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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
The geography images site geograph.org 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Goodman’s body was brought from Shrewsbury to Liverpool, sixty miles north, for burial.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Samuel aged 37 years (at the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1865, so born about 1828);
Mary aged 35 years (born about 1830);
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MeasuringWorth.com])
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 …
Several of their relatives had already established themselves in the new colony. In 1838, eleven years previously, Sarah Bock (sister of Ann Plaisted) with her husband Alfred Bock, and Ann’s brother William Green with his wife Tabitha (sister of John Plaisted) had settled there.
The Plaisted family travelled on the ‘Rajah‘, reaching Adelaide on 12 April 1850 after a passage of 4 1/2 months from London.
John Plaisted’s blocks formed two contiguous areas, one of 320 acres near the coast, the other 742 acres close to what has since become the settlement of Willunga.
One of Plaisted’s neighbours was John Pitches Manning, who bought an adjacent block, later called Hope Farm, at the same auction. A family history of Manning and Hope Farm describes his purchase:
"During May 1850, George Pitches Manning journeyed south to Aldinga in search of suitable farming land but was not impressed with the country, which was covered by stunted gum and sheoak trees. His attention was then drawn to a parcel of Crown Land at McLaren Vale, which was, in later years to be the property known as Tintara Vineyards, of which more will be said later. This property was put to public auction but unfortunately he was outbid by a Mr Plaisted."
(Tintara winery was acquired by Thomas Hardy in the 1870s)
"Noarlunga—The foundation stone of the new church to be dedicated to St. Phillip and St. James, was laid on Friday, the 28th ultimo, by the Bishop of Adelaide, in the presence of a numerous, and highly respectable, concourse of the inhabitants. His Lordship read the impressive service used on such occasions, which was listened to throughout with profound attention. Divine service was performed for the first time on Sunday last, at the "Horse Shoe" Inn. Mr Bock, the worthy landlord, fitted up the room for the occasion, and Miss Plaisted led the various hymns on a splendid organ. The arrangements for the accommodation of the congregation were simple yet comfortable, and, in fact, the whole was a great improvement upon the pro tempore places of worship previously used at Noarlunga."
The next year in April 1851 John’s eldest daughter Sally Plaisted married Samuel Hughes of Noarlunga.
On Tuesday, 29th April, at Willunga, by the Rev. A. B. Burnett, Mr. Samuel Hughes, of Noarlunga, to Sally, only daughter of John Plaisted, Esq., of Hornsey, late of Muswell Hill, near London.
In September 1851 John Plaisted, Alfred Bock, Samuel Hughes, and John’s son John Plaisted junior attended a meeting called to establish a monthly market in Noarlunga township. John Plaisted addressed the meeting.
In December 1851 John Plaisted sailed for Melbourne. In the 1850s he and and other members of his family seem to have travelled quite frequently between Melbourne and South Australia.
In February 1852, back in South Australia, Mr Plaisted (it is not clear whether this was John or one of his sons) won a prize of potatoes at the Noarlunga monthly market.
In March 1852 Thomas Plaisted was receiving cargo in Adelaide of 179 bags of flour and 35 bags of bran. In March and in May Job Plaisted (probably John) received mail in Adelaide. In May 1852 a Plaisted received 32 bags of flour.
In November 1852 J Plaisted, S. Hughes and A. Bock were subscribers to a fund for erecting a church at Noarlunga. The three men were generous in their donations, especially. J. Plaisted, who donated 10 pounds.
In August 1854 Messrs. Bell and Plaisted, were in business as grocers at 67 Queen-street. In March 1855 they had moved to 57 Queens Street, advertising a range of goods from pianos to barrels of haddock.
When John Plaisted died of tuberculosis in Melbourne on 4 May 1858, his death certificate stated he had been in Victoria 5 years, thus since 1853; he had been in South Australia for only 3 years.
In his will John Plaisted left to his wife the rent of Hornsey Farm, McLaren Vale, South Australia, and the rent of the Blacksmiths Shop at Noarlunga.
On 13 December 1617 my ninth great-grandfather Richard Champion, eldest son of Jean Champion and his wife Marthe nee du Bourget, was married according to the rites of the Reformed [Protestant] Church at Condé sur Noireau to Marguerite, daughter of Adrian Richard Esquire, Squire of Crespigny in the Parish of St Jean le Blanc near Aunay, Lower Normandy, the marriage contract having been drawn up the week before at the neighbouring town of Vassy.
Until then, the Champion family had been Catholic. It seems likely, however, that Adrian Richard, Esquire of Crespigny, was a Huguenot—a Calvinist Protestant—and it is probable that his permission for the marriage of his daughter to Richard Champion was given on condition that his future son-in-law should adopt the creed of his wife’s family.
King Henry IV of France (1553 – 1610) was a Huguenot, who converted to Catholicism to obtain dominance over his kingdom (reportedly saying, “Paris is well worth a mass”). A pragmatic politician, he promulgated the Edict of Nantes (1598), guaranteeing religious liberties to Protestants, thereby effectively ending the French Wars of Religion.
By 1620 the royal government had embarked upon a deliberate program to break the independent power of the Protestants. Soon after the marriage and his evident conversion to Protestantism at that time, Richard Champion was required to swear an oath of allegiance to the king, with a declaration that he did not adhere to the Protestant rebels of La Rochelle; he did this on 3 July 1621.
Richard’s son Claude Champion (1620-1695) married Marie née de Vierville (1628-1708) at Bayeux on 9 June 1651. Claude and Marie also followed the Reformed Religion. Claude and Marie had eight children:
In the 1670s Daumont de Crespigny, believed to be the same man as Pierre Champion, was deputy of the congregation of Protestants at Trévières near Bayeux. Between 1678 and 1682 he wrote letters concerning a court case involving the church at Trévières was involved. (The family later took the name Champion de Crespigny after arriving in England.)
Although Protestant churches or “temples” were allowed under the Edict of Nantes in all places where such worship had taken place in the two years before 1598, this clause was interpreted with increasing stringency, so that a number of temples were ordered to be destroyed on the grounds that they had been built since 1598. A prosecution was raised in the Court at Paris against the Temple at Trévières. The proceedings lasted from 1678 to 1681.
The case concerned the dispute between the congregation and church at Trévières, west of Bayeux, and that which had been maintained at Vaucelles near Bayeux. It had been decided by the government that one of the two was in excess of the provisions of the Edict of Nantes, and one must be disestablished. The decision as to which it was to be was left to the Royal Council of State.
Trévières now lies a short distance south of the N13, some twenty kilometres from Bayeux and about ten kilometres south of Vierville-sur-Mer. It was on the direct road between the property at Vierville and the more distant region of Crespigny, and it was evidently the local parish for the family.
The congregation at Trévières claimed that its church had been established before the church at Bayeux, and indeed that the Bayeux church was a colony of the original foundation at Trévières. It appears that the Council was at first inclined to favour Bayeux, presumably, among other reasons, because it was a large and influential city, while Trévières was and is no more than a village.
On 27 January 1681 the Council, meeting at St Germain en Laye, a chateau maintained by Louis XIV north of Versailles, held in favour of the congregation of Trévières. In the statement of settlement, M. de Crespigny is referred to as “Deputy”, agent for the congregation at Trévières, and the Advocate was a M. Soulet, a practitioner of law at Paris.
The case was extremely long-drawn, and must have cost everyone a great deal of money. It seems remarkable that the Royal Council, headed by its president the Duke of Villeroy, and attended by ten other senior officers of state, should spend its time arguing about two heretic congregations. However, the two contesting communities had to find the money to pay for the expenses of their representatives in Paris and at Rouen, and also the legal costs. Some of the correspondence deals with the problems this caused, and there is a sorry collection of letters at the end concerning the delays in paying M. Soulet the advocate his fees. Soulet eventually got his money almost a year later, and in his letter of thanks he remarks to Pierre:
All my regret is for the great trouble and the many useless journeys you have taken on account of so inconsiderable an affair…
It appears an incidental part of the royal policy in fostering these disputes was to make it inconvenient and expensive to be a Huguenot.
Pierre commented when the case was won:
It is true that our joy must be very imperfect, since the same decree that preserves our Church, condemns that of Vaucelles [at Bayeux] to be abolished. But that one of the two must fall, was a fatal necessity, and an inevitable misfortune; and it is by far better, both for our private interest, as well as the public good, that the church of Trévières should be preserved, since by its situation it is well adapted for collecting the scattered flocks of the neighbouring Churches.
The triumph of the success in maintaining the right to worship at Trévières was short lived. In 1681 the government commenced a policy of ‘Dragonnades‘, meant to intimidate Huguenot families into returning to Catholicism. The policy, in part, instructed officers in charge of travelling troops to select Huguenot households for their billets and to order the soldiers to behave as badly as they could. Soldiers damaged the houses, ruined furniture and personal possessions, and attacked the men and abused the women. Huguenots could escape this persecution only by conversion to Catholicism or by fleeing France.
When in 1685 Louis XIVrevoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau, Huguenot churches were ordered to be destroyed and Protestant schools closed. On 17 January 1686, Louis XIV claimed that out of a Huguenot population of 800,000 to 900,000, only 1,000 to 1,500 had remained in France. It was cynically asserted that Huguenots were so few they no longer needed the protections offered by the Edict of Nantes.
It was illegal for Protestants to leave France. The borders were guarded, and disguise and other stratagems were employed to cross them. Despite the difficulties it is estimated that between 210,000 to 900,000 Protestants left France over the next twenty years; about 50,000 Huguenots fled France to England, others settled in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Brandenburg-Prussia, Ireland, South Africa, and America. The refugees left their land and most of their possessions behind.
Claude, Marie and their children escaped France for England at different times. The two younger sons Thomas and Gabriel travelled to relatives in England when they were about 12 in 1676 and 1678. Claude, Marie, Pierre and three daughters were in London by 1687. The other two daughters had travelled earlier.
My fifth great grandmother Dorothy Scott was born on 15 November 1765 at Betton Strange Hall, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire to Richard Scott (1731 – 1770) and Elizabeth Scott nee Gough (1735 – 1772). She had three older brothers.
In 1770, with Dorothy not yet five years old, her father died, and two years later her mother. I do not know who brought up Dorothy when she was orphaned.
On 20 January 1783, at the age of seventeen, Dorothy married Philip Champion Crespigny, a lawyer, forty-four years old; she was his fourth wife. Of the nine children by his previous wives, seven were living at the time of his marriage to Dorothy Scott.
Dorothy and Philip had four children, one of whom died in infancy. The polyphiloprogenitive Philip died, on 1 January 1803; he and Dorothy had been married for nearly 20 years.
On 27 March 1804 at St Swithin’s Church, Walcot, Bath, Dorothy married for a second time, to Sir John Keane (1757 – 1829).
Keane was an Irish Tory Member of Parliament, who had been made a baronet in 1801. In the Irish Parliament he represented Bangor from 1791 to 1897; Youghal from 1797 to 1800; and he represented Youghal in the House of Commons from 1801to 1806 and from 1807 to 1818. The ‘History of Parliament‘ notes that “evidence of his presence at Westminster is very thin”. “In February 1817 the chief secretary was informed that he was living at Southampton and should be asked to pay a visit to Westminster. On 15 April 1818 he turned up to vote with ministers on the Duke of Clarence’s Marriage Grant. He did not seek re-election that year.”
Dorothy and John Keane had one son, George (1805 – 1880). Keane had been married previously and had at least four children by his first wife. He died on 18 April 1829 at his house in the Royal Crescent, Bath.
The death of the dowager Lady Keane was announced in several newspapers. The London ‘Morning Post‘ of Saturday, July 8, 1837 wrote: ‘Died: At Malvern, on the 5th inst., the Dowager Lady Keane, relict of Sir John Keane, Bart., of Bath’. The Worcester ‘Berrows Worcester Journal‘ of Thursday, July 13, 1837 had: ‘July 5th, at Malvern Wells, aged 72, the Dowager Lady Keane, relict of Sir John Keane, Bart., of the Crescent, Bath’.
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.