BY marking the centenary of the Act granting some women the right to vote in 1918 it brought back memories of their own suffragette at St Augustine’s Priory, the Ealing Catholic independent day school for girls.

Mother Mary Francis, a strong, hyper-intelligent woman, was a member of the community of Augustinian Canonesses of the Lateran, who ran the school until the mid-1990s.  She was headmistress for many years and teacher of Latin for even longer. 

A suffragette, she was chained to railings and arrested for window-breaking more than once.  She was not only a fighter for votes for women but one of a long line of strong women who fought for religious freedom and education for women.

In 1634, Lettice Tredway, a nun in France, wanted to provide a place for English women to follow their vocation. The England of that time prevented them from doing so in their own country. 

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Their community also founded a school which thrived in France until the early years of the 20th Century when they moved to England.

St Augustine’s Priory continues to educate and encourage young women to take their place in the world, to be aware of all that they owe to the women who went before.

It’s set in 13 acres of grounds at Hillcrest Road and the next open day is on Saturday, March 10, 10am-noon  for nursery through to sixth-form places. More information on