Cambridge, Alice (1762–1829), preacher, was born 1 January 1762 in Bandon, Co. Cork, of a presbyterian mother and anglican father, of whom no further details are known. She was brought up in the established church. Though she completed her formal education at an early age, she read widely in subsequent years. After the death of her mother (1780), she underwent an emotional crisis which resulted in her attending methodist services in Bandon. After her conversion she broke off her engagement with her fiancé, and started praying and preaching locally. In time she received invitations to speak in Kinsale and Youghal, Co. Cork, and Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Opposition to her work grew within the ranks of the methodist movement, and she wrote to John Wesley (qv) for guidance. In his reply, dated 31 January 1791, he endorsed her role as a preacher, while advising her not to preach at the same time as her male counterparts in case she would ‘draw away’ their congregations. Significantly he also added that she should ‘avoid the first appearance of pride or magnifying herself’ (Memorable women, 196). In the summer of 1798 she addressed soldiers and their families at Charles Fort, Kinsale, where she was said to have moved many to tears.
On settling in Dublin c.1800 she worked as a shop assistant, but also managed to continue her religious activities. She held meetings in services in Golden Lane, Weaver's Hall, and the Coombe, and found time to engage in philanthropic work, visiting the city's sick and poor. In the aftermath of the 1802 methodist conference's decision to ban female preachers she continued her work, despite being excluded from the Methodist Society and prevented from using their chapels; she was not readmitted as a member till 1811. In 1809 she moved to Cork and preached there; she also spoke in Mallow, Fermoy, and Limerick. In 1813 she gave up all her secular work to concentrate on preaching full-time. She travelled throughout the country, and was particularly successful in Ulster, which she first visited in 1815, drawing large crowds at open-air meetings organised by presbyterians, anglicans, and methodists. After settling in Nenagh, she conducted the meetings of the local Primitive Wesleyan Society. She died there 1 January 1829 after many years of poor health. Cambridge was one of the few females who preached to both sexes in early nineteenth-century Ireland.