Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Similar to my previous post, below is another article that describes the death of someone with the right name (BANFIELD) for my tree, and in the right villages (Mereworth and East Peckham, in Kent) for my family tree. But when I found this article I wasn't quite sure of who he was. After some extra work on my BANFIELD tree I believe I've worked it out. The main frustration with the article is that it doesn't state whether Thomas Banfield left a wife and children behind.

Kentish Gazette
Thursdsay, 11th April 1833
Fatal accident. - On last Monday week, Mr. Thomas Banfield, of East Peckham, after paying his hop-duty at Town Malling, went to Maidstone, and stayed there till night. He called at several public houses on his road home, and drank rather freely. He rode a young horse which had not been properly broken in, and, in going through the turnpike at Teston, he complained to the gate-keeper that he had been thrown and nearly killed. He dismounted and examined his saddle girths, &c. The turnpike man persuaded him not to remount as he saw that he had been drinking. Mr. Banfield would not take his advice, but mounted and went off. He was next seen at Mereworth toll-gate, when he told Sanders, the gate-keeper, that he had paid at Teston. The latter requested him to stop, but the unfortunate man urged the horse which started off at full speed. The toll-man saw him swing from side to side as if intoxicated, and when the horse had proceeded about one hundred yards, he heard him fall. Sanders immediately ran to his assistance and found him lying in the road, (opposite to a house in which he had formerly lived), with his neck dislocated and the back part of his skull fractured as if he had fallen backwards from the horse. He was taken to the Torrington's Arms public-house, Mr. Starling the surgeon was instantly sent for, but found him lifeless. An inquest was held on the body the next day, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" returned. The deceased was 62 years of age. He had experienced previously several severe accidents. He had on different occasions broken his ribs, and one of his thighs, and had dislocated his knee.

So this Thomas Banfield died in 1833 aged 62 - which means he was born about 1771. My BANFIELD ancestors, generally speaking, lived at West Peckham in the 1800s, and Mereworth in the 1700s. So I knew this person fit with the wider family group based on geographical association.

The only match in the IGI indexes is for Thomas Banfield, baptised 1779:

Baptism/christening place: MEREWORTH, KENT, ENGLAND
Name: Thomas Banfield
Gender: Male
Baptism/christening date:     22 Jan 1769

Mereworth is the very village where the article states that Thomas Banfield collapsed, 'opposite to a house in which he had formerly lived'.

So Thomas was not a random, but in fact a younger brother of my ancestor John BANFIELD (abt 1763 - ?). There were ten children baptized in Mereworth, the children of William and Ann BANFIELD. I have not found a marriage for William and Ann, nor a birth for William. As such, I know nothing of where William came from.

Perhaps Mereworth cemetery could throw up a few clues. As for Thomas, it seems in some way poetic that he literally went home to die.

Monday, October 8, 2012

STAN(N)ILAND of East Markham, Nottinghamshire

My STANILAND line traces back (as far as I've gotten anyway) to East Markham, Nottinghamshire, England. There seem to have been multiple family lines in East Markham in the 1700s. East Markham is very close to the border with Lincolnshire, and several Staniland's moved to that county over time, which makes it more difficult to sort out the family.

While searching the British digitized newspapers, I found the following article. I have no place for it in my tree, so it goes into the Random Family History pile. I was particularly intrigued by the reference to the law case, which i will try and expand on below:

Stamford Mercury
Thu 22 April 1830
On Thursday the 15th inst., at Saxilby, in his 40th year, Mr. Thomas Stanniland, late of East Markham. The deceased was bled a few days previous to his death ; the incision festered, and mortification ensued. He was brother to the late Joseph Stanniland, and one of the plaintiffs in the famous will cause, "Stanniland and others against Ludlam."

The article gives a great deal of information. Saxilby is only a few miles east of East Markham, despite the change of county.

Thomas' baptism was in 1789 (in keeping with the age 40 in 1830:
East Markham, Notts baptism
Name: Thomas Staniland
Date of birth: 2 Apr 1789
Date of baptism: 5 Apr 1789
Father: William Staniland
Mother: Ann

The brother Joseph referred to was
East Markham, Notts baptism
Name: Joseph Staniland
Date of birth: 28 Jul 1800
Date of baptism: 30 Jul 1800
Father: William Staniland
Mother: Ann

I have not been able to learn much regarding the 'famous will cause', but the case was heard in 1825, and related to 'replevin' - which is a legal remedy for a person to recover goods unlawfully withheld from his or her possession. The case related to recovery of costs, but related to an original contest over a will. Apparently Joseph Staniland (perhaps Thomas' brother) made two wills, one in Aug 1823 and one in Oct 1824. Thomas was 'devisee' (beneficiary of land) in the will dated Oct 1824. Given that the case was heard in 1825, Joseph must have died in 1824 or 1825.

As for Thomas' own will, I sourced a copy through the Lincolnshire Archives on-line ( I show both pages here, but rather than transcribe it I provide only a summary below.

Will - Staniland, Thomas
Reference Name STOW WILLS/1828-30/157
Name: Staniland, Thomas
Place: Saxilby, Lincolnshire
Repository: Lincolnshire Archives [057]

Dated 14 April 1830, Will of Thomas Staniland of Saxilby, Maltster. In his will, Thomas left everything to his wife Elizabeth Staniland. There is no mention of children in the will (that is not to say that they did not have children). Thos' signature is extremely shaky, which is not surprising as he died that day (or perhaps the following). On 29 Oct 1830, Widow Elizabeth Staniland of Saxelby certified that value of estate was under 600 pounds.

I have not identified a marriage for Thomas to a Elizabeth, nor any children.

Friday, May 18, 2012

This post was originally written for my blog on the 11th Regiment of Foot, at

I own a couple of histories of the 11th Regiment of Foot.

One is entitled "Historical record of the Eleventh, or the North Devon Regiment of Foot: containing an account of the formation of the regiment in 1685, and of its subsequent services to 1845", published by Parker, Furnivall and Parker, Military Library, Whitehall, 1845. The subject of the book is self-explanatory, and the book is accessible through Google books:
It contains a number of color plate illustrations, showing the regimental uniforms at various points in time.

My copy has clearly traveled. The inside cover and flyleaf are signed by the original owner of the book, H.M. Toller, Captain of the 11th Regiment. It contains on those pages a full account of his movements, from birth on 21 Feb 1840 to being gazetted into the 11th Regiment in 1858, and thence his movements across the world as a member of the regiment.

Hugh Montel Toller's genealogical lineage is conveniently traced on-line at
 2. Hugh Montel, Captain, 11th Foot, Ensign on 31 Jul 1858, promoted Captain by purchase on 21 Aug 1867, retired in Feb 1878, later a tea planter of Scarborough and Annandale Estates, Maskeliya, Ceylon, b. 21 Feb 1840 at Sydenham, bapt St. George’s, Bloomsbury, m. Mona Antoinette Fanny, dau of Major General Alexander Henry Louis Wyatt, 11th Foot, of Horsted Keynes, Sussex and his wife Mona (née Rider). He d. 18 Jun 1895 (Will dated 12 Jan 1885 and proved 12 Dec 1895) and was buried at Maskeliya and she d. 9 Sep 1931 having had issue: 
a. Henry Chambers of Colombo, Ceylon, died 1 Sep 1961.
b. Charles Hugh Montel, Capt 3rd Battalion East Lnacashire Regiment, b 1880 in Ceylon, served Boer War, died 13 Dec 1965, Hardham, Sussex, England. Had issue.
c. Mona Violet Mary, born 27 May 1882 in Ceylon. Had issue.

In 1851 Hugh was living with his parents Charles (a proctor) and Charlotte, in the village of Sydenham, Kent. He was gazetted as an ensign in July 1858, and spent the majority of his career from that point out of England. The full chronology is shown above. A brief summary of major movements:

Born Feb 25 1840
July 21st 1858, Gazetted Ensign 11th Foot
Went to Ireland (various places)
July 2nd 1861, Gazetted Lieut 11th Foot
Went to India Jul 1864, Landed Calcutta Nov 1864 (stationed in various parts)
Gazetted Captain 11th Foot, Aug 21st 1867
Went to England Feb 1869 (stationed England and Ireland)
Went to India Nov 1871
Acting Paymaster February 1876
Went to England April 1877
Sold out 11th Regiment February 1878
Went to Ceylon February 1878 (living at various places including Scarborough, Annandale)
Went to England Oct 1890
Went to Ceylon May 1891
Intended sailing for England July 8th 1895, died June 18th 1895

There are three other documents included in this particular copy.

Firstly was the following loose article, undated. A search revealed this article appeared in Chamber's Edinburgh Journal, published in 1833. The article was reprinted in a number of 'anecdote' books.

The Last Duke of York
The last Duke of York once remarked to Colonel W., at the mess of the 11th Regiment, that the colonel was uncommonly bald, and, although a younger man than His Royal Highness, he stood more in need of a wig. The colonel, who had been of very long standing in the service, and whose promotion had been by no means rapid, informed the Duke that his baldness could easily be accounted for. "In what manner?" asked His Royal Highness, rather eagerly. To which Colonel W. replied, "By junior officers stepping over my head." The Duke was so pleased with the reply that the gallant colonel obtained promotion in a few days afterwards.

Secondly, a loose piece of paper with a list of Lieutenant-Colonels Commanding the Devonshire Regiment (Late 11th Regiment) from 1837 to 1887.

Thirdly, pasted onto the inside of the rear cover of the book is a very long newspaper article on the history of the Devonshire Regiment. The article again is pasted back-to-back (so only half the article is shown below), and is undated, though the name 'Devonshire Regiment' rather than '11th Regiment of Foot (North Devonshire)' suggests it was written after 1881 when the 11th was renamed to Devonshire Regiment. I could find uncover where it was published.

This book appears to have come into Toller's possession in 1877. Under his signature in the front of the book is written "Jubbulpore... January 1st 1877". This is consistent with his rank at the time also (Capt.). Perhaps he acquired it from a fellow member of the 11th also in India - the death rate was fairly atrocious at the time.

It is difficult to speculate on the book's path following his death. Clearly it was in the family possession when he died in 1895 in Ceylon as his movements are entered there, all in one hand and written in at the same time at some point after he died, from a document where Toller's movements were recorded. Toller's children died in both Ceylon and England. Whichever path it took, when I obtained it in 2011 it had spent a long period of time as part of a military book collection in France. It's fairly impressive that it was printed in England in 1845, was in India in 1877 and then in Ceylon when Toller was a planter there (and perhaps went back and forth to England with him), before somehow ending up in a collection in France. Now it's in the United States. Not bad traveling for a book!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Born on the Hill End Gold Fields Albert Ellwood Howard

Continuing my occasional reviews of first hand accounts of Australia, I prepared an index of the book Born on the Hill End Gold Fields by Albert Ellwood Howard for the Hill End & Tambaroora Gathering Group. In doing so, I also prepared a preamble to the index to explain the background of the book. 

Born on the Hill End Gold Fields
Albert Ellwood Howard

Albert Ellwood Howard was born at Hill End in 1896, the son of Albert Peel Howard (1857-1922) and Nancy J Ellwood (1872-1937). Albert grew up in Hill End ; his father worked in various gold mines and his mother worked to raise their numerous children. The Howard family were engaged with the community around them, and his father served as both Alderman and Mayor for Hill End.

Albert was born into Hill End after it had passed the period of the gold rushes. Yet Hill End was not dead, nor was it an isolated town, and gold mining was still an integral part of the local economy. Like all communities, Hill End was one constantly in flux. This memoir reinforces this, describing the arrival and departure of residents, and constant interactions with nearby towns through dances, recreation and sporting matches.

A.E. Howard clearly had a sound memory and a knack for story-telling, and he maintained a life-long connection with the town of his birth. His school years are described at great length, along with the associated activities children partook of. These tales are intermingled with tales he probably heard as a child (many of which bring a smile), and his experiences hunting, fishing and gathering food to provide for the family in the surrounding districts give one a sense of the way people lived and survived.

Albert confides that school was not to his liking, and so at a relatively young age his father gained permission for Albert to spend time off school working at the mines. This experience perhaps provides the central theme of the book (as the title suggests). Albert describes his time blacksmithing, feeding boilers, and working in a number of mines in the Turon Valley. Great detail is given on gold mining techniques, and the hardships endured.

Ill-health, suffered from a number of mining experiences, forced Albert to seek work above-ground. There were few opportunities for him (and mining was soon to cease anyway), and as a result, Albert left Hill End in 1918 to work first in Wellington then farther afield. By necessity then, the book captures describes the town through the eyes of a child and young man, up to and during he final burst of commercial gold mining activity (1896-1918). Remarkably, Howard guides the reader up and down the streets of his youth describing the families who lived there, the professions they plied, and what became of them.

When Albert’s father died in 1922 from a lung condition related to his mining occupation, Albert moved his mother and siblings to Montefiores, Wellington where they slowly built a new home. Little emotion or detail is conveyed in such important aspects of his earlier years and the basis of their decision to move is not given, but it is made clear that for the family to survive it needed to leave Hill End. NSW BDM records indicate that a brother, Arthur, died in 1914 when Albert was 18 but this presumably traumatic episode (or even his brothers name) is not mentioned.

Among the reflections on various schoolmates, mining colleagues, residents and their families, the author deposits information on their ultimate fate, making it clear that the Hill End diaspora maintained connections long after they moved on. Howard ultimately married Minnie Price, who he met on the coach from Hill End to Bathurst, and after a number of jobs settled into construction in Sydney’s northern suburbs where they lived at Killara till the death of his wife. This ultimately prompted his move to the ‘Bowden Brae’ retirement village at Normanhurst. The final component of Albert’s story is a poignant return to Hill End and surrounds on a bus tour he organized for his fellow retirement village residents. The home Albert grew up in still stood, and finally some emotion is permitted as he sits on the verandah of his childhood home reflecting on all those who he knew and have now preceded him in finding the answer to the ‘great mystery’.

It appears that book was written over a long period from the late 1970’s till when it was published privately in 1987 (when Albert was 90), after encouragement from friends and family (he had no issue), and the National Parks and Wildlife Service who had begun restoration of the Hill End area. The book in large parts seems to be a collection of separately written chapters that were compiled in the final stages of publication. As a result the chronology in the book is poor, and few dates are given (the death of his parents and his departure from Hill End stand out as exceptions). The reader therefore returns several times to the same time and place (school days are regularly re-visited through the book). While this may initially sound cumbersome, and it was probably unintentional, it allows greater reflection and yields new names each time. The book includes a number of photographs, of the family and the author in Hill End, but the text gives the suggestion that many more were intended to have been included. It is not known how many copies of the book were published. Touchingly, the author’s forward seeks to highlight that the family’s reliable horse Toby receives due credit.

There is a sense throughout the book that an era is coming to an end. The writer clearly recognized his own mortality and the unique opportunity he had to record life as a gold miner in Hill End – probably the last chance that existed. In this context, the book is a spectacular success, and contains a wealth of names, both from Hill End and from farther a field. Combined with other primary sources this memoir highlights the vibrant community that existed in Hill End.

On a personal note, I was excited to read that the author worked with my great great great grandfather Thomas Trevithick, when the author was a teenager and Thomas was in his early seventies:

"As I was not learning much and not interested in school my father got permission from Mr Harvey for me to be absent from school for periods of up to three weeks, during which time I got a job feeding the battery at my father's mine. My mate at the battery was Tom Trevidick, a grand old man over seventy years of age, I think he was nearer seventy five. It was pretty hard work for me but with his help we used to do a good day's work with enough energy left to climb the mountain at night. We were known to everybody about the district as 'the old man and the boy'."

Albert Ellwood Howard died on the 6th of July 1991, aged 94 years. While 72 years of that life were lived outside Hill End, Hill End lived with him every one of those days.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Early stories on Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbotts

Because of my HALL family roots in the village of Hemingford Abbotts, I'm interested in life in the village. I've searched for early newspaper articles on these places.

Newcastle Courant - Monday 21 October 1737 
The following extract of a letter from Somersham near the Fens of Ely, shews that our fears were but too justly grounded with relation to the damages expected from the late heavy rains. Somersham, Oct 3 'The continual and heavy rains which fell from Wednesday last to this morning, have made great devastation in these parts : all the meadows and roads about St. Ives, Huntingdon, Hemingford, &c. are laid under water, that there is hardly is hardly any passing from town to town without a boat.... damage has likewise been done to their oats, some of which are yet standing...'

Ipswich Journal - Monday 18 September 1741 
Extract of a letter from St Ives, Huntingdon, Sept 9. Yesterday morning about three quarters after eleven, a very violent hurricane of wind arose from the Western Quarter, which did not continue half an hour.... The spires of Hemingford and Bluntisham Churches were likewise blown down, and it is computed that the Damage done to the Rector's house and Gardens of the latter place amounts to upwards of 500 l.

The Ipswich Journal - Friday 8 May 1761 
Thursday died, after a long an painful illness, Mr. John Scott, Gent. of Hemingford in the County of Huntingdon.

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Wednesday 7 December 1763 
Country Intelligence. Cambridge. This morning as violent a storm of wind arose here (which lashed some hours) as has been known in the memory of the oldest living man.... At Hemingford, near St Ives, the wind was so excessive high, that the inhabitants got out of their beds, expecting every moment their houses to fell down.

Northampton Mercury - Sunday 3 July 1774 
A few days ago died, at the Rectory-House at Hemingford-Abbotts, Huntongdonshire, Mrs. Mary Dickens, (aged 88 years) Relict of the Rev. Samuel Dickens, 36 years rector of Hemingford Abbots, and four of Hungerton-cum-Wyton, in the said county.

Northampton Mercury - Sunday 1 August 1784 
Next week will be published A THANKSGIVING SERMON, preached to his people by Charles Dickens, vicar of Hemingford Grey, Huntingdonshire...

Ipswich Journal - Friday 6 August 1790 
CAMBRIDGE The same day was married, Mr Charles Lucas, of Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdonshire, to Miss Ogilvie, niece of Sir George Robinson, of Cranford, Northamptonshire, Bart.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 14 October 1791 
Wanted immediately, for Six months work, two journeyman millwrights. To sober, steady men, that are good hands, will be given eighteen shillings per week, per man. Apply to Thomas Bettles, Hemingford-Grey, Huntingdonshire.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 20 July 1792 
In the night of the 14th instants, the Counting House of Mr. Margetts, of Hemingford Mills, near St. Ives, was broke into and robbed of a considerable sum in cash and bills.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 11 October 1793 
DIED lately at the Rectory House, Hemingford-Abbots, Huntingdonshire, the Rev. Charles Dickens LL.D, aged 73.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The death certificate of Alice BRIGHT (1894-19

I've written previously about helping my friends in their search for Alice BRIGHT ( While we identified her family, we had no luck finding her death.

All that was known anecdotally was that "there was a family "rumour" which may or may not be true that Alice died of TB at about 29". This would be around 1925.

I searched initially for Alice BRIGHT deaths, but as outlined in my previous post, Alice's full name is Sarah Ann Alice BRIGHT. A search for Sarah deaths yielded a possible hit:

Deaths Sep quarter 1920
BRIGHT Sarah A 36 Bromsgrove 6c 190

I ordered this certificate and it seems to connect everything up.

1920 DEATH in the Sub-District of Bromsgrove in the County of Worcester
No 492
When and where died: Twenty fourth September 1920 Isolation Hospital Hill Top Bromsport WD
Name and surname: Sarah Ann Bright
Sex: Female
Age: 26 years
Occupation: of No 1 Upper Chase Road Malvern W.D. Spinster Domestic Servant
Cause of death: (1) Pulmonary Phthsis no P.M. Certified by H Cameron Kidd M.B.
Signature, description and residence of informant: Sarah Ann Palmer, Aunt, 24 The Holloway Droitwich

The date and cause of death upholds the family story relating to her death. Importantly, Sarah Ann (Alice)'s residence, Upper Chase in Malvern, corresponds with where her grandchildren were born, suggesting that there was a continuous family connection in that street.

Finally, the aunt acting as informant is incredibly useful, as we know that Alice Bright had an aunt named Sarah Ann Alice also. Her father, Henry Thomas Bright had a sister, Sarah Ann BRIGHT, baptised in 1863. This clinches that this Sarah Ann Bright death certificate is the one we are interested in.