Martha Grey, Countess of Stamford (c. 1838 – 21 August 1916) was
born Martha Solomons in Cape Town, South Africa. She was the
daughter of a freed slave named Rebecca and a man from Wellington
named Solomon. Her mother Rebecca was a well known character at the
cape, sometimes referred to as Queen Rebecca. since she claimed to
be related to the British Royal family, less is known about her
In 1864 she met the Reverend Harry Grey, a clergyman from Cheshire
in England and a cousin of the 7th Earl of Stamford. Harry Grey was
sent to the Cape on a remittance as a result of habits his family
thought dishonourable. In 1872 Harry and Martha were married; they
lived in Wynberg, Cape Town. Martha bore Harry three children:
John, Frances and Mary Grey. The first two were born before their
marriage, while Mary was born thereafter. Upon the death of the
7th Earl, the Earldom of Stamford passed to Harry Grey, and Martha
became Countess of Stamford.
Harry Grey, 8th Earl of Stamford died in 1890, leaving Martha well
off financially, though she and her children suffered many racial
prejudices and snobbery from the English settlers in Cape Town.
Inspired by her mother’s wish for educating her local community,
she funded a school in Wynberg, Battswood School, which later
became the Battswood Training College for teachers. Martha, Dowager
Countess of Stamford, died in 1916, and was buried alongside her
husband and her daughter Frances in Wynberg.
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Cape Town, South Africa.