Located in the small graveyard to the rear of Winchester Cathedral and visible in SU4829 : Small graveyard
is the grave of Mary Sumner, the founder of the Mother's Union, and her husband George.
Born Mary Elizabeth Heywood on December 31st 1829 and fluent in three languages plus a very passable singer, Mary was to meet and marry George- son of Charles Richard Sumner, the Bishop of Winchester, in 1848, just 18 months after his ordination. George went on to become Bishop of Guildford and then Archdeacon of Winchester. In 1876 whilst living in the parish of Old Alresford, and having given birth to two daughters and a son, Mary became concerned with strengthening and supporting Christian family life. To this end she invited all the local mothers to a meeting at the Rectory, this invitation not only included women of her class but all the village mothers- a very unusual occurrence at that time. This was the inaugural meeting of the Mother's Union and Mary was so nervous her husband had to speak on her behalf. Passing away in 1921, Mary Sumner lived long enough to see the Mothersí Union become a worldwide organisation that held its first Conference of Overseas Workers in 1920.
The inscription on the tomb reads:
"In Memory of
George Henry Sumner, Bishop
Born July 1824, Died 1909
and of his wife
Mary Elizabeth Sumner
Born December 1829, Died August 1921
I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me
Write Blessed are the dead which died in the Lord from henceforth.
Here, saith the Spirit, they may rest from their labours,
And their works do follow them."
My thanks to the Virgers* of Winchester Cathedral for giving me permission to enter the graveyard and photograph the tomb.
*Please note that this is the correct spelling in this case.