Cross Road Farm

In the sleepy village of Comberton in Cambridgeshire, a few miles from my home, lived two interesting people: Lyn Newman ( née Lloyd Irvine ) and her husband Max. Both of them were students at Cambridge university, Lyn going to Girton and Max at St Johns.

After her graduation Lyn Newman was working in London as a book reviewer for the Hogarth Press, run by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Lyn edited the book of essays Ten Letter Writers (1931). She worked as a lit crit journalist contributing to Nation, The Listener, The Observer and The Spectator.

Leonard and Max had both been to Cambridge, and it was her Girton friend Katharine Ceceley (Creasy) who introduced them at a Cambridge party in 1932, with the veiled warning, ‘‘Max is our local solipsist!”

Max and Lyn were married in 1934. The next year they moved into Cross Farm, a converted farmhouse with an adjoining dovehouse, situated at the village crossroads of Comberton, five miles from Cambridge. Their first son Edward was born later that year. It was at Cross Farm and Leonard and Virginia stayed once, likely due to Lyn’s work with the Hogarth Press. They might have even gone to see Virginia’s friend Gwen Raverat who was living in Halton, the next village south of there.

Max went on to work at Bletchley Park during the war and worked on the Lorenz cipher making the Tunny magazine (a cipher counterpart for Enima). From this work he knew Alan Turing, then after the war when Max went to work at Manchester University he encourage Turing to work there too in the mathematical department. When Turing commited suicide from being forced to take Lyn Newman joined Turing’s mother (Sara) and brother to the funeral. Lyn provided the forward to Sara Turing’s biography of her son.

In the late 1950s Lyn was working as a Librarian in St John’s College, Cambridge, and that is where she left her papers to.

Other than the Hogarth Press’s Ten Letter Writers (1931) works Lyn would continue to write under her maiden with: So Much Love, So Little Money (1957) Field With Geese (1960) and a biography of her friend Alison Cairns and Her Family (1967).