly abbreviated OLEM) is the Roman Catholic church of Cambridge. Located near the city center, the church's spire forms a prominent part of Cambridge's skyline.


The Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs is the result of a vow by Yolande Marie Louise Lyne-Stephens, a former ballet dancer of the Paris Opera and widow of a wealthy banker. On the Feast of the Assumption, she promised to build a church to the Virgin Mary.

The secondary dedication came from Monsignor Christopher Scott, the first Rector, who wished to commemorate the Catholic Martyrs who were executed in England between 1535 and 1681. Over 30 of them had been members of Cambridge University.

Construction of the church was funded entirely by Mrs Lyne-Stephens and began in 1885. The architects were Dunn and Hansom from Newcastle and the builders were Rattee and Kett of Cambridge. The church was completed five years later in 1890.

The church was repaired after being struck by a bomb in 1941 and the interior was rearranged after the Second Vatican Council.

What to See

OLEM is built in the Decorated Gothic style, with a cruciform shape, tower at the crossing, and west bell tower with spire.

The aisle windows were destroyed by the 1941 bomb but have been restored. They depict the sufferings of the English martyrs and portraits of other saints.

The High Altar, used mainly for the Blessed Sacrament since Vatican II, contains the relics of Saints Felix and Constantia.

The Rood was carved locally and dates from 1914. It is of an ancient type: Christ is shown robed as a High Priest and crowned as a King.

Quick Facts on Our Lady and the English Martyrs

Site Information
Names:OLEM; Our Lady and the English Martyrs; Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Cambridge, England
Coordinates:52.198819° N, 0.127351° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Our Lady and the English Martyrs

Below is a location map and aerial view of Our Lady and the English Martyrs. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.


  1. Personal visit (exterior only; June 2, 2007).
  2. Geoffrey Tyack , Blue Guide Oxford & Cambridge, 6th ed. (2004), 252.
  3. Our Lady and the English Martyrs - official website

More Information

Article Info

Title:Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/18/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/cambridge-olem-catholic-church">Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge</a>