The same year as the Women’s Suffrage supporters were boycotting the 1911 census, Constance Maud the elder daughter of Rev. Henry Landon Maud, the rector of Sanderstead, wrote and published No Surrender. The novel depicts the experiences of Jenny Clegg, a Lancashire mill worker, and Mary O’Neill, an upper class girl, who become involved in the Suffrage Movement. It is faithful to real events, and some of the main characters are based on leading suffrage figures. The novel is important for its documentation of the social and political events of the suffrage movement, arguably the first to do so. Emily Wilding Davison wrote that the book “breathes the very spirit of our Women’s Movement”. Although never arrested for militancy, Constance campaigned for women’s suffrage for many years participating energetically in suffrage activity. She was a member of the Women Writers Suffrage League and contributed to many suffrage publications including the suffragist newspaper Votes For Women. A New York edition of No Surrender was published in 1912.
Constance dedicated No Surrender to suffragist Mrs Charlotte Despard (1844-1939), whom she described as “that inspired leader whose warm sympathy and help encouraged me in this attempt to show, if only by a few straws on the stream, something of the underlying driving force of the great woman’s movement for the uplifting of the race”. It is worth remembering that women over 30 years of age did not achieve the vote until 1918, and universal suffrage for adults over the age of 21 was not reached in Britain until 1928.
Constance Maud’s father, the Rev Henry Landon Maud, MA, was rector at All Saints’ Church, Sanderstead, 1892-1901. Maud was elected a scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, at the Westminster School elections, 1846 (Ecclesiastical Gazette).
A century after it was first published, Persephone Books republished No Surrender, in 2011 and the work is now finding a new audience. A reference copy in the Surrey History Centre library collection is available for study and there are loan copies available from Surrey County Libraries https://arena.surreylibraries.org/web/arena/welcome.
Published works by Constance Maud
Other works by Constance Maud include children’s book and humorous works about the eccentric Maud family living in France. In 1908, her novel A Daughter of France was turned into a play about the pressure on the Modern Woman to get married against her will.
An English Girl in Paris
My French Friends
Felicity in France
A Daughter of France
My French Year
The Rising Generation
Shakespeare’s Stories (with Mary Maud)
Children’s books: Wagner’s Heroes, Wagners’ Heroines, Heroines of Poetry.
Find out more about the suffrage movement in Surrey https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/people/activists/suffragettes/
Read more about Constance Maud and her literary works on the Persephone Books website.
For an overview of the Suffragette Movement, the Women’s Social and Politicial Union (WSPU), and interviews with prominent suffragists, including Dame Ethel Smyth and Sylvia Pankhurst, see the BBC’s History website.
For a history of St Mary’s Church, Sanderstead, see the parish website.