Monday, 29 June 2015

Robert Swinhoe

 - In February 1865, the Vice-Consulate was promoted to Consulate and R. Swinhoe became the Consul General. The British Consulate at Takow henceforth became the first official British Consulate in Taiwan. Initially when the British Consulate was relocated to Takow, it was based on a ship, Ternate, in Takow port. Later, the office leased a house in Chihou.

This beautiful sun-bird (reported from his trip to Hainan Island, China, in 1868) was named by Swinhoe after his wife Christina as Mrs Swinhoe's Sunbird - Aethopyga christinae. Although its modern name is the Fork-tailed Sunbird, I have concurred with Mr Hall in reverting to the original one as a tribute to his wife. Christina Stronach was the daughter of the missionary Alexander Stronach of Foochow, China, and married Robert Swinhoe in 1862. It is believed that they had six children, including Robert A Swinhoe who was a tenor and later stage manager with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. Christina survived Swinhoe after his early death in 1877, and died in Brighton in 1914. There is some evidence that she accompanied Swinhoe on his postings as one child is recorded as being born in Takao. ---- Engraving of Mrs Swinhoe's Sunbird (Aethopyga christinae) by J. G. Keulemans from G. E. Shelley; A Monograph Of The Nectarindae, or family of Sunbirds. ---- - "'One of the most successful exploring naturalists that have ever lived', Robert Swinhoe resided at Takao in the 1860s. Swinhoe's prolific studies of wildlife established his position not only as the instigator of the scientific study of the Taiwan's birds but also as a major contributor to the theory of evolution proposed by Darwin and Wallace." Robert Swinhoe lived a brief but highly noteworthy life, particularly in Formosa (Taiwan), during the heyday of the British Empire in the 19th century. Born in Calcutta on 1 September 1836, Swinhoe was educated in England and arrived in South China in 1854, when he was only 18 years old. Robert Swinhoe spent the next 21 years on the South China coast and the island of Formosa. After suffering a stroke in China in 1875, he returned to London for two brief years, during which he was elected a Member of the Royal Society. He was just 41 years of age when he died in 1877. His extensive work studying the ornithology of Formosa has seen him recognised as the founder of all scientific work on the island. Not only did he document a vast number birds, butterflies, moths and mammals, he was also the instigator of the Formosan tea trade to Britain, and Taiwan's first foreign resident diplomat. On 12 December 1860 Robert Swinhoe, aged 24, was appointed as the first British Vice-Consul to Formosa. He arrived the same month on board HMS Inflexible in north Taiwan at Keelung where he had been sent to investigate the extent of coal deposits in the vicinity and to explore the possibility of using Keelung as a coaling station for British ships. He returned to Amoy in January 1861. Swinhoe and Takao In June 1861 Vice-Consul Robert Swinhoe arrived in Takow (Takao, Kaohsiung) on board HMS Cockchafer and travelled overland from Takow up to Taiwan-fu (Tainan). At this time, Swinhoe documented the Formosan Rock Monkey (Macaca cyclopis) which is still found today in great numbers on Ape Hill (Takao Hill) in Kaohsiung. For a recent article about these monkeys on Takao Hill, please click here. In Tainan, Swinhoe succeeded in opening the British Consulate on 10 July 1861. This consulate was photographed by William A Pickering and published in his illuminating book 'Pioneering in Formosa : Recollections of Adventures among Mandarins, Wreckers, & Head-hunting Savages' (Hurst and Blackett Ltd, London, 1898; reprinted by SMC Publishing Inc, Taipei, 1993). Swinhoe moved the consulate to Tamsui in late 1861, where there was more prospect of trade. At that time he stayed aboard Jardine Matheson's SS Adventure, moored at the mouth of the Tamsui River, which served as the British Consulate before the old Spanish fort of San Domingo was leased from the Ching Government in 1862. Although he stayed in Tamsui less than a year, he managed to arguably instigate the tea trade between Formosa and Britain by sending back a sample of Mucha tea for testing. Consequent to this, the British merchant John Dodd promoted the development of the tea industry in Taiwan through the cultivation of tea bushes in the Wen-shan District. Despite making a successful expedition up the Tamsui River in March 1862, a weakened Swinhoe was obliged to temporarily return to London in May 1862, where he was elected a Fellow of the Zoological Society in recognition of his pre-eminence in this field. In October 1863, following the establishment of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs under Sir Robert Hart, permission was granted by the Ching Court to open a Maritime Customs house in Takow at Shao-chuan-tou, where the old British Consulate now stands and which was designated as the foreign residents' area. The Customs House was set up in Takow in May 1864, and Swinhoe, having returned to Tamsui in February 1864, was sent down to Takao in August 1864 to establish a British Consulate. By 1865 Swinhoe had been promoted to Consul and was residing aboard the old Dutch frigate 'Ternate' with his young wife, Christina (nee Stronach), whom he had married in 1862 and who gave birth to one of his children in Takao. This ship, or hulk, was an opium receiving ship for Dent & Co, where the company stored the opium arriving on the clippers and transacted their business. The hulk was also the residence of William Pickering who was in the employ of the Imperial Maritime Customs. Whether by coincidence or design, the name of the hulk is shared by the small island of Ternate in the Moluccas, Indonesia, upon which Alfred Russel Wallace wrote his inspired essay on natural selection published in 1858. This paper is considered to be one of the foundations upon which Charles Darwin devised his 'Origin of the Species' which was published the following year in 1859. During his stay in Takao Swinhoe made frequent excursions onto Ape Hill where he observed macaques (see above), eagles and a "track of flying butterflies like a river flow". Swinhoe was not only an ornithologist (see 'Ornithology') but also a lepidopterist. One common butterfly on Ape Hill today is the elegant brown-and-white Chocolate Tiger, Parantica melaneus swinhoei, named by Frederic Moore in 1883 in honour of this pioneer in the study of Taiwan's flora and fauna. Notable mammals that Swinhoe discovered during his time on Taiwan include the Formosan Black Bear, the Formosan Clouded Leopard and the Formosan Sika Deer, as well as identification of the Formosa Salmon. Some of these creatures may have been examined in an annexe to the McPhail building (subsequently the British Consulate in 1867) in Takao. However, there is scant evidence to suggest that Swinhoe ever actually resided in this old British Consulate building that stands on the low hill of Shao-chuan-tou above the harbour entrance. Although the building dates back to 1865, it was originally built as the headquarters of McPhail & Co (Tien-li Company), then the premier trading company in the South China seas. However following the dramatic failure of McPhail & Co in Taiwan, an event tragi-comically described by Pickering, the British Government formally took over the superbly sited building in 1867. The consulate remained in the building until 1910 when the Japanese colonial government embarked on the development of Takao harbour and declared the surrounding area 'restricted'. It was subsequently to sold to the Japanese as a Port Authority residence. The building was restored in In February 1866 Swinhoe visited the mountainous district near Mount Sylvia (today's Hsueh Shan) to study deer, and this was to be his last exploratory expedition in Formosa. He was appointed HM Consul at Amoy in May 1866, making only a very brief visit to Takao, for which he remained responsible, in January 1869 after which he would leave the island forever. Following an 18-month period in London, during which he published many articles, he was appointed Acting-Consul at Ning-po in May 1871 and returned to China. Ning-po, a major cultural centre, was one of the first five treaty ports to be opened under the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing that ended the (first) Opium War. At this time Ning-po was an important trading centre for Celadon porcelain which was in great demand in Victorian England. Swinhoe, weakened by a probable stroke, was briefly assigned to Chefoo (Yantai, Shangdong Province) in 1873. However, in November 1873 Robert and Christina Swinhoe departed China forever from Shanghai to live in London. In 1876 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, an honour bestowed in recognition of his well-established expertise in zoology, thus joining others such as John Gould. On 28 October 1877 he died, aged only 41.

Since starting this chapter there is lots more to be found .

More on his wife Caroline Anderson

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Edward Channing (Chaning) Wills

More information was received after our last blog about Haldon Race course

He was big in Exeter 1910–1921 after he succeeded his father as 2nd baronet and moved to Harcombe House on the Haldon hills outside the city.
He is buried in the grounds and his wife Isabella lived on there until her death in 1957, when she was 95!
I said he was a surgeon, but it is probably truer that he dabbled in surgical interests as neither of his Cambridge degrees (BA and MA) was a medical one.
His family came from Barton Regis in Bristol and made immense wealth in the tobacco trade (ironically, as I think his scientific research was into the effects of smoking).
He was clearly the kind of man to be a soulmate of Charles James, and contributed heavily to the upkeep of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and the Exeter Volunteer forces during the First World War.
He always used his second name but you see it spelled as 'Channing' and 'Chaning'.
The name seems to come from his mother Mary Pearce, from a big medical family in Bristol with doctors in all the generations.
Her father, Joseph Chaning Pearce, also a surgeon, was one of the most famous fossil collectors at the time.
He died at 36, of lung disease, which may explain Edward's interests.

grave of Edward Chaning Wills

Sir Edward Chaning Wills, (2nd) Baronet of Hazelwood, JP 1861-1921

Sir Edward Chaning Wills, 2nd Baronet of Hazelwood, JP.
"Channing" was born on 25 April 1861, the son of Sir Edward Payson Wills and Mary Ann Pearce, at Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire. He graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University in 1896 with B.A. and M.A. degrees. He was a Justice of The Peace for the County of Somerset. He was a director of the Imperial Tobacco Company. Sir Edward succeeded to his title in 1910, upon the death of his father. He married Isabella Sommerville Evans.

Isabella Sommerville Evans 1862-1957
Isabella was born about 1862, the daughter of Peter Fabyan Sparke Evans and Jane Ferguson Sommerville, at St. Augustine, Bristol.
There were no children.

Birth of Parents
Edward Chaning Wills b: 25 Apr 1861 Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire 1861 2Q Clifton 6a 80
son of Sir Edward Payson Wills and Mary Ann Pearce

Isabella Sommerville Evans b: abt 1862 St. Augustine, Bristol 1862 4Q Bristol 6a 57
daughter of Peter Fabyan Sparke Evans and Jane Ferguson Sommerville

Marriage7 Apr 1891
Edward Chaning Wills
Isabella Sommerville Evans Bristol, Gloucestershire 1891 2Q Bristol 6a 113

1901 Census RG13-2147 1 April 1901 East Down, Devon
East Down House
Edward C. Wills
Isabella S. (Wife)
Plus 3 Servants Age 39
Age 38 Tobacco Manufacturer Bristol
Bristol Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire 25 Apr 1861
abt 1862

1911 Census RG11-(117) 3 April 1911 East Dawlish, Devon
Rockstone, Exeter Road (14 Rooms)
Edward Chaning Wills
Isabella Sommerville (Wife)
Plus 3 Servants Age 49
Age 48 Baronet Clifton
Clifton Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire 25 Apr 1861
abt 1862

Edward Chaning Wills Died 14 Oct 1921, Age 60, 1921 4Q Newton Abbot 5b 128
The Times, Monday, Oct 17, 1921 OBITUARY

Sir E. C. Wills
Sir Edward Chaning Wills. Bt., died at his residence, Harcombe, Chudleigh, Devon, on Friday, after an operation. He was a director of the Emperial Tobacco Company, Limited, in which the Bristol firm of Wills was absorbed.
The eldest son of Edward Payson Wills, K.C.B., the first baronet, who was also a director of the Imperial Tobacco Company, he was born in 1861, and went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge (B.A. 1892, M.A. 1896). Sir Edward, who succeeded his father in the title in 1910, was a
generous supporter of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, the Royal Albert Memorial, Exeter University College, and other public institutions. He was the first president of the Devonshire Regiment Volunteer Training Corps in 1915, the year in which he was High Sheriff of the county. He married, in 1891, Isabella Sommerville, daughter of Peter Fabyan Sparke Evans, J.P., of Clifton. There are no children of the marriage, and the heir to the title is his brother, Mr. Ernest Salter Wills, who was born in 1869, and married in 1894 Caroline Fanny Maud, daughter of W. A. de Winton, of Westbury Lodge, Bristol, and has two sons and three daughters.

The Times, Wednesday, Oct 19, 1921 Deaths

Sir E. C. Wills The funeral of Sir Edward Chaning Wills, Bt., took place quietly at Harcombe yesterday. Following a service at the house, the coffin was borne to the grave in a farm cart drawn by a single horse. The mourners were Lady Wills (the widow), Mr. Ernest Salter Wills, who succeeds to the title, and Captain Arnold Wills (brothers), Mr. and Mrs. William L. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Flew Spark Evans, and Mr. and Mrs. Henley S. Evans (brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hall Warren (brother-in-law and sister), and Mr. Vernon Wills, Mr. Charles Wills, Dr. Kenneth Wills, Mr. Sommerville Gunn, and Mr. Guy S. Milner (cousins).
The Rev. E. D. Evans (a cousin of Lady Wills's) officiated, and all the funeral arrangements were carried out by estate employees.
EXETER 20 Feb 1922 Probate

WILLS, Sir Edward Chaning, of Harcombe, Chudleigh, Devonshire, baronet, died 14 October 1921, Probate, Exeter, 20 February to dame Isabella Wills, widow.
Effects £947,753 11s. 5d.
Isabella Sommerville (Evans) Wills Died 20 Jul 1957, Age 94, 1957 3Q Newton Abbot 7a 470

The Times, Wednesday, July 24, 1957 OBITUARY

Isabella Lady Wills died at her home, at Chudleigh, Devon, on Saturday, at the age of 94. She was Isabella Sommerville, eldest daughter of the late Peter Fabyan Sparke Evans, of Clifton Down, Bristol, and in 1891 she married Sir E. Chaning Wills, second baronet. He died in 1921.
LONDON 13 Jan 1958 Probate

WILLS, dame Isabella Sommerville, of Harcombe House, Chudleigh, Devon, widow, died 20 July 1957, Probate, London, 13 January, to National Provincial Bank Limited.
Effects £300,221 4s. 9d.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Haldon race course

On Friday, 26th July, a party of over two hundred started at 11 a.m. for the grand stand on Haldon race-course. The drive, was most enjoyable, passing through typical Devonshire lanes, with lovely views at every turn in the road. On arrival at their destination the party was most kindly and hospitably entertained at lunch in a large marquee, erected for the occasion, by Sir E. Chaning and Lady Wills, of Harcombe. Lunch ended, the Mayor of Exeter (Dr. C. J. Vlieland) said they could not separate without first expressing their thanks to Sir Chaning and Lady Wills for their kindness in arranging for their comfort in so enjoyable a way. It made them feel that all was right with the world. Sir Chaning Wills had not very long been such a near neighbour of Exeter, but they rejoiced that he had settled at Harcombe, and the operations that were going on there led them to feel that he had settled in the district for good. When the troublous times of house- building were over he was sure, with his scientific tastes, he would be a most valued and valuable member of the Devonshire Association. Sir Chaning, as soon as he knew that there was an excursion to Haldon in view, was anxious to minister to the comfort of the members, and after the way he had done it he (the Mayor) was sure they would join with him in expressing their heartiest thanks. Sir Chaning Wills thanked the Mayor for his kind re- marks, and expressed the pleasure it gave Lady Wills and himself to meet the members that day. He hoped they would enjoy their visit to Haldon, for which they were fortunate to have a fine day. He took the opportunity of drinking to the toast of the Devonshire Association,

Monday, 22 June 2015

St Davids´s church Exeter

St David's Church

There has been a daughter church of Heavitree at St David's, since the late Anglo Saxon period. A deed of Bishop Henry Marshall of 1194, mentions, among others, St David's Church. Jenkins in his History of Exeter wrote of St David's Church in 1805:

"The church, which is situated on the summit of a hill, (called in ancient records St. David's Dune) is small and irregular, consisting of a nave and one aisle, without a chancel; the communion table being situated in the eastern angle of the nave. The whole of the building is remarkably low, as is the tower, which is square, containing four small untunable bells; the church is light, well seated, and kept-in good repair. The present edifice cannot lay claim to great antiquity, as it was built in the fifteenth century."

The next church was built, in a Wren influenced, Greek Doric style byJames Green. Green was familiar with Telford's, St Mary Magdalen Church, in Bridgenorth, and it is likely he was influenced by its design. The foundation stone was laid on 4th June 1816. There is a brass plaque in the modern church that was taken from Green's church, that lists the many benifactors to the project. 'Iron Sam' Kingdon was one such, who was also a church warden at the time. His foundry Kingdon and Sons (Garton and King) provided some of the iron work for the church. The main text on the plaque reads:

'This first stone of the new church was laid by John William Williams Esq of Duryard(?) Lodge in this parish North(?) of Exeter on the 4th day of June 1816 the birthday of his Majesty George the Third and in the 56th year of his reign undertaken at the end of a war of 90(?) years in which Armies and Navy of Great Britain and her allies under Divine Providence were Victorious and by the ever memorable Battle of Waterloo the Downfall of Bonaparte the ruler of France was accomplished and the repose of Europe Re-established'

The octagonal tower was capped by a dome, giving it the nickname 'the pepperbox church' because of the resemblance of its tower to a Georgian silver pepper shaker. James Green, also built Elmfield House, now the Imperial Hotel, just close by and was employed as the County Surveyor. Green's church became dilapidated over the years. It was decided to rebuilt the church, and in June 1897, when the remaining structure was being demolished, a copper plate was found embedded in a wall near the entrance. The plate listed the names of the committee responsible for its construction, and was placed there by Green in 1816.

The present building was commissioned by the vicar, the Rev C J Valpy French, and designed by W D Caroe. Constructed of limestone, on the same footprint as the old church, the building work was completed and it was consecrated on 9 January 1900. The cramped site forced Caroe to use internal buttressing, which he pierced to form aisles on each side. Half the £18,000 cost was funded by the Thornton West family. Sir John Betjeman wrote that it was "the finest example of Victorian church architecture in the south west".

Thomas Glass (1709-1786), an influential Exeter Physician, who wrote of the disease of smallpox in 1767, is buried in St David's Churchyard. Other notable graves are "Iron Sam" Kingdon, Kent Kingdon, Henry Frederick Willey and Paul Collings. The yard was closed by Order in Council in March 1981, and put into the care of the City Parks Department. Some of the old gravestones have been moved to the side to make it easier to mow the grass. The green in the front of the church, on the corner of Hele Road and New North Road, was briefly used for allotments during the Second World War - when the enthusiastic gardeners started digging up skulls and leg bones, it was decided to close it and return it to grass.

Situated on the main road to North Devon, St David's was a poor impoverished area after the Normans invaded because the Saxon inhabitants of the city were driven out to this area. The building of the Ironbridge in 1832 and coming of the railway in 1845, saw a spate of private building along St David's Hill and the area became more prosperous.

The St David's Church 1914-1919 Roll of Honour

Alfred Badcock
Wilfred Bagwill
Harry P Bartlett
Samuel A Beer
Clinton A Blakeway
Alfred J Bond
Albert Boobyer
Reginald Bradford
Louis Britton
Robert H Burns
Charles Burrows
Charles Burrows
Charles W Butler
Edwin G Chenneour
Alfred J Cobley
Arthur Coombes
Francis Court
Edmund C Crook
George C Curtis
Charles W Davis
Albert G Dawson
John H Dean
William A Delve
George P Denham
Walter T Downing
Ernest E Drew
Jack Evins
Paul D Farmer
Thomas W Foster
Walter P Gammon
Frank Gillingham
William E Glasson
Percy S G Godbear
Edgar J Grose
Ralph Hancock
Reginald Hawkins
George Hawkins
Stanley Helmore
Albert E Holmes
Ronald Hoskins
Frederick Johns
Rt V Kestall-Cornish
Frederick G King

Sidney T King
William King
Jack Kneel
James H Loram
John Lyndon
Charles H Matters
Edgar Melhuish
William S Middleton
Stanley Milton
George Mitchell
John Nike
Herbert H Northcote
Albert Pine
Alfred C Pinn
Henry Purfield
Percy Rawle
Morris Reardon
Clifford Reed
Joseph C Rilot
Frederick Salter
George T Samball
Henry W Samball
Henry E Shermer
Martin H Shorto
Abraham Smith
William S Spreadbury
Edwin B Steele
Albert L Stentiford
Albert Street
Endlebert F Thole
Frank L Thompson
John L Veitch
Dorothy Vlieland
Francis Vosper
John A Webb
Louis J Webber
Arthur Whitton
Alfred Willmott
Frederick willmott
John A Wyatt
Tom Rowe
George White

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Exeter memories Rougemont house

Rougemont House/Lodge

Built in 1769 by John Patch, a surgeon at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, or possibly his father, Rougemont House is situated just outside the entrance to Rougemont Castle on part of the moat and defences of the castle. The house was a simple affair, with the front facing the Castle entrance. Some of the windows are still blanked off, indicating the house originated during the levying of the window tax which, surprisingly, was not repealed until 1851. The surrounding grounds were landscaped, in the 1790's, by Thomas Patch, John Patch's son.
Wine and wool

The wine merchant, and partner in the Exwick woollen mill of Banfill and Granger, Edmund Granger leased the house in 1787, and purchased it in 1793 from the Duchy of Cornwall. It was modernised in 1810, by adding the two ground floor, bow fronted bays, transforming into a Regency rather than Georgian house. The iron balcony was made by the firm of 'Iron' Sam Kingdon. He also built a Tuscan style entrance porch and then added stucco (rendered cement to you and me) to the walls.

Granger was advised by William Jackson, a local architect, painter and musician. A storm on 13th January 1828, blew down a tree in the garden, that was large enough to be mentioned in the Flying Post. Granger's widow, Mary, died in the house on 4th February 1846, at the age of 87, and the house was occupied by Richard Somers-Gard.
MP for Exeter

Grottos, rockeries and paths were added by the Somers-Gard. He was also the guiding light for building the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. After his death, his widow opened the gardens in the 1870s to the public. After the death of Mrs Somer-Gard the house came into the possession of Miss Phoebe Outhwaite, who left £60,000 in her will to her sister Miss Outhwaite. In 1899, an incident occurred when a stranger gained entrance to the house claiming he was the legal owner. The butler sent the gardener to find a policemen, and two constables were called. The man, a Mr Northcote from Woolwich Arsenal, was a former resident of Exeter. He was meekly led away to the police station. The police surgeon was called and the man was committed to Digby Asylum. The report then revealed that his sister was also an inmate at Digby.

In April 1911, Miss Outhwaite died and the following December, the Rougemont Estate was put up for sale by Messrs Wilson and Gray for the owner. The property was withdrawn when the bidding reached £10,400 for the whole and £7,300 for the house and grounds.
The Council takes over

In 1912, the City Council stepped in and purchased the house and gardens. The council had to borrow £9,520 to purchase Rougemont House, Northernhay House and Castle Street Buildings. In 1864, they had sold the freehold of the house and garden and were pleased that they were buying it back, after 55 years for less than they received for it.

The Royal Albert Museum and the Fine Arts Committee appointed Mseers. Alford, Owen, Rowe, Townsend and Widgery, all city councillors, to report on adapting the house for use as a local museum and home for the Exeter Pictorial Society. On the 2 April 1912, the house was opened to the public for the first time.

Since then it has served as a school, and during the Second War, a billeting office. It became a temporary library after the main library was burnt out in the May 1942 blitz. Twelve rooms continued to be used until the completion of the new library in 1965.

The house was handed over to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum for their architecture and archeology department, with their conservation unit located in the basement from 1968. The Devon Folklore Register was also based at Rougemont House Museum during the 1980's. From 1978, it became the costume museum as part of RAMM–the exhibits were arranged as a series of rooms, each displaying costumes from a particular historic period, while two rooms were devoted to an extensive history and samples of Honiton lace. The Connections Discovery Centre was also run by the museum from the house. From September 2014 the house was no longer part of RAMM. It opened as the Exeter Mathematics School, a specialist sixth-form school catering for gifted young mathematicians.

An Adam style marble fireplace of circa 1820, from the old St John's Hospital School that was lost in the blitz, was removed from the ruins and installed in the drawing room of the house. A mosaic floor excavated from a house in Catherine Street, after the war, was relocated into Rougemont House, along with other Roman finds.

There was a second Rougemont House in Heavitree.

wikipedia on Rougemont house 

Page updated 3rd November 2014

Back to Buildings of Exeter

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The village inn

A case of poisoning

An interesting inquest was held at the Lamb into a mysterious case of poisoning in 1890. Mr John Dew, of Exwick, found his wife Anne dead, early on a Friday morning. He told the Deputy-Coroner, Mr Gould, that at 6pm on the previous evening his wife, who was 51, was laying on the bed when he came home from work - he said to her "Why don't you get up and do some mangling?" She replied that she would very soon. At 10pm, still on the bed undressed, she requested a cup of tea. He took her the tea, of which Mrs Dew drank half and then told her husband she wanted to go to sleep, so he left her. Mr Dew slept downstairs that night and the next morning at a quarter to six, Mr Dew went to see his wife and found her quite dead. Mrs Dew's body was was on her side, on the bed – her eyes were dilated, and she was black around the mouth and nose, possible signs of poisoning. He told the coroner that his wife was in the habit of drinking alcoholic liquors. By the bed were two bottles and a glass – the bottles were labelled as containing liniment which his daughter used to apply to her legs. Mr Dew had no reason to think his wife had committed suicide. The Dew's two sons gave evidence, stating they did not think their mother had been intoxicated that evening. Louisa Bond, of Exwick, called in to Mrs Dew with some mangling that evening, and stated that Mrs Dew was complaining of feeling very cold, but was not intoxicated. The contents of one of the bottles and glass was found by a chemist to contain ammonia and belladonna. Dr Vlieland also gave evidence and recalled that six months previously he had Mrs Dew taken into hospital after she had taken Keating's insect powder mixed in a cup. The coroner stated that death was caused by taking belladonna, but that there was no evidence that it was accidental or deliberate.

the village inn

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Exeter memories

Ex-Soldier Sent to Prison at Exeter

A young ex-soldier, said to without any fixed address, Ernest Fred Crafter, was brought before Mr. H. J. Munro (in the chair), Dr. Vlieland. and Mr. T. S. Mortimer, at the Exeter City Police Court on Saturday, charged with being drunk and disorderly in the High-street, at 11.55 Friday night—P.C. Guest found him lying on the footpath fast asleep, and when he woke him he became very abusive. It was said that Crafter was formerly at Topsham Barracks, and had been discharged from the Army as physically unfit for war service. Crafter said he was a native Woolwich and had been tramping about. He was sent to prison for seven days' hard labour.

Western Times - Monday 21 June 1915

Monday, 15 June 2015

exeter memories

6 June 1913

Buller Memorial

A short service of dedication will be held in the Cathedral, at 12:30, to-day (Friday), when the Memorial Tablet to Sir Redvers Buller will be unveiled by General Kekewich, C.B.
Two road accidents

About 5 o'clock on Wednesday the lad named Montanden, aged about eleven, was knocked down at the top of Queen-street, Exeter by a motor car driven by Mr Frank Shooter, of Exeter. Dr Vlieland, who was passing, attended the lad, who was not much hurt, and was taken to the house of his parents in Gandy-street. A few moments later, further excitement is caused at the same spot by the Dunsfold-hill car jumping the points and colliding with a Pinhoe-road car. The step and front of the Dunsford-hill car with damage, but no one was injured.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Exeter Mayors

Exeter Mayors 

George V

1910 Alfred Thomas Loram PORTRAIT

1911 Charles James Vlieland - was a Doctor who lived in West Southernhay. During his time as Mayor, he opened Rougemont Gardens for the public. Charles Vlieland's grandfather was Dutch and he has living relatives in the Netherlands. PORTRAIT
1912 Henry William Michelmore PORTRAIT
1913 William Kendall King PORTRAIT
1914 James George Owen - proprietor of the Express and Echo. PORTRAIT
1915 James George Owen
1916 James George Owen
1917 James George Owen
1918 Sir James George Owen
1919 Thomas Bradley Rowe PORTRAIT
1920 Arthur Charles Roper PORTRAIT
1921 Philip Foale Rowsell - his charity for three years was the Exeter Cancer Fund which raised £11,000 to equip the new X-ray, Radium and Electrical Treatment Department at the RD&E. PORTRAIT
1922 Philip Foale Rowsell
1923 Philip Foale Rowsell
1924 Arthur Northcote Pitts PORTRAIT
1925 William Brock PORTRAIT
1926 Ransom Pickard - the Ransom Pickard Hall of residence, opened in 1967, at the University commemorates this Mayor. PORTRAIT
1927 Arthur Ernest Brock PORTRAIT - owner of Brocks Furnishing in Fore Street.
1928 John Shirley Steele-Perkins PORTRAIT
1929 Harold Charles Rowe PORTRAIT
1930 Charles Warren PORTRAIT
1931 Henry William Michelmore PORTRAIT
1932 Kenneth Gatey PORTRAIT
1933 Thomas John Wembridge Templeman PORTRAIT
1934 James William Ackroyd - owner of a store in Fore Street. PORTRAIT

from Exeter memories

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Respect of Heavy Locomotives

Prosecutions at Exeter in Respect of Heavy Locomotives

Three summonses were heard the Exeter Police Court, on Saturday, of considerable importance to firms using locomotives which draw two or more trucks in the City area.
William James White, engine driver, of Cowick-street. Exeter, was summoned for driving a locomotive on Exe Bridge without having paid the required fee, on April 8th, and again in Alphington-street, on April 10th.
The Chief Constable pointed out to the Magistrates (Dr. Vlieland, in the chair, Mr. H. J. Munro and Mr. P. Kelland), that a light locomotive, when drawing two or more trucks, required heavy locomotive registration. White was seen by P.C. Gregory, on April 8th, driving a light locomotive, called “The Queen of Devon," over Exe Bridge, drawing trucks, and when he was asked if he had a permit, he admitted he had not. The circumstances were identical in the second case.
A fine of 20s. was inflicted on the first summons, and the second was thereupon withdrawn by the Chief Constable, who remarked that perhaps the defendant acted in ignorance but this was not an isolated case, and there might be further prosecutions. A heavy motor car license was £2, and a heavy locomotive license was £10. In this case, the vehicle was only registered as a heavy motor car, and it would thus be seen that in such instances there was a considerable loss to the City revenue.
William Frampton, engine driver for Messrs. Anderton and Rowlands, Stonehouse, was summoned for a similar offence on April 12th, in Alphington-street.
In this case, P.C. Gregory said that Frampton was driving a traction engine with the letters “0.H.M.S.,” and drawing three empty wagons. When asked if he had a permit, his reply was that he didn't need one, he was on His Majesty's service. Gregory, however, informed him he would be reported.
The Chief remarked that during the past two months or so, several locomotives had used the City's highways, and because their engines bore the letters "O.H.MS the drivers thought this fact released them from the necessity of getting permits. Some of the constables in the Force were also under that impression, and allowed them to pass. The letters, however, did not release them as was clearly shown in regulations forwarded by the War Office. The fine was 20s. as in the other case.
Western Times - Monday 26 April 1915

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Haley Vlieland Ferry

Name: Haley Vlieland Ferry
Event Type: Birth Registration
Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration Year: 1986
Registration District: Sunderland
County: Durham
Event Place: Sunderland, Durham, England
Mother's Maiden Name (not available before 1911 Q3): Ferry
Volume: 2
Page: 1835
Line Number:

Citing this Record:
"England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 May 2015), Haley Vlieland Ferry, Jan 1986; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Sunderland, Durham, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Ethel Winifred White.

My Grandma Ethel Winifred White had been born on 13th May 1881. She is registered as ‘Whyte’ some 41 days after her birth – just before the family would have been fined for non-registration. Younger sister Dora (married name Dora Silk) is also registered as ‘Whyte’ in 1883. There is no trace of a marriage of their parents (as yet?), though they were together for well over thirty years. Did the person registering them (and paying) not know the father’s surname well? Their father was Ethelbert Ernest White, a master fishmonger. In these days when supermarkets are taking over and the specialist, trained at selecting and purchasing, handling, gutting, boning, filleting, displaying, merchandising and selling their product is becoming increasingly rare. To anyone who felt that the job was ‘only’ a fishmonger, they were one of the earliest guilds established in the City of London, granted a Royal Charter by Edward I and known to have already been in existence for at least 100 years prior to that charter. The Company ranks fourth in the order of precedence of the Livery Companies, making it one of the Great Twelve City Livery Companies. Ethelbert is a White ‘family’ name. Ethel’s Grandfather was Samuel Ethelbert White. He was born about 1828 in Canterbury. A chorister there at six, he becomes a supervisor for Her Majesty’s Excise. Samuel Ethelbert married Catherine Veri Vlieland (daughter of Jerome Nicholas) in Plea Norwich, Norfolk on the 2nd of August 1855. ( Thus the White family feature on the Vlieland blog) Unlike his ancestors, Samuel Ethelbert seemingly did not stay in one place for long. His job as an Inland Revenue Officer of the Excise regularly moved him; sometimes on promotion. Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), Jan 26, 1857 reports under "Home Intelligence - Inland Revenue Department" that “Samuel Ethelbert White, officer of Gye-Ryde has been appointed on promotion to be officer of Southampton forth division - Isle of White collection". The 1861 census shows them at home with a live in servant. Apart from moves not picked up by the census, they had gone from Norwich to Southampton and on to Winchester, Hampshire by the time their third child, Bertha is born in 1860. They are still at Winchester for the birth of Ethelbert Ernest (on 2 nd September 1862), William Blomfield on the last day of 1864 and finally another Samuel (Athelstan) in 1870. The family have again moved (to Waterside, Jew's Row, Wandsworth London) by the time of the 1871 census. Some time between then and son Ethelbert’s enrolment at Kings School in 1876 the family returned to Samuel’s birthplace, Canterbury. They were still there when he was initiated as a member of Augustine Lodge No 972 in Canterbury on 12th December 1878 at the age of 50. According to the records, the young Ethelbert was living in Canterbury at 6 Westgate Street, Canterbury in 1876 and was sent by his parents to what is understood to be the oldest school in England (Leach – Hist Med Schools - Methuen 1915), The King's School. St. Augustine established a school shortly after his arrival in Canterbury in 597 and it is from this that some claim The King’s School grew - and so thus it flourished in Saxon times. The discipline in the era when Ethelbert attended is described by one source as ‘vicious’. The school archivist and register confirm that Ethelbert was there for a single year, some three years after the infamous disciplinarian Reverend Mitchinson left. Until the Education Act of 1870 education was limited to fee paying schools. Now a ‘free’ education was possible (for younger children) but Ethelbert, well past the minimum age to leave school, attends just such a fee paying school. In the 1890s tuition fees were £20 p.a. and had, according to the archivist, probably not changed much. In case this does not seem a lot, a cottage would cost about £50 to purchase. Boarders paid additional fees of course, but Ethelbert was seemingly a dayboy. As he was not a scholar, his father would have had to pay these fees. He joined in May 1876 and left in April 1877. He was fourteen and a half. In case this seems young to us, few children stayed on at school until ten and the minimum school leaving age (of eleven) was not set until 1880 when education from 5-10 became compulsory; the leaving age not being raised to 12 until 1899). Ethelbert did not join the school until he was thirteen. The list of his ‘peers’, in summer term 1876, most of whom stayed on even longer, is formidable! He leaves the school in April 1877 and in June he is shown buying four brick built cottages, No. 1-4 Caledon Terrace, Nunnery Fields at auction for prices from £128 to £142 each (others, not these, are shown as “bought by agents for”) and two years later he is shown as an agent being warned that other properties have defective drainage by the Canterbury General Purposes Committee. the 1881 census. By then they have moved, back to London, to 9 Alfred St Lucas Terrace, Bow, Stratford-le-Bow. Ethelbert continues to stay with them; a commercial clerk. He soon has children and a new career. The family are at 50 Iliffe Street Newington by the 1891 census. By 1901 they are at 171 Manor Place; not far away. It would seem that Ethelbert was not a sensible name for a successful tradesman to admit to. By the 1908, 1910 and 1912 Kellys Directories and subsequent voters lists he is shown as Edward White but in the 1911 census he is Ernest White (his second name) all at the same 171 Manor Place address. He has still christened his son Cecil Ethelbert White in 1899; though he is now known as Jack (or John). Ethel Winifred begins her working life in the fish shop, as did two of her sisters. Later on, in Croydon, two of the brothers would, themselves, own a fish shop not far away from, by then widowed, Ethel Winifred Dunn and her family… There are nine children, with Ethel and Dora the eldest plus Samuel (1884), Frederick (1888), William (1890), Robert (1891), Kate (1893), Eva (1896) and Cecil Ethelbert. There is, so far, no trace of their marriage and her age and place of birth seem different to that shown in the censuses. Experts suggest that very few people ‘cohabited’ at that stage and even a subsequent marriage would not have legitimised an earlier child until 1926. My father used to say that he understood that his grandfather had been disinherited for marrying a barmaid. Was that Ethelbert and Kate? A grandson reports him as a ‘character’ - a ‘Del Boy’ type – always coming home with strange things (like monkeys!) Certainly Ethelbert’s profession was not one which I have traced to any other preceding family member. In the birth certificates of the children his wife is shown as Kate Rycroft; not that usual a name. The census records her as born about 1863 in Tunbridge Wells – not a record I have found; not all still were. There are births of male children to Nelson Rycroft (JP) at Sevenoaks – only ten miles away but, perhaps more likely, a family in Broom Hill, Southborough, immediately to the north of Tunbridge Wells (within its district). Up to eight percent of births went unrecorded at that time and it is possible that she is recorded neither there nor in the immediately following censuses. The family in ‘Tunbridge’ are John, steward to Sir D Salomons M P, his wife Rebecca and son John D – the gardener, age 26, who had been born there. They are the only Rycrofts shown in all Kent in the 1861 census. Their address, then, is shown as Modest Corner Southborough, Tunbridge Wells. Are they Kate’s family? The fact that both son John and daughter Rachel are registered suggests not – as does the age (over 50) of Rebecca, and the fact that Rachel is described as the only direct heir in her Father’s will. The only other Rycroft in Kent in 1871 is Kitty a 79 year old boarder at Common Grove Lodge Southborough. The name Kitty and closeness of a ‘Rycroft’ family could be a clue... There is another John Rycroft in Clapham born about 1827, who like steward/bailiff John is born in Bedfordshire with a son born in Tunbridge Wells. Are they linked to this John – or ‘our Kate’? This son Alfred is also registered. Why can we find no trace of Kate’s birth, family or marriage? Father Samuel Ethelbert’s death is registered in Fulham in 1886. He had made a fresh will only the previous year when he also left the Masons. The family story that Ethelbert Ernest White was ‘disinherited’ is obviously one of those family ‘stories’ as, in Samuel’s will obtained from the probate office, he is left a house in “Ryde Street in the Parish of Saint Dunstans in the City and Borough of Canterbury”. (In 1902 Samuel’s brother Adolphus (musician in ordinary to Queen Victoria) leaves him two further houses). William Blomfield and Samuel Athelstan, his brothers, are also left a house in the same street. Bertha Susannah White (spinster), his second daughter, is left number one Ryde Street. Although the houses are no longer there, pictures of the street in the 1940’s show Ryde Street as a terrace of six houses numbered one to six. The pictures were taken before the demolition of the properties by the council (whilst they were still occupied). Since I have signed a confidentiality agreement confirming that I will neither publish nor copy nor provide copies, I can simply confirm that from the front at street level they simply looked like a terrace of brick/white painted, tiled roof cottages (much like many normal early Victorian ones) BUT from the back and high up it was obvious that five and six were later additions with a separate pitched roof (and numbers 5-6 were not even rendered at the back). It seems clear that Samuel Ethelbert owned the whole original terrace (numbers 1-4) and we know from the surveyors orders for water to be laid on, in May 1876, that these four were almost the last properties in Canterbury to gain access to water.. In addition his eldest son Charles Ethelbert is left his Fathers old residence at 6 Blackfriars (currently tenanted by William Jennings Esquire) together with his main address at 36 Chesilton Road, Munster Place Fulham. His wife also receives his A shares in the Civil Service Supply Association Ltd and the balance in his Inland Revenue Building Society Account and, of course, all the rents and revenues for the rest of her life. After his wife’s death these are also to go to daughter Bertha. Bertha, however, is not to inherit for almost thirty years – more than twenty after her subsequent marriage. At the time of the 1901 census Bertha, her husband and their daughter Helen Bertha age 21 are living in Putney (an area they have been in since the birth of their daughter). Helen Bertha marries Leslie Miller in 1914. Samuel was, perhaps, ‘forward looking’ for his time. Ensuring provision for (seemingly) all his children (one daughter was married and thus not provided for); he also left provision for his spouse for the rest of her life. He does not leave her either a lump sum or a property that might be ‘transferred’ to a second husband but sets aside funds to allow her to receive interest for life; the funds reverting to his daughter after Catherine’s death. Just as it had been ‘fashionable’ for the middle classes to fix a settlement on their female children to ensure that they were not left penniless by the death of their ‘man’ and thus forced to throw themselves upon the mercy of their relatives at such time. Older Daughter Bessy (Elizabeth Mary Mills Annie) was not mentioned in the will. She was shown in the 1881 census living at 9 Alfred St Lucas Terrace, Bow. It had long been the tradition of the ‘old families of England’ that the eldest son received the ‘estate’ (Charles had gained the main residence) unmarried daughters were usually supported through their lives through trusts (Bertha received a house like her brothers and income after her Mothers death) and that married women received nothing. Elizabeth had, indeed, got married to Edgar Wallington in 1884. Including the six houses, the shares and the building society sums, his estate is valued at £489-13-6. ‘Inheritance Tax’ was first introduced as a tax on estates in England and Wales over a certain value from 1796, (then called legacy, succession and estate duties). The value changed over time and the scope of estate duty was extended. Under the 1857 Succession Duty Act estates worth over £20 were taxable (which may illustrate the size of the estate here; bearing in mind that, in the year that Samuel Ethelbert died, a skilled worker could make £2-3 per week, the annual pay of a housemaid was £10-12 and a third of households survived on under 25s a week). Duty was, however, rarely collected on estates valued under £1,500 (before the 1894 budget reforms). Catherine survives him for nearly thirty years. The houses in Ryde Street do not stay in the family for that long. In 1907 the following advertisement appears in the Canterbury papers – “Four empty freehold cottages, Ryde Street, St. Dunstan's Canterbury, what offers. Contact Lepine, 43 Broad Street, Canterbury”. The street, in the St Dunstans area of the city is a historic suburb centred on the route towards London. The 1911 census, the first one filled in by the head of household and the first one detailing years of marriage and numbers of children shows ‘Ernest’, wife Kate (and four of their children still at home) living at 171 Manor Place Southwark (one in a row of combined ‘shops and houses’ with a separate flat at each. Mrs Hill and one other female live in the separate flat and the Whites have six rooms and a fish shop). They are ‘31 years married’ with 10 children (two are deceased). Does the ‘family tale’ explain why Kate’s story is ‘unclear’? Thirty years earlier, in the 1881, census there is no sign of Kate at the address, 30 Wincott Street, (London SE 11) at which she is to give birth a month later. Spouse Ethelbert is shown shown as single (living with parents) at time of 1881 census (though Kate is described as ‘Kate Whyte’ in Ethel’s birth certificate only a month later). He is with Kate and 9 year old child (and other children) at the 1891 census (close by in Southwark) ten years later. The 1920 Hughes Business Directory still shows “White E fishmonger 171 Manor Place, SE17”. His first wife, Kate has died at home in the presence of her husband on 23rd November 1913 from a “cerebral haemorrhage and coma” aged, according to the death certificate, ‘53’ and he has married again at the Southwark Register Office on the first of June 1920. Emily Rosina Miriam Martin is a widow and, at 43, some 14 years younger than her widower husband. The marriage certificate shows her as a “Housekeeper (Domestic)” and her father as (William) George Elston, a vellum binder. Grandfather William Elston was a much travelled and ‘adaptable’ man. The 1851 census shows him as a bricklayer and fishmonger and his children are born in Coleyweston, Rutland, Louth, Northampton and Sheffield. According to another treeholder Grandmother Emily Close was daughter of Laetitia Elizabeth Shield, apparently known as Eliza, born in Kensington at a time when when her father was vicar or rector of Collyweston and who married a ‘slater’ in Collyweston. (At least one interpreter of his handwriting has ‘translated’ his child as ‘Emery’ and not Emily!) Not surprisingly with his shop downstairs curing its own fish, the smell was ‘strong’. The shop sold raw fish and cooked fish and chips (the latter cut on a fascinating old machine). In early 2010 when Google maps first pictured it, half the old, decaying parade was boarded up. A shop called ‘Bob White’s’ has earlier opened round the corner from where Ethelbert’s was. It stays open for many years; first shown as an ‘eel and pie’ shop in the commercial directories of the ‘40’s at 11 Kennington Lane SE11; later as a fish and chip shop. The 1926 Post Office Directory still shows him as “White, Edward” of 171 Manor Place Walworth SE17. He is 65 when he dies of myocarditis and chronic bronchitis. The informant is his son from his first marriage, Cecil Ethelbert White, now living at 122 Thorncliffe Road, Clapham Park London SW5. In the certificate Cecil shows his fathers middle name as ‘Edward’ – the name used in the Trade Directories. (His birth certificate shows “Ethelbert E“). He spent his last few days in King's College Hospital, Camberwell. There is no trace of a will. Despite being left property by father and uncle, probate is not needed for Ethelbert’s estate. Did his second wife inherit? Emily dies four years later. There is no probate for her either. I was told that one of the children receives much of his (mostly bamboo) furniture. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Emily (Elston)Martin

We received this email.
I have been trying to research my great grandmother Emily (Elston) Martin who married Ethelbert White and lived at Manor Place London.
Please see photos below of Manor Place taken earlier this year, I thought they may be of interest.
My understanding is that this site is soon to be demolished, like much of London these buildings are being pulled down to make way for luxury apartments.
If you have any information or photos of Emily Ethelbert we would love to see them. Unfortunately our grandmother would never speak of her mother nor did she keep any photos so we have no idea what she looked like or indeed what she was like.
The only information that we have found is that she was widowed and then married Ethelbert White. Following Ethelbert's death she then went on to commit suicide at Manor Place in 1931, all a bit of a sad story.

And of course when the White family is involved we ask Ray for advice .

he informed us

The 1920 Hughes Business Directory still shows “White E fishmonger 171 Manor Place, SE17”. His first wife, Kate has died at home in the presence of her husband on 23rd November 1913 from a “cerebral haemorrhage and coma” aged, according to the death certificate, ‘53’ and he has married again at the Southwark Register Office on the first of June 1920. Emily Rosina Miriam Martin is a widow and, at 43, some 14 years younger than her widower husband. The marriage certificate shows her as a “Housekeeper (Domestic)” and her father as (William) George Elston, a vellum binder. 

Grandfather William Elston was a much travelled and ‘adaptable’ man. The 1851 census shows him as a bricklayer and fishmonger and his children are born in Coleyweston, Rutland, Louth, Northampton and Sheffield. According to another treeholder Grandmother Emily Close was daughter of Laetitia Elizabeth Shield, apparently known as Eliza, born in Kensington at a time when when her father was vicar or rector of Collyweston and who married a ‘slater’ in Collyweston. (At least one interpreter of his handwriting has ‘translated’ his child as ‘Emery’ and not Emily!)
He wrote back that he did not know much more than this and that his great grandfather was a character .
He has hisfamilytree on Ancestry and here is the adress .
My family tree is on Ancestry and Ethelbert Ernest is: