Lorenzo LUCENA (1807–1881)
St Paul section: Row 38, Grave H3 [St Paul ref. W.34]

Lucena grave




[IHS symbol]


AUGUST 24, 1881







L. L.




See also the Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography
entry for Lorenzo Lucena, Roman Catholic and Church of England priest, translator, and Hispanic scholar

Lorenzo Lucena was born Lorenzo de Santa María Lucena y Pedrosa on 25 March 1807, at Aguilar de la Frontera, Córdoba, Spain. He was the sixth and youngest child of José Lucena Raya and Teresa Francisca Pedrosa.

He studied at the University of Seville, and in 1831 was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. For eight years he was Professor of Theology at the College of St Pelagio in the University of Seville.

He appears to have become discontent with the state of the Spanish Church, as he and his future wife Micaela Castilla y Aguilar (who was his third cousin and born in 1812/13 in the same town as Lorenzo) travelled to Gibraltar on false passports and were married at Holy Trinity Church there on 24 January 1836.

They then came to London, where they stayed for about a year, and during this time Lucena’s diaconal and priestly orders were transferred to the Church of England.

He and his wife returned to Gibraltar, where he ministered to the Spanish congregation attached to Holy Trinity and became the headmaster of a school for Spanish children. He and his wife had two daughters:

  • Luisa Amelia Lucena (born in Gibraltar in 1845)
  • Julia Lucena (born in Gibraltar in 1848).

In October 1849 the family made England their permanent home. They first lived in Liverpool, where Lucena became a chaplain in the Foreigners’ Mission (an Anglican charity for seamen) and also taught Spanish at the Liverpool Mechanics’ School of Arts.

The 1851 census shows Lorenzo and Micaela Lucena living with their two daughters and two servants at 59 Bedford Street, Liverpool. Lucena then described himself as a missionary and clergyman.

In 1858 Lucena was elected to the new post of teacher of Spanish at the Taylor Institution in Oxford, as Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported on 6 March that year:

THE SPANISH TEACHERSHIP. — In a Convocation, held on Thursday last, the name of Mr. Lorenzo Lucena, Professor of Spanish Literature at the Royal Institution School, Liverpool, who had been nominated by the Curators of the Taylor Institution to the Teachership of the Spanish Language on that foundation, was submitted to the House and unanimously approved.

He held the Spanish teachership until his death, and lectured in the Taylorian; he was not, however, a member of the University.

At the time of the 1871 census Lorenzo and his wife were living at 4 Grandpont Villas, St Aldate’s with Luisa (25) and Julia (22), plus one servant. He described himself simply as a clergyman without cure of souls, and as a naturalized British subject. James Mackenzie Wilson, an undergraduate at Aberdeen University, was paying the family a visit.

His two daughters were married soon after the census:

  • On 27 April 1871 in New York, his younger daughter Julia Lucena married Henry Seton Christopher, the elder son of Alfred Christopher, the Rector of St Aldate’s Church;
  • On 20 August 1872 at St Aldate’s Church in Oxford, his elder daughter Luisa Amelia Luceno was married by her father to James Mackenzie Wilson, who was still a student. (Lucena’s occupation was given in the marriage register as Honorary Canon of Gibraltar.)

On 5 June 1877 Lucena was created an M.A. by decree.

By the time of the 1881 census Lucena, now describing himself as an M.A. of Oxford University and a teacher of Spanish, was living at 27 Walton Street with his wife and their daughter Luisa (who had already been widowed) and her son James Mackenzie Wilson junior. They had one servant.

Later that year Lucena died:

† Lorenzo Lucena died of cirrhosis at 27 Walton Street at the age of 74 on 24 August 1881 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

The following short obituary appeared in The Times on 27 August 1881:

We regret to announce the death of the Rev. Lorenzo Lucena, M.A., Teacher of Spanish in the University of Oxford, who expired at his residence, Walton-street, Oxford, on the 24th inst., at the advanced age of 74. Mr. Lorenzo Lucena was formerly of the College of St. Pelagio, in the University of Seville, where he was Professor of Theology for eight years and Provisional President for three years. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Cordova in 1880, and priest in 1881 by the Suffragan Bishop of Seville. He was appointed honorary Canon of Gibraltar Cathedral in 1842 and Reader in Spanish Language and Literature in the Taylorian Institution at Oxford in 1861, the latter of which appointments he held at the time of his death. He was formerly minister of a Protestant congregation of native Spaniards in Gibraltar. He assisted in preparing the new edition of the Spanish Bible, generally known as that of Cipriano de Valera.

His wealth at death was just £145. His colleagues and pupils raised £1048 6s. 0d. to set up a trust to support his widow, their daughter Luisa, and Luisa’s son, James Lucena Mackenzie Wilson.

His widow went to live with their daughter Luisa Wilson, whose first husband had already died, at Cowley. She then moved with Luisa and her second husband to Bournemouth, and died at Davenport, Boscombe Spa, Bournemouth at the age of 73 on 31 August 1886.

The two daughters of Lorenzo Lucena
  • Luisa Amelia Lucena (Mrs Wilson/Mrs Ward/Mrs Müller) (born 1845) was living in Cowley as the widowed Mrs Wilson (probably with her son James and her widowed mother) at the time of her marriage to her second husband, William Ward, at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 3 January 1883. This marriage would have improved the family finances, as Ward, a gentleman of Canterbury Road and a bachelor of 31, was the son of the prosperous Oxford coal merchant Henry Ward. The couple moved to Hampshire with Luisa’s mother, but William died there at the age of 36 near the end of 1887. Luisa married her third husband Franz Müller (born in Saxony in 1856/7) in the Christchurch registration district in the second quarter of 1889. At the time of the 1891 census she and Franz, who was a teacher of German and music, were living in Bournemouth with Luisa’s son James Mackenzie Wilson. They were still there in 1901 with James (27), who was working as a Life Assurance Agent; and also living with them was Franz’s daughter May Müller (11), born in Somers Town, London in 1889/90 (if she is Luisa’s child, she was born rather quickly after the wedding). At the time of the 1911 census Franz and Luisa were living alone with one servant at 72 Southcote Road, Bournemouth. Luisa died at that address on 29 September 1928, and her effects came to £3,409 10s. 1d.
  • Julia Lucena (Mrs Christopher) (born 1848) and her husband, who were married in New York, spent some time in Canada, where their first two daughters were born: Ada Fanny Lucena Christopher (1872) and Eleanor Caroline Christopher (1873). They were back in Oxford by the beginning of 1875, and their third daughter Edith Julia Christopher was born in St Giles's parish on 23 January 1875 and baptised on 15 February (probably by her grandfather) at St Aldate’s Church. They then moved to the Isle of Man where her husband Henry Seton Christopher worked as for 31 years as Secretary to the Trustees of King William’s College, Castletown. They had three more children there: George Seton Christopher (1877), Selina Gertrude Christopher (1877), and Charles Mordaunt de Aguilar Christopher (1887). Julia's husband died on 21 February 1911, and in the census just over a month later Julia was living with her unmarried daughter Ada (37). She died on the Isle of Man on 29 October that year. There is more information about Julia’s husband Henry Seton Christopher on this Tatham family history page



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