My husband Greg’s great-great-great grandfather was a gold-rush digger named George Young. He and his wife Caroline had thirteen children, including twins, Charlotte and Harriet, who were born on 13 July 1861 in Lamplough, a mining settlement about four miles south of Avoca, Victoria.
On 2 October 1882 Charlotte married George Edward Wilkins at the Avoca Anglican church, St John’s. Charlotte was 21, employed as a domestic servant. George was 25, a miner from Percydale, five miles west.
Charlotte and George had three children: Ethel born in 1883 in Avoca, and George and Eva, born in 1884 and 1886 at Tattaila (sometimes spelt Tataila or Tattalia), near a large grazing run of that name at Moama in New South Wales, across the Murray river from Echuca.
They had moved to Tattaila because, no longer a gold miner, George Wilkins had become a teacher, appointed in October 1884 to the school there, with his position formally recorded as Classification 3B on the New South Wales Civil Service list in 1885.
Sadly, George and Charlotte’s daughter Eva, born on 21 January 1886, died three days later, according to her death certificate from premature birth and inanation (exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment). She was buried on 25 January in the grounds of the Tattaila Public School.
Why in the school-grounds? Sadly, there seems to have been nowhere else, no suitable burial place within range. Perhaps this arrangement provided some consolation for the parents.
In July 1887, a year and a half later, with George Wilkins still the Tattaila schoolteacher, Lord Carrington, Governor of New South Wales, passed through on a tour of inspection. The Sydney “Australian Town and Country Journal” wrote:
'EDUCATIONAL.-Not long ago I was in the Moama State School, listening to the children practising " God Save the Queen" for the Governor's visit. On that occasion the children of Latalia [sic], under the charge of their teacher, Mr. Wilkins, amalgamated with those of the Moama School under the charge of Mr. Bruce, and the practising was done under Mr. Wilkin's tuition. The children acquitted themselves admirably, subsequently earning praise from Lord Carrington, and, what was, perhaps, much dearer to the infantile heart, a whole holiday. I was considerably impressed with the progress evidently being made by the children, and not a little astonished at the advanced curriculum of the State schools in this colony. Children in New South Wales are being educated in many things of a practical as well as a scientific nature which are neglected across the border. The inference is obvious.'
'Mr Wilkins has taken a good deal of pains to coach the scholars up, and their singing yesterday showed that they had profited by his teaching. The children kept time very well and sang the Anthem with considerable expression, so that they should acquit themselves very favourably on Tuesday next.'
At the end of that year, he transferred to the Victorian education system, appointed in December 1889 as head teacher at School 1798, Major’s Line, near Heathcote. (‘Major’s Line’ refers to wheel tracks left by the NSW Surveyor-General Major Mitchell in his 1836 journey of exploration.)
On 1 January 1891 George was ‘certificated’—approved to teach, and appointed as a teacher—by the Victorian Department of Education. In October 1891 he transferred to School 1567 in Richmond and appointed junior assistant on probation. It was noted on his file that George gambled, but otherwise the probation inspection was satisfactory.
In 1892 George Wilkin’s appointment was confirmed, and he was also qualified to teach military drill. In 1893 he was transferred to School 2849, Rathscar North. His annual reports were positive. In 1899 he was transferred to School 1109, Mount Lonarch. In 1901 he transferred to School 3022, Warrenmang. In 1902 he was at School 2811, Glenlogie. Later that year he returned to Warrenmang. In 1907 he was transferred to Homebush School, 2258. All these schools were in in the Central Highlands administrative region. He remained at Homebush until December 1921, when ill-health forced his resignation.
Though not formally employed by the Education Department Charlotte Wilkins helped her husband with his teaching duties, brought up their children, and raised two of her nephews after their mother, her sister-in-law, died in childbirth. Charlotte was also busy in her local community. I have found no mention of Charlotte in Tattaila district newspapers, but in later years the Avoca newspapers give some better account of her activities there. for example as a hostess for various functions associated with the Homebush Soldiers Comforts Fund during World War I.
On 2 April 1925, following three years of paralysis, Charlotte died in Lower Homebush at the age of 63 and was buried in Avoca Cemetery.
Before his enrollment in the Academy, Gordon had been a pupil of a private master named Adam Thom in Tooting, some five miles distant. On 1 August 1832 Thom certified that:
“Mr Gordon Mainwaring has resided in my house during the last three months – that he has studied Caesar’s commentaries, Vulgar [common] and decimal fractions, and that he has displayed praiseworthy diligence and that his general conduct has been marked by exemplary propriety.”
Before they were admitted cadets were required to have a fair knowledge of Arithmetic, write a good hand, and possess a competent knowledge of English and Latin Grammar. They should also have learnt Drawing, and have some knowledge of French, Mathematics and Fortification.
In the 1830s there were two regular admissions to the Seminary, in January and in July. Cadets, aged 14 to 16 when they entered, normally remained for 2 years (4 terms), although it was possible to pass the final examination within a shorter period. The intake comprised about 75 cadets a year, with about 150 cadets in residence at any one time.
Cadets or their families were required to pay fees (£30 a year when the Seminary first opened; £50 a term by 1835), but these fees represented only a small proportion of the real costs of their education and were heavily subsidised by the East India Company to secure a satisfactory class of officers for their armies in India.
Besides the £30 tuition fee cadets were obliged to provide two sureties who signed a bond for this payment and “for the reimbursement to the Company of all expenses incurred upon his account which shall not be defrayed by the said sum in the event of his not proceeding to India.” By 1835 the fees were £50 a term. (The relative value of £50 from 1835 in 2020 ranges from £5,000 in simple purchasing power to £60,000 in income value.)
According to Colonel Vibart in Addiscombe, its heroes and men of note, necessaries to be provided by the cadet when he joined, were :
One military great-coat
One uniform jacket, waistcoat and pair of pantaloons
One military cap and feather, with plate in front embossed with the Company’s arms
Six pairs of cotton socks
Six pairs of worsted socks
Two pairs of gaiters
Two pairs of military gloves
Two pairs of strong shoes
Two black silk handkerchiefs
Two combs and a brush
The Company supplied each cadet with the following clothing :
Half-yearly : Jacket, Waistcoat, Black silk handkerchief, Foraging-cap
Quarterly : Pantaloons and Gaiters
Shoes every 2 months
Medical attendance and washing were also provided.
Each cadet was provided with the necessary books, stationery, drawing and mathematical instruments; and the Seminary was supplied with philosophical instruments [in this context, probably surveying and laboratory equipment] and the requisite apparatus and materials to pursue the courses of chemical lectures.
The woollen clothes were of superfine cloth. The cadets were also supplied with linen when necessary in the opinion of the Head Master.
The cadets were in dormitories with framed partitions which formed separate sleeping places. These, 9′ by 6′ and 8′ high, were called “kennels”. Kennels had an iron bedstead which could be raised to rest against the wall during the day if required. Beside the bed was a fixed table and drawer. A wash-stand stood between the foot of the bed and the wooden partition. One chair was provided. The door was a curtain.
The Acadamy curriculum was “instruction in the sciences of Mathematics, Fortification, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry; the Hindustani, Latin, and French languages; in the art of Civil, Military, and Lithographic Drawing and Surveying; and in the construction of the several gun-carriages and mortarbeds used in the Artillery service, from the most approved models”.
Examinations were held twice-yearly in June and December: they lasted about three weeks, and culminated in a Public Examination, a day-long affair of some ceremony before a distinguished invited audience. This included orchestrated demonstrations of book-learning and of military exercises such as swordsmanship and pontoon-building; an exhibition of drawings and models; a formal inspection; and the distribution of prizes.
According to their degree of talent, acquirements, and good conduct (and the number needed) some cadets were selected for the Engineers and Artillery corps. The remaining cadets were sent to the Infantry line of service.
In 1835 Gordon Mainwaring joined the 53rd Bengal Native Infantry Company of the Honourable East India Company Service.
Addiscombe, its heroes and men of note; by Colonel H. M. Vibart… With an introduction by Lord Roberts of Kandahar.. (1894) retrieved through archive.org
When the over all gold [alluvial gold] was booming, the squatters’ drovers became restless and left to go gold digging, and the squatters in desperation imported Chinese by the thousand, at one time 100,000 Chinese were here and they also left for the gold. They were paid by the squatters per month and keep. The pastoralists advertised In China and the Chinese paid £3 boat fare and brought their own food.
In 1862 the bill was passed to open up the land and started the selected going north. And in 1874 with his brother Thomas and a little money saved, James came to Charlton and pegged out two 320 acre blocks adjoining making the square mile. An Act passed in 1862 allowed a selector only 320 acres at £1 per acre with conditions such as, the selectors had to build, fence and clear with 10 years to pay off, which the selectors could not do, and the payment was extended from time to time.
James Edwards went back to Geelong after selecting land in Charlton and married Elizabeth Ann Nicholas on 29th December 1874 and started making preparations to come to Charlton. They got together 4 horses, a buggy, a light wagon and bare necessaries and started off in the late autumn of 1875. It took two weeks to arrive at Charlton and heavy rain slowed the travel, it took three days to go from Charlton to the selection 12 miles out. It was a big trial especially for James Edwards’ young wife who had not been out of Geelong, she had known her husband quite a few years. She had three brothers and one sister Ellen, who married a Shire Secretary at Wagga and lived there all her life and reared a big family. Her own mother corresponded regularly and I remember how the letters were looked forward to. Our mother was a stout strong woman, as her father who, tradition says held the belt for wrestling In Cornwall.
The coming to Charlton, and the prospect of a home, allowed them to look forward to their future life. Her parents said to her when leaving, in 10 years you ought to be able to retire back to Geelong, little did they know the hardships of Pioneers. The first job after arriving at the selection was to build a home, which consisted of logs and mud, the roof was the tent and the house consisted of one room. With improvements to this they lived there three years, and during that three years they were building the home which we know. There were plenty of straight pine trees which were stood up 3 feet apart with slabs across and filled with mud.
I have often heard our mother say how lovely it was to get into this new house, bark of a big tree and flattened with weight was used a lot for roofing. A poem by Tom Murphy would fit in here
Wattle and Dab formed the walls of the hut From gumsucker saplings the highbeams were cut And the roof over the heads of my parents and I Was the bark of a box from the gully near by The furniture crude in the old fashioned shack Was the pine from the pine ridge a mile or so back And the hole still remains not far from the door Where they puddled the clay for the old earthern floor The flesh of the roo for mutton did pass And faces were washed in the dew laden grass This beautiful towel was the bright morning sun And the moon gave them light when the daylight was done Our porridge a corn twint, the wheat and the oat Whilst we coloured our tea with the milk from the goat But although they were days of trials and fears They but used them as steps did our old pioneers.
Our mother was a wonderful woman and took her part in the pioneering of the district. A little woman named Jane Prichard came up with her and stayed with her for 10 years, a grand little woman. The first 10 years being the hardest for the pioneers. Our mother’s first born arrived in November 1875. She journed to her old home in Geelong for the event, the rest of her family were born at ‘Lamorna’. Ada the second girl was born in the tent, there was quite a big population coming there by that time, and a few of the old women acted as maternity sisters and the friendships in the District was a wonderful help to those old pioneers.
The Narrewillock school had 60 on the rolls and the families of those old pioneers always had 8 to 10 children, in fact 3 families adjoining us had 13 children. Within a few miles of our parents home there were a dozen big families, amongst the neighbours were the Douglass family of 12 only 1/2 mile away. Alec Coote, W. Coote and Tom Coote, O’Callaghan, O’Mearers, William, and a few others, all good neighbours and would all help one another.
For the first 10 years clearing the land carting water, and sinking storages was the big worry, the years 1875 to 1907.
The dingo gave them a worry, I have heard our father speak of the last dingo shot, he hid in a big bush one bright moonlight, expecting the old man dingo he came back to the kill of the night before and shot him. His 4 paws and tail were hanging up in the barn for many years. Kangaroos and Emus were all gone and driven back by 1880. About the early 80’s the rabbits put in their appearance, our father came home excited one day with a young rabbit and in a few years there was a plague of them. I caught the first fox in about 1890 with the sheep dogs. That was their first appearance and of course that pest will be always here now. The Shire gave a bonus of £1 a scalp and I got the £1 for the skin we kept for many years.
The native wild life that was on the Lamorna farm In the 1870s are now gone. Kangaroo, Emu, Native Cat, Wood mice, Curleu, Woodpecker, Ground Pluver, Chatterona Brown Bird, twice the size of a starling. The fox, rabbits and house cats, gone wild, are responsible for their disappearance.
Schooling for myself and four sisters was at Narrewillock five miles from home, the school had a few rooms attached, and an old man lived there named Brightwell, he kept the Post Office. Our eldest sisters did all their schooling there, later there was a school built one mile away from home called Hallam school, myself and youngest sister went mostly to this school. All walking was the order of the day. A teacher called Os Derrick stayed at Hallam four years and this was really the only schooling I received. Our parents lost one of the family, a girl they called Mary Beatrice who died of quinsy in 1880 which was a heavy blow to our parents. Two of the biggest worries was the shortage of water and money, and carting water was a constant job and sometimes from the Avoca River 7 miles. This worry was not realised [relieved] till 1921 the year I tapped the Marmal Creek and filled our dam, when the creek ran in the winter time. This creek ran eight years out of ten, the farmers are now served by a channel from Lake Lonsdale, in 1948.
On the 640 acres there were two patches of about forty acres without trees and these patches got more than their share of cropping, as the clearing of this was a big job. Our father bought a mower with two horses to pull in 1877 and a little peg drum thrasher to thrash the barley, and in about 1882 bought a stripper and winnow from South Australia which was wonderful in those days.
This type of stripper was used till the turn of the century. Our father bought the first H. V. McKay harvester in 1906 and from then on harvesting became much easier.
The horses named Darling and Jess were two good mares, they bred from them and their breeding was carried through right to the time the horses were discarded on the farms in about 1935, some farmers favoured horses earlier and some later. The prices for grain were too low for the farmers to prosper, the prices were controlled by spectator [speculators] being about 2/6 for wheat and as low as 1/- for oats, lambs 10/-. On less [Unless] a compulsory pool was established in 1916 but still no price fixed. In 1928 the Wheat Growers Association was formed which I was a foundation and executive member and from then on we gradually took control. The stabiliasion [stabilisation] scheme has been paying 12/- for quite a few years. I stayed on the State Council of the Victorian Wheat Growers Assoc. for five years and for the work and enthusiasm I put into the Association in the pioneering days, the Association at the Annual Conference in 1964, I was made a life member.
The season in this part of Victoria was uncertain, sometimes a very wet year and sometimes a drought. 1902 was the big drought and the next year 22 inches of rain. The big drought that I remember was 1902, 1914, 1920, 1929, 1940, 1944. I Frederick James took over the control of the farm in 1907. Nell the eldest married in 1902 to J. Findlay. Ada was music teaching in Ararat and Jean the youngest sister was with her, and Beatrice married P. Toose in 1909. I married in 1910 and had our 5 children there and for a while drove them to Narrewillock school but in March 1920 bought this house in Charlton and have lived there ever since. My wife Anne died 9th January 1963. Our family all turned out well they were all big, strong and good sports. Gwen (4 daughters) now Mrs. Richards, Bob married Joyce Parker (3 daughters) and is now at Beaumaris, Freda (1 son & 1 daughter) now Mrs. Piccoli and is now at Barraport. Joyce with two sons is on the farm, Nan (2 daughters) now Mrs. Nagel and lives at Black Rock.
The following is from my father James Edwards Diary.
1874. Met the surveyor from St. Arnaud and pegged out the two blocks at Narrewillock, the ground looks good plenty of grass but no water. I was married on 29th December 1874.
1875. Spent a few months in preparation in coming to Charlton, left Bullarook on 22nd May having lived there 14 years. My father has recorded they were very happy there. Arrived at the farm having spent 16 days on the trip. Very wet which made the travelling hard. First child born in November (Nell).
1876. Sowed the first patch of wheat, carting water.
1877. Second child born (Ada) .
1878. Drove to Geelong — one horse and buggy. We shifted to the new house having lived in a tent for 3 years.
1880. Rabbits were in plague proportion. Brought first stripper which proved a success.
1881. Lost two fingers, a sad event. Father suffered severely and was in St. Arnaud hospital for awhile.
1882. Started a Sunday school at Narrewillock which he kept on for 25 years.
1883. Shortage of water is causing hardship, sold 150 sheep 7/-.
1884 Received £11/7/3 as fathers share of Will B. Gilbart (London).
1885. Very bad year, 167 bags (4 bushels) total cheque £115/11/11.
1886. Another bad year 94 bags from 150 acres. Sold 61 bags for £34/19/6.
1887. First plague of Locusts.
1888. Sold 220 bags wheat price 2/10 ½ per bushel. Rev. Kirkwood started preaching at Narrewillock, he stayed there 20 years. Bought 125 sheep at 6/5d. , wheat price this year 1/9d.
1891. Sent two trucks of sheep and lambs to Melbourne, price £87/5/- for 226 sheep.
1892. Later sent 165 lambs to Melbourne, cheque £54/4/10. Bought stripper and winmower, the winmower is still at the farm. Bought cow and calf for £3.
1893. Sold 163 bags for 1/9 a bushel some at 1/7 ½, sold 115 bags oats @ 6 ½ d.
1896. Wheat price rose to 4/6 ½. 696 sheep were shorn, shearing cheque £5/2/- for shearers.
1897. Sent 130 lambs to Melbourne, cheque £41/1 2/10.
1898. Rented Howards 1200 acres for 3 years, £150 per year, this land is held now by Hillard, Blair, McGurk and L. Douglass.
1900. Ordered first seed drill, Massey Harris £45.
1901. Very dry, carting water takes the whole time.
1902. The first big drought, practically no rain for the year, horses went to Lang Lang and sheep sold, this from now on is written by F.J. Edwards.
1903. The year was good and from now on the farming system very much improved.
1905. We bought a H.V. McKay harvester which made harvesting from now on much easier.
1907.  Uncle Tom died, he had been a great help mate to father all his life – age 81
1908. Our mother died, she had been in Ararat with Ada, but came home when she became sick – age 65.
1909. Sister Beatrice married P. Toose
1910. Myself married to Annie Morcon of Bendigo.
1914. Another drought, no wheat, the first big war started.
1916. Our father died this year aged 81 both he and our mother are buried in Terrappee cemetery.
1920. Been having good seasons, my wife and self bought our home in Charlton, we have five of our family.
1921. I sank the big dam at the farm 9000 yds it took three five horse teams about three months, a big job.
1925. Ken McPherson took wheat growing on the shares, he and his wife stayed five years.
1929. Another drought, sent 24 horses to Tatura on swamp country, Gerald Buckley property, stayed 6 months.
1930. The Wheat Growers Association was formed this year the first big move to organise the wheat growers as a foundation member. I stayed on the State Council five years. The next ten years was the depression years, fair seasons but low prices.
1931. Bob 21 was now working the farm, I made over Pratts and Howards 560 acres to him.
1941. Son Bob married and built the new home at the farm, costing about £3,000.
1944. Very bad drought, Bob Edwards took over the full management and bought O’Mearers land 500 acres @ £7 per acre.
1948. Bob bought 2,000 acre property at Ballan and left the farm.
1949. Joyce and Bob Chambers left the Bank and gradually took over the whole farm, bought Bob Edwards’ land for £20 per acre.
1963. 9th January mother died and is buried in Terrappee Cemetery, her passing has left a blank in the family.
1964. Another good season, the Chambers have two good boys, one 19 and the other 13, these boys should and I think will carry on and uphold the tradition of the Pioneers, and who will carry on the farm at Narrewillock.
In my 2020 A to Z blog challenge each letter links a bit of my family history to a London place-name. The connection is sometimes rather tenuous, so I’m pleased to say that I’ve got a fairly direct link to a well-known ‘W’: Whitehall, the district of the City of London that comprises the administrative centre of the government of the United Kingdom.
The Old Palace of Whitehall by Hendrick Danckerts, c. 1675. The view is from the west, in St. James’s Park. The Horse Guards barracks are on the extreme left, with the taller Banqueting House behind it. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.
On 18 December 1768 my fifth great grandfather Edmund Dana (1739 – 1823) was ordained first as a deacon then, a few months later, as a priest of the Church of England at the Chapel Royal of the Palace of Whitehall.
The Reverend Edmund Dana (1739-1823), a miniature in the possession of my father.
The function of the Chapel Royal was (and is) to serve ‘the spiritual needs’ of the reigning monarch and the Royal Family. In practice this meant conducting private religious services for the sovereign. Attached to the Chapel Royal was a choir; the liturgy was often choral.
Administrative structures have a momentum of their own, and by Edmund Dana’s time the Chapel Royal’s role had expanded to include ordinations of well-connected candidates for ecclesiastical office.
It seems likely that self-interest and the ambitions of his wife’s family rather than a sudden rush of religious fervour brought about Edmund Dana’s interest in the Church. He had commenced studying medicine, but when in Edinburgh in 1765 he married Helen Kinnaird, her family, specifically her maternal uncle William [Johnstone] Pulteney (1729 – 1805), sponsored Edmund Dana’s change of career and supplemented the Dana family income to ease the transition. (His qualification for the role was an MA from Harvard College. It seems likely he received training for the Church of England in London.) Three days after his ordination Edmund Dana was appointed as vicar of Stanion Chapel, at Brigstock in Northamptonshire.
This painting by an unknown artist records the magnificent flotilla of barges that sailed to Westminster to commemorate Sir Henry Tulse being sworn in as Lord Mayor of London on 29 October 1683. In the background is the sprawling palace of Whitehall. The Palace of Westminster is on the left and the roof of the Banqueting House can be seen on the right. Retrieved from The Royal Collection Trust.
Following a fire in 1698 which destroyed most of Whitehall Palace, Sir Christopher Wren was instructed to fit out the Banqueting House, the only part of the Palace that survived the fire, as a Chapel Royal to replace the ruined Tudor chapel. It remained in use as a chapel until 1890.
“Whitehall-Chapel” in Pyne, W. H. ; Combe, William; Ackermann, Rudolph; Rowlandson, Thomas; Pugin, Augustus, The Microcosm of London or London in Miniature, Volume III, London: Methuen and Company, (1904)  . Pages 237 – 239 including Plate 95
The Banqueting House, marked with a black x, was the only part of the Palace of Whitehall that survived the 1698 fire. It is 1/3 of a mile north of the Palace of Westminster.
Details of Edmund Dana’s ordination and career in the Church of England are provided by The Clergy Database at jsp/ persons/10426
In 1718 my 6th great grandfather Philip de Crespigny (1704 – 1765) was apprenticed to a proctor (lawyer) at the Arches Court of Canterbury named Charles Garrett. Philip’s widowed mother Magdalene Champion de Crespigny paid £126 ‘premium’ for this arrangement.
Philip’s older brother William had been appointed to a lawyer, a member of the Inner Temple, one of the Inns of Court. Philip was entering a different area of law to William. Had he not died an early death (in 1721) before he qualified, William would have gained the right to practice in the regular courts of England governed by Common Law, that is, law based on precedent and derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals.
The Arches Court, which Philip entered, was an ecclesiastical court that specialised in the legal practice of Civil Law based on the Roman tradition. This legal system originated in Europe, and was set within the framework of Roman law, with its core principles codified into a referable system serving as the foundation of its jurisprudence.
The intellectual framework of Common law systems, by contrast, is derived from judge-made decisional law, which gives precedential authority to prior court decisions.
Besides its jurisdiction over members of the clergy in the Province of Canterbury, governing all the southern part of England, the Court of Arches had authority over legal matters concerning inheritance and marriage, notably the probate of wills and questions of divorce. Oddly enough, practitioners were also authorised to deal with cases of admiralty law. Given that these commonly involved international affairs, admiralty law was based on Roman law rather than English Common Law. The separate jurisdiction developed in medieval times and continued into the nineteenth century.
The 1857 Act abolished separate ecclesiastical jurisdiction over wills and testaments, and a Matrimonial Causes Act created a new court to deal with divorce. Both these areas were now opened to practitioners of the Common Law, and members of the College lost their special authority. In 1859 an Act established the High Court of Admiralty too, and the remnant ecclesiastical matters handled by the Court of Arches were also abolished a few years later. The purpose of the College thus came to an end, and the buildings of Doctors Commons were demolished in 1865.
Proctors or procurators of the Court of Arches were analogous to solicitors, and entry to their ranks was based upon a seven-year term of service as an articled clerk. Since there were only thirty-four Proctors, and each was allowed just one such apprentice at a time, Philip was fortunate to have obtained a vacancy; there may have been family assistance [Mum ponied up 126 quid!]. Apprentices were required to have a good classical education, best provided by a grammar school, so someone in the family, probably his uncle Pierre Champion de Crespigny, had worked to prepare the young man for the opportunity.
Philip had a very successful career, culminating in his appointment as Procurator-General of the Court of Arches.
In 1731 he married Anne Fonnereau at St Paul’s Cathedral, not far from his offices at Doctor’s Commons. Their daughter Jane was baptised in 1733 at St Benet’s, Paul’s Wharf. Five of Jane’s siblings – Claude, Susan, Anne, Philip, and another Anne – were also baptised there.
Doctors Commons [circled] between St Paul’s Cathedral and the Thames. The church of St Benet’s Paul’s Wharf[e] is marked in blue. Detail from John Strype, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, 1720
Philip de Crespigny, indenture year 1718 : index record from FindMyPast record set Britain, country apprentices 1710-1808
De Crespigny, Rafe Champions from Normandy : an essay on the early history of the Champion de Crespigny family 1350-1800 AD. Lilli Pilli, New South Wales Richard Rafe Champion de Crespigny, 2017. Pages 147-9, 153. Can be viewed at Champions from Normandy
O’Day, Rosemary The professions in early modern England, 1450-1800 : servants of the commonweal. Longman, Harlow, 2000. Pages 156-157
Human frailty was daily laid bare in the Court proceedings. Two cases brought in 1699 and 1700 by Godfrey Lee, a proctor in the Court of Arches, against his wife Mary and her lover Charles Garrett, a fellow proctor, brought to light reports of ‘a frolique’ involving cross-dressing and the singing of ‘obscene and smutty songs’ in the garden of Lee’s house at Streatham. Perhaps Doctors’ Commons was inured to such tales; the careers of Lee and Garrett were unaffected and both rose to be senior proctors in the Court.
In 1713 my 7th great-uncle William Champion Crespigny (1698 – 1721) was apprenticed to Edward Mills, gentleman, of the Inner Temple. William’s father Thomas, who died in 1712, had been a soldier, but William was following in the profession of his uncle Pierre Champion Crespigny (1652 – 1739). William’s younger brother Philip (1704 – 1765) was also apprenticed to a lawyer in 1718.
Each of the four Inns of Court has three ordinary grades of membership: students, barristers, and masters of the bench or “benchers”. The benchers constitute the governing body for each Inn, with the right to appoint new members from among their barrister members.
In the 14th century the Inner Temple began training lawyers. Many of this Inn’s buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Some of what remained was damaged in two more fires in 1677 and 1678.
William Champion Crespigny does not seem to have been admitted to the Inner Temple. His name is not recorded in the admissions register. He died in 1721.
There are two Edward Mills listed on the list of admissions in the seventeenth century. The master of William Champion Crespigny was probably Edward Mills, admitted 26 October 1673 and called to the bar on 12 February 1682. Mill’s occupation is given as ‘gentleman’ and his address City of London. Being ‘Called to the Bar’ was the formal ceremony by which student members were promoted to the status of barrister.
Members of the Inns of Court were in theory men who wished to become barristers. But besides these, many joined an Inn without going on to be called to the Bar. Before the twentieth century this second group was relatively numerous. Attending one of the Inns of Court was a way to make good social contacts, not necessarily to qualify as a barrister.
The admissions registers of the Inns have been digitised. I have looked for members of my family associated with them.
I have been unable to find anyone of the Champion de Crespigny family being admitted to the Inner Temple.
The admissions register of Middle Temple, however, shows Herbert J. W.S.C. de Crespigny admitted on 23 April 1822 and William O.R.C. de Crespigny admitted on 6 November 1807. Herbert Joseph Champion de Crespigny (1805 – 1881) and William Other Robert Champion de Crespigny (1789 – 1816) were my 2nd cousins 5 times removed. They were sons of William, the second baronet. William Other Robert was much lamented when he died very young, much like his great grand uncle William, who died at the age of twenty-three.
Another Middle Temple relative was Edward Mainwaring (1635 – 1703), one of my eighth great grandfathers, who was admitted to Middle Temple on 24 November 1652. The register of admissions states: EDWARD MAINWARING, son and heir of Edward M., of Whitmore, Staffs., esq. Edward, then 17 years old, was a student at Christ’s College Cambridge. There are other Mainwarings on the register of admissions to Inner Temple but none of them seem to be of the Whitmore Mainwaring line.
At Lincoln’s Inn, Claude Crespigny, gen., eldest son of Philip Champion C., of Doctors Commons, London, Esq. was admitted on 23 October 1750 aged fifteen. Claude Crespigny (1734 – 1818), my 6th great uncle, was Receiver-General of the Droits of Admiralty. He later became the first baronet. Claude Crespigny was educated at Eton, and became a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. When he died in 1818 it was at his house at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Another of my Lincoln’s Inn relatives was George Crespigny (17), “2 s. Charles Fox Champion C., of Tally-Uyn Ho., co. Brecon, gent.”, admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on 4 November 1833. George Blicke Champion de Crespigny (1815 – 1893), my fourth great uncle, did not go on to follow the legal profession but joined the army ending up as Lieutenant Colonel and Paymaster.
I have found no de Crespigny family connection with Gray’s Inn. There is no one of that surname on the Register of Admissions 1521 – 1889. There is one distantly related Mainwaring, however: Philip Mainwaring (1589 – 1661), who was admitted to Gray’s Inn on 14 March 1609. Philip was my second cousin 12 times removed. He became a member of Parliament and Principal Secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Lord Strafford.
Earlier this year we were forced to flee from a catastrophic bushfire on the Australian east coast. It burnt out an area the size of England. Now, just a few months later, we’re self-quarantined against the COVID-19 plague, at home with the doors shut, permitted out only to buy food.
We Antipodeans, of course, got it the wrong way around. London had its plague first, from 1665, then its fire, in 1666. Whatever the order of events, of course, catastrophes are no fun for anybody.
In a year and half, the Great Plague of London – a rapid-spreading bacterial infection, rather than a virus – killed nearly 100,000 people, a quarter of the city’s population.
As it spread, a system of quarantine was introduced. A house where someone had died from plague would be locked, with no one allowed to enter or leave for 40 days. A plague house was marked with a red cross on the door and the words “Lord have mercy upon us”, and a watchman stood guard in the street.
Nine images of the Great Plague of London in 1665 from The great plague in London in 1665 by Walter George Bell From the Wellcome Trust CC-BY-4.0, retrieved through Wikimedia Commons
Then came the fire, a huge conflagration which burned for four days in September 1666, completely destroying the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. The homes of 70,000 people, more than three-quarters of the population of the city, were burnt to ashes. There were officially only six deaths; many went unrecorded.
Great Fire of London by an unknown artist about 1675 retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. “This painting shows the great fire of London as seen from a boat in vicinity of Tower Wharf. The painting depicts Old London Bridge, various houses, a drawbridge and wooden parapet, the churches of St Dunstan-in-the-West and St Bride’s, All Hallow’s the Great, Old St Paul’s, St Magnus the Martyr, St Lawrence Pountney, St Mary-le-Bow, St Dunstan-in-the East and Tower of London. The painting is in the [style] of the Dutch School and is not dated or signed.”
After the fire, London was rebuilt on essentially the same street plan. About three-fifths of the City of London had been destroyed: 13,200 houses, most great public buildings, St Paul’s Cathedral and 87 parish churches. Rebuilding housing took until the 1670s. Public buildings took longer, with St Paul’s finished only in 1711. This program had a modernising effect, for the city was now less dense, with only 9,000 houses rebuilt and not all churches and public buildings replaced.
Map of central London in 1666, showing landmarks related to the Great Fire of London. Drawn by Wikipedia user Bunchofgrapes and retrieved from Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0)
It is interesting that despite being separated from the events in London by 355 years and half way around the globe, we are experiencing similar catastrophes and coping along the same lines.
On 4 August 1838, my fourth-great grandfather the Reverend William Mitchell (1803 – 1870), accompanied by his wife, four children, and a governess, arrived at Fremantle, on the mouth of the Swan River in Western Australia.
They had left Portsmouth four months and three days before, sailing on the “Shepherd”. Their only intermediate port of call was Porto Praya off the west coast of Africa (now Praia, the the capital and largest city of Republic of Cabo Verde), where the ship took on supplies.
The Swan River Colony – now Perth – was established in 1829 following exploration of the region in 1827 by James Stirling, later Governor of Western Australia. Fremantle was the settlement’s main port.
Captain Stirling’s exploring party 50 miles up the Swan River, Western Australia, March, 1827. Oil painting by W. J. Huggins in the collection of the National Library of Australia retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-134156746
William Mitchell had been ordained a minister of the Church of England in 1825. In 1826 he married Mary Anne Holmes (1805 – 1831), and soon afterwards, the family moved to India, where Mitchell served as a missionary. They had two daughters and a son. The second girl, Susan Augusta, born on 11 April 1828 in Bombay, was my third great grandmother. Around 1830 Mary Anne became ill and the family returned to England, where she died in 1831. William married again, to Frances Tree Tatlock (1806 – 1879) and returned to India, where this second marriage produced three more sons. Frances and the children returned to England in 1834 and William returned in 1835. In 1838 William was appointed by the Western Australian Missionary Society to be clergyman for the residents of the Middle and Upper Swan regions of the new colony of Western Australia.
Reverend William Mitchell portrait from “Mitchell Amen” by Frank Nelder Greenslade
The oldest child of the Reverend William Mitchell, born to his first wife Mary, was Annie (1826 – 1917). She was 12 when the family arrived on the “Shepherd”. In her memoirs, written many years later, she described their arrival:
The ship “Shepherd” anchored off Garden Island on 4 August 1838, after a voyage of four months and three days. We landed at Fremantle by the ships boats. The first sight we witnessed was a very large whale lying on the sea beach at Fremantle, from which the natives were cutting large pieces and carrying them away on spears.
We lodged at Fremantle for a week and then proceeded to Government House where we were entertained by Sir James Stirling and Lady Stirling. It was usual practice at this time for new arrivals to call at Government House on arrival. We stayed at Judge Mackies house for a while (he was the first Judge in the Colony). After this we went to Henley Park, on the Upper Swan, by boat. Major Irwin was landlord at this time. He was Commandant of the troops in W.A. We stayed with him for a week or so then went to the Mission-house on the Middle Swan where we settled.
The whole of Perth at this time was all deep sand and scrub. There was no road or railway to Perth. All transport was done by water travel. The banks of the Swan River were a mass of green fields and flowers, with everlastings as far as the eye could see.
At the time of arrival, there were only two vessels, the “Shepherd” and the “Britomart” plying between London and Western Australia. When a ship arrived, a cannon was fired to let people know that a vessel had arrived. The people used to ride or row down to Fremantle to get their letters. There were then about seven or eight hundred people settled in W.A. mostly along the banks of the Swan.
There was no church in the colony at this time and the services were conducted in the Courthouse by the Revd John Wittenoom, the first colonial chaplain.
Panorama of the Swan River Settlement, ca. 1831 by Jane Eliza Currie (wife of explorer Mark John Currie)
The Mitchells lived at Middle Swan, now a Perth suburb, 12 miles from the city centre.
A guest post by Diana Beckett; great great granddaughter of James Gordon Cavenagh.
Miniature of James Gordon Cavenagh in the possession of a granddaughter of Lt Col W.O. Cavenagh
Lt Col W.O. Cavenagh, (Wentworth Odiarne / WOC / Cousin Wenty) who did extensive research on our Cavenagh ancestry, was the grandson of the surgeon. The latter died in 1844 and WOC was born in 1856, so they never met. However, WOC knew as family tradition related by his father (Gen Sir Orfeur Cavenagh) that the surgeon had served at Waterloo, but was puzzled that he never received the Waterloo medal awarded to all those who served there. This therefore raised the question to later generations as to whether it was indeed true.
J G Cavenagh was the Staff Surgeon of the Royal Staff Corps, a regiment responsible for short term military engineering, which was stationed in Flanders from April to July 1815. The Battle was on June 28th.
In his book “The Bloody Fields of Waterloo”, M.K.H Crumplin, a retired surgeon, medical military historian much involved in Waterloo re-enactments, meticulously lists all the surgeons present at Waterloo or working with the wounded in the aftermath. Cavenagh is listed on page 157 as a late arrival. Presumably he was not ordered from his Flanders base to the battlefield in time.
On page 148 Crumplin explains that surgeons who arrived late were not awarded the Waterloo medal nor the two years added pension rights.
“There must have been many a military medical man who wished he had been present at this monumental battle. The staff who were there, were mostly surgeons both in regimental and staff posts. Some arrived late and would not receive the coveted Waterloo medal and two years added pension rights.” See Appendix below.
Arriving late, Cavenagh would have worked after the battle in one of the several hospitals in either Brussels or Antwerp where the wounded were treated. We do not know how long he stayed in Belgium but WOC records that sometime after the battle he proceeded to Paris where he was joined by his wife. (GO471 p 29)
An internet search shows that at least 3 officers of the Royal Staff Corps did receive the Waterloo medal.
Cavenagh is also mentioned in the Medico Chirurgical Transactions 1816 (Volume 7, part 1) when he was consulted about an operation on the jaw and mouth of a young drummer. The wound healed and the young man was discharged on August 16th.
My 3rd great grandfather was James Gordon Cavenagh (1770-1844), an army surgeon who was with the Royal Staff Corps at Waterloo.
Cavenagh obtained his diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1795-6 he first saw active service, with the 83rd Foot in the so-called ‘Maroon War’ in Jamaica. On 21 February 1800 he transferred to the Royal Staff Corps. The Royal Staff Corps was a corps of the British Army responsible for military engineering which was founded in about 1800 and disbanded in about 1837.
In March 1815 Cavenagh married Anne Coates. They lived at Hythe, Kent, where the Corps was headquartered and had eight children.
Engraving of “The Barracks and Town of Hythe, Kent” from Ireland’s History of Kent, Vol. 4, 1831. It appears between pages 224 and 225. Drawn by G. Sheppard, engraved by C. Bedford. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons
On 25 June 1825 Cavenagh retired on half pay, afterwards continuing to live at Hythe.
In 1830 he leased a house next to the Royal Staff Corps Barracks, which earlier had been connected with it. There was a gate in the fence between the house and the barracks and the Royal Staff Corps decided to remove the gate and close up the fence. Cavenagh took exception to the this, and threatened the men removing the gate with drawn sword, saying, “I’ll run the first man through the body that attempts to touch the palings”. There was a brawl but eventually the fence was erected. When the matter went to court a jury found against Cavenagh and awarded 10 pounds damages. [The amount, hard to express in today’s money, would come to somewhere between £500 and £10,000.]
Hull Packet 17 August 1830 page 2 digitised by the British Library Board and retrieved through FindMyPast
In 1834 Cavenagh became the mayor of Hythe and was still living there in 1837. He died at Castle House, Wexford, Ireland in 1844 and is buried in Wexford in the family vault in St Patrick’s Abbey.
The Royal Staff Corps Barracks has gone, with the site from 1968 occupied by a Sainsburys supermarket and carpark. The only surviving part of the barracks complex is Hay House on Sir John Moore Avenue. It was built in 1809 and became the Commandant’s House. It is now subdivided into 6 flats.
It would seem that Hay House is the house that J. G. Cavenagh rented. The Mainwarings of Whitmore family history states
During the short peace between the Peninsular war and Waterloo James Cavenagh was quartered with this corps at Hythe, where he met and married his wife. On the termination of the campaign he returned with this regiment to Hythe, and when it was disbanded he remained there for some years, living in the Commandant’s house which he rented from the Authorities and in which all his children were born.
Hay House, Sir John Moore Avenue, Hythe, glimpsed from the entrance to the Sainsbury’s Loading Dock. Image from Google Street View May 2009 https://goo.gl/maps/BsWaHM8Kzxk
The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford. An account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent; with special reference to the Manor of Whitmore. J.G. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, about 1935