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David Livingstone and The Cedars

1986/1 p2


David Livingstone and The Cedars, Epsom


When The Cedars became a day centre for senior citizens, a little history of the house was written (author not yet traced) which ends up:


‘The house was originally a girls school run by two sisters by the name of Moffet. The younger sister, Mary Moffet, married David Livingstone from the house’.


Sadly this intriguing story is not correct, and it would be interesting to know where the tale came from. David Livingstone, after training in medicine and in missionary work, left England in December 1840 and reached Kuruman (Northern Cape Province), a missionary station set up by Robert Moffatt, in July 1841. Moffatt was in England at the time with his family. The two had met in London early in 1840, when it was agreed that Livingstone should assist Moffatt, and his colleague Hamilton, at Kuruman. The Moffatts returned to Kuruman in 1843, and Livingstone was at their home recovering from his injuries after being mauled by a lion. Early in 1844 Livingstone became engaged to Mary, the eldest daughter of Robert Moffatt. They married on January 2nd 1845, probably in Kuruman.


Mary Livingstone was born and educated in South Africa, and visited England with her father and mother from early 1839 till the end of 1842. She had an unsophisticated education in South Africa and, whilst it is possible that she and her younger sister ran a school, no record of this has been found. The Moffatts stayed in different parts of the country, but mainly in London. Moffatt was busy preaching and lecturing and with his prime object, the printing of the New Testament in the native language into which he had translated it. There is no record of the family coming nearer to Epsom than Walworth and Brighton.


According to the 1841 census, The Cedars housed a solicitor, William Everest, with his wife and young family, four daughters and one son, plus two servants and two independent persons. There is no record of the Moffatts running a school there.


Maurice Exwood

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