Vierville de Crespigny 1882 – 1927

Claude Vierville Champion de Crespigny, one of my 5th cousins twice removed, was born at Heybridge, Maldon, Essex, on 25 January 1882. He was the seventh of nine children and fourth of five sons of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet and Georgiana Lady Champion de Crespigny née McKerrell. The five sons of the fourth baronet were all given the first name Claude. The younger four sons each had a middle name: Raul, Philip, Vierville, Norman.

On 25 January 1900, just a few weeks after it was established, Vierville joined the Imperial Yeomanry, a volunteer light cavalry force, to serve in the war in South Africa. On the record he claimed to be 20 years old; he was actually 18. Two of his older brothers were already serving in the army, the other was in the navy.

Vierville was initially a trooper with the 21st Lancers but in February 1901 was appointed 2nd Lieutenant with the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire Regiment). He was made Lieutenant in 1903 and in 1904 became aide-de-camp to Sir D. W. Stewart, Commissioner, East Africa Protectorate.

From January 1906 to September 1909 he was employed with the King’s African Rifles. He was said to have spoken Swahili fluently. In 1908 he was tried and acquitted of the charge of causing the death of his native servant by a rash and negligent act.

In 1910 he was promoted to captain. From 1912 he served in the Special Reserve, a force established on 1 April 1908, responsible for maintaining a reservoir of manpower for the British Army and training replacement drafts in times of war.

On 19 July 1911 Vierville married Mary Nora Catherine McSloy on 19 July 1911 at the Brompton Oratory in Kensington, London. They had one daughter together, Mary Charmian Sara Champion de Crespigny (1914 – 1967).

British (English) School; Captain Vierville Champion de Crespigny (1882-1927); Kelmarsh Hall;

In December 1916 he was appointed Assistant Provost Marshal, with rank equivalent to staff captain. He was promoted to major in 1917. In December 1918 he incurred the Army Council’s displeasure when he turned a water hose on men who were attempting to rush the doors of the Albert Hall during a boxing tournament. He was demobilised in July 1919.

In June 1919 he sailed for Canada with his wife and daughter intending to settle there. They lived on a ranch near the remote settlement of Wilmer, British Columbia. However, Vierville left in December 1920 and returned to England.

In February 1921 he joined the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC). With the RIC, the Auxiliary Division was disbanded in 1922.

In February 1924 Vierville was appointed game ranger, at a salary of £300, in the Game Preservation department of the Tanganyika Territory Government.

In March 1924 his wife divorced him.

Daily Mirror 18 March 1924 page 11

On 6 December 1924 at Mombassa in present day Kenya, Vierville married for a second time to Elspie Madge Salmon, daughter of the Rev. Frank and Mrs Salmon of Langton rectory, Blandford.

On 17 July 1927, well-mauled by a leopard, Vierville died in Singida, Tanganyika. His usual residence was recorded as Arusha, 325 kilometres to the north-west, near the border with Kenya.

Probate was granted to his widow in March 1928. His effects were less than £350. Elsie later lived with his brother Raul at Champion Lodge, Essex, acting as his housekeeper.

Memorial in St Peter’s Church, Great Totham, Essex.
Photographed by Simon Knott and reproduced with permission.


Vierville’s four brothers:

WikitreeClaude Vierville Champion de Crespigny (1882 – 1927)

Raul de Crespigny the 5th baronet

Claude Raul Champion de Crespigny, one of my 5th cousins twice removed, was born at Durrington, Wiltshire on 19 September 1878. He was the fifth of nine children of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet, and Georgiana Lady Champion de Crespigny née McKerrell. The five sons of the fourth baronet were all given the first name Claude. The younger four sons each had a middle name: Raul, Philip, Vierville, Norman.

Raul was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire. He joined the army and served in the prestigious Grenadier Guards regiment. He became a 2nd Lieutenant on 17 January 1900 and was promoted Lieutenant two years later, on 1 April 1903. Raul was awarded the Queen’s Medal with four clasps in the South African War. He became a Captain in 1908.

On 24 Jun 1913 Raul married Violet Rose (Vere) Sykes in the Royal Military Chapel (The Guards’ Chapel) on Birdcage Walk opposite St James Park. Vere’s brother Claude Alfred Victor Sykes was also an officer in the Grenadier Guards.

Over the course of World War 1 Raul was promoted from Captain to Brigadier-General. He was Commanding Officer of the 2nd battalion Grenadier Guards at the Somme and remained in command until 22 Sep 1917, when he replaced Brigadier-General G. D. Jeffreys as commander of the 1st Guards Brigade. Raul de Crespigny was mentioned seven times in despatches. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, D.S.O., in 1916, invested with the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, C.M.G., in 1918, and the Companion of the Order of the Bath, C.B., a year later. In 1916 he was also decorated with the Montenegrin Cross (Order of Danilo 4th class).

Sprinck, Leon; Major Claude Raul Champion de Crespigny (1878-1941), 5th Bt; Kelmarsh Hall;

An article in a New Zealand newspaper called the ‘Dominion‘, dated 29 January 1918, with the headline ‘The Perfect Soldier’ described Raul’s distaste for staff work and eagerness to return to his battalion. He was:

'One of those commanding officers who believe in being in the thick of the fighting, he used to lead his men over the top with a 'loaded stick' as a weapon. In one of the recent engagements in Flanders he charged a Hun machine-gunner who was scattering death right and left with his stream of bullets. With one mighty swing of his stick he broke the neck of the Hun, and the regiment went on. The Hun's gas mask and steel helmet are in England now hanging on the walls of Brigadier-General de Crespigny's Essex home among innumerable trophies of the chase, grim relics of a man whose hobby is fighting.'

The article goes on to list his sporting accomplishments in steeple-chasing, boxing, cricket, shooting and aquatic sports.

Though Champion Lodge was certainly cluttered with sporting trophies, bashing a Hun to death then then mounting a trophy of the occasion on your wall seems more likely to have been a literary trope than solid fact. Nancy Mitford’s ‘Uncle Matthew’ comes to mind, in ‘The Pursuit of Love‘:

"THERE is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us as children."
Trophies at Champion Lodge in the early 1900s. Image from opposite page 295 of the 1910 edition of Forty Years of a sportsman’s life by the 4th baronet.

Raul’s marriage ended in divorce in 1926.

“A Retired Army Officer Divorced.” Times, 3 June 1926, p. 6. The Times Digital Archive, retrieved through Gale Primary Sources
I notice that Raul signs himself Crawley to his wife; his older brother’s nickname was Creepy.

Raul became the 5th baronet after the death of his father in 1935. He died on 15 May 1941. His obituary in the Chelmsford Chronicle noted that he “settled at Champion Lodge, and took a kindly interest in the affairs of the neighbourhood, especially the British Legion. His last public duty was performed a few months ago, when he opened the gift sale of the Maldon Farmers’ Union in Maldon Market on behalf of the Red Cross.” Members of the British Legion provided a guard of honour at his funeral.

Claude Raul had no children. Of the five sons of the fourth baronet, only Claude Vierville had a daughter, but women could not inherit the baronetcy. The title passed to a cousin, Henry Champion de Crespigny (1882-1946), son of Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1850-1912). Philip was the younger brother of the fourth baronet, second son of the third baronet.


Three of Claude’s four brothers:

WikitreeClaude Raul Champion de Crespigny (1878 – 1941)

Claude de Crespigny 1873 – 1910

Claude Champion de Crespigny, one of my 5th cousins twice removed, was born in London on 11 September 1873. He was the oldest of nine children of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet and Georgiana, Lady Champion de Crespigny née McKerrell. The five sons of the fourth baronet were all given the first name Claude. The younger four sons each had a middle name: Raul, Philip, Vierville, Norman.

Claude was the oldest of five sons, all of whom were named Claude. From the Black and White Budget of 19 May 1901.

Claude was sent to Eton College, and from there to the Army College at Aldershot. On 13 April 1891 he graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment, joining the 2nd Life Guards on 3rd July 1895.

Claude served in the South African war, and was mentioned twice in despatches, once for special bravery at Rensburg, where he saved the life of a wounded trooper by mounting him on his own horse. For this he was recommended for (though not awarded) the Victoria Cross. On 3 February 1900 Claude was promoted to captain. A month later on 7 March in the Battle of Poplar Grove—a rout for the Boers—he was severely wounded. In 1901 he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his services in South Africa.

From December 1900 to January 1902 he served as aide-de-camp to Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India. In 1903 he was appointed to the British colonial garrison West African Frontier Force in Southern Nigeria. There he was again wounded.

Sutton, Isobella M.; Captain Claude Champion de Crespigny (1873-1910), DSO; Kelmarsh Hall;
Redworth, William Josiah; Captain Claude Champion de Crespigny on ‘Fillipeen’; Kelmarsh Hall;

Claude was an accomplished polo player, on his regiment’s team until his retirement from the army in 1909.  In 1907 and 1908 his team the Leopards won the Roehampton Cup, in England the game’s most prestigious trophy. In 1909 he played for England against Ireland, and in 1910, for the English Hurlingham Club touring the United States.

Polo match at Hurlingham between Hurlingham and the Freebooters. Captain C, de Crespigny, “a strong player”, was playing for the Freebooters.
From The Bystander 20 May 1908, page 403. Retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive through FindMyPast.
Collier, Imogen; Claude Champion de Crespigny (1873-1910); Kelmarsh Hall;

On 18 May 1910 Claude, then thirty-seven, was discovered dead by the side of the road at Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire. A friend lived nearby. The coroner found that Claude had killed himself in a temporary fit of madness which may have been caused by influenza and repeated heavy falls while playing polo. The New York Times however, noted that he had been named as co-respondent in a divorce case, and speculated that Claude had believed the only way to save the woman’s name and honour was to commit suicide. This explanation was not offered at the inquest.

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Two of Claude’s younger brothers:

Wikitree: Claude Champion de Crespigny DSO (1873 – 1910)

The sailor and the princess

Claude Philip Champion de Crespigny, one of my 5th cousins twice removed, was born on 3 August 1880 in Maldon, Essex. He was the sixth of nine children of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet, and Georgiana Lady Champion de Crespigny née McKerrell. The five sons of the fourth baronet all had the first name Claude. Accordingly the four younger sons, including Philip, went by their middle name.

In 1896 Philip joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant on 15 November 1899 and a year later, on 31 December 1901, he became a Lieutenant. From 28 May 1906 to 1 August 1909 he served as captain of the destroyer HMS Dove. On 31 December 1909 he was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander. Philip was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 17 August 1910, but he remained eligible to apply for the rank of Commander on reaching the age of 40. While retired he attended several short Mine-Sweeping Courses.

During World War I he came out of retirement and was initially engaged in mine-sweeping operations. On 6 June 1915 Claude was appointed to command of the monitor M.32 (a monitor was a small heavy vessel designed for shore bombardment). He was Captain of the patrol boat HMS P13 from January to July 1917, and in command of the monitor M.24 on 24 July 1917 until April 1919. He was mentioned in despatches and in 1919 was awarded the Croix de Guerre. On 11 December 1919 he became Commander (Retired).

THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN, APRIL 1915-JANUARY 1916 (Q 13541) Lieutenant Commander Claude Champion de Crespigny, who was in command of one of the monitors engaged in the Dardanelles operations.
Copyright: IWM. Original Source and reused under the IWM Non-commercial Licence:

Philip is mentioned in various memoirs as well as in the social pages of newspapers and magazines. In 1914 he was photographed by Tatler with Princess Hatzfeldt, an American heiress and the widow from 1910 of a German prince, attending the National Hunt Steeplechases at Cheltenham.

Tatler 18 March 1914 page 303. British Newspaper Archive.

The Princess knew the de Crespigny family; a dinner party she gave at Claridge’s Hotel in 1904 included Philip’s oldest brother Claude, who was also at a shooting party the Prince and Princess held on their estate at Draycot Cerne in Wiltshire. Several other social occasions included various members of the de Crespigny family and the princess, and she was also at the 1910 funeral for Claude. In 1913 the princess lent her Draycot Cerne manor for the honeymoon of Raul de Crespigny. In 1919 Commander Philip de Crespigny and the princess were seen dining at the London Flying Club at Hendon.

In 1923 The Bystander reported a number of English guests at the Imperial Hotel at Menton in January, including Commander P. de Crespigny and Princess Hatzfeldt. In October 1925 Princess Hatzfeldt and Commander P. de Crespigny, the Duke of Devonshire and various others were reported in the Derbyshire Advertiser to be taking the treatment at the spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire.

Princess Clara Hatzfeldt died in 1928. In her will she left bequests to friends. Philip was one of the principal heirs. She left nothing to her relatives.

“£100,000 for ‘one of the Best.” Chelmsford Chronicle, 12 Apr. 1929, p. 7. British Library Newspapers.

The will was contested by her nephew but a settlement was reached.

When Philip died in 1939 he left his estate, including his interest in the estate of the late Princess Hatzfeldt, shared equally between his brother Raul and his niece Valencia Lancaster. Philip’s estate was probated at £37,902 ( millions in today’s pounds).

Valencia Lancaster inherited Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire from her brother and set up a trust in 1982 for its conservation. Many portraits of the Champion de Crespigny family hang on the walls, including a portrait of Claude Philip Champion de Crespigny.

British (English) School; Claude Philip Champion de Crespigny (1880-1939); Kelmarsh Hall;

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2022 A to Z reflections

I first participated in the A to Z blogging challenge in 2014. The task is to post thematically from A to Z, with one post every day in April (except for the four Sundays) for each letter of the alphabet.

I found the first year‘s challenge busy as I had not prepared enough posts in advance. It was only by my fourth challenge in 2017 that I seem to have become more organised.

This year, my ninth challenge, I decided on a theme—places of significance in my family’s history—in advance, and I researched and drafted several posts before the beginning of the month. I wrote up all my new research during the month to fit into unallocated letters. This preparation paid off: I did not feel under pressure; in fact I quite enjoyed adding twenty-six new posts one after the other.

I continue to enjoy the Challenge, finding, researching and writing about aspects of my family history. I look forward to participating again next year.

My posts in 2022:

  • Looking forward to the 2022 A to Z challenge
  • A is for Addiscombe Gordon Mainwaring (1817 – 1872), one of my 3rd great grandfathers, was enrolled as a cadet at Addiscombe Military Seminary
  • B is for Bookmark my third great grandmother Margaret Rankin, formerly Margaret Budge nee Gunn, died at ‘Bookmark‘, a sheep-station on the Murray River
  • C is for Chewton the schools attended by my mother-in-law Marjorie Winifred Young neé Sullivan, 1920 – 2007
  • D is for Drummond Street my husband Greg was born in Ballarat
  • E is for Evelyn Street Bentleigh the house of the Morley and Sullivan families
  • F is for Finniss Point one of my fourth great aunts Theresa Walker nee Chauncy (1807 – 1876) married George Herbert Poole who died at Finnis Point
  • G is for Glenthompson my grandfather Geoff de Crespigny was born in Glenthompson on 16 June 1907
  • H is for Heathcote – renovated one of my third great grandfathers, Philip Chauncy (1816 – 1880) was responsible for the building of the survey office in Heathcote and lived there for over five years
  • I is for Ilmenau the third wife of my fourth great grandfather Rowland Mainwaring was a part-Austrian woman named Laura Maria Julia Walburga Chevillard (~1811 – 1891). Her house in Bournemouth was called ‘Ilmenau‘, after a small town near Weimar, where Laura had spent much of her childhood.
  • J is for Jedburgh my 7th great grandfather Thomas Champion de Crespigny (1664 – 1712) was a Huguenot refugee who served in the British army and was stationed at Jedburgh for part of his career
  • K is for Karlsruhe my maternal great great grandparents Matthias Manock and Agathe Maria Lang were married there on 12 April 1880
  • L is for Lewes Priory my 18th great grandparents Richard, 3rd Earl of Arundel, 8th Earl of Surrey (c. 1314 – 24 January 1376) and Eleanor of Lancaster (1318 – 1372) were buried at Lewes
  • M is for Merseyside – 1854 departure of the “Dirigo” my 3rd great grandmother Margaret Rankin née Gunn (1819 – 1863), her children and 2nd husband set sail from Liverpool but had to return because of a cholera outbreak, they eventually travelled to Australia
  • N is for Norfolk sampler one of Greg’s 3rd great aunts  Ellen Claxton nee Jackson sewed a sampler in 1806 that is still admired today
  • O is for ‘Ottawa’ Gladstone Parade Elsternwick the house of my great great grandfather Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850-1927)
  • P is for Pankow my mother remembers visiting cousins in Pankow, Berlin
  • Q is for Monkira Station in Queensland in 1890 Orfeur Charles Cavenagh, one of my great great uncles, died of fever at Monkira Station aged 18
  • R is for Rushton my great great grandfather’s first cousin George Harrison Champion de Crespigny (1863-1945) and his wife Gwendoline (1864-1923) were married at Rushton in 1890
  • S is for Stockach great great grandfather Matthias Martin, known as Matthias Manock was born at Stockach in 1851 to the widow Crescentia Martin, née Manock
  • T is for Tattaila one of Greg’s great grand aunts, Charlotte Wilkins nee Young, lived at Tattaila near Moama where her husband was a school teacher
  • U is for Upton upon Severn the death of my fifth great grandmother Dorothy Keane nee Scott was registered at Upton upon Severn in 1837
  • V is for Vaucelles v. Trévières my 7th great uncle Pierre Champion Crespigny was the lawyer in a case where one of two Huguenot churches was in excess of the provisions of the Edict of Nantes, and one must be disestablished. The congregation of Trévières was represented by Pierre and they won, but the victory was short-lived.
  • W is for Willunga my fourth great grandfather John Plaisted (1800-1858) emigrated to Australia and bought land at Willunga shortly after arrival
  • X is for Xiàmén the grandfather of Frederick Harold Plowright, a cousin on Greg’s side of the family, was from China and came to Australia at the time of the gold rush
  • Y not Y? I was all ready to write about Ysgeifiog as the marriage place of my fourth great-grandparents Edward Hughes and his wife Elizabeth Jones but further research revealed I was on the wrong track
  • Z is for Zizenhausen the birthplace of great great grandmother Agathe Maria Lang

Tracking down Elizabeth Jones

My 4th great grandmother Elizabeth Hughes née Jones was born in 1798, the daughter of Edward Jones, a farmer, and Elizabeth Jones née Humphreys. In 1825 Elizabeth married Edward Hughes in Liverpool. She died in Melbourne in 1865. Her husband supplied the information on her death certificate, but although he gave the names of Elizabeth’s parents, for ‘place of birth’ only the county, Cardiganshire, was recorded. The 1851 census also recorded her place of birth as Cardiganshire with no further details.

In Cherry Stones, an account of our Hughes family history, my cousin Helen Hudson wrote:

Elizabeth Jones, Edward’s wife, was the youngest member of a large family. Her father, Evan Jones, known as Squire Jones, was a wealthy farmer in Cardiganshire. Elizabeth was described as a “clever, cultured lady, related in some way to Lord Westbury’s family."

Maybe that was another legend, but like all these family stories there is always a grain of truth somewhere, even if distorted.

When in 1847 Elizabeth’s son, my 3rd great grand uncle Goodman Hughes, died in Marine Terrace, Shrewsbury, the death certificate informant was Annie Jones. Who was she? On the 1851 census Annie Wilton, née Jones, was living at Marine Terrace with her parents Evan and Mary Jones. Evan Jones was a sadler, born in Cardiganshire, aged 66 (so born about 1785). From this it seems likely that Evan Jones was a brother of my 4th great grandmother Elizabeth.

1851 England census Class: HO107; Piece: 1992; Folio: 79; Page: 22; GSU roll: 87393
Marine Terrace Shrewsbury viewed from the English Bridge: Google street view

Evan Jones’s birthplace on the 1851 census is hard to read. has transcribed it as ‘Caergonyall in Cardiganshire’. FindMyPast has ‘Caergonydd’. I agree that the name ends with “dd”, but I can find neither placename in Wikipedia’s list of Cardiganshire villages whose names begin with the letter C.

I decided to search for baptisms of ‘Evan’ around 1785 and ‘Elizabeth’ around 1798 in Cardiganshire with the father named Edward. I found only two.

There is an Evan Jones, father Edward Jones, gentleman, baptised 18 May 1784 at Llanfihangel Genau’r-glyn, Cardiganshire, Wales. And on 26 September 1798 there was a baptism at Llanfihangel Genau’r-glyn, Cardiganshire, Wales, of Elizabeth Jones daughter of Edward Jones, gentleman.

I next looked for a marriage of Edward Jones to Elizabeth Humphreys in the district. On 2 June 1778 an Edward Jones, gentleman, of Llanfihanel Gennery Glynn, Cardigan, married Elizabeth Humphreys at Tywyn, Merionethshire. She was of the parish. They married by licence. The witnesses were V??? Humphreys and John Jones.

Archives Wales; Wales; Merionethshire Baptisms, Marriages and Burials retrieved through

Among the papers of a solicitor named John Thomas Herbert Parry, of Glan-paith, Llanbadarn Fawr, Cardiganshire, that were deposited with the National Library of Wales in the 1930s, is the following document:

Title Glan Paith Papers reference 212: Release (in consideration of the intended marriage of the said Edward Jones and the said Elizabeth Humphreys), to make a …, Creation Date 1778, May 30.

Description 1. Edward Jones. 2. Humphrey Jones. 3. Evan Watkin of Moelyherney, p. Llanfyhangelgenerglyn, co. Card., gent. 4. Evan Evans of Knwcybarkit, p. Llanygrowthen, co. Card., and Thomas Pugh of Glanyrafon, p. Llanfyhangelgenerglyn aforesaid, gent's. 5. Mary Humphreys, widow, and Elizabeth Humphreys, spinster, her eldest daughter, both of Towyn, co. Mer. Release (in consideration of the intended marriage of the said Edward Jones and the said Elizabeth Humphreys), to make a tenant to the praecipe for the suffering of a recovery, of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythyn panty Carrw, Tythin y nantgarrw, Tythin Coed-y-Bongam, Llertai Gleission, Tythin-y-Tymawr, Llyesty Pant Gwynne, and Rhydyrhenedd in the t. of Caylan and Maesmore, p. Llanfihangel generglyn.

The paper immediately preceding 211 is dated 29 May 1778 and concerns the Lease for one year of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythyn panty Carrw, Tythin y nantgarrw, Tythin Coed-y-Bongam, Llertai Gleission, Tythin-y-Tymawr, Llyesty …,

1. Edward Jones of Carregcadwgan, p. Llanfihangelgenerglyn, co. Card., gent. 2. Humphrey Jones of the town of Machynlleth, co. Mont., gent. Lease for one year of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythyn panty Carrw, Tythin y nantgarrw, Tythin Coed-y-Bongam, Llertai Gleission, Tythin-y-Tymawr, Llyesty Pant Gwynne, and Rhydyrhenedd in the t. of Caylan and Maesmore, p. Llanfihangel generglyn aforesaid.

Paper 214 dated 1 March 1803 concerns the Lease for one year of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythin panty Carrw, Tythin y nant garrw, Tythin coed y Bongam, Llertaigleission …,

1. Edward Jones, gent., and Elizabeth, his wife, and John Jones, gent., their son and heir apparent, all of Carreg Cadwgan, p. Llanfihangelgenerglyn, co. Card. 2. John Beynon of Newcastle Emlyn, co. Carm., gent. Lease for one year of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythin panty Carrw, Tythin y nant garrw, Tythin coed y Bongam, Llertaigleission, Tythin y Ty mawr, and Rhydyrhenedd, with a cottage called Llyesty Pantygwynne, in the t. of Caylan and Maesmore, p. Llanfihangelgenerglyn aforesaid.

Paper 215 is dated 2 March 1803 and concerns Release, to make a tenant to the praecipe for the suffering of a recovery, of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythin panty …,

1. Edward Jones and Elizabeth, his wife, and John Jones. 2. John Beynon. 3. Humphrey Jones of the town of Machynlleth, co. Mont., esq. Release, to make a tenant to the praecipe for the suffering of a recovery, of Tythin Carreg Cadwgan, Tythin panty Carrw, Tythin y nant garrw, Tythin coed y Bongam, Llertaigleission, Tythin y Ty mawr, and Rhydyrhenedd, with a cottage called Llyesty Pantygwynne, in the t. of Caylan and Maesmore, p. Llanfihangelgenerglyn aforesaid.

I looked for the baptism of John Jones and found John, son of Edward Jones by his wife, baptised 15 January 1782 at Llanfihangel Genau’r-glyn, Cardiganshire.

I think this is the Edward Jones and Elizabeth Jones née Humphreys I have been looking for, but I have not yet found a will or any other document that would make me completely confident of the connection.

It appears from the document of 30 May 1778 that Elizabeth Humphreys and her widowed mother Mary came from Towyn, co. Mer. Today this town is spelt as Tywyn. I have found a will dated 1772 by Griffith Humphreys, a yeoman of Tywyn, Merioneth, which mentions his wife Mary and his daughter Elizabeth.

The village of Llanfihangel Genau’r Glyn, is now known as LLandre. The older name means St Michaels at the Mouth of the Valley. Llanfihangel is a very common placename in Wales and the name LLandre was changed to avoid confusion. Llandre means ‘Churchtown’.

As the crow flies Llandre is ten miles from Tywyn, but by road via the nearest bridge across the Dyfi river the distance is more than double this. Perhaps they crossed by boat at Aberdyfi.

The geography images site has photograph of a farm called Carregcadwgan. I wonder if this is the farm associated with Edward Jones and mentioned in the lease document of 29 May 1778 and again in the lease document of 1 March 1803. Carregcadwgan farm is 5 miles east of Llandre. The community location, a settlement which could not even be described as a hamlet, is called Ceulanamaesmawr.

All this is progress, I suppose, but I am still trying to discover more about the Jones and Humphreys families. I wonder why Elizabeth moved more than a hundred miles north from Cardiganshire to Liverpool to marry Edward Hughes and why her brother Evan moved seventy-five miles east to settle in Shrewsbury.

Related posts


The unfortunate death of Goodman Hughes

My fourth great-grandparents Edward Hughes, a builder (1803 – 1876), and his wife Elizabeth Hughes née Jones (1798 – 1865) were Welsh; Edward was from Newmarket, Flintshire; Elizabeth from Cardiganshire. They were married in Liverpool in 1825. Of their eight children three survived to adulthood.

Their fifth child, Goodman Edward Jones Hughes, born in 1834, died aged thirteen in 1847. The Registrar recorded the cause of death as ‘consumption’. His burial record has ‘Kings’ Evil’. This was scrofula (mycobacterial cervical lymphadenitis), a disfiguring disease of the neck lymph nodes, often caused by the bacterium responsible for pulmonary tuberculosis, consumption.

Goodman Edward Jones Hughes is mentioned in several records:

  1. Baptismal

Goodman Edward Jones Hughes was born on 15 May and baptised on 8 June 1834 in the Great Cross Hall Street Welsh Baptist Chapel by the Reverend William Griffiths of Holyhead. Goodman was the son of Edward Hughes, joiner, of Drinkwater Gardens, Liverpool, and Elizabeth, formerly Jones, his wife.

General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths Surrendered to the Non-Parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857; Class Number: RG 4; Piece Number: 939 : Liverpool, Great Cross Hall Street Chapel (Independent), 1815-1837 Name Goodman Edwd Jones Gender Male Event Type Baptism Birth Date 15 May 1834 Baptism Date 8 Jun 1834 Baptism Place Liverpool, Lancashire, England Denomination Independent Father Edwd Hughes Mother Elizabeth Jones
  1. 1841 Census

At the time of the 1841 census Edward, Elizabeth, four children (Samuel, Mary, Henry, and Eliza) and a child Goodman Jones, possibly a nephew of Elizabeth’s, were living at Drinkwater Gardens, Liverpool. Edward was a joiner. There were no live-in servants.

1841 England census Class: HO107; Piece: 559; Book: 26; Civil Parish: Liverpool; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 35; Folio: 43; Page: 29; Line: 1; GSU roll: 306941

It is possible that the child Goodman Jones who was aged 7 was in fact Goodman Edward Jones Hughes and the census-taker misunderstood the relationship to his parents. I have not been able to find a child named Goodman Hughes living elsewhere in 1841.

  1. Death

Goodman Edward Hughes died of consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) on 8 July 1847 at Marine Terrace St Julian Shrewsbury. He was the son of Edward Hughes builder and his wife Elizabeth. The informant was Annie Jones, present at the death, address Marine Terrace.

Death certificate: Name Goodman Edward Hughes Registration Year 1847 Registration Quarter Jul-Aug-Sep Registration District Shrewsbury Page 131 Volume 18

I have traced the Jones family of Marine Terrace, St Julian, Shrewsbury, on the 1851 census. Annie Jones married in 1850 to George Wilton. She and George and a newborn daughter were living with Annie’s parents Evan Jones, his wife Mary, Annie’s married sister Mary Hughes, and a niece of Annie’s aged 13, also called Annie Jones. Evan Jones, born in Cardiganshire, was a sadler, aged 66 (born about 1785). He may have been a brother of Elizabeth Hughes née Jones.

Shrewsbury is 60 miles distant from Liverpool. Goodman may have attended a school in Shrewsbury and returned to live at his uncle’s house when he became ill. In 1851 Goodman’s younger brother Henry, then aged 12, was a pupil at the Kingsland Academy in Shrewsbury run by Mr J. Poole.

  1. Burial

Goodman’s body was brought from Shrewsbury to Liverpool, sixty miles north, for burial.

Goodman was buried on 13 July at the Necropolis (Low Hill Cemetery), Merseyside. His last residence was Shrewsbury. The cause of death on the burial register was King’s Evil.

Liverpool Record Office; Liverpool, Merseyside, England; Liverpool Cemetery Registers; Reference: 352 Cem 2/2/3 Necropolis (Low Hill Cemetery) Name Goodman Edwd. Hughes Age 13 Burial Date 13 Jul 1847

Scrofula was called the King’s Evil because it was believed to be curable by the touch of the sovereign, through the annointed monarch’s divine power to heal. Conveniently, scrofula often went into remission spontaneously. Some people saw this as proof of the efficacy of the king or queen’s physical contact.

The cause of scrofula was not known until the late 19th century. The illness caused chills, sweats, and fevers. Due to the swelling of the lymph nodes and bones, skin infections and ulcerated sores appeared on the neck, head, and face. The sores grew slowly, sometimes remaining for months or years.

Scrofula of the neck. From: Bramwell, Byrom Edinburgh, Constable, 1893 Atlas of Clinical Medicine. Source: National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health, USA. Image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

In 1846 Benjamin Phillips, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, presented a paper to the Statistical Society of London on the prevalence and alleged increase of Scrofula. Phillips estimated that “the marks of Scrofula obvious upon simple inspection, among the children of the poor of England and Wales, between the ages of 5 and 16 is, as near as may be, but rather under, 3 ½ per cent.” The latest mortality figures Phillips quoted were from 1831. “In 1831, the population was 1,233,000 the general mortality was 20,910, or 1 in 61; the deaths from consumption were 4,735, or 1 in 258; and the deaths from scrofula 9, or 1 in 135,888 of the population.” Phillips concluded that Scrofula was less present in the present day (the 1840s) than it had been in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Tuberculosis, or consumption, was a leading cause of death in previously healthy adults in Britain in the 1800s. An 1840 study attributed one fifth of deaths in England to consumption. In 1838 the death rate in England and Wales from tuberculosis was around 4,000 deaths per 1 million people; it fell to around 3,000 per million in 1850. The declining death rate at that time before any known cure has been attributed to better food and nutrition.

Scrofula is now treated successfully with antibiotics. Untreated it can develop into pulmonary tuberculosis, with a high risk of death. Perhaps this was the manner in which the disease progressed in Goodman Hughes. He was simply unlucky, unable even to hope that the sovereign’s touch would cure him. Queen Victoria did not attempt to perform the small miracle; the practice had ceased with George I more than a century before.

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Z is for Zizenhausen

In 1880, when my great great grandparents Agathe Maria Lang and Matthias Manock were married in Karlsruhe, Agathe provided this information for their marriage certificate:

She had been born in Zizenhausen on 29 December 1852. Her occupation was ‘maid’ (Dienstmädchen, domestic servant). Her mother was Anna Maria Lang, a washerwoman, who lived in Zizenhausen.

Agathe did not name her father.

In 1852, when Agathe Maria Lang had been baptised at Zizenhausen, only her mother, Anna Maria Lang, was named on the certificate.

Five other children of Anna Maria Lang were baptised in Zizenhausen with with no father named:

  • Paulina baptised 14 January 1844, buried 28 July 1844
  • Eleonora baptised 30 October 1845, buried 14 November 1845
  • Crescentia baptised 18 November 1847, buried 5 January 1848
  • Johannes baptised 6 December 1848
  • Josef baptised 18 April 1850, buried 19 July 1850

I think it is likely that these children were Agathe’s siblings.

Johannes, son of Anna Maria Lang, married in 1875 and had four children, three of whom died young. I have not found a record of the death of Johannes, nor of his wife Anna and his daughter Frida (born 1876).

I have not been able to find birth, marriage, or death records of Anna Maria Lang, at least those that I am confident refer to my great great grandmother. I have, however, found records of other women with the same name.

An Anna Maria Lang was born in January 1829 to Josef Lang and Maria Lang née Einhart. She married a Kaspar Schästle in 1859 in Konstanz. They had at least eight children. However, I believe that if this Anna was the mother of Agathe and Johannes then her married name would have been given on their marriage certificates.

Another Anna Maria Lang, born in 1814 to Thomas and Caecelia Kun, married Matthaeus Pfeifer at Zizenhausen in 1853. They had a daughter. As with Anna Maria Schästle I feel if this was the mother of Agathe her married name would have been mentioned on Agathe’s marriage certificate.

A third Anna Maria Lang, daughter of Georg Lang and Magdalena Lehri, was baptised at Konstanz on 17 September 1823. Nothing suggests this was the mother of Agathe.

I seem to have reached a dead end with this. But not to worry, these little puzzles are fun. I’ll persevere with it.

Zizenhausen is in the district of Stockach, a kilometre north of the town centre and about six kilometres north-west of Lake Constance. In 1852 the population of Zizenhausen was 1171: 621 female and 550 male. In 1974 Zizenhausen was incorporated into the City of Stockach.

View of the town of Zizenhausen with the castle. Watercolor on cardboard. Original, dated and inscribed by the artist, Gustav Freiherr von Bechtolsheim, 17.8.(18)83. Monogram “GB”. Image from Wikipedia

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Wikitree and FamilySearch:

Y not Y?

My fourth great-grandparents Edward Hughes and his wife Elizabeth Jones were Welsh; Edward was from Newmarket, Flintshire, and Elizabeth from Cardiganshire. Hughes, however, is not an unusual surname in Wales, nor is Jones, and for a while I’ve been muddling them with another Welsh couple from Flintshire with the same names.

When three years ago I wrote about Edward and Elizabeth I believed, mistakenly, that they had married at Ysgeifiog (also written Ysceifiog) in 1821 and that this was Elizabeth’s birthplace. Edward was from Holywell, a couple of miles north.

I have since ordered Elizabeth’s Victorian death certificate. She died on 4 July 1865 in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Australian death certificates include much information useful to the genealogist, though the reliability of this depends on the knowledge and good will of the informant. In Elizabeth’s case the informant was her husband Edward Hughes.

The 1865 death certificate of Elizabeth Hughes

From Elizabeth’s death certificate I learnt that she was born in Cardiganshire to Edward Jones, who was a farmer, and Elizabeth Jones née Humphreys. She was 66 years old when she died, so she was born about 1799. Elizabeth and Edward married about 1825 in Liverpool when she was twenty-six. They had eight children:

  • Mary, dead;
  • Samuel aged 37 years (at the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1865, so born about 1828);
  • Mary aged 35 years (born about 1830);
  • John dead;
  • Eliza Ann dead;
  • Elizabeth Humphreys dead;
  • Goodman Edward Jones dead; and
  • Henry aged 24 years (born about 1841).

At the time of her death Elizabeth had been in Victoria for twelve years eleven months, so she had arrived about August 1852. Although she died in Brighton, the home address of her husband Edward was View Street, Bendigo (the town at that time was also known as Sandhurst), a hundred miles north. The cause of her death was recorded as chronic disease of the liver and stomach trouble. She had been ill for two months, which perhaps implies that she had come from Bendigo to Melbourne for treatment.

Elizabeth Hughes was buried in Brighton General Cemetery on 13 July 1865. The gravestone inscription reads:

In memory 
Beloved wife of 
Edward Hughes 
of Sandhurst
Died 10th July 1865 
aged 66.
Precious in the sight of the lord is 
the death of his saints

(The verse is from Psalm 116.)

The Bishop’s transcripts, copies of the parish registers which had been sent to the bishop, of Liverpool marriages includes a record at the church of St Philip for a marriage by banns on 24 April 1825 of Edward Hughes and Elizabeth Jones. Neither had been previously married; both were of the parish. A transcript of the marriage register shows the witnesses were John Parry and G. Jared; I believe the witnesses are not related to the bride and groom.

As this record is a better match for the details given at the time of Elizabeth’s death I am more confident that this is the record of the marriage of my fourth great grandparents Edward and Elizabeth Hughes. Unfortunately, details which would help to confirm that we have the right couple, such as their parents’ names and occupations, are not recorded.

Building a family tree with common surnames such as Hughes and Jones is often more difficult than not, because there is more likely to be confusion over two people with the same name. From the information on Elizabeth’s death certificate, it seems that I was wrong: my fourth great grandmother was not from Ysgeifiog and my Edward and Elizabeth were not married there. I have corrected my tree and added the new information.



X is for Xiàmén

In 1881 my husband Greg’s great great grandparents John Plowright (1831 – 1910) and Margaret Plowright née Smyth (1834 – 1897) adopted a boy—their grandson—named Frederick Harold Plowright. The child’s father was James Henry Plowright; his mother was Elizabeth Ann Cooke, née Onthong.

Elizabeth Ann Onthong was born in 1862 in Avoca, Victoria, to Thomas Onthong and Bridget Onthong née Fogarty. The Onthong family later used the surname Cook (or Cooke). Elizabeth was the fourth of six children; she had four brothers and one sister, Mary Ann.

Elizabeth’s parents Bridget Fogarty and John Tong were married on 17 October 1855 in the Church of England vicarage at Carisbrook.

Marriage certificate (Victoria Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages) for FOGARTY, Bridget and TONG, John; Year: 1855, Reg. number: 2887/1855

The marriage certificate has them both living in Avoca. Neither could sign their name.

John Tong, son of William Tong storekeeper, was born in Amoy, China. His occupation was cook, and he was 26 years old. The certificate notes that he “could not tell his mother’s name (Chinese)”. This presumably meant that he was unable to transcribe the sounds of her name into English letters. He was probably also illiterate in Chinese.

Bridget Fogarty was born at Burr (Birr), King’s County (now County Offaly), Ireland. She was a servant, she stated her age was 21, and her parents were Michael Fogarty, farmer, and Ann Whitfield.

John Tong’s birthplace Xiamen 廈門 (pinyin: Xiàmén) is a city on the Fujian coast of China. For many years, the name, pronounced ‘Emoui’ in the Fujian dialect, was rendered ‘Amoy’ in Post Office romanization.

Amoy’s harbor, China. Painting in the collection of Sjöhistoriska Museet; image retrieved through
Xiàmén is 7,300 km north of Avoca, Victoria. Map generated using Google maps.

At the end of 1854 it was estimated that more than 10,000 Chinese lived and worked on the Victorian goldfields. In 1855 alone more than eleven thousand Chinese arrived in Melbourne, many of them indentured labourers from the province of Fujian via the port of Amoy.

John Tong arrived before the Victorian parliament passed the Chinese Immigration Act 1855, legislation meant to restrict Chinese immigration by imposing a poll tax of ten pounds upon every Chinese arriving in the Colony and limiting the number of Chinese on board each vessel to one person for every 10 tonnes of goods. (£10 was worth about $9,000 today in comparing average wages then and now [from])

Though at the time of his marriage John Tong’s occupation was cook, he later worked as a miner at Deep Lead near Avoca. Three of his sons were also Avoca miners.

John Tong was also known as Thomas or Tommy Cook. Tommy Cook was mentioned several times in the newspapers. In 1866 he was noted as having “attained considerable proficiency in the English language.” In 1871 his son William gave evidence in a court case and he, William, was the son of “Thomas Cook, a miner, residing at the Deep Lead, Avoca.” In 1875 Bridget bought a charge of assault against her husband, Ah Tong, alias Tommy Cook. He was described as “a tall, powerful, and rather wild-looking Chinaman”. Bridget said he “was very lazy, and when he got any money would go and gamble it away.”

In October 1890 Tommy Cook and his son George Cook gave evidence in the inquest of the death of George Gouge. From the report in the Avoca Mail:

Tommy Cook deposed – I am residing at Deep Lead, near Avoca. I am father of George Cook. Knew deceased. I found the body lying about six o’clock on Friday morning about 200 yards from the hotel …

MURDER AT AVOCA. Avoca Mail 7 October 1890

I do not know when and where John (Tommy Cook) died nor where he was buried. Bridget died in the Amherst hospital in 1898 but her death certificate had no details of her marriage or children.

In 1935 the “Weekly Times” had a picture of an old hut on the Avoca gold-diggings.

READERS’ CAMERA STUDIES (1935, February 23). Weekly Times (Melbourne,
Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 38 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved

A newspaper clipping published in the 1930s claims that this was the hut of Henry, George, and Frank, three of the sons of John and Bridget. The hut was said to have been known as “Cook’s Hut”.

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