Author Archives: Angela Spencer

William Street-Wilson, Famous Durban Architect

William Street-Wilson is one of the best-known Victorian and Edwardian architects in Durban.

His most famous projects, which can still be seen today, include:

  • The Emmanuel Cathedral
  • The Old Railway Station (the article linked to claims, erroneously, that Mahatma Gandhi was removed from a ‘Whites Only’ compartment at the Durban station. In fact, this happened at the Pietermaritzburg station).
  • The Sunken Gardens at the beachfront


Snakes! Which one bit your ancestor?

When the settlers arrived, some were given parcels of virgin bush to farm. The ecology of KwaZulu-Natal at that time must have been very different, with few exotic trees or animals.

Kwa-Zulu-Natal is home to many poisonous snakes, including Black Mambas, Green Mambas, many species of cobras, Night Adders, Puff Adders, Berg Adders, Vine snakes and Boomslangs.

We can only assume that there were far more of all these creatures back then, since there were fewer people around to kill them off.

Lucky settlers!

If you want to know more about the reptiles your ancestors were dealing with, the KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation has a fascinating Facebook page. The picture shown is from that page. It shows an angry Black Mamba. You can see that the inside of the mouth is black, that is where this snake gets it’s name, not from the colour of it’s skin.

PEARCE, William

Born Basford, Nottinghamshire, England. Died ?—————-
Framework knitter, soldier, accommodation house keeper, labourer.

1840. 07.00 Enlisted in the 45th Regiment, born Basford (Notts.), framework knitter, enlistment no. 1887. (WO 12/5759. Pay list Oct. to Dec. 1849)
1845.08.27 Son b. (R. Wes., Dbn)
1846.05.21 Son James bap., mother’s name Ann. (Ibid.)
1849.10.00 A private in the 45th, discharged at Fort Napier, Pmb. (WO 12/5759. Pay list Oct. to Dec. 1849)
1849.10.08 Son b. (R. St P., Pmb.)
1849.12.00 Son John bap., parents William and Ann, father a labourer. Sponsors: Father,
William Pearce** and Mary Anderson. (Ibid.)
1850. 09.12 Opened a place of accommodation at 9 Church St, Pmb. (NI 12.09.50)
1851.05.16 Ann Pearce opened a case against Robert Carter* for assault. In evidence Jonah Thompson* said he had heard her husband beating her. (NW 16.05.51)
1851.09.10 Son b. (R. St P., Pmb.)
1851.10.00 Son Daniel bap., parents William and Ann, father a labourer. Sponsors: Daniel Hannah ?***, Francis Richards* and Jane Richards. (Ibid.)
1855 Was his son the John Pierce [sic] aged 5½ who attended Dbn Govt School from Jan. to June. (CSO 56 no. 139)
1855.05.00 Is he the William Pearce referred to in the following bap. entry? Pearse [sic.] Charlotte, dau. of William and Charlotte Pearse [sic]. (RNG)
1856 Was his son the John Pierce [sic] aged 7 who attended Dbn Govt School from Jan. to June? (CSO 56 no 200)
1857 Was his son the John Pierce [sic] aged 7 who attended Dbn Govt School from Jan. to June? (Ibid. no 309)
1858.12.03 In a deposition made by Thomas Hinman* he stated that Mr Tait [sic.] [Tate, William*] had a servant Pearce who owed McNicol [McNicol, Alexander*] money, as Tate himself did. At this time Sept/Oct 1857 Tate was living in Camperdown. (AGO Dep. I/4/4). Could this be William Pearce?
1892.07.01 Was his son John the John Pearse [sic] of The Cottage, Umzimkulu, who d. aged 43? (RC)

James (27.08.1845, Dbn – ————–)
1845.08.27 Son b. (R. Wes., Dbn)
1846.05.21 Son James bap.. (Ibid.)
John (08.10.1849 – ?01.07.1892, Umzimkulu)
1849.10.08 Son b. (R. St P., Pmb.)
1849.12.00 Son John bap., parents William and Ann, father a labourer. Sponsors: Father, William Pearce** and Mary Anderson. (Ibid.)
1892.07.01 Was he the John Pearse [sic.] of The Cottage, Umzimkulu, who d. aged 43? (RC)
Daniel (10.09.1851 – ———–)
1851.09.10 Son b. (R. St P., Pmb.)
1851.10.00 Son Daniel bap., parents William and Ann, father a labourer. Sponsors: Daniel Hannah [sic]***, Francis Richards* and Jane Richards. (Ibid.)
?Charlotte (00.05.1855 – ———–)
1855.05.00 Is he the William Pearce referred to in the following bap. entry? Pearse [sic.] Charlotte, dau. of William and Charlotte Pearse [sic]. (RNG)

*After a name indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry in
Shelagh Spencer’s British settlers in Natal, a biographical register 1824–1857.
**Possibly William Pearce recorded in error for John Pearce?
*** Hannah* had the given names William T., possibly his name recorded in error for
Hannon, Daniel*?

Church Registers
RC – Clydesdale. Anglican
RNG – New Germany. Lutheran
R. St P., Pmb. – St Peter’s, Pietermaritzburg. Anglican
R. Wes., Dbn – Durban. Methodist
NI – Natal Independent
NW – Natal Witness
Unpublished Official Sources
AGO – Attorney General’s Office
CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office
WO – War Office

Compiled from Shelagh O’Byrne Spencer’s records of the British Settlers in Natal 1824–1857.


Born Basford, Nottinghamshire, England. Died 1864, Lower Illovo River, Natal.

Framework knitter, soldier, arrowroot grower, cane farmer, accommodation house keeper.

1841.02.00 Enlisted in the 45th Regiment, born Basford, Notts., framework knitter, enlistment no. 1992. (WO 12/5771. Pay list Oct. – Dec. 1857)
1851.07.07 The Jane Morice arrived at Port Natal from Liverpool. On board was Betsy Turner*, a servant. (NW 11.07.51)
1854.06.01 John Pearce, Pte 45th Regt m. Elizabeth Turner. Witnesses: Thomas Dolphin* and Maria Tedder. (R.St P., Pmb)
1855.07.00 William Pearse [sic] b. (R. St P., Dbn)
1855.07.16 Son William Pearce born at the Old Fort, Durban. (WP)
1857 Dau. Ellen b., Dbn. (CSO 2287)
1857 late John Pearce is included in the army pay list that shows the men who were discharged in Natal in Oct. and Nov. 1857. (WO 12/5771. Pay list Oct. – Dec. 1857)
1857.11.09 Date of discharge given by Pearce when he wrote asking for a land grant. (CSO 2250 no E463)
1857.12.13 Ellen, dau. of John and Elizabeth Pearce bap. Father a tailor. (R. St A., Pmb.).
1858 The Pearces went to Pmb. in1858 [sic] and then to Richmond. From Richmond they went to Umzinto where they carried on a hotel and cane planting for a mill managed by Mr McLean [Maclean, Alexander born c. 1828*]. The hotel, wattle- and-daub under thatch, burnt down. It was rebuilt and later both hotel and canefields were burnt. They then decided to go to Illovo. Here Pearce took over the hotel on the South bank – this was about 1862 or 1863. (WP)
1859.00.31** Writing from Umzinto asking for a land grant he stated – Late Pte in 45th Regt. Discharged on 9 Nov. 1857, having served 16 years 330 days, 14 years of which were in Natal – bore two good conduct stripes and received a medal for services in the Kaffir War***. With wife and four children occupies a piece of land by lease and has no land of his own. On receiving his discharge was told by Col. Cooper that in accordance with the 4th paragraph in the soldiers’ ‘small book’**** he would be entitled to a land grant. He neglected applying then having prospects of a profitable livelihood in which he has not succeeded. (CSO 2250 no E463)
1859.08.23 Dinner given Capt. Arbuthnot [Arbuthnot, James*] by the Umzinto Troop of the Natal Carbineers held at Pearce’s hotel, Umzinto. (BDE v.2, p. 24)
1859.11.07 Answer to request for land grant – the subject of land grants for soldiers is at present under consideration by the Secretary of State. (CSO 2250 no E463)
1860.03.24 Signed petition of Lower Umkomaas Division inhabitants complaining about the state of the road. (Ibid. no E584)
1860.04.00 A constable in Lower Umkomanzi Division at Myangwini [unverified]. (AGO Deposition. 1/4/5 p. 344)
1860.05.00 Has an accommodation house at Umzinto. (Ibid. p. 384)
1860.06.09 Appointed Poundmaster at Public Pound established on Lot 17, Lower Umkomanzi Div. ***** (NGG 50/1860 of 9 June)
1861.01.06 Elizabeth, dau. of John and Elizabeth Pearce b. (R. St P., Umz.)
1861.03.24 Dau. Elizabeth bap., father a hotel keeper. (R. St P., Umz.)
1861.03.27 House burnt down on this date as stated by Pearce when repeating his request for a land grant. (NPP 549 no 28/1862)
1861.05.02 Was running a roadside inn at Umzinto, formerly kept by Higham [Higham, John Henry*]. (NM 16.05.1861)
1862 He established a wattle-and-daub inn on the south bank of the Illovo River. (MC). As long ago as 1862 a Mr Pearce had established a tiny wattle-and-daub inn on the south bank of the Illovo River. (PI p.13)
1862.07.07 Wrote from Umzinto inquiring about the land grant he had requested ‘about two years ago’ and repeating what was in his application of that time and saying that in reply he had been told grants were under consideration. This reply was burnt when his house was destroyed by fire on 27 March 1861. Has heard no more about his application and asks for intervention of Legislative Council. (NPP 549 no 28/1862)
1862.07.16 Above petition presented to Legislative Council. (Ibid.)
1862.11.00 Son John b., parents of Lower Illovo River. (R. Wes., Dbn)
1863 c. In his lampooning of the colonial scene John Baseley* refers to John Pearce as ‘An old 45th Rigment [sic.] kicked out, planter and grog seller’. (JB no17)
1863.04.30 By this date William Palmer was trustee of the estate of John Pearse [sic], a creditor in A. Burman’s estate. (MSC Insolvent Estates 1/32 no 4)
1864 c. ‘We descended after a while, and reached the banks of the Illovo by moonlight. On the opposite side an Englishman and his wife, with six little girls [sic], resided. They hallooed us from the other side. The woman canoed herself across to ask whether we required any accommodation, or washing done, which we did, and took up our quarters with her during our stay, when she narrated all the movements of the white men of that neighbourhood. Oral information stands, in the wilds of Natal, in the stead of newspapers’. (CH pp129-130)
1864 John Pearce d. leaving a widow and six children. His widow carried on with the roadside establishment. (WP)
1865 Widow m. [Edward] Poss. (PP)
1865.11.00 The banns of the marriage between Elizabeth, widow of John Pearce, and Edward Poss were read in Nov. and Dec. (R. Isip.)
1865.12.27 Married by the Revd A. Tonnesen, at the bride’s residence, Mr Edward Wood Poss to Elizabeth Peirce [sic.], widow of the late Mr Peirce [sic.], Illovo. (NM 00.11.65)
1872 Elizabeth Poss d. [sic]. (PP)(WP)
1872.04.18 Mrs Pierce [sic], now Mrs Poss, has resigned her post as Ferryman, Lower Illovo, and Mr Price is her replacement. (GN 95/1872)
1876.08.20 Elizabeth Poss d. aged 46. (NW 29.08.76)
1919.09.00 Could ex-widow Elizabeth’s 2nd husband be the Edward Poss who d. aged 79? (Tomb WSC)

William (16 July 1855, Old Fort, Dbn – 1 Oct. 1939, Eden, Illovo)
1855.07.00 William Pearse [sic] b. (R. St P., Dbn)
1855.07.16 William b. at the Old Fort, Dbn. (WP). b. (Tomb Stella.)
1855.08.00 William Pearse [sic] bap., son of John and Elizabeth, father a Corporal in the 45th Regt. (R. St P., Dbn)
1861.04.09 Wife Lily Elizabeth Leybourne b. (Tomb Stella.). William’s wife Elizabeth L.A. Langton b. in Durham. (KP)
1866 c. After his mother’s second m. William was sent to the Pennington’s [Pennington, Richard*] at Umzinto and remained there until he was fourteen. (WP)
1869 c. Returned to his mother’s home where he remained for eighteen months. He was going to be sent to his grandfather in England, but the passage money couldn’t be found. (Ibid.)
1871.07.00 Apprenticed to a wagon maker and blacksmith. (Ibid.)
1878 end With Tom Dennell and W.Langton went to the Pilgrims Rest goldfields. (Ibid.)
1879 During the Zulu War worked as a wagon maker and blacksmith with Mr G. Langton. Then took over the coffee plantation leased to a Mr Clothier at Umgababa, then went transport riding. While transport riding went in for arrowroot farming on the Illovo Flats, lost heavily and sold the plantation. (Ibid.)
1883.08.10 Aged 28, b. Dbn took out licence to m. Elizabeth Leybourne Askey Langton, b. Durham, England, aged 22. (CS0 2287). William Pearce, farmer and Elizabeth Leybourne Askey Langton, both of Lower Umkomaas, made ANC. (RSC IV/13/25 no 354a). They were m. at Umkomaas, no date given. (KP)
1885.07.07 Of Lower Illovo, Co Dbn, admitted debt to Harry Chambers, engineer, Dbn, of £165 for purchase of a piece of machinery. The machinery pledged as security. Loan to be paid off in two instalments, first due on 24.10.1885, second due on 24.02.1886. Chambers ceded the bond to John Macfarlane Wilson, storekeeper, Dbn on 05.03.1886. (RSC IV/18/17 no 247a)
1889 Gave up transport riding and planted about 80 to 95 acres of cane on flat land at Illovo. (WP)
1889.12.19 Leased Rem. of Lot 22 between the Rivers Umkomanzi and Umlazi from the Council of Education of Natal. (RSC IV/18/18 no 324)
1890.06.09 Above lease subject to a bond in favour of Henry Pryor Powell and Selwyn Robert Pryor, the payment of which is covered by two promissory notes for £327 and £224, the one due on 01.12.1891 and the other on 01.06.1892. (Ibid.)
1891.04.15 Of Lower Illovo, transport rider and planter, mortgaged all machinery, buildings, livestock and crops on the land at the Lower Illovo (Rem. of Lot22), to Henry Payne Voysey of Dbn, merchant, for the sum of £1 000.00. On the same day Voysey ceded the bond to Jabez Newell Holden, produce broker, Dbn. (Ibid.)
1891.07.30 Of Lower Illovo, transport rider and planter, borrowed £1 900.00 from Samuel Crookes of Cypress Hill, Umzinto. Security is title to lease of piece of land occupied by Pearce – Lot 22 lying between Umkomanzi and Umlazi Rivers, together with the crops, machinery etc on it. (Ibid. no. 328)
1892.06.01 Bond with Voysey to be repaid with 8% interest. (Ibid. no. 324)
1895.07.24 Loan from Crookes to be repaid with 10% interest. Payable ½ yrly. (Ibid. no 328)
1900.02.25 Samuel Crookes writing to his son George says he and (his son) Fred are awaiting the arrival of Augustus Ducasse, a young engineer from Mauritius who has been erecting a mill at William Pearce’s estate on the Lower Illovo. (Letter dated 25.02.1900. AH p. 96)
1906 Because son William wanted to expand he formed a Company – Illovo Sugar Estates Ltd – with C.G. Smith, Edward Saunders [son of Saunders J.R.*] and himself as MD. (WP). With C.G. Smith floated Illovo Sugar Estates with Smith as Chairman and Pearce as M.D. (AH p. 104)
1908 Two more directors app. in above Co., Geo. and Frank Crookes. (WP)
1914 C.G. Smith and William Pearce persuaded the Crookeses to invest in a sugar venture in the north of Mozambique, floated as Beira-Illovo Sugar Estates, but things went wrong from the start. (AH p. 122)
1915 William Pearce on the board of Natal Cane By-Products Ltd., which had been set up to extract wax from the caked waste left on sugar filters. (Ibid. p. 122)
1915 MPC representing. Dbn Co., MD of Illovo Sugar Estates. (SAWW 1915 p. 293)
1916 The Crookeses and Pearce sold their shares to C.G. Smith at a loss – then helped to bale him out in 1917 when the estates were destroyed by floods. (AH p. 122)
1919 The year before his retirement in 1920, Colonel Friend Addison sold Addington to a private company consisting of Charles Smith, Frank Reynolds, G.J. Crookes, J.J. Crookes, S.F Crookes and William Pearce. The estate now comprised the mill and 12 000 acres and was named Addison Brothers. (RO p. 189)
1920 Gledow-Chaka’s Kraal Sugar Co., formed – 3 Crookes Bros, Frank Reynolds and William Pearce. (JL)
1934 Addison Brothers’ Estate merged with Chaka’s Kraal Estate to form Gledow-Chaka’s Kraal Sugar Co. Ltd. (RO p. 189)
1934.05.22 William Pearce, J.P., of Illovo, b. Dbn, 1856. Transport rider, coffee, arrowroot & sugar planter. MD Illovo Sugar Estate, MPL for Dbn Co. 1910-1919. (NM Supp. 22.05.34)
1938.09.13 Wife Elizabeth d. at Eden. (OH). Lily Elizabeth Leybourne Pearce d. (Tomb Stella.)
1939.10.01 William d. at Eden. (OH). William Pearce, JP d. (Tomb Stella.)
Anne Maria (1857c. – ________ )
1857 c. b. [Date calculated from age given on m. cert.]. (R.St P., Umz.)
1878.07.17 Anne Maria Pearce, 21, spinster, m. Thos Fayers, 25, bachelor, overseer. (R. St P., Umz.). Anne Maria Pearce of Lower Umkomaas m. Thos Fayers of Ifafa at St Bride’s, Lower Umkomaas. (NW 23.07.78). m. at St Bride’s Lower Umkomaas, Thomas Fayers of Ifafa, son of the late Wm Fayers, to Anne Maria Pearce, eldest dau. of the late John Pearce. (NM 12.08.78 )(NW 15.08.78)
Ellen (1857c., Durban – 29 October 1935, ? Umzinto)
1857 c. b. Dbn [Date calculated from age given on m. licence. Place of b. taken from same source]. (CSO 2287).
1857.12.13 Ellen, dau. of John and Elizabeth Pearce bap., father a tailor. Sponsors: Moses Reid*, Elizabeth Pearce and Margaret Pearce. (R. St A., Pmb.)
1880.09.11 Thomas Samuel Crocker [son of John Crocker*], 27, b. Dbn and Ellen Pearce, 23, b. Dbn, took out licence to marry. Licence taken out at Umzinto. (CSO 2287)
1880.09.22 m. at Umzumbe, Thomas Crocker and Eliza [sic], second dau., of the late John Pearce. (NM 12.10.80)
1900.10.15 Ellen’s husband T.S. Crocker d. aged 49. (R. St P., Umz.)
1935.10.29 Ellen (b. Pearce), wife of Thos S. Crocker d. aged 77. (Tomb St P., Umz.)
Margaret Annie (1859c. – _______ )
1859 c. b. [Date calculated from age given on m. cert.]. (R. Cong., Dbn)
1880.09.21 m. at Dbn, William Hutchinson [son of William Hutchinson*] and Margaret Annie, third dau. of the late John Pearce. (NM 12.10.80). m. at Dbn, William Hutchinson, 23, bachelor, Illovo, and Margaret Annie Pearce, 21, spinster, Dbn. Witnesses: Robert Hutchinson and William Pearce. (R. Cong., Dbn)
Elizabeth (1861.01.06 – ———-)
1861.01.06 b. (R. St P., Umz.)
1861.03.24 Elizabeth bap., dau. of John Pearce (hotel keeper) and Elizabeth. Sponsor: Sarah Turner. (Ibid.)
John (1862.11.00, Lower Illovo River –
1862.11.00 b. (R. Wes., Dbn)
1863,06.00 John Pearce bap., son of John and Elizabeth of Lower Illovo River. (Ibid.)
1887.05.10 John Pearce, 24, b. Umzinto and Lillian Donnelly, 17, b. Fort Beaufort, dau. of E.Donnelly, took out licence to m., licence taken out at Dbn. (CSO 2289)
1937.12.17 Aged 72, b. Natal, m., sugar planter, d. at Windy Lodge, Umzinto. (UGRD)

?Violet Ellen (Born_______. Died 26.05.1895)******
1895. 05.26 Violet Ellen Pearce d. (R. St P., Umz.)

*After a name indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s British settlers in Natal, a biographical register 1824 – 1857.
** Month missing, paper torn.
*** Awarded South Africa 1853 medal for service in the 2nd and 3rd Kaffir Wars. (GRE p. 83)
**** Paper torn, it is known that each soldier had a ‘small book’.
***** The location of Lot 17, also known as Inland View (at one time the property of J.H.
Higham) can be found on Holmden’s map of Natal.
******No proof has been found that Violet Ellen is a child of John and Elizabeth Pearce.

Books and Directories
AH – Hocking, Anthony. Renishaw: The story of Crookes Brothers. Bethulie: Hollards, 1992.
CH – Hamilton, Charles. Sketches of life and sport in South-Eastern Africa. London: Chapman
& Hall, 1870.
GRE – Everson, G.R. The South Africa 1853 medal. London: Samson Books, 1978.
RO – Osborn, Robert F. Valliant harvest: The founding of the South African sugar industry
1848–1926. Durban: South African Sugar Association, 1964.
SAWW – South African who’s who. Johannesburg: 1915.
Tomb St P., Umz. – St Patrick’s Churchyard, Umzinto
Tomb Stella. – Stellawood Cemetery, Durban
Tomb WSC – West Street Cemetery, Durban
Church Registers
R.Cong., Dbn – Durban, Congregational
R. Isipingo – Isipingo, Anglican
R. St A., Pmb. – St Andrew’s, Pietermaritzburg, Anglican
R. St P., Umz. – St Patrick’s, Umzinto, Anglican
R. St P., Dbn –, St Paul’s, Durban, Anglican
R. St P., Pmb. – St Peter’s, Pietermaritzburg, Anglican
R. Wes. Dbn – Wesleyan, Durban, Methodist
BDE – English, Dr B.D. The story of the Royal D’Urban Rangers. 3 v. Typescript, 1954.
JB – Baseley, John. Twenty four notes on colonial Natal written by Bazley (as he then spelt his
name) on spare pages in Johnson’s Atlas of England. Manchester: Thomas Johnson, 1847,
transcribed by Dr John Clark.
PP – Pearce papers written in 1948 by grandson Tom. Held in Killie Campbell Library, Durban.
WP – Pearce, William. Autobiography of William Pearce (1855-1939) of Eden, Illovo, South
Coast, Natal. Typescript, no date.
Holmden’s map of Natal and Zululand. Johannesburg: The Map Office, no date.
NM – Natal Mercury
NM Supp. – Natal Mercury: Supplement
NW – Natal Witness
PI – Parish of Isipingo centenary record, 1856-1956. ?Isipingo: Parish of Isipingo, 1956.
Personal Communication
JL – Jean Lambert (née Crookes)
KP – Kenneth Pearce (Grandson of William)
MC – Cottrell, Mike
OH – Oscar Holness (Deceased)
Unpublished Official Sources
AGO – Attorney General’s Office
CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office
GN – Government Notice
MSC – Master of the Supreme Court
NGG – Natal Government Gazette
NPP – Natal Parliamentary Papers
RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court
UGRD – Umzinto Government Register Deaths
WO – War Office

Compiled from Shelagh O’Byrne Spencer’s records of the British Settlers in Natal 1824-1857.

New book about Fort Napier and the British Imperial Garrison


Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontiers
Fort Napier and the British Imperial Garrison
How a distant garrison of the British Empire shaped South Africa

Small and isolated in the Colony of Natal, Fort Napier was long treated like a temporary outpost of the expanding British Empire. Yet British troops manned this South African garrison for over seventy years. Tasked with protecting colonists, the fort became even more significant as an influence on, and reference point for, settler society.

Graham Dominy’s Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontiers reveals the unexamined but pivotal role of Fort Napier in the peacetime public dramas of the colony. Its triumphalist colonial-themed pageantry belied colonists’s worries about their own vulnerability. As Dominy shows, the cultural, political, and economic methods used by the garrison compensated for this perceived weakness. Settler elites married their daughters to soldiers to create and preserve an English-speaking oligarchy. At the same time, garrison troops formed the backbone of a consumer market that allowed colonists to form banking and property interests that consolidated their control.

A first-of-its-kind social history, Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontiers places Fort Napier and the British, indigenous, and Afrikaner people it affected in the larger context of South Africa’s colonial era.

“Truly places Fort Napier’s history within several broader contexts–the settlement of Natal, the response of the indigenous inhabitants, the relationships between ‘British’ and other settlers, the wider history of the British army in the period, and the novel involvement of women protesting against the British advance. This is far from a narrow ‘red coat’ history.”–Peter Stanley, author of White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India

“Quite original. Rather than looking at campaigns and battles, the book shows how issues such as military parades, band performances, social events, marriages between soldiers and local settler women, and soldiers’s bad behavior shaped settler society in Natal.”–Timothy Stapleton, author of The Military History of Africa

“An engrossing account, vividly illuminating the complexity of life within an imperial garrison and offering valuable insights into the impact of the military on southeast Africa’s diverse societies and on Natal’s development”–John Lambert, Professor Emeritus of the University of South Africa and author of Betrayed Trust: Africans and the State in Colonial Natal

“This remarkable account of military-civil relations on an African frontier tells how the permanent British garrison of Natal interacted with and indelibly influenced settler society in the colonial capital.”–Paul Thompson, University of Kwazulu-Natal

“This is a fascinating story of wars and balls on the very fringes of empire, of exotic adventures and routine drudgery, of lightning strikes on parade, of nuances of social affectation, and of mutiny. Most of all it is a reminder of just how essential the military presence was to the growth and security of British settlement around the world in the nineteenth-century.”–Ian Knight, author of Zulu Rising: The Epic Story of iSandlwana and Rorke’s Drift

Graham Dominy is a Research Fellow of the University of South Africa, former National Archivist of South Africa, and former editor of Natalia: Journal of the Natal Society.

ORGILL, Matthew

Born c.1828

1850.00.00      Early in 1850 the Hebrides left London, calling at Plymouth for West-country passengers. (HAT p.114). On board was Matthew Orgill aged 22. (PRO Shipping list via AFH). There were eleven settlement schemes that brought British settlers to Natal in the 1800s. The scheme that brought the largest number of settlers was J.C. Byrne & Co’s Natal Emigration and Colonization Company which, in basic terms, for a down payment of £10 offered a steerage passage to Natal and 20 acres of land. The Hebrides came out under the scheme organized by Richard Merchant Hackett, a London shipowner, which for £10 offered a steerage passage to Natal and 30 acres of land. This scheme aimed at attracting Wesleyans. (SO’BS1824–1857 p.xviii).

1850.05.10      The Hebrides anchored off Port Natal. (HOL p.288). Mathew was granted 47 acres of land being Sub 68 of Lot 1 of the property Karkloof. (NGG 08.03.1881 p.8)

1851.03.00      Messrs Robert and Matthew Orgill sailed from Durban on the Natal for Cape Town. (EI 73)

1851.04.28      One hundred and nine of the Hebrides 120 passengers had been approved by the emigration commissioners and drawback certificates were issued in Hackett’s favour. He made no further deposits, but he co-operated with John Lidgett [another emigration promoter] in the dispatch of the Nile, Choice and John Bright. (HAT pp 114-115)

1861.04.22      Charles Johnston*[Johnston, Dr Charles], surgeon of Pietermaritzburg, memorialized the Lt Gov. saying during the first years of colonization 1850/51, several immigrants had become dissatisfied, and previous to their return home, or departure elsewhere, had disposed of their land claims. He names five settlers from whom he had bought claims, one being Matthew Orgill whose claim was for 47acres on the Karkloof [River]. He [Dr Johnston] did not take title to these claims, but on the eve of his departure from Natal he now wishes to take title. Report: There is no declaration of sale, but there is a power of attorney executed by Orgill in favour of Buchanan* & Roberts*[Buchanan, D.D. & Roberts, A.B.] to give transfer to C. Johnston and he can have this title on lodging deed of sale. (CSO 2251 no.E716). The Buchanan/ Roberts partnership lasted from Dec. 1850 to Oct.1852.  (SS)

1862.00.00      The settlement was not a success. Samuel Stead rode over the allotments in 1862 to find signs of occupation only at one point, where a notice attached to a solitary shanty conveyed the melancholy information ‘gone away’. (HAT p.114)

1877.00.00      The Valuation Roll of the Colony of Natal, County of Pietermaritzburg, Umgeni Division, shows Mathew Orgill as owner of Sub 68 of Lot 1 Karkloof, 47 acres. Value of land £10.15.00, buildings nil. (NGG 08.03.1881, p.8)


ORGILL, Robert


1851.03.00      Messrs Robert and Matthew Orgill sailed from Durban on the Natal for Cape Town. (EI 73)

1851.07.18      Durban Post Office. List of people whose residence is not known and for whom letters are waiting. Under heading “Cape” – Orgill, Robert. (NW 18.07.51)



*After a name indicates the person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry in

Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.



Books and Directories

HAT – Hattersley, Alan F. The British settlement of Natal. A study in imperial migration.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950.

HOL – Holden, Revd William C. History of the colony of Natal. Cape Town: Struik, 1963.

(Africana Collectanea Vol. 4)

SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British Settlers in Natal, 1824–1857a biographical

register. Vol.1–. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1981–.


NW – Natal Witness

Personal Communication

AFH – Alan F. Hattersley

SS – Shelagh Spencer

Unpublished Official Sources

CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office

EI – European Immigration

NGG – Natal Government Gazette

PRO – Public Record Office (London)


Compiled from Shelagh O’Byrne Spencer’s records of the British Settlers of Natal 1824–1857.

TALBOT, Berkeley Buckingham (born Stafford)

Born 5 Jun. 1821, Dublin, Ireland. Died 21 Aug. 1884, Byrne, Richmond District, Natal.

Builder, landlord, farmer.

1821.06.00      born. (Tomb SMMCB).

1821.06.05      b. In Dublin (CSO 2282). Tenth son and fifteenth child of Brabazon Smith Stafford(1759–1840) and Elizabeth Ohman, dau. of John Henry Ohman and Mary Sutcliffe. (Canner). Brabazon Smith Stafford was a godson of the Earl of Meath whose family name was Brabazon, hence the entry of this name into the Stafford family. (JBT). For further family information see entry for H.H. Flood*. (SO’BS Vol. 6, pp 142-145)

1846.05.00      Left London on the Sir Edward Ryan, assuming at the same time the name of Talbot. He was the first Stafford to come to Africa. (RDT)**.

1846.11.00      Two Messrs Talbot arrived at Port Natal on the Apprentice. (EI 73). Could one of them have been Berkeley Buckingham? (BMS)

1846.11.02      Apprentice arrived at Port Natal. (NW 07.11.46)

1848.07.21      Was living in Durban when he signed a cemetery petition. (SGO III/5/7). It is said that he and his brother Hugh Flood at first lived in Durban where they erected wattle and daub houses which they either sold or let. (RDT). B.B. Talbot and H. Flood had Lot H1 in Durban and B.B. Talbot had Lot W2. (LDL)

1849.03.00      Talbot, no initial, left for Cape Town on the  Rosebud. (EI 73). Could this have been Berkeley Buckingham? (BMS)

1849.03.23      Asked the government if he could rent five acres of land at Congella [then south of Durban now part of the city] for a stone quarry. Period of rental to be 45 years or longer. (CSO 2238, unnumbered)

1849.03.27      To work this proposed quarry he would have to cut a long channel to enable his boats to reach the quarry. (CSO 2238, B46)

1849.05.00      Talbot, no initial, arrived at Port Natal on the Rosebud from Cape Town and Algoa Bay. (EI 73). Could this have been Berkeley Buckingham? (BMS)

1849.08.31      Defendant in case with Chiappini & Co. [Cape Town firm of merchants with land holdings in Natal. (BMS)]. There was to be a meeting of his mortgagees and creditors. (NW 31.08.49)

1849.09.18      Part of No.1Block H a corner Erf; another part of same Erf with house and stables let at £2 a month; part of 2 Block H with a substantial dwelling house and kitchen under same roof let at £5 a month; another part of 2 Block H with a smith’s shop let at £1.10s a month, all in Durban, are to be sold on 3 Nov. 1849  under process of the District Court in a suit between A. Chiappini & Co., plaintiffs and Berkley[sic] Buckingham Talbot, defendant. (NGG 18.09.49)

1849.11.13      Sale postponed to 24 Nov. because of bad weather on 12 Nov.1849. (Ibid. 13.11.49)

1850.05.10      The list of passengers shows that Sophia Dennis* and Robert Woodhead [Woodhead, J.R.*] both sailed to Natal on the Edward. (NW 10.05.50)

1850.06.27      Sophia Dennis, passenger on the Edward, was granted a 20 acre rural allotment and one village allotment no.66a on Plan. (MP). The Edward passengers were settled at Beaulieu-on-Illovo, Richmond. (JC p.273)

1852.08.10      Talbot, Burkley[sic] Buckingham: Jung’s Farm, Trader, Occupier. (NGG 10.08.52. Jury List 1852-3, Pietermaritzburg. Div.)

1853.03.05      Sophia Dennis, 22, b. in Helmstead[sic], Essex,  and Robert Woodhead, 25, b. in Manchester, applied in Pmb. for licence to marry. (CSO 2282). Sophia b. in Elmstead, Co. Essex. (MSC 1V/18/12 no.280B)

1854.06.30      Talbot Berkely Dray[sic] Fontein, Timber Merchant, Occupier. (Voter’s roll 30.06.54 in NGG 25.07.54 )

1854.08.08      Talbot, Berkeley Buckingham: Dray[sic] Fontein, Pmb., Agriculturist, Renter. (NGG, Supplement, 08.08.54)

1855.04.05      Robert Woodhead d. aged 27. (Tomb CRC)

1856.07.29      Talbot, Berkeley Buckingham: Drie Fontein, Pmb., Agriculturist, Renter. (NGG 29.07.56)

1856.09.10      Aged 29, b. in Dublin, of Drie Fontain, Umlaas, gentleman, applied for licence to marry Sophia Dennis, aged 25, b. in Essex, widow Woodhead. Application made in Pmb. (CSO 2282). Sophia was one of a large family of brothers and sisters. Perhaps she came from farming stock from somewhere near Colchester? She came to Natal in order to accompany her sister who was married to a Mr Bull [Bull, J.A.R.*] who, being consumptive, was coming to Natal for health reasons. (RDT).

1856.09.11      Of Drie Fontein, m. by Revd James Green* to Sophia Woodhead of Pmb., widow, b. Dennis. Witnesses: Hugh Flood and Jane Pitcher. (ST)

1857.07.21      Daughter Amy b. (R St M, R)

1858.07.11      Son Hugh b. (R St M, R)

1858.08.10      Talbot, Berkeley Buckingham: Drie Fontein, Pmb., Agriculturist, Renter. (NGG 10.08.58)

1859.05.00      Son Hugh d. (Tomb SMMCB)

1859.05.22      Last Sunday we had the first funeral in our little churchyard. It was a baby five [sic] months old, the son of Mr Talbot who lives five miles from here but in this parish. (REG p.98)

1860.03.02      Daughter Sophia b. (R St M, R))

1860.08.14      Talbot, Berkeley Buckingham: Drie Fontein, Pietermaritzburg, Agriculturist, Renter. (NGG 14.08.60)

1860.12.31      At Drie Fontein when he witnessed a document for his brother W.A. Talbot. (SGO III/5/31)

1861.07.02      Son Brabazon Deverell b. (R St M, R)). In a letter dated 28 Aug. 1861 Mrs Ellen McLeod writes – You will see by George’s[McLeod, George More*] letter how unfortunately I was situated when Mr Cookerley called. I was nursing Mrs Talbot who had come to Byrne to be confined, purposely to be near Mrs Tarboton [wife of Henry Tarboton*] who had promised to attend her. I went with her just at the birth, when the next day Mrs Tarboton was sent home the measles having broken out in her family; so I was obliged to remain there, not being another person to be procured. As it was the first time I had acted alone in such a capacity you may be sure I felt rather nervous. However I got on very well and my patient did better than she had ever done before in similar circumstances. (REG p.116)

1862.12.04      Land situated in Byrne village, or being rural lots adjoining the village, was transferred from J.C. Byrne to B.B. Talbot. The land comprised – two pieces of ground measuring 28a.3r. and 21a.1r. marked 26 and 29 respectively; two pieces of land of 1a.30p. and 1a.22p. being Nos 5 & 6 Block S; 50a. marked No.32; No.5 Block B of 2r.; No. 33 of 50 a.; No.8 Block T of 2 r. (RSC I/8/24 No.2199)

1863.02.12      Sophia Talbot writing from Byrne states that her late husband Robert Woodhead was entitled to a 90a. rural allotment and a town Erf at Richmond and had d. without taking them up. She is his sole legatee and asks if she can take up the legacy? Answer: Yes if she can prove that she is sole executrix and legatee. (CSO 2252 no.F141)

1864.08.12      As advertised there is to be – The most important and extensive land sale ever to be held in Natal. The Natal Land Co. (Cape) by its charter will cease to exist after November 1864 and the Co. with A.J. Zeederberg of Cape Town have arranged for the Secretary of the Natal Fire Assurance Trust Co and J. Bergtheil to secure the services of Raw* & Wilkinson*[Raw, J., Wilkinson, W. J.]  to auction 12 farms. Among the 12 is Drie Fontein, described as – Originally granted to Isaak Johannes Meyer, situated South of Zwart Kop location and 6 090 acres in extent. This includes 6oo acres of forest, it is watered by the source of the Umlaas River, there is a substantial house and a fine orchard. (NCPA 12.08.64)

1865.07.20      Richmond Magistrate A.C.Hawkins* writes to Colonial Secretary enclosing two applications for post of gaoler. Recommends B.B. Talbot who has resided for some years at Byrnetown and has always borne a good character. (RMLB II, p.91)

1865.10.01      Declaration made in his own handwriting – I, commonly known in Natal as Berkeley Buckingham Talbot, being at this time of sound mind, do make oath and declare that I am the youngest son of the late Brabazon Smith Stafford of Buckingham Street in the City of Dublin, Ireland, and that I first assumed the surname of Talbot when I took my passage on board the Sir Edward Ryan from London to the Cape of Good Hope, June 1846, [Signed] B.B. Stafford. To this is subscribed the following – This oath and declaration was made and signed before us in the City of Pietermaritzburg, Colony of Natal, this first day of September in the year of Our Lord 1865. [Signed] James Green, MA, Dean of Pietermaritzburg and F.S. Robinson, MA, Curate of Pietermaritzburg. (ST)

1865.10.02      Son Berkeley Buckingham b. (R St M, R))

1866.04.17      A.C. Hawkins writes to Col. Sec. enclosing resignation of W. Nicholson* as Field

Cornet and Sheep Inspector, Ward 5 and recommends B.B. Talbot. (RMLB II, p.125)

1866.08.14      His land at Byrne [see 1862.12.04 above] was attached following a judgement. (RSC I/8/24 No.2199)

1866.11.03      His land was auctioned and purchased by the Revd T.G. Fearne* for £56. The land carried a mortgage of £280 held by the Marine Insurance and Trust Co., the assignees of Henry Pinson’s estate. (Ibid.)

1866.11.13      Sale of the land confirmed. (Ibid.)

1867.08.06      Talbot, Berkeley Buckingham: Byrne, Pmb., Farmer, Occupier. (NGG 06.08.67)

1867.09.05      Daughter Alice Ann b. (R St M, R))

1869.11.20      Son Robert Dennis b. (Ibid.).

1871.09.22      Son Hugh b. (Ibid.)

1872.07.00      Entered into a five year lease with J.S. Brock with the option to purchase [The Gums]. (RDT)

1873.06.00      By June 1873 had moved from Ratsey’s*[Ratsey, Capt. R.H.] old house near the Serpentine river to J.S. Brock’s house The Gums, which he had built for Archdeacon Fearne. (RDT)

1873.06.23      Son William Appleby born. (AD)

1878.10.28      Daughter Sophia m. Frederick McLeod[son of George and Ellen McLeod] at Byrne. (NM  02/11/78)(NW 05.11.78)

1880.00.00      We have had terrible fires all through the valley. Mr Talbot has suffered very much from one. The old house he used to live in which has been turned into a bacon house, is burnt and about £100 worth of bacon destroyed. It is a dreadful loss to him with his large family. (REG p.234)

1881.10.24      Daughter Amy m. W.J.F. Collis at Byrne. (NM 29.10.81)(NW 29.10.81)

1884.08.18      Made will, was of Byrnetown. H. Flood and Herbert McLeod were witnesses. (MSC 9/1885)

1884.08.00      d. (Tomb SMMCB). d. aged 64, of Byrne, b. in Dublin. (R St M, R) d. aged 64, Field Cornet. (RGRD)

1884.08.21      d. aged 64 years at Byrne. (NM 27.08.84)(NW 27.08.84). Property consisted of  rural Lots 26, 29, 32 & 33 Byrne, plus a further 7 unnumbered Lots. In the village he owned 5 Block S, 6 Block S, 5 Block B & 8 Block T, valued together at £7. (MSCE 29/206). Ellen[McLeod]… was very friendly with the Talbots, her nearest neighbours, at The Gums. Suddenly in 1884 Mr Talbot d. a most painful death from an “internal complaint”… Opie was heart-broken. Her mother was left very poorly off. (REG p.249)

1907.04.00      Wife Sophia d. (Tomb SMMCB).

1907.04.04      Sophia Talbot, of The Gums, Byrne, d. aged 77. (R St M, R). Sophia Talbot, née Dennis, b. Colchester, d. aged 77 at The Gums, Byrne. Death notice filled in by son B.D. Talbot. (MSC 29/98)




Amy (21 July 1857, Drie Fontein – Jun.1926, Manors, Pinetown)

1842.12.00      William James Collis b. (Plaque in SMMB)

1857.07.00      Amy b. (Tomb St A, PT)

1857.07.21      Amy b. (R St M, R). Drie Fontein. (CSO2287)

1875.01.31      George[McLeod] encloses a statement which he would like… inserted in a London paper. The statement is copied by Amy Talbot, that pretty young girl whose photo we sent to Jane for you all to see. (REG p.189)

1876.00.00      On Easter Monday the school children had a holiday, so Amy Talbot got up a picnic. They all started off in good spirits in Hosking’s cart full of children when going down a steep place there is in the road the diesselboom[sic] (or pole you would call it) of the cart broke and they all were thrown out. Amy had Bessie’s [Hosking] little baby and kept it in her arms; it was not hurt at all. Amy herself was very much shaken. (REG p. 198)

1879.11.30      [Mr Ward, Rector, Richmond]… has got up a nice Sunday school at Byrne and Amy Talbot is the teacher. (REG p.230)

1881.04c.        Amy Talbot plays[the harmonium] well and often comes when she is at home for the holidays, but she teaches music at the college[St Mary’s College, Richmond] so we do not get her very often. (REG p. 238)

1881.09.05      William James Fitzgerald Collis, 38, b.Ballinrudery, Co Kerry and Amy Talbot, 24, b. Drie Fontein, Natal, took out licence to m. (CSO 2287)

1881.10.24      m. at Byrne, William James Fitzgerald Collis to Amy, eldest dau. of Berkeley Buckingham Talbot of Byrne. (NM  29.10.81)(NW 29.10.81)

1907.04.04      Amy and William Collis were living at Keerom, Byrne, when Amy’s mother d. (MSC 29/98)

1915.00.00      Collis, William James Fitzgerald b. Co. Kerry, 74, retired farmer, m., d., Blackridge. (PGRD)

1915.12.00      Collis, William James d. Dec 1915. (Plaque in SMMB)

1915.12.21      Collis, William James Fitzgerald b. Treraclea, Co. Kerry, son of Stephen Edward and Margaret Collis (Sandes), d. at Blackridge aged 74yrs 11days, retired farmer, m. Amy Talbot at Byrne. (MSCE 4/1916)

1926.06.00      Collis, Amy of Manors, Pinetown, bur. (R St J, PT)

Hugh(11 July 1858 – 11 May 1859, Byrne)

1858.07.00      Hugh b. (Tomb SMMCB)

1858.07.11      Hugh b. (R St M, R)(AD)

1859.05.00      Hugh d. (Tomb SMMCB)

1859.05.11      Hugh d. (AD)

Sophia (Opie) (2 March 1860, Drie Fontein – May 1936, Byrne)

1852.07.00      Frederick McLeod b. (Tomb SMMCB)

1860.03.00      Sophia b. (Tomb SMMCB). At Driefontein [todays spelling]. (RDT)

1860.03.02      b. (R St M, R)

1860.04.00      Sophia, dau. of B. & Sophia Talbot of Drie Fontein, bap. (Ibid.)

1878.10.28      m. at Byrne, Frederick, fourth son of G.M. McLeod, to Sophia, second dau. of B.B. Talbot. (NM 02/11.78)(NW 05/11/78). As Fred was married on the 28th of last month I must tell you all about it. As we have not a clergyman here yet, Canon Jenkinson from Spring Vale came to perform the ceremony. The wedding being on a Monday he came the Sunday afternoon, gave us a service and stayed at our house all night. In the morning they walked to the church at 11 0’clock: unfortunately it was such a wretched day, the wind blowing hard from the north and so hot I could not go, but went to Mr Talbot’s to meet them at the breakfast. Everything went off very nicely: the room was decorated very prettily with long wreaths of the creeper I sent you a leaf of: it is a kind of asparagus fern. We sat down 32 to breakfast and there were only three not of the two families… The bride was dressed in white Alpaca and the bridesmaids (her two sisters) in the same, excepting that one had her dress trimmed with pink, the other with blue: they all looked very nice. The wind changed soon after breakfast and brought up a thunderstorm and we had a most refreshing shower of rain for which we were all most thankful. After the shower the Bride and Bridegroom started off, not in their carriage and four, but their carriage and sixteen (but alas it was only a wagon) in a perfect shower of old shoes that the young members of the family had been collecting for some time. (REG p.215). Before marriage Fred earned a living mainly through transport riding. When first m., and until Fred had built a home for his bride, Fred and Opie lived at Rose Cottage with Fred’s parents George and Ellen McLeod. (BMS)

1879.08.13      Opie went in and stayed with Annie [in Pmb. where her husband Frank McLeod had taken a house. (BMS)] and her baby was b. on the 13th Aug… His name is Bentley Leslie Stafford. (REG p.227)

1880.01.01      Fred’s house had now been built and his farm was progressing under his vigorous efforts. He and Opie left Rose Cottage on New Year’s Day to start their life there. “Opie being Irish”, wrote Ellen, “they have called their place Blarney”. (REG p.231). It was on the old road from Richmond to Byrne. (BMS). According to Ellen it was “…only about half an hour’s ride [away]”. (REG p.231.). From an early age it was realized that Bentley had impaired vision and he later became blind. (BMS). Even so he fulfilled Ellen’s perception that he had “a mechanical turn”. (REG p.248). An example of this was his construction of a water channel on Blarney, achieving, without sight, the correct angle of flow. Fred and Opie lived out their lives on Blarney as did Bentley who married, but had no children. (BMS). His siblings were Frederick, Archibald, Theodora, Lionel and Ruby. (REG p.276)

1936.05.00      Sophia McLeod d. (Tomb SMMCB). Sophia (née Talbot) d. aged 76, b. Natal, m., of Blarney. (RGRD)

1939.08.00      Frederick McLeod d. (Tomb SMMCB)

1939.08.26      Frederick McLeod d. aged 87, b. Byrne, retired farmer, of Wiveton [formerly The Gums. Perhaps the person who notified the death lived at Wiveton? (BMS)]. (RGRD)

Brabazon Deverell (Brab) (2 July 1861, Byrne – 23 May 1937, Lion’s River)

1861.07.00      b. (Tomb SMMCB)

1861.07.02      b. (R St M, R). At Byrne. (REG p. 116)

1877.03.12      Fred[McLeod] has been home again since Christmas and has gone again. This time he will be away a long time – he has taken loads to Winburg in the Transvaal. He has taken Brab Talbot with him as a driver, it is so difficult to get Kafirs[sic] and they want such high wages that it is much better to get a white boy; he will also be a companion to him, for it is very lonely on a long trek. (REG p.200)

1878c.             Brabazon for a while was on Enon where he helped to run the farm while Gen. Gordon was alive [Gen. Nathaniel John Gordon d. in Eng. in 1883, having  returned there at an un-established date. (BMS)] and later did transport riding, mostly between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. (RDT)

1879.07.16      Mulholland, Violet Ellis b., dau. of Charles, storekeeper, and his wife Georgina  Milne. (RGRB). Georgina’s mother Mary was the dau. of William Watson* and his wife Susannah of Newborough Grange, Byrne. Mary Watson was first m. to –Michael Furlong, as a widow she m. George Milne*, and after Milne’s death she m. Wm Cunningham*. They were all Sgts in the 45th Regiment. The Cunninghams settled at Byrne. (S0’BS)

1890.00.00      Talbot, B.D. purchased FP 74 in the vicinity of Himeville. The property was then called Dungarven, but is now known as The Duffryn. In 1901 it was sold to A. Lewis. (UH p.39)

1899-1900       In the siege of Ladysmith [27.10.1899 – 28.02.1900]. (RDTM p.219)

1902.06.11      Violet Ellis Mulholland, 22, spinster, Byrne m. Archibald Ellis Bell, 28, builder, Pmb. (R St M, R)

1909.09.25      Rem. of Furth (2 944a.1r.35p.) transferred from Natal Land & Colonization Co. to B.D. and B.B. Talbot. (Deed1219/1909)

1915.01.26      Talbot, Brabazon Deveril[as signed by himself], farmer, Byrne m. Violet Elizabeth Bell, widow. (R St M, R)

1915.06.21      Sub. A of Furth (1 944a.) trans. from B.D. Talbot and another to Estate B.B. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1915.08.14      Rem of Furth (1 000a.) trans. from B.D. Talbot to Edwin Cecil Somers. (Deed No. not noted)

1937.05.00      Brabazon Deverell d. (Tomb SMMCB)

1937.05.23      Brabazon Deverill[sic] d. aged 75yrs 11mths, b. Natal, m., retired farmer, of Lion’s River. (PGRD)

Lucy (21 Jan. 1864 – June, 1932, Ixopo)

1858.06.00      Thomas Francis Remfry b. (Tomb St J, Ix)

1864.01.21      Lucy Talbot b. (R St M, R)

1898.11.18      T.F. Remfry purchased Penmount (2 413a.1r.21p.) from the Natal Govt. for

£3 206.13.10d, at the rate of 10/- an acre as shown on grant No. 5781. (Fax of Title Deed via HG). Penmount touched his later farm Sutton at one angle only. (Holmden)

1904.04.12      Lucy Talbot of Byrne, m. Thomas Francis Remfry, farmer, Ixopo. (R St M, R)

1910.05.00      Thomas Francis Remfry d. (Tomb St J, Ix)

1910.05.22      T.F. Remfry of Sutton, Ixopo d. (AD).Thomas Francis Remfry, b. in Truro, son of Henry Oliver and Eliza (née Hamilton) d. aged 51yrs11mths, farmer, Sutton, Ixopo. His widow signed the death certificate. (MSCE 38/158)

1932.06.00      Lucy Remfry (née Talbot) d. aged 68. (Tomb St J, Ix). Lucy was a dear person and was kind to everyone. She had no children. She was very kind to George O’Gorman Frazer who, after his wife Alice’s death, stayed at Sutton. (AD)

1818.05.00      Henry Oliver Remfry b. Truro. (Tomb St J, Ix)

1851.00.00      Eliza Mary Remfrey[sic] b., only dau. of Mr & Mrs Henry O. Remfrey[sic] of Truro, Cornwall and of Calcutta. At the age of 30 she came to this country with her father for his health. They made their home at Ixopo. After her father’s death, and at the time of her brother’s m., she went to Richmond. (FSB No. 1, p.14)

1894.04.04      Henry Oliver Remfry, late of Truro, Cornwall, at present of Sutton, Ixopo Division made a will. His children are Eliza Mary and Thomas Francis. (MSC 47/1898)

1898.03.00      H.O.Remfry d. Ixopo. (Tomb St J, Ix)

1898.03.22      H.O. Remfry d. at Sutton aged 79yrs10mths. (MSC 47/1898)

1928.10.17      Eliza Mary Remfrey[sic] d. (FSB No. 1, p.14)

Berkeley Buckingham (2 Oct. 1865 – 17 Oct. 1914, Pietermaritzburg)

1865.10.00      b. (Tomb SMMCB)

1865.10.02      b. (R St M, R)

1877.11.30      Agnes  Clowes Alette b., dau. of Richard Winchester and Elizabeth Hosking.

(R St M, R)

1878.03.00      Agnes Clowes Alette Hosking bap. (Ibid.)

1897.00.00      Berkeley Buckingham was for four years a Native Commissioner in Mashonaland. He returned to Natal for health reasons and then farmed Furth. (RDT)

1901c.             Returned from Rhodesia. (RDTM p.219)

1904.02.09      Farmer, Byrne m. Agnes Clowes Alette Hosking of Byrne. (R St M, R). Agnes Clowes Alette was familiarly known as Chiperwee or Chips. (AD)

1904.04.14      Approx  14 acres of extra land required on Furth, property of B.B. Talbot, for construction of Umhlongo Nek siding on the Cape/Natal line. (Cobley)

1906.08.02      Sub. NGR  (13a.2r.5p.) of Furth transferred from Natal Land & Colonization Co. to Brabazon D. Talbot and Berkeley B. Talbot. (Deed 1388)

1907.04.04      Of Furth, Impendhle Div. when his mother d. (MSC 29/98)

1909.09.25      Rem. of Furth (2 944a.1r.35p.) trans. from Natal Land & Col.Co. to B.D. & B.B. Talbot. (Deed 1219)

1914.10.00      Berkeley Buckingham d. (Tomb SMMCB)

1914.10.17      He d. aged 49yrs15dys, farmer, m. (PGRD). Native Commissioner/Magistrate at Sinoia, Southern Rhodesia. He later farmed at Furth Illovo Nek [sometimes any property beyond the farm Illovo Nek was described as being in that area]. (AD)

1915.06.21      Sub. A of Furth (1 944a.) trans. from B.D. Talbot and another to Estate B.B. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1930.10.19      Sub. B of Furth (140a.) trans. from Estate B.B. Talbot to Lancelot Holmes. (Deed No. not noted). [This property named Wilberfoss by Holmes. BMS]

1944.08.09      Rem. of Furth (1 803a.) trans. from Estate B.B. Talbot to J.U.A. Pottow [son of Robert Pottow, stepson of Lancelot Holmes, brother of Edith Violet Pottow who m. Hugh Talbot. (BMS)]. (Deed No. not noted)

1960 c.            Agnes Clowes Alette d. in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. (AD)

Alice Ann (5 Sep. 1867 – 20 April 1906, Pmb.)

1854.00.00      George O’Gorman Frazer b. (SMMCB). In the West Indies. (PGRD)

1867.09.05      Alice Ann b. (R St M, R). b. Byrne (MSC 26/78)

1899.09.00      Alice Ann Talbot of Byrne and George O’Gorman Frazer, storekeeper, Impendhle Div. m. (R St M, R). Frazer was familiarly known as GO’G. (AD). His Zulu nickname was Mthifilizana (Short-and-stout). (PH)(WMT)

1899.09.11      Alice Talbot and George Frazer were m. at Byrne. (MSC 26/78)

1906.04.00      Alice Ann Frazer d. (Tomb SMMCB)

1906.04.20      Alice, of Yorishi, Impendhle , d. aged 38yrs8mths, in Pmb. Her husband filled in the Death Notice. He had resided and carried on his business in Natal for 30 yrs and had lived at Yoroshi for about 15 yrs. (MSC 26/78). Alice Ann Frazer, 38, of Elandskop d. Pmb., bur. Byrne. (R St M, R)

1914 end         Frazer, G.O’G listed as being of Yorishi in the 1915 Natal Almanac. [This was the first time that residents of Umhlongo Nek were included. BMS]. (BND 1915)

1915 end         Frazer, G.O’G, Yorishi. (BND 1916)

1916 end         Frazer, G.O’G, Yorishi. [After this his name does not appear in the Umhlongo Nek listing. BMS] (BND 1917)

1924.07.24      G.O’G. Frazer of Sutton, Ixopo, made a will. He bequeathed everything to his sister-in-law Lucy Remfry and appointed her executrix. Witnesses: H. Talbot, Sutton, Ixopo, S.J. Sewell, Dipping Inspector, Ixopo. (MSCE 12231/1927). Lucy was very kind to Alice’s husband and let him stay at Sutton [It is not known when he moved there. BMS]. (AD)

1925.07.25      George Frazer admitted to Grey’s Hospital. Pmb. (MSCE 12231/1927)

1927.03.00      Frazer, George, 72, b. West Indies, widower, farmer, d. (PGRD)

1927.03.27      George Frazer remained in Grey’s Hospital until this date, presumably his date of death. There was a bill of £302.10s. to be paid. The estimated value of his estate was less than £300 in value. The inventory of his immovable property showed he owned nothing. (MSCE 12231/1927). George O’Gorman Frazer d. aged 73 years. (Tomb SMMCB)

Robert Dennis (20 Nov. 1869, Byrne – 5 April 1941, Pmb.)

1869.11.00      b. (Plaque in SMMB)

1869.11.20      b. (R St M, R)(RDT via AD). At Byrne. (RGRB)

1886.01.00      Winifred Amy Adams b. (Plaque in SMMB)

1886.01.11      W.A. Adams b. London. (RDT via AD)

1907.04.04      At the time of his mother’s death Robert Dennis was a civil servant in Zululand. (MSC 29/98)

1913.06.28      m. Winifred Amy Adams dau. of Prof Henry Adams MICE, MIME etc. (RDT  via AD). Robert’s wife was a Miss Winifred Adams who taught at the Durban Ladies College and came from England. They were m. in Durban. (RDTM., p.421)

1941.04.00      Robert d. (Plague in SMMB)

1941.04.05      d. aged 71, b. Natal, m., retired magistrate. (PMGRD). (Magistrate, Civil Service, Union of S. Africa). (AD)

1965 c.            Winifred  d. Pmb. (Ibid.)

Hugh (22 Sept. 1871 – 12 Aug. 1938, Ixopo)

1871.09.00      b. (Tomb St J, Ix)(RGRB)

1871.09.22      b. (R St M, R)

1889.01.00      Edith Violet Pottow b. at Nel’s Rust, dau. of Robert [and Sarah Emily née Hooper. As a widow Sarah m. Lancelot Holmes. BMS]. (MSCE 7/164)(RGRB)

1889.01.03      Edith Violet b. (NW 12.01.1979)

1889.01.04      Edith Violet b. (MSCE 7/164)

1889-1900       Hugh was in the siege of Ladysmith [27.10.1899 – 28.02.1900]. (RDTM.p.219)

1908.05.29      Sub A(130 a.) of Gunzenhausen No. 6223 trans. from Natal Land & Colonization Co. to Hugh & Wm A. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)


1915.08.25      Hugh Talbot, farmer, Dewverna and Edith Violet Pottow, Wilberfoss, Impendhle, m. at Byrne. (R St M, R)

1918.09.25      ½ share of Sub A(130a.) of Gunzenhausen trans. from H. Talbot to Wm A. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1935c.             Hugh Talbot left Sutton (2 500 acres), he had run the farm with his wife Violet, and moved to Forest Glen. They had two sons Berkeley and Frank and two daughters Emily (Mrs Spilsbury) and Chick (Mrs Bulcock). (RF p.106)

1938.08.12      Hugh d. aged 66yrs11mths, farmer, Woodstock, Ixopo. (MSCE 27704/1938). Of Ixopo, bur. aged 68. (R St J, Ix)

1939.08.00      Hugh d. (Tomb R St J, Ix)

1978.11.15      Edith Violet Talbot d. in Pmb. (Deceased Estate Notice NW 12.01.1979)

1978.11.17      A Memorial Service for Edith Violet Talbot, late of Pmb., formerly of Ixopo, will take place at St John’s Church, Ixopo, tomorrow. Much loved mother of Frank, Em, Chick and the late Berk. The cremation took place privately. (Service Notice NW 17.11.1978)

William Appleby(23 June 1873, Byrne – 20 Nov. 1920, Ixopo)

1873.06.00      b., Byrne. (R St M, R.)

1873.06.23      b. (AD)

1874.07.00      bap. (R St M R)

1899-1900       William was in the siege of Ladysmith [27.10.1899 – 28.02.1900]. (RDTM p.219)

1906                Sgt in Richmond Carbineer troop at time of Bambata Rebellion. (RDTM p.311)

1908.05.29      Sub A(130 a.) of Gunzenhausen No. 6223 trans. from Natal Land & Colonization Co. to Hugh & Wm A. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1916.08.30      m. Mary Elizabeth dau. of Alfred Charles McKenzie of Richmond, Natal. (AD).

Mary was usually known as Molly, her mother was Margaret Jane (Jenny) née Blake of Illovo Nek. (CC p. 156)

1918.09.25      ½ share of Sub A(130a.)  of Gunzenhausen trans. from H. Talbot to Wm A. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1920.11.00      William Appleby d. aged 47. (Tomb St J, Ix)

1920.11.20      d. (AD). Talbot, William Appleby d. at Cassington, Ixopo, aged 47 years, youngest son of the late Berkeley Buckingham Talbot of Byrne, husband of Molly E. Talbot. (NW 23.11.1920)

1920.11.21      Of Ixopo, aged 47, bur. (R St J, Ix).

1921.09.22      Sub 4 of Furth (201a.) trans. from J.U.A. Pottow to Est. W.A. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1925c.             Yorishi leased by Mrs William Talbot (my Aunt Molly) to her brother Colin McKenzie (my father). (JH)

1927c.             Mrs William Talbot, Aunt Molly, m. Mr Percy Travers and they wanted Yorishi so my father bought Redacres from Mrs Cunningham of Treleigh. (JH)

1927.03.27      The McKenzies moved from Yorishi to Redacres. (JH)

1939.05.26      Sub A(130a.) of Gunzenhausen trans. from Wm. A. to Colin Owen Talbot [son, known as “Bones”. (BMS)]. (Deed No. not noted). Sub 4 of Furth (201a.) trans. from Est. W.A. Talbot to C.O. Talbot. (Deed No. not noted)

1943.09.01      Sub A(130a.) of Gunzenhausen trans. from C.O.T. to L.W. Yates. (Deed No. not noted). Sub 4 of Furth (201a.) trans. from C.O.T to L.W. Yates. (Deed No. Not noted)



*After a name indicates the person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.

** RDT (Talbot, Robert Dennis) given as a source when he is quoted. RDTM (Talbot, Robert Dennis. Memoir.) given as a source when the information comes directly from his memoir.



Books and Directories

BND – Braby, A.C., Natal Directory. Durban: Braby & Co., 1915, 1916, 1917.

CC – Coulson, Charmian. Beaulieu-on-Illovo: Richmond, Natal, its people and history.

Richmond:  Richmond Women’s League and Institute, 1986.

JC – Clark, Dr John. Natal Settler-Agent. The career of John Moreland agent for the Byrne-

emigration-scheme of 1849–51. Cape Town: Balkema, 1972.

REG – Gordon, Dr R.E. Dear Louisa: History of a pioneer family in Natal 1850–1888, Ellen

McLeod’s letters to her sister in England from the Byrne valley. Cape Town: Balkema, 1970.

SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British Settlers in Natal, 1824–1857 a biographical

register. Vol.1–. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1981–.

UH – Nagy, Diana de F. ed. The first hundred years of the Underberg / Himeville district 1887–

  1. 1897. Himeville: The Historical & Museum Society, 1987c.


CRC – Commercial Road Cemetery, Pmb.

SMMCB – St Mary Magdalen churchyard Byrne. Anglican

St A, Pt – St Andrew’s churchyard Pinetown. Anglican

St J, Ix – St John’s churchyard Ixopo. Anglican

Church Registers

R St J, PT – Register St James, Pinetown. Anglican

R St M, R – Register St Mary the Virgin, Richmond. Anglican


SMMB – St Mary Magdalene Byrne.

Manuscript Material

RF – Foster, Raymond T. – Farms I remember.

FSB – Fuller Scrapbook No.1.

LDL – List of Dbn Lots. Held by Don Africana Lib. Dbn.

MP – Moreland Papers. Held by Pmb Archives Repository.

RDTM – Talbot, Robert Dennis. Memoir.


Natal. Impendhle. Railways, Natal Cape Railway, Umhlongo Nek. [Pmb]: NGR. 04.04.1914.

Signed W.H.Cobley. Held by Richmond/Byrne Museum.

Natal. Impendhle. Farms [Dewverna, part of Lot 102]. No publisher, No date of publication.

Natal & Zululand. Farms, towns and villages. Holmden’s map of Natal and Zululand.

Johannesburg: The Map Office, No date of publication. Held by Spencers.


NCPA – Natal Courier and Pietermaritzburg Advertiser

NM – Natal Mercury

NW – Natal Witness

Personal Communication

AD – Althea Drummond

BMS – Brian Mitchell Spencer

Canner – Canner, John (Deceased)

HG – Grant, Hector

JBT – Talbot, John Buckingham

JH – Joy Holmes

PH – Pat Hill

RDT – Talbot, Robert Dennis (Deceased)

SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne

ST – Talbot, Stafford (Deceased)

WMT – Wilfred Manisty Tollner (Deceased)

Unpublished Official Sources

CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office

EI – European Immigration

MSC – Master of the Supreme Court. Wills

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court Estates

NGG – Natal Government Gazette

NGR – Natal Government Railways

PGRD – Pietermaritzburg Government Register Deaths

RGRB – Richmond Government Register Births

RGRD – Richmond Government Register Deaths

RMLB – Richmond Magistrate’s Letter Book

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court

SGO – Surveyor General’s Office

The Anglo-Zulu War battlefields then and now

An article with some quotes from Brian and Shelagh:

A classic of Anglo-Zulu War Africana featuring frontline sketches from a serving British officer has been revisited and republished with photographs of the actual sites as they are today.

By Stephen Coan

The ruin of many a poor bibliophile, the Abebooks website, currently offers for sale three copies of The Road to Ulundi featuring the watercolour sketches of John North Crealock made during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. The cheapest will set you back around R3,500 rand plus postage; the most expensive is going for R5,400.

As those prices indicate, the book, published in 1969 with a print run of 1,000, has become a valuable item of Africana. Now Durban-based historian and battlefield guide Ken Gillings has produced Road to Ulundi Revisited, both homage and a companion update to the original. Printed in a signed limited edition of 1,000 and utilising a “then and now” format, Gillings has matched his contemporary photographs to Crealock’s original watercolours.

In the late 1960s when The Road to Ulundi was published by the University of Natal Press (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press) it represented a pioneering venture. “Interest in the Anglo-Zulu War was limited by and large to small groups of military history enthusiasts,” Gillings says. “I used to have to apply for a permit to visit some of the sites because they were in ‘Bantu areas’, and that probably discouraged many people from visiting them. Isandlwana was an exception because it was a national monument, but one was not allowed to stay overnight in the area.”

Nor was there much literature available on the subject. “CT Binns had published his outstanding The Last Zulu King in 1963. In 1964 the film Zulu resulted in increased interest in the war in Britain and then, in 1966, an American, Donald R Morris, produced the first definitive history of the Anglo-Zulu War, The Washing of the Spears.”

Since then the war has fuelled a niche literary industry while the battlefield sites have become major tourist attractions for both local and international visitors. “Now there are dozens of publications available,” Gillings says. “Authors and historians such as Ron Lock, Ian Knight, Saul David, Jeff Guy, John Laband and Paul Thompson have unlocked many secrets about the war and new material has made this aspect of South Africa’s history one of the most sought after among military historians all over the world.”

Back in 1969, that was all to come and the decision to publish The Road to Ulundi a prescient one. The modest credit on the book’s title page “edited and prepared for publication by RA Brown, MA (Oxon.)” indicates to whom that foresight belonged.

Ronald Arden Brown was the Librarian at the University of Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus from 1962 until 1973.

Born in England in 1914, Brown came to South Africa shortly after gaining his master’s at Oxford to teach at Michaelhouse in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. Brown’s family had South African connections – Lawrence G Green, the prolific author of popular anecdotal history books, was a cousin.

During World War II Brown served in the British army and after being demobbed returned to South Africa, taking the post of deputy librarian at Rhodes University prior to moving to Pietermaritzburg. After his retirement in 1973, Brown returned to England, where he died in 2002.

Today Brown is remembered with affection and admiration by those who worked with him. “He was a truly cultured and well educated man, with wide-ranging interests and an eye for opportunity,” his former colleague Colleen Vietzen says. “In addition to his foresight, Ron was a very hands-on man and caused things to happen. Among his passions was a deep interest in Natal history and social evolution and he built up a useful Nataliana collection … he jumped at opportunities to enhance the collection.”

Another colleague, Natal settler authority Shelagh Spencer, and her husband Brian, became close friends of Brown and his wife, Win. “Shelagh was aware of Ron’s interest in the Crealock drawings from his first learning about them,” Brian Spencer says. “And we all spent a memorable weekend with George Buntting (a legendary expert on the war) driving from place to place where the sketches were done as Ron wanted better knowledge of the sites before the book was published.”

In the introduction to The Road to Ulundi, Brown described how, in 1966, he had come across an article in the English newspaper The Times concerning the problems facing regimental museums which mentioned the Crealock album of watercolours in the Sherwood Foresters’ museum at Nottingham Castle. Brown’s interest was immediately piqued as he knew the regiment was a descendant of the 45th Foot, the first regiment to be stationed in Natal in the mid-19th century.

Brown travelled to Nottingham to look at the paintings and the regimental authorities agreed to lend them to the University of Natal Library with a view to publication.

The album consisted of 189 paintings and drawings of the Eastern Cape and Natal depicting “landscapes, camp sites and scenes, battlefields, military and civilian personalities”.

Brown noted: “The artistic quality is good and the excellent detail has been praised by botanists, geographers and historians who recognise in them an authentic pictorial record.”

The collection reflect the time Crealock was in South Africa as military secretary Lord Chelmsford, commander of the British troops in South Africa.

Born in 1836, Crealock had seen service in India during the Indian Mutiny Campaign of 1857 to 1858 being mentioned in despatches three times. Promoted to captain in 1859 he served in India until 1870.

On his return to England, Crealock served as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General and later Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General Aldershot and was promoted to Major in 1875. In 1878, Crealock was selected to accompany Chelmsford to southern Africa.

At Chelmsford’s side Crealock, now a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, sketched his way through the Ninth Frontier War followed by the war against the Zulus. He was present during the Isandlwana campaign – where a British force was all but annihilated by the Zulu army – as well as at the battle of Gingindlovu, where he was slightly wounded, and at the Battle of Ulundi that ended the war with a British victory.

A good artist he may have been, but Crealock was probably a difficult personality. He was described by Sir Garnet Wolseley (who replaced Chelmsford) as an “arch-snob” and accused of “governing Chelmsford and keeping him in ignorance of all going on about him”. Wolseley concluded with the ultimate coup de grace: “He was not a gentleman.” However, it should be pointed out that Wolseley in his highly entertaining diaries rarely said anything good about anyone other than himself.

Crealock later commanded the 95th Regiment and a subsequent regimental history was kinder than Wolseley: “There can have been few in the battalion who did not feel they were better soldiers for having known so progressive and appreciative a Commanding Officer.” Crealock died in 1895.

After Crealock’s death, his paintings were given to the Regimental Museum in Nottingham Castle, where Brown subsequently selected 67 of the Natal scenes for publication.

An eager purchaser of The Road to Ulundi on its appearance in 1969 was a young Ken Gillings. “I bought a copy and drove up Pietermaritzburg from Durban to ask Ron Brown to autograph it,” Gillings says. “He was somewhat bemused; I don’t think many people had asked him to autograph their copy.”

And so a book was signed and, unknowingly, a baton passed on.

Gillings’s interest in the Victorian campaign was kindled at Westville Boys’ High School. “I had a history teacher named Ron Warner, who kept the class mesmerised with his teaching of South African history. He took us on our first battlefield tour in 1963 and I was hooked.”

In 2010 it occurred to Gillings “that matching the Crealock sketches to photographs would make for a fascinating PowerPoint presentation”.

“While it was a relatively simple matter to photograph the popular sites, such as Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, most of the other locations are off the beaten track. I started photographing those about four years ago.” With some help from his wife Heather. “She would hold the original book aloft as I tried to line up the sites in the middle of nowhere.”

Where Gillings clicked a Fuji Finepix 5, Crealock had once sat with sketchbook, pen, pencil and watercolours. “Crealock rode with his artist’s materials carried in his saddle-bag.”

“In Victorian times, it was to an officer’s advantage to be good at sketching. The subject was not only on the syllabus at Sandhurst but also at the Army Staff College at Camberley until the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, and later. The British Army seldom had properly surveyed maps of wherever it was fighting, and so an important part of the duties of a junior officer and of a trained staff officer in particular, was to be able to produce a good sketch map and panorama for his commanding officer.”

Gillings had already realised the presentation had the potential for a “then and now”-style publication. “But it was felt new publication should include accompanying descriptive text. Nonetheless, we felt that it would be unwise and unnecessary given the existing literature to make the text too detailed, so my mandate was to make it as succinct as possible.”

Accordingly each of Crealock’s watercolours is presented with its original title accompanied by a photograph of the site along with detailed explanatory notes. There is also brief background to the war and a map locating the sites of the sketches.

“By visiting some of the more remote sites, I was able to enhance the military history information with local content which I believe has made the end result almost a coffee table book as well as a potentially valuable item of Africana.”

View some images from the book (click on the image for the description):

The Road to Ulundi Revisited

Book details

  • Road to Ulundi Revisited: The Zulu War Sketches of an Artist on the March: John North Crealockby Ken Gillings
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781928211280

TALBOT, William Alexander (born Stafford)

Born c. 1812, ?Dublin, Ireland. Died 1869, Byrne Valley, Richmond District, Natal.
Barrister, farmer.
1812c. b. Calculated from age given in document requesting land grant. (CSO 2249, no.390 of 27.10.1859). Sixth son of Brabazon Smith Stafford (ST) and brother of H.H. Flood* and B.B. Talbot*. For further family information see entry for H.H. Flood. (SO’BS Vol.6, pp142-145)
1839 The list of barristers-at-law shows William A. Stafford, 14 Upper Gloucester St, North, as having been admitted at Michaelmas 1839. (TIA, 1845, p.398 via McC)
1845 Stafford, William A. Esq, bar., listed as being resident at14 Upper Gloucester St. (TIA, 1845, p.830 via McC.)
1846c. Resided in the colony [of Natal] for a few weeks. (CSO 2249, no.390 of 27.10.59)
1858.05.25 Sailed from Port of London [for Natal] on the Yarra, Matheson, master. (Ib.)
1858.08.27 Arrived in the colony and presently residing at Drie Fontein, County of Pietermartzburg [property of his brother Hugh Flood]. (Ib.).
1858.11.05 Writing from Drie Fontein states his brother, who had been in Natal for upwards of 12 years, had forwarded him information relating to the Proclamation of 29.04.1857 and, together with other relatives resident in Natal, had urged him to take advantage thereof. As soon as he could arrange his affairs in England he had proceeded to Natal on the Yarra to find on arrival that the Proclamation had been withdrawn. Under these circumstances he asks for a farm and if necessary an approach to be made on his behalf to the Secretary of State. Reply – the Lt-Gov. cannot comply and no good would come from approaching the Secretary of State. (CSO 2248 no E131)
1859.10.27 Applied for land grant giving details as already quoted above. (CSO 2249, no 390 of 27.10.59)
1860.12.31 Makes further application for land. Residing at Drie Fontein, Pmb Co., he nominates John Ireland as his agent. P/A witnessed by Hugh Flood and B.B. Talbot both of Drie Fontein. His seal shows a sitting swan with wings extended and the words “Garde la foy”. (SGO III/5/51 dated 31.12.1860).[Given grant] To a piece of land containing 1 500 acres and named Sydenham**, being Lot 90 less 113 acres, Ward no. 5, Pmb. Co., bound on the northeast by the farm Elands River, northwestward by Lot no.89 and otherwise by Crownlands. Annual Quit Rent in each year £1.11.3 payable on 31 December in each year. The first payment being due on 31 December 1861. (SGO III/11/9, QRF Vol.1, p.144)
1861.01.09 John Ireland signed for the title deeds. (SGO III/12/1 p.100) The records show that on 8 August 1861 the property passed into the ownership of Jonas Bergtheil, passing on 10 Aug 1861 to Samuel Rudolf. After being owned by various others on 30 December 1880 it became the property of James Stewart***. (SGO III/11/9, QRF Vol.1, p. 144)
1867.08.06 Farmer, occupier, Byrne. (NGG 06.08.67)(2.3). He owned the following Byrne
village plots – Block B, 9: Block F, 19 & 20; Block G, 4 & 5; Block K, 13, 14a, 14b, 15a, 15 & 17. (Colony of Natal Valuation Roll, 1877 in NGG 08.03.1881)(Byrne Village Plan)****.
1869.00.00 Died a bachelor, buried at Byrne. (ST). There is no gravestone for him in St Mary Magdalene churchyard, Byrne. It is not known where he lived when he was resident in the valley. (BMS)
1870.08.16 Farmer, occupier, Byrne [sic]. (NGG 16.08.70)

*After a name indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.
**Sydenham is approx. 3½ miles west of Elandskop with Driefontein (present spelling) being approx. 5½ miles south east of Elandskop, both distances are as the crow flies. (BMS)
***Sydenham remained in Stewart ownership until a large acreage of the Impendhle district was expropriated by the Government in the mid-1970s.
****Multiple plans of the proposed Village of Byrne showing the allocation of plots were made in 1850. The plan that Ruth Gordon used in Dear Louisa (pp 270-271) happens to have the 11 plots acquired by W.A.T marked by a hand-drawn x in circle.

Books and Directories
Gordon, Dr R.E. Dear Louisa: history of a pioneer family in Natal in 1850–1888. Cape Town: Balkema, 1970.
SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British Settlers in Natal 1824–1857: a biographical register. Vol. 6. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1992.
TIA – Thomas’ Irish Almanac. 1845.
Personal Communication
BMS – Brian Mitchell Spencer.
McC – Prof. J.L. McCracken, deceased.
ST – Stafford Talbot, deceased.
Unpublished Official Sources
CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office
NGG – Natal Government Gazette
QRF – Quit Rent Folio
SGO – Surveyor General’s Office

Compiled from Shelagh O’Byrne Spencer’s records of the British settlers of Natal 1824–1857.

King praises apartheid regime

December 7 2015 at 07:10am
By Bongani Hans

Durban – King Goodwill Zwelithini praised the apartheid era during an event in Nongoma at the weekend.

The National Party, he said, had built a powerful government with the strongest economy and army on the continent, but then came “this so-called democracy” in which black people started destroying the gains of the past.

The king said history would judge black people harshly as they had failed to build on the successes of the Afrikaner regime.

The king was speaking at his kwaKhethomthandayo royal palace in Nongoma on Saturday night during a celebration of his 44 years on the throne.

He said black people “loved to use matches” to burn down infrastructure built during apartheid.

Delivering a speech which ended just after midnight, the king told hundreds of people packed into a big marquee that he felt lucky that he was born the same year the National Party came to power in 1948.

The king’s speech came in the wake of a series of anti-government statements made by the monarch of the Zulu nation in recent months. In September, King Zwelithini ordered that there should be no government banners at royal events, and that the government should stop organising the events.

He said on Saturday that this was the first time his anniversary celebrations had been organised by the King Zwelithini Foundation.

The king said the apartheid regime had built a mighty army. He said the South African currency and economy “surprisingly shot up” under the National Party regime.

“The economy that we are now burning down. You do not want to build on what you had inherited. You are going to find yourselves on the wrong side of history.”

He said while people on the ground did not appreciate the infrastructure inherited from apartheid, democratically elected presidents – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma – were occupying apartheid infrastructure, including the Union Buildings and Parliament.

“I am surprised that all presidents who have been in the so-called democracy occupied apartheid buildings where they make all these laws that are oppressing us.

“But you on the ground are burning everything that you found here.

“You don’t want to use them (buildings), you say this is apartheid infrastructure. Your leaders are occupying buildings where apartheid laws were made to oppress you,” the king said.

Despite the National Party’s having created anti-black laws, he was happy that it had treated him with respect.

“The Afrikaners respected me. I don’t know how it happened that the Afrikaners respect me so much.”

He said at the kwaKhethomthandayo palace there were still medals which the apartheid government had awarded to his kingdom.

The king also touched on the South African Human Rights Commission which released its preliminary report last week on his alleged involvement in xenophobic attacks early this year.

The commission had recommended that he make a public apology or risk being taken to the Equality Court.

Early this year it was reported that the king called on foreigners to pack up and go back to their home countries.

He said he would address the Zulu nation in January on the outcomes of the report, which he said were an insult to the nation.

The king’s traditional prime minister, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, told The Mercury that the report had exonerated the king, but he said the commission should explain why it had called on the king to issue a public apology.

“I am pleased that they exonerated him, but I am confused that they still insist that he must apologise. There seems to be a contradiction.”

Political analyst Protas Madlala said the king was playing on the theory that white people could govern better.

“He is right, but he should explain deeper the reason behind their success,”said Madlala.

Apartheid had been supported internationally, he said.

The king and the KZN ANC

Zwelithini’s praise for the apartheid government came a few weeks after the newly elected ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal paid homage to the king in an effort to mend fences.

The Mercury understands that freshly elected KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairman Sihle Zikalala led a delegation to meet the king, who was unhappy with the disbanding of the Royal Household Department “without consultation”.

This had ruined the relationship between Zwelithini and Premier Senzo Mchunu.

Even worse, in the eyes of the king, was that when the department was replaced with the Royal Household Trust, some of the king’s employees were retrenched and others were absorbed by the premier’s office or the trust.

A royal house insider said this had led to great bitterness among royal household members, and saw the king taking a critical stance against the provincial government at public gatherings.

However, when approached for comment last week, the king’s adviser, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, denied that the relationship between Mchunu and the king was on the rocks .

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma said the provincial executive committee had met the king a week after the provincial conference that had elected Zikalala to replace Mchunu. He declined to elaborate on what was discussed.

The declining relationship between Mchunu and the king was revealed at the commemoration of King Shaka Day in KwaDukuza in September, which Mchunu attended as one of the speakers.

The king lashed out at government officials for displaying government flags at a traditional ceremony. Some of the flags had Mchunu’s face on them. He also demanded that the government cease organising royal events.

In June the king disapproved of Mchunu’s appointment of former IFP Youth Brigade president Thulasizwe Buthelezi as the chairman of the Royal Household Trust Board. Mchunu was forced to replace Buthelezi with Professor Sihawu Ngubane, the head of African languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mchunu’s spokesman, Sibusiso Magwaza, said assuming that Mchunu was not on good terms with the king was “innuendo”, and that the relationship between the two “is neither here nor there”.

“If that relationship is not very good or cordial, then we don’t know what type of a relationship we are talking about,” he said.

King’s controversial comments

January 2012: The king is quoted in the media as reportedly saying that ‘traditionally, there were no people who engaged in same-sex relationships’ and that people who did so were “rotten”.

The reports were strongly denied by the king’s spokesman who blamed the media for “reckless translation”.

July 2014: The king says he will launch a land claim for all the land in KZN and in other provinces that was in Zulu hands in 1838. When criticised, he said: “This land was not taken from the trusts, which are now popular in the country, but was taken from traditional leaders, and your fathers and mothers who were murdered.”

March 2015: The king made a speech in Pongola where he said: “We request that all foreigners should take their baggage and be sent back.” An upsurge of xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal followed which some attributed to the speech. The SA Human Rights Commission has ruled that the speech did not incite violence but was ‘hurtful and harmful’ to foreigners and recommended that the king make a public apology.

April 2015: During the xenophobic violence, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba called for leaders not to make inflammatory comments. In response, the king said political leaders, in an apparent reference to Gigaba, should not get carried away with their five years in political power and think they were “demigods”.

The Mercury


From IOL –

Korana, Griqua, San, Cape Koi and Nama – The officially recognised ‘Bushmen’ tribes

Coloured community to learn their history

2015-11-12 06:00

THE coloured community of Port Shepstone has something exciting and interesting to look forward to this month.

Saturday, 21 November has been set aside for two paramount chiefs and the prince from the Kei Korana Royal House to visit Merlewood Primary to educate the coloured community about their history.

“For many years, coloured people have always felt as though they have no heritage and history, but we want to inform them that they do have an identity,” said chief André de Bruin of Durban.

He said coloureds have culture, land and a king and that will be discussed during the visit.

“We have documents and references to back up what we tell people,” he said.

De Bruin added that it was unfortunate there wasn’t enough literature in libraries about coloured people.

He said that South African government officially recognises five tribes – Korana, Griqua, San, Cape Koi and Nama.

The delegation that will visit Merlewood are from the Koi and San tribe as history dictates that this was the first tribe to visit KwaZulu-Natal.

“They were saddle bearers … we want to revive this lost nation,” he said.

“The Western Cape has been successful with this and we want to do the same in KwaZulu-Natal,” said De Bruin.

“We appeal to the coloured population of Port Shepstone to come and find out where they came from,” he said.


From News24

IRONS, Theophilus

IRONS, Theophilus

Born c.1829, St Alban’s, Hertfordshire, England. Died 11.09.1895, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State.

Clerk, farmer, hotel proprietor/manager.

1829c. b. in St Albans, England. (IGI). Son of William Irons of ?Boltons Farm, near 1829.02.15 Baptised in Dagnall Lane, Wesleyan Church, Saint Albans, Hertford, England.

1849.05.09 “… do not forget to take a good stout umbrella, the rains in Natal are very

1849.05.13 On the eve of his departure his brother wrote giving him a lecture on the task he

Potter’s Bar, five miles from Barnet in Herefordshire. (S. Sturge to Ralph

Clarence* 02.05.1849 in IP). His mother’s maiden name was Loveluck, Sarah.


Parents William and Sarah Irons. (IGI). His father was Land Steward to the Earl

of Verulam. (Park.p.258, note). St Albans was built on the ruins of the Roman

City Verulamium. (Ibid p.247). Brother of William Josiah Irons* who initiated the

Wesleyan-orientated co-operative scheme known as The Christian Emigration and

Colonization Society under which about 400 settlers came to Natal. The bulk of

these were shipped and provided with land under arrangement with Byrne & Co.

They were settled as a group on the Natal North Coast at Verulam, named after

the Earl of Verulam who initially was patron of the scheme. (SO’BS all vols).

Theophilus was used to farming and to a certain amount of practice in handicraft

pursuits. (S.Sturge as above). He was sent by his brother to Natal ahead of the

settlers to prepare the way for them. (BMS). He sailed on the John Gibson. (Hatt.

p.126). Before he left, and at regular intervals after that, his brother plied him with

advice and guidance. (BMS)

different to ours… do not buy a poor week thing got up for sale, but buy a good

old fashioned with strength and size about it, never mind the appearance, study

comfort”. (WJI to TI in IP)

was about to undertake and also instructions, including the injunction to keep a

diary of everything that happened on board. (Ibid.)

1849.05.18 Left London on the 269 ton brig John Gibson, Capt. D. Halllady. (NW 26.10.18)

1849.06.25 Letter telling him how the plans for the emigration scheme are going. The Earl of

1849.09.00 Communication to say he had called a public meeting at his hotel in London. J.C.

Verulam, his landlord, has kindly promised to call on the Emigration

Commissioners and see if he could obtain special terms for the Society. (WJI to

TI in IP)

Byrne had attended and suggested they should work in with him. An agreement

with Byrne had been signed. Among other injunctions urges Theophilus to

endeavour to foster beauty and correct architectural designs so that Verulam may

be the model settlement of Natal. (Ibid.)

1849.10.00 A party of 48 has just left and he thinks things are moving satisfactorily. The Earl

1849.10.20 The barque King William, Capt Avery, tonnage 463, sailed for Natal from London

1849.10.22 John Gibson arrived at Port Natal with 36 men, women and children on board.

1849.10.27 Moreland [Moreland, John Swales*] asked by J.C. Byrne to find employment for

1849.12.07 Wrote to Moreland – letter dated 7 December, 1850 [sic], received 7 January

of Verulam, however, has withdrawn his patronage and has requested his name to

be discontinued. This at the time that the prospectus was issued. Appeals to

Theophilus to do all in his power to make life comfortable for the women, as the

success or failure of a colony depends on its being attractive to them. (Ibid.)

via Plymouth with 153 emigrants on board. This was the first of Byrne & Co’s

ships to bring Wesleyan’s as a group separate from the other emigrants. They

were sent out by W.J. Irons under his Christian Emigration & Colonization

Society, they settled in due course at Verulam. Byrne provided a “sumptuous

dinner” at the Royal Hotel, Weymouth, for his people. In contrast W.J. Irons gave

a farewell tea-party for his emigrants at Radley’s Hotel, no doubt a temperance

one, in London. Irons also boarded the ship at Plymouth and settled a few

troubles. There is a separate list of Wesleyans numbering 53 men, women and

children, (Clark pp.209, 220–223)

(NW 26.10.18). Included on the passenger list was Irons, Theophilus, aged 24,

clerk. (NW 02.11.49)

Theophilus Irons either in helping with surveys or as a clerk. (Byrne to Moreland

in MP). Under W.J. Irons’ agreement with Byrne Theophilus Irons was

guaranteed employment in Natal as a surveyor (Hatt. p.128)

1850 – saying the arrival of the emigrants may be shortly expected, wants to

know when it will be convenient for Moreland to proceed with him to the lands

intended for these emigrants, as it will be of vital importance that the lands should

be ready for selection immediately they arrive. Address letter c/o E. Griffiths

[Griffiths, E.P.J.*] Esq., Dbn. (Irons to Moreland in Moreland’s immigrants’

correspondence book. MP)

1850.01.23 The King William arrived at Port Natal. (Clark p.221)

1850.05.23 Mr Irons paid us a visit today [at Verulam], sent a letter to the Bay with him.

1854c. Travelled with Lionel Deveraux*. It is possibly at this time that he reached as far

1854.02.23 Boers took over the Orange Free State on the signing of the Bloemfontein

1858.01.24 Writes asking for a farm at the foot of the Drakensberg. Has been in Harrismith

(Todd [Todd, William*])

north as the Zambezi river prospecting and big game hunting on the way. (FTI).

Deveraux d. in Natal in 1862. (SO’BS vol.5, p.106)

Convention. (Thompson)

for several years and has intended ever since Boers took over to go to Natal.

(SGO/5/20 no.888)

1859.12.31 Granted farm Waterkloof 3 079 acres. (SGO III/12/1 p.98). To a piece of land

1860.02. 07 Deeds of farm Waterkloof sent by post to Ladysmith as requested verbally by

1861.03.13 Waterkloof (3079 acres) transferred from grantee to Marthinus Wm de Jager. The

1862.05.02 The trustee of the insolvent estate of John Green [Green, John b.c.1827*], canteen

containing 3079 acres named Waterkloof, Ward 5 [Klip River County]. Bounded

on the North by Crown Land, North East by Sand Spruit, South by Berg Spruit

and West by Wilkin [?Wilkin, James*]. Annual Quit Rent payable on 31st

December in each year. Amount £3.4.2. First payment to be made December 31st,

1860. (SGO III/11/12 Folio 62)

grantee. (SGO III/12/1 p.98)

transfer did not seem to happen as Irons continued to pay Quit Rent until 3rd

March 1886. (SGO III/11/12 Folio 62)

keeper Pietermaritzburg, stated that Theophilus Irons who is now in town, has

some property belonging to Green’s estate and he believes Irons can, if compelled

by the court, give valuable information on the missing property of the late John

Green and also the trade dealings of Green. (RSC I/8/5 no.370)

1862.05.06 Ordered that Irons be brought before the Master. (Ibid.)

1863.11.24 Presumably he was the Capt Irones [sic.], presumably the commanding officer of

1864.07.12 Married at Harrismith by the Revd D. McMillan, M. [sic] Theophilus Irons to

a Mounted Corps at Harrismith, who had induced Sgt Currie [Curry, George*] of

the Cape Mounted Rifles in Natal to visit Harrismith – the corps had about 30

members. (NM 24.11.63 in English vol.3, pp.37–8) This was to assist the corps

with a few weeks’ drill. (SO’BS, vol.5, p.54)

Miss Ellen Spilsbury. (NM 00.07.64). Dau. of H. Spilsbury*. (SO’BS). Irons was

proprietor of the Oaks Hotel, Harrismith. (Brink). He is said to have run an hotel

in Harrismith, possibly Spilsbury’s Hotel. (v.d.B.)

1865.11.16 On 16 Nov. the wife of Theophilus Irons, of Harrismith, a son. (NM 00.12.65)

1865–68 Field-Cornet, Harrismith, during the Basuto War. (Brink)

1869.02.00 M. Wessels, W.A. van Aardt and Irons drew up municipal regulations for

1870.00.00 Had a hotel in Harrismith. (HD 19.03.70).

1872.07.26 Ellen Irons b. Spilsbury (our daughter) d. aged 24. (Tomb HMC). When Ellen d.

Harrismith, but nothing further eventuated at that stage. (Steytler p.106)

Irons deserted his family of four children. They were brought up by relatives. (DI

via EMG). After the death of his wife Irons, overwhelmed with the responsibility

of raising four young children, placed them in the families of various Dutch

friends and left Harrismith. Their Spilsbury grandmother gathered them up and

raised them on the family farm. (Brink). At a date not known Theophilus settled

in Bloemfontein. The daughters [of the first marriage] went to him there,

attending school, probably as boarders, in a local Catholic convent school. When

their education was complete they returned to Harrismith, where their brother was

told to care for them by a relative who set them up in a house. (DI via EMG).

Theophilus resettled in Bloemfontein and when his two elder daughters were

older, Grandma Spilsbury arranged for them to be sent by post cart to him. He

sent them to the Bloemfontein Convent where they boarded and were educated.

On the completion of their schooling, ‘the two young golden-haired ladies

returned home to the Spilsburys’. Grandfather Spilsbury purchased, for Frank, a

small house on the market square in Harrismith and told him, ‘There is your

house, take care of your sisters and look after them. (Brink)

1881.01.18 Married Mary Ann Walsh. (SHI). Bloemfontein. (Brink)

1895.09.11 Died in Bloemfontein. (Ibid)

1994.12.07 The Revd S.H. Irons has in his possession the cavalry sword which possibly

belonged to Theophilus in his Harrismith days. (SHI)


First marriage

Frank Theophilus (Born 16 Nov.1865, Harrismith. Died 27 July 1943, Umfolozi, Zululand)

1865.11.16 The wife of Theophilus Irons, of Harrismith, a son. (NM 00.12.1865)

1891.11.16 m. Isobel [sic] Kaighen [sic]. (SHI). m. Isabella Margaret Kaighin in Harrismith,

1899.10.04 Will made in Winburg where they were living. (Ibid)

1943.07.27 d. aged 78yrs 8mths at Umfolozi, Zululand. Retired and living at Doonside. (Ibid)

1943.08.05 Death Notice of F.T. Irons signed at Winkelspruit by his widow. (Ibid)

1946.10.13 Isabella Margaret Irons, b. in Ramsey, Isle of Man – a Manx national – d. aged 82

no date given. (MSCE 37465/1943)

at Parklands Nursing Home, Overport, Dbn. Place of residence Alpha House, 184

Musgrave Road, Dbn. Death Notice signed by son H.S. [Henry Spilsbury] Irons

who was not present at time of death. (MSCE 1981/46)

Sarah (Born c.1867, Harrismith. Died 16 February 1911. Brandfort, OFS)

1867c. b. Date estimated. (BMS). Harrismith. (Brink)

18––––––– m.1.) David Martin. (Ibid)

18––––––– m.2.) James Sorrie. (SHI)

1911.02.16 d. Brandfort. (Brink)

Lucy (Born c.1869, Harrismith. Died –––––)

1869c. b. Date estimated. (BMS). Harrismith. Brink)

18––––––– m. Christopher Stantial Chatterton, son of Henry Chatterton*. (CH-T))

Ellen (Born July 1872, Harrismith. Died 16 October, 1904)

1872.07.00 b. Harrismith some two weeks before her mother d. (Brink)

1904.10.16 E.L.H. (Nellie) Irons d. aged 32 years (our granddaughter). (Tomb [Spilsbury

plot] HMC). Unmarried. (Brink)

Second marriage

Lionel (Born 10 December 1884, ?Bloemfontein. Died –––––)

1884.12.10 b. (SHI). ?Bloemfontein. (BMS)

1904.00.00 m. Mona O’Connell. (SHI)

Edmond (Born 13 May 1886, ?Bloemfontein. Died–––––)

1886.05.13 b. (SHI). ?Bloemfontein. (BMS)

19––––––– m. Winnifred–––––. (SHI)

Ada Frances (Born 28 August 1888, Bloemfontein. Died 15 May1969, Mtubatuba, Zululand)

1884.04.10 Future husband William Alexander Liddell b. Harrismith. (MSCE 3306/1971)

1888.08.28 Ada Frances b. Bloemfontein. (MSCE 2157/69)

1910.09.28 m. W. A. Liddell in Winburg, OFS. (MSCE 3306/1971)

1961.07.31 Signed will. Place of residence Harrismith. (MSCE 2157/69)

1969.05.15 d. in Matubatuba, lived in Amanzintoti (Ibid)

1971.08.21 W. Liddell d. in Nongoma, Zululand, was living at Inyalazi River, Zululand, at

time of death. Father was Robert Jesse Liddell and mother Anna Margaretha

Aletta b. Cadle. (MSCE 3306/1971). He was the 10th child of R.J. Liddell (1842-

1901) and A.M.A. Cadle (1850-1933). (F.M. Williams in Familia vol.8, no.3,

1971. pp.7-13. The descendants of Joseph Plaskett Liddell in South Africa)

Oswald Irons (Born 10 March 1890, ?Bloemfontein. Died–––––)

1890.03.10 b. (SHI). ?Bloemfontein. (BMS)

19––––––– m. Ethel–––––. (SHI)

Gertie (Born 28 July 1892, ?Bloemfontein. Died–––––)

1892.07.28 b. (SHI). ?Bloemfontein (BMS)

19–––––––– m. –––––Wheeler. (SHI)


* After a name indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry

in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.

**IGI – International Genealogical Index. (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)


Books and Directories

Clark – Clark, Dr John. Natal Settler-Agent. The career of John Moreland agent for the Byrne-

emigration-scheme of 1849–51. Cape Town: Balkema, 1972.

Hatt. – Hattersley, A.F. The British settlement of Natal. A study in imperial migration.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950.

SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British Settlers in Natal, 1824–1857 a biographical

register. vol. 1–. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1981–.

Steytler, F.A. Die geskiedenis van Harrismith. Bloemfontein: NPB, 1932.

Thompson, Leonard. A history of South Africa. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2006.


HMC – Harrismith Municipal Cemetery.

Manuscript Sources

English – English, Dr B.D. The story of the Royal D’Urban Rangers. Typescript, 1954.

FTI – F.T.Irons to Cyril Eyre 23.03.1936 in Don Africana Library, Durban.

HD – Hathorn, Fergus Alexander. Diary in private ownership.

IP – Iron Papers in Natal Society Collections, Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives. UKZN,


MP – Moreland Papers in Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository.

Todd – Todd, William. Diary, 1849–1851 in Killie Campbell Library, Durban.


NM – Natal Mercury

NW – Natal Witness

Personal Communication

BMS – Spencer, Brian Mitchell

Brink – Brink, Gail (Spilsbury descendant)

CH-T – Hilton-Taylor, Craig

DI – Irons, Daavid (eldest grandson of Frank Theophilus)

EMG – Gilbert, Mrs E.M.

FTI – Irons, Frank Theophilus (son of Theophilus)

SHI – Irons, Stanley Harold (grandson of Frank Theophilus)

SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne

v.d.B. – van den Bosch, L.W.P.


Park – Park, Margaret Grant. The history of early Verulam in Archives year book for South

African history, vol. 2. Elsies River: Government Printer, 1953.

Unpublished Official Sources

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court. Estates

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court

SGO – Surveyor General’s Office

Compiled from Shelagh O’Byrne Spencer’s records of the British Settlers of Natal 1824–1857

Worrying news from KZN Archives

KZN’s historical records at risk

May 15 2015 at 02:53pm

Durban – KwaZulu-Natal’s archives are bursting at the seams and poorly protected, putting precious historical documents at risk and making it hard to access legal records.

Arts and Culture MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha disclosed this in tabling her department’s R783 million budget for 2015/16 on Thursday.

Sibhidla-Saphetha said all three archives were full to capacity, and another was no longer suitable for safe preservation of records.

“The Ulundi archive repository is housed in an old administrative block of a closed and derelict school, with no adequate fire control,” she said.

The Durban archive, Sibhidla-Saphetha said, was in a rented facility and “surround-ed by unsafe buildings in a run-down part of town”, while the Pietermaritzburg archive was bursting at the seams.

“Precious records pertaining to our history since 1995 have no space for safekeeping. This implies that our heritage for the past two decades is at risk,” Sibhidla-Saphetha said.

“The situation is so dire that even records of court proceedings are inaccessible to judges,” she added.

Despite the sad state of affairs at the province’s archives, there is a budget allocation for revamping of the archives in this financial year.

“The department will continue to source funding to build a new provincial, state-of-the-art archive repository to ensure that our priceless heritage records are not housed in rented, hazardous and an inaccessible environment,” Sibhidla-Saphetha said.

She said R113m in the department’s budget had been allocated for administration, R198m on cultural affairs and R471m for libraries and archives.

But, ANC acting chief whip Nontembeko Boyce said the construction of the provincial archive should be prioritised in the next three-year financial cycle.

“If need be, we must as patriotic legislators request Treasury to intervene and consider tapping into the emergency reserve fund,” Boyce said.

Sibhidla-Saphetha further said the department was in the process of fencing off the unmarked graves found in Dududu on the South Coast.

She said officials would examine the records of prisoners who had been sent to the Glenroy farm decades ago.

“We are working with the Department of Correctional Services to access their archives and to begin this research,” she said.

Sibhidla-Saphetha also said an undefined amount had been set aside for the review of 100 geographical names identified though a consultative process.

“These names were submitted the South African Geographical Names Council for consideration by the national minister of arts and culture.”

Reacting to the budget, the EFF’s Vusi Khoza complained about libraries that were still full of irrelevant material produced by descendants of foreigners and colonisers.

“It’s about time our libraries were stocked with material produced and developed by indigenous black Africans,” he said, adding that an old government shed should be converted into a museum to house colonial statues.

While Sibhidla-Saphetha made no mention on the controversial removal of colonial statues, the DA’s George Mari said: “A policy must be devised to deal with this situation so that our history and heritage can be preserved for future generations.”

Daily News

Spilsbury, Henry


Born 9 Sep. 1822, Clifford Chambers, Warwickshire. Died 8 June 1912, Durban.

Wheelwright, wagon-maker, farmer.

1822.09.09      b. (v.d.B.). b. Clifford Chambers, Staffs. [sic], son of Thomas Spilsbury. (MSCE 46/32). Mother’s maiden name Elizabeth Wheeler. (Brink). He had six brothers and one sister. (v.d.B.). Was brought up in the trades of wheelwright and wagon-maker. (NCA 17.11.54)

1823.06.29      bap. (v.d.B.)

1847.03.01      m. Elizabeth at Cheltenham, [Gloucs.]. (MSCE 46/32). Wife’s maiden name Chandler. (v.d.B.)

1848c.             dau. Ellen b. Date estimated from age given at time of burial. (HMBR)

1849.07.15      son Wilson b. (Tomb. HMC). b.  Gloucs. (CSO 2286)

1850.01.00      Arrived at Natal on the King William, aged 28, with wife Eliza [sic], aged 30, and an infant.  Infant’s name Helen [sic]. (EI 64). Of  Clifford Chambers, Worcs. [sic], arrived with wife Elizabeth (née Chandler) of Cheltenham on the King William with two children. (v.d.B.). Came on the King William from Stratford-on-Avon, Warks., with wife Elizabeth from Cheltenham, Gloucs., and two children Ellen and Wilson. (PP via Edwards)

1850.01.23      The King William anchored off Port Natal. (NW 01.02.50)

1851.09.00      Son Wilson bap., father a joiner. (R. St P., Dbn)

1852.00.00      Commissioned to make a wagon tramline for Mr Godden’s [Godden, Richard*] quarry on the Bluff**.  (Brink)

1852.03.00      Dau. Leah b. (R. Wes., Dbn)

1852.03.12      Unclaimed letter at GPO Dbn. (NT 12.03.52)

1854.04.00      Dau. Elizabeth b. (R. Wes., Dbn).

1854.04.20      Spilbury [sic], a girl. (JC)

1854.06.00      Wheelwright and wagon-maker, Dbn. (RSC IV/7/17  no. 348)

1854.08.15      Wagon-maker, Dbn, owner. (NGG 15.08.54)

1854.11.02      Wheelwright and wagon-builder, West St, Dbn. (NCA 17.11.54)

1856.04.00      Dau. Mary Ann b. (R. Wes., Dbn)

1856.07 –        Dau. Ellen, aged 6½, attended  Dbn Government School from July – Dec. 1856. (CSO 55 no. 145)

1856.11.25      With other Dbn residents signed a petition complaining about Roman-Dutch Law. (Ibid 2245 no. D512)

1858.01 –        Son Wilson, aged 8, attended Dbn Government School from Jan. – July 1858. (Ibid 105 no. 531)

1859.01.03      Wheelwright, Dbn, applied for emigration for Spilsbury, Samuel, aged 23, wheelwright of Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, Eng., Hannah, aged 22, and two children. (EI vol.1, p.253)

1859.05.00      Son Arthur William bap., aged 4 months. (R. Wes., Dbn)

1859.10.00      Of Dbn, stood surety for the passage money of Samuel Spilsbury, 23,

wheelwright, from Stratford-on-Avon. He was accompanied by Hannah, 22, Alice 2 and an infant. They came on the Rydal ***. (EI 65, Akitt Lists)

1859.12.24      Son Arthur William b., Dbn. (v.d.B.) [Should the date of b. be 24.12,1858? BMS]

1860.08.00      Wheelwright, Dbn, owner, on 1860-61 Victoria County jury list. (NM 00.08.60)

1863.10.21      Stated in an affidavit that on 24.07.63 he contracted, at Harrismith, with Duncan C.F Moodie [son of Donald Moodie*] of Natal to hire to him a tent wagon for a planned excursion into the interior. Hire fee £7 per month. On completion of the excursion the wagon to be returned to Spilsbury at Harrismith without entering Natal. After being away 2½ months Moodie returned and paid for the wagon hire plus £2.10s. towards the hire of a buck wagon taken by Edward Moodie at the same time. Spilsbury says he and Moodie were negotiating for the sale of the tent wagon but, before the sale was completed Moodie surreptitiously and clandestinely left Harrismith in the wagon for Natal. Spilsbury fears Moodie intends leaving Natal. Spilsbury said he was a wagon-maker by trade and had been for 14 years a resident of Durban. For the last six months he had been conducting business in Harrismith. The court ordered the wagon to be attached.  (RSC I/8/10  no 803)

1864.07.12      Dau. Ellen and Theophilus Irons* m. by the Revd D. McMillan, at Harrismith. (NM  00.07.64)

1872.07.26      Eldest child Helen or Ellen d. She was m. to Theophilus Irons, he is said to have run an hotel in Harrismith, possibly Spilsbury’s Hotel. (v.d.B.) Ellen Irons b. Spilsbury d. aged 24 (our daughter). (Tomb HMC). When Ellen d. Irons deserted his family of four children. ( Irons)

1873                A trustee of the Harrismith Wesleyan Church. (Steytler p. 124)

1875.10.00      Elected to Harrismith’s first Town Council. (Ibid. p.108)

1878.07.04      Wilson, eldest son of Mr Spilsbury of Harrismith and Grace Annie, second dau. of Mr C. Shaw [Shaw, Charles ex Sovereign*] of Balmain, near Verulam, were m. in the Wesleyan Church, Verulam. (NM 11.07.78)

1880.00.00      Dau. Elizabeth m. Henry, son of James Welch*. (MOT )

1881.12.27      Dau. Mary Ann m. Thomas Oliver Putterill [son of James Putterill*], widower, at Harrismith. (MSCE 47/61)

1912.06.08      Died aged 90 at 93 First Ave, Durban, a gentleman. (DGRD). Died aged 90 of senile decay. (HMBR). Died in his ninetieth year. (Tomb HMC). Born at Clifford Chambers, Staffs [sic], son of Thomas, d. aged 90yrs 9mths in Durban, was of Harrismith, wagon-maker, gentleman, m. Elizabeth at Cheltenham 01.03.1847. Surviving children Wilson of Harrismith, Leah Oats of Natal Govt Asylum, Pmb., Elizabeth Welch of Harrismith, Mary Ann Putterill of Harrismith and Arthur William of Harrismith. Son Wilson Spilsbury, a retired farmer, signed the death notice. Estate worth about £20 000. Widow Elizabeth (née Chandler) of Dbn declined being executor as given in will. (MSCE 46/32). According to family tradition Henry Spilsbury put down the first railway line between the Point and Durban. The Spilsbury’s were Anglicans, but there was no Anglican Church in Harrismith when they first arrived so they became Wesleyans and he paid half the cost of the building of the old [Wesleyan] church in Harrismith. He, James Putterill and McKechnie [ McKechnie, Neil*] invested in erven  and owned most of the town at one stage. He bought a large farm and named it Clifford after his home in England. He was a trustee of the first Methodist Church in Harrismith.  (PP via Edwards)

1913.12.19      Elizabeth, relict of the late Henry Spilsbury, d. aged 94yrs at 93 First Ave, Dbn. (DGRD). Died aged 94 of senile decay. (HMBR) Elizabeth Spilsbury (b. Chandler) who died aged 94. (Tomb HMC)



Ellen (b. 1848c., Eng. – 26.07.1872, Harrismith)

1848c.             b. Date estimated from age given at time of burial. (HMBR)

1850.01.00      Arrived at Natal on the King William with parents. (EI 64)

1850.01.23      King William anchored off Port Natal. (NW 01.02.50)

1864.07.12      m. to Theophilus Irons by the Revd D. McMillan at Harrismith. NW 00.07.64)

1872.07.26      Ellen Irons (b, Spilsbury) d. aged 24. (Tomb HMC).

Wilson (b. 15.07.1849, Glous., Eng. –  05.12.1937, Harrismith)

1849.07.15      b. (Tomb HMC). Glous., Eng. (CSO 2286)

1849.08.18      b. Yorks [sic.]. (v.d.B.)

!850.01.00       Arrived at Natal on the King William with parents and sister Ellen. (PP via Edwards)

1851.09.00      bap., son of Henry and Elizabeth, father a joiner. (R. St P, Dbn)

1878.06.18      Wilson Spilsbury, 21 and upwards, and Grace Annie Shaw, 19, dau. of Charles and Ann Elizabeth Shaw took out licence to marry. Licence taken out at Verulam. (CSO 2286)

1878.07.00      Wilson Spilsbury, 28, Transport agent, Harrismith m. Grace Annie Shaw, 19, of Verulam. (R. Wes., Verulam)

1878.07.04.     m. at the Wesleyan Chapel, Verulam, Wilson, eldest son of Mr Spilsbury of Harrismith, to Grace Annie, second dau. of Mr C. Shaw of Balmain near Verulam. (NM 11.07.78, NW 13.07.78)

1880.05.07      Percy Shaw Spilsbury, son of Wilson and Grace d. (Tomb HMC)

1922.06.14      Grace Anne Spilsbury d. aged 63yrs and 8mths. (Tomb HMC). Died aged 62yrs and 7mths. (HMBR)

1937.12.05      Wilson Spilsbury d. (Tomb HMC). Died aged 88. (HMBR). Died at Harrismith. (v.d.B.)

Leah (b. 00.03.1852, Dbn – 14.05.1913, Pmb.)

1852.03.00      b. Dbn. (R. Wes. Dbn)

1852.06.00      bap. (R.Wes. Dbn)

1872.06.25      Marriage of T. Oates Esq [son of W.E. Oates*] to Leah second dau. of H. Spilsbury Esq, at Harrisnith, OFS, by the Revd D. Macmillan. (NW 12.07.72)

1873.00.00      T. Oates was a trustee of the Harrismith Wesleyan Church. (Steytler p.124)

1876.08.07      Thomas Oates, carrier, Harrismith, renter.  (NGG, Klip River County, Ward 5. Voter’s Roll)

1913.05.00      Leah Oates d. aged 59yrs and 6mths. (PGRD)

1913.05.14      Leah Oates d. at Pmb aged 61yrs, wife of T. Oates. (NW 16.05.1913). d. aged 61yrs and 2mths at Natal Government Asylum, Pmb., of Harrismith. (MSCE 49/240). Leah, wife of Thomas Oates, d. aged 61. (Tomb CRC)

1919.12.03      Thomas Oates d. at Mooi River, aged 74yrs, of Nelson’s Kop, Harrismith,. (NW 06.12.1919). Thomas Oates d. aged 74. (Tomb CRC)

Elizabeth (b. 20.04.1854, Dbn – 30.05.1939, Harrismith)

1854.04.00      b. Dbn. (R. Wes. Dbn)

1854.04.20      Spilbury [sic], a girl. (JC)

1854.08.00      bap. (R. Wes. Dbn)

1880                m. Henry Welch, son of James Welch*. (MOT p.581)

1911.06.05      In loving memory of our dear husband and father Henry Welch who d. aged 65 years. (Tomb HMC)

1911.06.06      Henry Welch, aged 60, d. of cancer. (HMBR). Henry Welch d. at Harrismith aged 65yrs. He was born in Natal [Dbn] and went to Harrismith in1863. For many years he carried on a successful milling business, but latterly had been engaged in farming. He left a widow and two sons; Mr Harold Welch who was Resident Magistrate at Frankfurt and Mr Arthur Welch who had managed his father’s farm for some time past. (NW  20.07.1911)

1939.05.30      Elizabeth Welch d. aged 85. (HMBR)

1939.05.31      In loving memory of Elizabeth Welch, b. Spilsbury, who d, aged 84. (Tomb. HMC)

Mary Ann (17.04.1856, Dbn – 31.03.1941, Harrismith)

1856.04.00      b. (R. Wes. Dbn)

1856.04.17      b. (Tomb HMC)

1856.06.00      bap. (R. Wes. Dbn)

1881.12.27      m. Thomas Oliver Putterill at Harrismith. (MSCE 47/61)

1912.07.31      Thomas Oliver Putterill, farmer, d. aged 64 at Beauchief Abbey, Harrismith. (Ibid.)

1941.03.31      Mary Ann Putterill (b. Spilsbury) d. (Tomb HMC). d. aged 85. (HMBR)



Arthur William (24.12.1859, Dbn – 10.10.1927, Harrismith)

1859.05.00     bap. aged 4mths. (R. Wes. Dbn).

1859.12.24      b. (Tomb HMC). b. in Dbn. (v.d.B.)  [Should date of b. be 24.12.1858? BMS]

1927.10.10      d. (HMBR, Tomb HMC). Late in life he m. Elizabeth Hannah Poskitt, sister of George Poskitt who before the Anglo-Boer War conducted a private school in Harrismith. (v.d.B.). Mr A.W. Spilsbury, of Wattlegrove, near Harrismith, is a well-known and successful farmer, and has his extensive farm of 3 400 acres fenced and divided into paddocks, which effectually preserves his large herds from contact with infected cattle. In his early days he was, like many a successful agriculturalist, a transport rider, and as far back as 1879 he used to undertake the long, weary journey from Durban to Pretoria. There were difficulties in those rough times, crossing the snow-crowned passes of the Drakensberg and the long stretches of the Transvaal tableland. It was a life to inure a man to hard work, and to give him a unique knowledge of cattle. This Mr Spilsbury has turned to good account, and he now possesses a splendid herd of 750 Australian shorthorns, mixed with Afrikander cattle, which are said by many breeders to be the best suited to the country. In addition to this he has 190 thoroughbred Persian sheep and 80 Berkshire pigs.

At one time South Africa was noted for its horses, and an attempt is being made to revive that industry. Mr Spilsbury has 20 mares with a purebred stallion, and is directing his efforts to producing horses suitable for remounts. Poultry is another sphere of action, and he glories in his Leghorn and English Game varieties. As a fruit district this is hard to beat, and large orchards containing every description of fruit-trees are to be seen on the farm. A tremendous quantity of cream is produced and this is sent to the Natal Central Creamery. It is found in practice that it is advisable to send cattle down to the low veld in winter, and Mr Spilsbury has a farm in Natal which he uses for that purpose. (TCI pp 87, 88)

1930.03.10      Spilsbury, (née Poskit[sic]) Elizabeth Hannah, d. aged 66yrs, b. Eng., of Harrismith, bur. Harrismith. (PTGRD). Spilsbury, Elizabeth Hannah d. aged 66. (HMBR). Annie Spilsbury, wife of Arthur William Spilsbury, d. aged 66. (HMC)



* After a surname indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for

an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.

**John Milne* was engaged by the Government as Resident Engineer. Part of his brief was to

design and execute a plan for the eradication of the Bar at the harbour entrance. To achieve this

he advised the construction of a 2 000-foot-long north pier. [William] Campbell* was awarded

the contract for this work. Richard Godden was associated with him in this undertaking. The

stone blocks for the breakwater were quarried on the Bluff, and had to be transported about a

mile along the shore to where they were loaded on to boats to cross the Bay. To assist with the

overland haul Campbell built a rail track of milkwood branches along which wooden trucks were

pulled by oxen. (S.O’B.S vol. 4. Pp 27, 28)

***The Rydal arrived at Port Natal on 21.10.1859, having sailed from Liverpool on 28.07.59. (EI

73/74 via Dickson). In 1871 Spilsbury had an hotel in Harrismith, apparently it was

short lived. (Steytler p.111). The Spilsbury Hotel was established by Samuel Spilsbury,

brother of Henry Spilsbury. (Brink). In December 1877 Spilsbury’s Hotel was bought for £2 000

by the Anglican Church. (Steytler p. 134). In February 1878 St Michael’s Home for Young

Ladies was opened by the Bishop of Bloemfontein in what had been Spilsbury’s Hotel. The

school remained in existence until 1903. Ibid. p. 134). This institution played a great part in the

educational, musical and church life of the town. It was conducted by the Community of St

Michael and All Angels, Bloemfontein. (Hawkins p. 82)



Books and Directories

Hawkins – Hawkins, E.B. The story of Harrismith 1849-1920. Ladysmith: Westcott Printing Co.,


MOT – Men of the times. Johannesburg: Transvaal Publishing Co., 1906.

SO’BS – Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British settlers in Natal, 1824 – 1857a biographical

Register, Vol. 4. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1987.

Steytler, F.A.  Die geskiedenis.van Harrismith. Bloemfontein: NPB, 1932.

TCI – Twentieth century impressions of Orange River Colony and Natal: their history, people,

commerce, industries, and resources. [Durban]: Lloyds, 1906.


CRC – Commercial Road Cemetery, Pietermaritzburg.

HMC – Harrismith Municipal Cemetery.

Church Registers

  1. St P., Dbn – Register, St Paul’s Church, Durban. Anglican
  2. Wes., Dbn – Register, Methodist Church, Durban.
  3. Wes., Verulam – Register, Methodist Church, Verulam.

Manuscript Sources

JC – Mr Johnston’s [Johnston, Dr Charles**] confinement book, 1854.

PP – Putterill papers. (Held in Killie Campbell Library).


NCANatal Commercial Advertiser

NMNatal Mercury

NTNatal Times

NWNatal Witness

Personal Communication

BMS – Spencer, Brian Mitchell.

Brink – Brink, Gail. (Putterill descendant)

Dickson – Dickson, John.

Edwards – Edwards, Cpt Ian. (Deceased)

Irons – Irons, David.

v.d.B. – van den Bosch, L.W.P. (Grandson of Wilson Spilsbury)


Akitt Lists – Akitt, H. Government assisted immigration to Natal, 1857-1862. Thesis,

MA(Natal), 1953.

Unpublished Official Papers (Mostly held in Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository)

CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office

DGRD – Durban Government Register. Deaths

EI – European Immigration

HMBR – Harrismith Municipal Burial Register

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court. Estates

NGG – Natal Government Gazette

PGRD – Pietermaritzburg Government Register. Deaths

PTGRD – Pinetown Government Register. Deaths

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court


2 476 words

Compiled from Shelagh O’Byrne Spencer’s records of the British Settlers of Natal 1824-1857

James Wray

WRAY, James

Born 3 February 1822, Sandal Magna, Yorkshire. Died 3 February 1886, Lydenburg, Transvaal.

Farmer, joiner and builder, sawyer, wheelwright.

1822.02.03      Born and baptized at Sandal Magna, Yorks. (Moss). His parents were William Wray and Hannah Laud/Land. William’s parents were George Wray and Susannah Saxton. His siblings were John, Joseph and William. (Moss)

1845.05.25      Married at Silkston, Yorks., Amelia France, dau. of William France. William had a sister Amelia who was married to a John Gibson. (Ib.)

1846.02.00      Son William b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1847.11.00      Son Walter b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1850.07.31      Sailed from London on the barque Emily with wife Amelia and two sons William and Walter. (Clark, pp. 209 & 255)

1850.10.10      The Emily arrived at Port Natal after a “fast passage of 77 days for which the passengers were grateful as the old hull was swarming with rats”. Allocated 60 acres. (Ib., pp. 253 & 255). A wheelwright, came at the age of 27 with Amelia 23, William 4 and Walton [sic] 2. (MP vol.21). [Moreland Papers – Moreland, John Swales* was Byrne’s agent in Natal]. Was allocated Lot 6 (60 acres) of Little Harmony, Illovo, and 1 Block F, Richmond. (MP vol 21)

1850.10.18      Jas. Wray and family included on the Emily passenger list. He was a wheelwright. (NW 18.10.50)

1853.04.00      Son John Gibson b. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1853.08.00      Of Ashley [SW of Howick] when John Gibson baptized in the residence of Mr Pain, Ashley. (Ib.)

1854.01.00      Farmer, Ashley, when sons William and Walter baptized. (R. St P., Pmb)

1854.08.08      Farmer, Shooter’s Hill [NE of Howick] renter. (NGG 08.08.54)

1854.12.00      Methley [Methley, James Erasmus*] wrote to his father in England saying that Wray had been working for him for a few months, wanted to stay on the farm [Shafton, E of Howick] for life, but wouldn’t do so unless the land became his own. He was an honest and good workman and a pleasant neighbour whom Methley wanted to keep, so he had sold him the land – 40 acres for 17/6d. an acre. Methley also said that Wray was b. in Shafton Green [sic] and had come to Natal with E. Parkinson [Parkinson, Edwin*]. (JEM to father 00.12.54). According to Professor Hattersley, James Wray, a joiner and wheelwright from Burton, came out with Edwin Parkinson, son of a West Riding surgeon, on the Emily, Wray had been b. in Shafton Green [sic], the village home of Parkinson and his wife, Mary, cousin of James Erasmus Methley. (BSN pp. 214 &215)

1855.02.00      Dau. Elizabeth b. (R.Wes., Pmb.)

1857.00.00      Joiner and builder, Shafton, County Pmb. (GHLIP)

1857.05.00      Of Shafton when dau. Elizabeth bap. ( R. Wes., Pmb.)

1857.08.00      Dau. Frances [France] Amelia b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1857.10.30      Joiner and builder, Shafton, Co. Pmb., applied for emigration for Joseph Wray [his brother] of Ossett Low Common, near Wakefield, Yorks., agricultural labourer, 37, his wife Martha, 36, with  children George, 14 (a farm servant), John, 11 and another child, 2. (EI vol. 1, p. 238)

1858.07.00      Nominated as immigrants Joseph Wray, 37 (an agricultural labourer), Martha, 36, George, 14 (a farm servant), John, 11, Joseph 2 and Joshua an infant. They came from near Wakefield as passengers on the Phantom. (GHLIP)

1858.07.28      The Phantom, a schooner of 210 tons, arrived at Port Natal having sailed from Plymouth on 25.04.1858. Among the passengers were Mr & Mrs [Joseph] Wray and four children; Mr & Mrs [John] Wray [brother of James] and 3 children; George Wray [no details known], Mary Wray [no details known] and Mr & Mrs [William] Redshaw and four children. (William Bell [William Douglas Bell*], Port Capt.).  James Wray stood surety for Joseph Wray and family. (EI 65). John Methley* [cousin of J.E. Methley] nominated and stood surety for the John Wrays. (Ib.) John Wray, 39, agricultural labourer, Barnsley, came with his wife Hannah, 39, Mary, 14, Ann, 11, Susan, 6, Thomas, 7 and Emily 4. (Ib.)

1859.09.00      Dau. Eleanor b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1860.01.00      Place of residence Dingley Dale, Riet Vlei [16 miles by road N of Shooters Hill],

as given in Eleanor’s bap. details. Father a farmer. (Ib.)

1860.04.00      Of Shafton stood surety for passage money of John Gibson, 26, a teacher from Barnsley, Yorks, who came on the Lady of the Lake. (EI 65)

1860.07.23      J. E Methley wrote that in July 60 people had stayed at Shafton to celebrate the opening of the Methodist chapel there#. He had been working for the establishment of this chapel for some years and among his protégés who worked on its construction was Jim Wray. (JEM to father 23.07.1860)

1864.04.00      Did they have a son Charles who d. aged 15 years? (Tomb St Mark’s, KK)

1864.04.10      Mary Milner Shaw, nèe Greathead [dau. of Thomas Greathead*], recorded in her diary that Charles Wray d. on this date. (MMG 10.04.64)

1864.04.12      Fred [Frederick Edgar Shaw, son of Mrs Ann Shaw* and husband of Mary Milner Greathead] went to Shafton with the funeral. (MMG 12.04.64)

1867.06.25      Son Edwin b. (R. Ang. H.)

1868.01.13      Edwin bap., father a sawyer, Karkloof [E of Howick]. (R. Ang. H.)

1869.03.08      At Spitzkop, to Mrs J. Wray a dau. [Spitzkop is a hill in the Karkloof. Dau’s name Margaret]. (NM 00.04.69)

1869.12.29      Margaret bap., father a sawyer, Karkloof. (R. Ang. H.)

1871.03.13      Son Benjamin b. (R. Ang. H.)

1872.03.09      Benjamin bap., father still a sawyer, Karkloof. (Ib.)

1873.04.00      Son Walter took out licence to m. Mary Ann Redshaw [dau. of William Redshaw above]. (CSO 2286)

1876.03.09      Son John Gibson m. (Moss)

1880.09.20      Dau. Eleanor, m. in Pretoria, her parents were witnesses. (Moss)

1885.04.00      Dau. Margaret and Owen McDonald Ryder took out licence to marry. (CSO 2288)

1886.02.01      Died at Lydenburg [Eastern Transvaal, gold discovered near there in the 1870s]. (RSC IV/8/1 no. 2/1892)

1886.02.03      Died at Lydenburg, age unknown, b. in Yorkshire, parents unknown, carpenter, married, children unknown. Death notice signed by C.A.B. Lovegrove who certified that he was present when James Wray d. (MHG 0/7425 Tvl.)

1890.05.18      Widow Amelia living at Lennoxton, Newcastle [Northern Natal], when son William d. on this date. William’s siblings were listed as Walter, James, John, Harry, Edwin, Benjamin, Mrs E. Button, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Potter, Mrs Redman and Mrs Ryder. Benjamin Wray filed in the death notice. (MSCE 7/362)

1892.03.02      Amelia Wray b. France, widow of James Wray who d. Lydenburg 01.02.1886 intestate and leaving 11 children, declared that all the children are majors except the youngest who turns 21 on 14.03.1892. She gives P/A to agents in Pretoria to appoint executors for her husband’s estate. She signed with an X. Signed at Newcastle. (RSC IV/8/1 no. 2/1892)

1892.12.15      Widow Amelia Wray, defendant in James Sivewright vs James Wray, was represented by an attorney at meeting of next-of-kin to appoint an executor in the estate of James Wray. Assets in the estate included the Remainder of ½ the farm Honingnestkrantz, Lydenburg district and Erf 865 Pretoria. The Cape Commercial Bank held a promissory note and money was owed to the Natal Bank. Proceeds of the sale of the Pretoria Erf went to Sivewright. Honingnestkrantz went to Natal Bank who held the bond. ( MHG 0/7425 Tvl.)

1902.07.28      Widow Amelia (nèe France) d. at Newcastle. (Moss)



William (b.00.02.1846, Barnsley, Yorks. – d. 18.05.1890, Lennoxton, Newcastle, Natal)

1846.02.00      b. (R. St P., Pmb.). Barnsley, Yorks. (MSCE 7/362)

1850.10.10      Arrived at Port Natal with his parents, passengers on the Emily. (MP vol. 21)

1854.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Ashley. Sponsors: parents and George [Duly] Greaves* (R. St P., Pmb.)

1890.05.18      Of Lennoxton, transport rider, b. at Barnsley, d. at Lennoxton aged 44, unmarried. (MSCE 7/362). Aged 44, farmer, d. at Lennoxton, Newcastle. (N/CGRD)

Walter (b.00.11.1847, Barnsley, Yorks. – d. 14.02.1908, Umbogintwini, Natal)

1847.11.00      b. (R. St P., Pmb.). Barnsley, Yorks. (CSO 2286)

1850.10.10      Arrived at Port Natal with his parents, passengers on the Emily. (MP vol. 21)

1854.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Ashley. Sponsors: parents and George [Duly] Greaves* (R. St P., Pmb)

1873.04.00      Aged 25yrs 4 mths, b. Barnsley, Yorks., took out licence to m. Mary Ann Redshaw, 22yrs 3mths, b. Kilham, Yorks. They were m. in Pmb. (CSO 2286). Mary Ann was the dau. of William and Mary [sic] Redshaw. (MSCW 1307/1927 via Moss). The Redshaws were passengers on the Phantom, see above. Jonathan Redshaw* stood surety for their passage money. (EI 65)

1873.04.02      m. (R St J. Pmb.)

1908.02.00      Killed at Umbogintwini [Natal South Coast] aged 60. (Tomb WSC). In a train accident. (Moss)

1908.02.14      d. aged 60, platelayer, at Umbogintwini, b. Eng, m. Mary Ann in Pmb. (MSCE 32/119).

1908 03.17      According to the Death Notice signed by his widow in Dbn, Walter d. at the platelayer’s cottage, Umbogintwini, leaving widow Mary Ann and children Gertrude Mabel, Mrs Alice Gweneth Spencer, James Walter, William Joseph (in America), Herbert Leonard (all majors) and Cedric Edwin b. 20.10.1896. (MSCE 32/119 via Moss)

1927.11.00      Widow Mary Ann d. aged 77. (Tomb WSC)

1927.11.03      Mary Ann , 77, b. Eng., d. at Red Hill [N. of Dbn]. (VGRD)

?Charles (b.1849c. – d. 10.04.1864, Karkloof, Natal)

1849c.             b. (calculated from date of death)

1864.04.00      d. aged 15. (Tomb St M., KK)

1864.04.10      d. (MMG 10.04.64)

1864.04.12      bur. (Ib.)

John Gibson (b. 00.04.1853, Ashley, Natal – d.17.03.1906, Enkeldoorn, Rhodesia)

1853.04.00      b. at Ashley, Natal. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1853.04.23      b. (Moss)

1853.08.00      bap. in Mr Pain’s Residence, Ashley. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1856.00.00      Johanna Petronella Grobler b. Zoutpansberg, Transvaal. (Moss)

1876.03.09      m. Johanna Petronella Grobler at Marabastad, Zoutpansberg, Tvl. (Ib.)

1892.00.00      John Gibson Wray registered in the Rhodesian Prospecting Licence Book. (Gird)

1895.04.16      His prospecting licence renewed. In this year the whole family went to Rhodesia. (Gird)

1897.00.00      John Gibson and his two sons P.J. and J.W. Wray were awarded medals for fighting with the Victoria Rifle Corps during the Mashona Rebellion. (Gird)

1906.03.17      d. at Enkeldoorn, Rhodesia. (Moss). Wife Johanna also d. at Enkeldoorn. Date not given. (Ib.)

Elizabeth (b. 00.02.1855, Howick – d. 26.09.1924. Newcastle, Natal)

1839.06.00c.   Second husband William Hughes b. in Essex, England. (Moss)

1840c.             First husband George Welch, b. c. 1840. (Moss)

1855.02.00      b. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1857.05.00      bap., parents of Shafton. (Ib.)

1875.06.07      m. George Welch at Marabastad, Tvl. (Moss)

1890.12.19      Widow, m. William Hughes of Newcastle. She was of Lennoxton. (N/CGR)

1924.03.30      William Hughes d. at Newcastle. (Moss)

1924.09.26      Elizabeth, widow Hughes, d. aged 72, b. Howick. (N/CGRD)

France Amelia (b. 00.08.1857 – d.)

1851c.             Husband H.W. Potter b., London. (Moss)

1857.08.00      b. (R. St P,. Pmb.)

1860.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Dingley Dale, Riet Vlei. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1878.04.18      m. at the Pretoria Wesleyan Church. (Moss)

1882.01.16      Henry William Potter of Newcastle, saddler, b. London, son of Henry William Potter, d. Newcastle aged 31, m. in Pretoria. (MSCE 5/296)

1882.01.17      William Henry [sic] Potter, 31, buried. (R. HT., N/C)

Eleanor (b. 00.09.1859 – d.)

1859.05.16      Du Boys [Du Bois?] Redman [son of HenryRedman*] b. Pinetown, Natal. (Moss)

1859.09.00      b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1860.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Dingley Dale, Riet Vlei. (Ib.)

1880.09.20      Helena [sic.], 21, m. in Wesleyan Church, Pretoria, Du Boys Smith Redman, 21, saddler, both b. in Natal. Her parents were witnesses. (Moss)

1938.02.28      Du Boys Redman, saddler, d., Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. (Moss)

Mary (b. 10.07.1861 – d. 15.03.1950, Krugersdorp, Transvaal)

1836.05.23      Edward Button [son of James Clark Button*] b., Brundish, Suffolk. (DSAB vol. 4, p. 73)

1861.07.10      Mary b. (Moss)

1880 post        m. Button, a widower. There were no children by this marriage. (DSAB vol. 4, p. 73)

1900.05.24      Button d., Pmb, (Ib.)

1950.03.15      Mary d. and was buried in the Sterkfontein cemetery, Krugersdorp. (Moss)

James (b. 00.05.1865             – d. 21.09.1946, Glencoe, Natal)

1865.05.00      b. (Moss)

1870c.             Emily Selina Mathews b. (Ib.)

1893.11.17      m. Emily Selina Kitchen (b. Mathews), widow, at Glencoe. (Moss)

1946.09.21      d. aged 81, retired butcher of Glencoe, d. at Glencoe. (D/DGRD)

1952.08.07      Emily, b. England, d. at Dundee. (Moss)

Edwin (b. 25.06. 1867, Karkloof, Natal – d.)

1867.06.25      b., Karkloof. (R. Ang., H.)

1868.01.13      bap., father a sawyer of Karkloof. No sponsors, bap. privately, son of Amelia and James. (R. Ang., H)




Margaret (b. 08.03.1869, Karkloof, Natal – d. 24.05.1906, Newcastle)

1869.03.08      b., Karkloof, Natal. (R. Ang., H.). On 8th March at Spitzkop, Mrs J. Wray, a dau. (NM  00.04.69)

1869.12.29      bap., dau of Amelia and James, sawyer, Karkloof. No sponsors, bap. privately. (R. Ang., H.)

1885.04.00      Licence taken out for Margaret Wray aged 16, b. Howick, to m. Owen McDonald Ryder, 31, b. Yorks. [Son of Robert Ryder*]. Father James Wray consented. (CSO 2288)

1885.04.10      m. in Pmb. (MSCE 26/205)

1890.05.18      Owen Ryder a transport rider of Lennoxton, Newcastle. (MSCE 7/326)

1906.05.24      Margaret d. aged 37. She was of Paradise, Newcastle. (N/CGRD)(Tomb N/CGC). Margaret b. Karkloof d. aged 37yrs 2mths at Newcastle. Husband a transport rider. (MSCE 26/205)

1933.11.29      Owen Ryder, 81, painter of Paradise, Newcastle, d. He was bur. at Paradise. (N/CGRD)

Benjamin (b. 13.03.1871, Karkloof, Natal – d. 31.05.1920, Grey’s Hospital, Pmb.)

1871.03.13      b. (R. Ang., H.)

1872.03.09      bap., son of Amelia and James, a sawyer of Karkloof. Sponsored by parents. (R. Ang., H.)

1878.05.00      Elizabeth Walker, 24, b. Hutton Sessay (Yorks.) and John Edward Vinnicombe [son of George Vinnicombe*], 28, took out licence to marry. (CSO 2286). She was the dau. of Charles and Ann Walker and came to Natal with her parents on the Cataraqui in November 1861. (EI 65)

1878.06.04      Elizabeth Walker and John Edward Vinnicombe m. in Pmb. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1888.09.00      John Edward Vinnicombe d. (MSCW 67/1888). He d. in Newcastle. (Moss)

1890.05.18      Was overseer of prisoners, Newcastle, when he filled in the Death Notice of his brother William. (MSCE 7/362)

1893.00.00      ANC signed between Benjamin Wray and Elizabeth Walker. (ANC no. 102/1893)

1893.09.03      Aged 22, guard, m. Elizabeth Vinnicombe, widow, 38. (R. Wes., N/C)

1920.05.31      b. in the Karkloof, son of James and Amelia, road overseer, Newcastle, m. to Elizabeth Walker at Newcastle, d. aged 49yrs2mths at Grey’s Hospital, Pmb. Children: Annie Elizabeth Amelia and Charles Benjamin France, both majors. Death Notice filled in by widow Elizabeth at Newcastle. (MSCE 5399 via Moss)

1925.02.03      Elizabeth Wray, née Walker, 72, b. York, of Paradise, Newcastle, d. (N/CGRD)









*After a surname indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an

entry in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.

#The Methodist congregation in the Karkloof dwindled and in1864 the building was offered to

the Anglicans for their use. In 1869 it was dedicated to St Mark and is still in regular use.

(Burnett p. 90)



Books and Directories

Burnett – Burnett, B.B. Anglicans in Natal. Durban: St Paul’s Churchwardens, 1953.

Clark – Clark, John. Natal settler-agent: the career of John Moreland agent for the Byrne

emigration-scheme of 1849-51. Cape Town: Balkema, 1972.

DSAB – Dictionary of South African biography. Vol. 4. Durban: Human Sciences research

Council, 1981.

BSN – Hattersley, Alan F. The British Settlement of Natal: a study in imperial migration.

Cambridge: University Press, 1950.


Tomb KK – Tombstone St Mark’s Cemetery, Karkloof.

Tomb N/CGC – Tombstone Government Cemetery, Newcastle.

Tomb WSC – Tombstone West Street Cemetery, Durban.

Church Registers

  1. Ang., H. – Register Anglican Church, Howick.
  2. HT., N/C – Register Holy Trinity, Newcastle. Anglican.
  3. St J., Pmb. – Register St John’s, Pietermaritzburg. Presbyterian.
  4. St P., Pmb. – Register St Peter’s, Pietermaritzburg, Anglican.
  5. Wes, N/C – Register Wesleyan Church, Newcastle.
  6. Wes., Pmb. – Register Wesleyan Church, Pietermaritzburg.


NMNatal Mercury.

NWNatal Witness.

Personal Communication

Moss – Mrs Beverley Moss

Gird – Mrs Marge Gird

Private Source Material

JEM – James Erasmus Methley. Letters to his father. (Killie Campbell Library, Durban)

MMG – Mary Milner Greathead. Diary. (Killie Campbell Library, Durban)

MP vol. 21 – Moreland papers, vol. 21. (Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg)

Shipping Lists

Phantom list – Bell, W.D., Port Captain


Unpublished Official Papers (Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg except MHG)

CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office

D/DGRD – Dundee Government Register of Deaths

EI – European Emigration

GHLIP – Government House Land and Immigration Papers

MHG – Meester Hooggeregshof, Transvaal

MSCW – Master of the Supreme Court. Wills

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court. Estates

N/CDRD – Newcastle Government Register of Deaths

NGG – Natal Government Gazette

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court

VGRD – Verulam Government Register of Deaths.


2 680 words


Compiled from Shelagh Spencer’s records on the British Settlers of Natal 1824–1857.


LAWSON, James Easton

LAWSON, James Easton


Born c. 1833, Plymouth, England. Died 27.09.1895, Umzinto, Natal.


Sailor, storekeeper.


1833 c.            Born Plymouth. Son of Thomas Lawson (b. 20.12.1812, St Perroc, Dartmouth, Devon. d. 20.03.1849, Port Adelaide) and Susannah Easton (b. 1813, England. d. 30.03.1849, Port Adelaide). (MK)

1833.04.07      bap. in Plymouth. (Ib.)

1839.00.00      His family emigrated to Australia. They sailed to Adelaide on the barque Cleveland. He was five years old. (Ib)

1861.08.05      James [Easton] Lawson, 23, b. Plymouth, now of Umzinto, and Frances Fayers, 19, b. Deptford, now of Lower Umkomaas, took out licence to m. Licence issued at Lower Umkomaas. (CSO 2283)

1865 c.            At about the end of 1865 James Lawson “an old sailor chap”, m. to Frances, niece of James Fayers, asked Charles Knox for a job – he was working for Capt. Grantham [Grantham, Maj. James*] making lime on the beach – and Knox gave him the job of managing his Dumisa store. Lawson had a wife and child – both he and his wife worked well in the store – the children increased very fast, as well as the business, till there were ten. Knox, at his own expense, sent tutors for the children, but none of them stayed any length of time because of the wife’s interference, so he eventually abandoned the idea. Mrs Lawson would not let her husband leave the place except in the company of Knox. Later Lawson had to have a cancer cut from his lip. When farms were sold under the 20 years’ system they bought one of 2 000 acres in the district and built a house on it. In the following year they decided to buy another, despite Knox’s plea that a good education for their children would be better. When they both died the elder boys educated the younger ones. (Knox pp 22-3)

1876.00,00      The Revd Thomas Jenkinson and his wife, on their return journey from Durban to Springvale Mission, went along the coast road and then inland from Umzinto. In her diary Mrs Jenkinson records, “…reached Lawson’s 22 miles [from Umzinto] at sunset. We had not bad quarters, but it was rather odd for host and hostess, very rough people, to hob nob with us. I believe they do not profess to keep an accommodation house but only a store”. (Jenkinson vol.2, p.71)

1895.09.26      James Lawson aged 66, of Dumisa, bur. in St Patrick’s churchyard, Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto). He was partially sighted and during the Boer war became completely blind. (SB)

1895.09.27      James Lawson d. Umzinto aged 66. (UGRD)

1903.06.21      Frances Lawson (b. Fayers) d. aged 66 [sic.] (UGRD). Aged 60, bur. in St Patrick’s churchyard, Umzinto. (R.St P., Umzinto)

1903.06.22      Frances, widow Lawson, d. at the home of her son-in-law F.E. Thorpe at Dumisa. [Surviving?]Children: James Fraser, Robert Charles, Charles, Henry Richard, Alfred Ernest, Frances Maria (wife of F.E. Thorpe) and Emma Jane Lawson. (MSCE 18/78)



Frances Maria (b. 18.02.1862, Umzinto***. d. ?)

1862.02.18      b. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1862.04.13      bap., dau. of James Lawson labourer and Frances Lawson. Sponsor: Frances Fraser. (Ib.)

1884.05.20      Frances Maria Lawson, 22, m. Frederick Emanuel/Emmanuel Thorpe, 29, transport rider [step-son of Frances Thorpe]. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1924.05.00      Frederick Emanuel Thorpe, 69, d. (UGRD)

1924.05.19      Frederick Emanuel Thorpe, 69, b. Cape Colony, married, cattle overseer, d. at Umzinto, his residence. (R.St P., Umzinto). Aged 69, bur. St Patrick’s churchyard Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

James Fraser (b. 01.11.1863, Umzinto. d. c. 07.11.1924, Dumisa)

1863.11.01      b. (MK)

?                      m. A. Willment. (MK)

1924.11.07      d. aged 63. (UGRD). Aged 63, of Dumisa, bur. St Patrick’s churchyard, Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

Thomas William (b. 17.06.1865, Umzinto. d.30.10.1929, Hibberdene)

1865.06.17      b. Umzinto. (R. St., P. Umzinto)

1865.09.17      bap., son of James, labourer, and Frances. Sponsors: Frederick and Frances Thorpe. (Ib.)

1929.10.30      Thomas William Lawson, 64, b. Natal, widower, cane farmer, d. at Hibberdene, his residence, bur. at St Patrick’s, Umzinto. (Ib.)

William Frederick (b. 10.04.1867, Umzinto. d. c. 1881)

1867.04.10      b. Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1867.12.29      bap., son of James and Frances of Dunisa. Father a labourer and storekeeper. (Ib.)

1881 c.                        d. aged 14. (MK)


Charlotte Ellen (b. 21.10.1868, Umzinto. d.?)

1868.10.21      b. (MK)

?                      m. James Walton. (MK)

Benjamin Henry (b. 15.06.1870, Umzinto. d. 06.01.1900, Ladysmith)

1870.06.15      b. (MK)

1900.01.06      Lawson, Benjamin Henry, convict guard, Umzinto. Wife [possibly in error for mother] is Frances (née Fayers). Will dated 1899.09.07 at Umzinto and he was killed in battle at Ladysmith serving in the Border Mounted Rifles. (MSC 26/1900). Lawson, Benjamin Henry, son of James, killed in battle of Ladysmith Jan. 6, 1900. 29 yrs. (Tomb St P., Umzinto)

Robert Charles (b. 28.06.1872, Umzinto. d. c. 1975)

1872.06.28      b. Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1872.09.08      bap., son of James and Frances of Dumisa’s location. Father a storekeeper. (Ib.)

1975 c.            d. aged 103. (MK)

Emma Jane (b. 31.07.1873, Umzinto. d.c. 1909)

1873.07.31      b. Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1873.09.15      bap., dau. of James and Frances Lawson. Father a storekeeper. (Ibd.)

1909 c.            d., aged 36, unmarried. (MK). d. unmarried. (SB)

Charles (b. 02.11.1875, Umzinto. d.?)

1875.11.02      b. Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1876.04.02      bap., son of James and Frances Lawson. Father a shopkeeper). (Ib.)

?                      m. Mary Ashwell. MK)

George (b. 23.06.1877, Umzinto. d.?)

1877.06.23      b. Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1877.08.26      bap., son of James and Frances Lawson. Father a storekeeper. (Ib.)

?                      m. Ethel Seager. (MK)

Henry Richard (b. 23.04.1879, Umzinto. d.?)

1879.04.23      b. Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1879.07.27      bap., son of James and Frances Lawson. Father a storekeeper. (Ib.)

?                      m. Ravinia M. Duval de Villener. (MK)

Alfred Ernest (b. 08.10.1881, Umzinto. d.?)

1881.10.08      b. (MK). He was the youngest of the family. (SB)

?                      m. Lillian Johnstone. (MK)



*After a surname indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.

**The Gwalior arrived at Port Natal from London, Cape Town and Algoa Bay on 24.12.1848. (NW 29.12.1848)

***Umzinto, the district in which the Lawson children were b. is given, in preference to Dumisa which is seldom specified.




Books, Periodicals and Directories

Gordon. R.E. Dear Louisa: history of a pioneer family in Natal 1850-1888. Ellen McLeod’s letters to her sister in England from the Byrne valley. Cape Town: Balkema, 1970.

Knox, Charles. An old sailor-boy’s log book… Privately printed, 1909.

Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British settlers in Natal 1824-1857: a biographical register. Vol. 6. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1992.


Tomb St M., Byrne – Gravestone, St Mary Magdalene, Anglican Church, Byrne.

Tomb St P., Umzinto – Gravestone, St Patrick’s, Anglican Church, Umzinto.

Church Registers

  1. Bellair – Register All Saint’s Anglican Church, Bellair.
  2. St P., Umzinto – Register St Patrick’s Anglican Church, Umzinto.


Jenkinson, Mary Emily. Diaries 1873-1877 (Natal Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg)


NM Natal Mercury.

NWNatal Witness.

Personal Communication

BS – Brian Spencer.

MK – Maureen Kruger (g.g.grandaughter of James Easton Lawson).

SB – Mrs Sheila Bizley (Deceased, granddaughter of Frances Maria Lawson and Frederick Emanuel Thorpe).

Unpublished Official Papers

EI 65 – European Immigration.

MSC – Master of the Supreme Court. Wills. (Master’s Office, Pietermaritzburg)

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court. Estates.

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court.

SGO – Surveyor General’s Office.

UGRD – Umzinto Government Register of Deaths.

(All but RSC in Natal Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg)


Neither Frances Fayers nor James Easton Lawson qualify for an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s British Settlers of Natal 1824-1857. Nevertheless, the above biographies were compiled from information contained in her settler research as connections of James Fayers.

Fayers, William

FAYERS, William

Born? Died 19.12.1853, England


?                     Born. Son of Robert Fayers. He had a brother James Fayers* who arrived at Port Natal with his wife and young son on the Gwalior**. Another brother was Robert Fayers [Jnr] who in 1862 was living in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Other Norfolk relatives were John Fayers of Snettisham and Thomas Fayers, a farmer of Shouldham. (Spencer)

1822 c.                        Frances Martin b. [date calculated from age given at time of death]. (UGRD)

1842 c.            William Fayers married Frances Martin. [date estimated from birth of eldest child]. (RSC 1V/19/34 no.78)

1853.12.19      William Fayers, carpenter, Lamb Lane, Hackney, Middlesex, died. (Ib.)

1860.04.00      Frances Fayers (37), a nurse from London arrived at Port Natal on the Lady of the Lake with Frances (14), William (11), Ellen (7) and Thomas (5). She was the sister-in-law of James Fayers of Isipingo who stood surety for them. (EI 65)

1860.09.21      Frances Fayers (widow) m. George Fraser of Lower Umkomaas. She had four children by her first husband William Fayers – Frances, William, Ellen and Thomas. (RSC 1V/19/34 no.78)

1862.10.28      Frances Fraser gave P/A to Robert Fayers of Kings Lynn, Norfolk, to obtain her legacy under the will of John Fayers. In the letter of appointment she gives the ages of her children as Frances 19, William 16, Ellen 11 and Thomas 9. (Ib.)

?                      George Fraser d.

?                      Frances Fraser (widow) m. Frederick Thorpe (widower) whose late wife (widow Hawkins) had one child, William James Hawkins. (MSCE 49/221). Frederick Thorpe had been in the Rifle Brigade. His Zulu name meant “the man who turned the air blue”. It could be that he was stationed at King William’s Town as it seems that Mrs Hawkins was the widow of a fellow soldier in the Rifle Brigade. Frederick Thorpe and Mrs Hawkins were m. in the Cape and they arrived in Natal with two sons. For a while Thorpe farmed at Prospecton, Isipingo. While there his cattle were wiped out. At some stage he had the Royal Hotel at Isipingo. (SB)

1864.05.31      F. Thorpe, policeman, Yamula, took transfer of The Moat from J[oseph] Harcourt* (SGO III/11/13 p?)

1892.02.11      Frances Thorpe, aged 70, d. (UGRD). Frances Thorpe, b. in England, wife of Frederick Thorpe d. at Moat Farm, Ifafa. Children: Frances Lawson (since deceased), William Fayers of Richmond, Ellen Hawkins of Dbn and Thomas Fayers of Dbn. (MSCE 49/221). Aged 70, bur. in St Patrick’s churchyard, Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1903.01.21      Frederick Thorpe, gentleman, d. at Ifafa aged 82. Wife’s name: Frances (formerly Fayers b. Martin). Place of marriage: Lower Umkomaas. Children [by previous m.]: Frederick Edmund [sic], Thomas Charles and Susan Elizabeth. Thomas Charles (illiterate) supplied the information for the Death Notice. (MSCE 16/114)

1903.01.22      Frederick Thorpe, aged 82, d. (UGRD). Aged 82, bur. St Patrick’s churchyard, Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)




Frances (b. c. 1843, Deptford, England. d.22.06.1903, Umzinto, Natal)

1841 c.            b. Deptford. [date calculated from P/A appointment]. (RSC 1V/19/34 no.78). Place of b. taken from application for m. licence. (CSO 2283)

1860.04.00      Arrived at Port Natal on the Lady of the Lake with her widowed mother, Frances Fayers, and three siblings –William, Ellen and Thomas. (EI 65)

1861.08.05      James [Easton] Lawson, 23, b. Plymouth, now of Umzinto, and Frances Fayers, 19, b. Deptford, now of Lower Umkomaas, took out licence to m. Licence issued at Lower Umkomaas. (CSO 2283).

1903.06.21      Frances Lawson (b. Fayers) d. aged 66 [sic]. (UGRD). Aged 60, bur. St Patrick’s churchyard, Umzinto. (R. St P., Umzinto)

1903.06.22      Frances, widow Lawson, d. at the home of her son-in-law F.E. Thorpe at Umzinto. (MSCE 18/78)

William (b. c 1846, England. d. 01.10.1914, Byrne)

1844 c.            b. England. [date calculated from P/A appointment]. (RSC 1V/19/34 no.78)

1873.05.21      William Fayers m Ellen McLeod, eldest dau. of George More McLeod * and his wife Ellen. (Gordon p. 167). William was a talented wood carver and numerous items carved by him are on display in the Richmond, Byrne and District Museum. (BS.)

1914.10.01      William Fayers d. aged 69. (Tomb St M., Byrne)

1923.05.00      Ellen Fayers d. (Tomb St M., Byrne)

Ellen (b. c. 1851, England. d. 27.02.1929, Scottburgh)

1849 c.            b. England. [date calculated from P/A appointment]. (RSC 1V/19/34 no. 78)

1869.05.24      Ellen Fayers, full age, spinster, Ifafa, m. William James Hawkins, full age, bachelor, storekeeper, Ifafa, at St Patrick’s, Umzinto: Witnesses Charles and Martha Knox. (R. Bellair)

1929.02.27      Ellen Hawkins, 78, b.Eng., widow, d. at Scottburgh – lived in Dbn – bur. in Stellawood cemetery, Dbn. (UGRD)

Thomas (b. c. 1853, England. d. ?)

1851 c.            b. England. [date calculated from P/A appointment]. (RSC 1V/19/34 no. 78)

1878.07.17      Thomas Fayers, bachelor, overseer, 25, m. Anne Maria Pearce, spinster, 21. [dau. of John Pearce*] (R. St P., Umzinto). At St Bride’s, Lower Umkomaas, Thomas Fayers of Ifafa, son of the late William Fayers, m. Anne Maria, eldest dau. of the late John Pearce. (NM 12.08.78)(NW 15.08.78)


Books, Periodicals and Directories

Gordon. R.E. Dear Louisa: history of a pioneer family in Natal 1850-1888. Ellen McLeod’s letters to her sister in England from the Byrne valley. Cape Town: Balkema, 1970.

Knox, Charles. An old sailor-boy’s log book… Privately printed, 1909.

Spencer, Shelagh O’Byrne. British settlers in Natal 1824-1857: a biographical register. Vol. 6. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1992.


Tomb St M., Byrne – Gravestone, St Mary Magdalene, Anglican Church, Byrne.

Tomb St P., Umzinto – Gravestone, St Patrick’s, Anglican Church, Umzinto.

Church Registers

  1. Bellair – Register All Saint’s Anglican Church, Bellair.
  2. St P., Umzinto – Register St Patrick’s Anglican Church, Umzinto.


Jenkinson, Mary Emily. Diaries 1873-1877 (Natal Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg)


NM Natal Mercury.

NWNatal Witness.

Personal Communication

BS – Brian Spencer.

MK – Maureen Kruger (g.g.grandaughter of James Easton Lawson).

SB – Mrs Sheila Bizley (Deceased, granddaughter of Frances Maria Lawson and Frederick Emanuel Thorpe).

Unpublished Official Papers

EI 65 – European Immigration.

MSC – Master of the Supreme Court. Wills. (Master’s Office, Pietermaritzburg)

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court. Estates.

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court.

SGO – Surveyor General’s Office.

UGRD – Umzinto Government Register of Deaths.

(All but RSC in Natal Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg)


Neither Frances Fayers nor James Easton Lawson qualify for an entry in Shelagh Spencer’s British Settlers of Natal 1824-1857. Nevertheless, the above biographies were compiled from information contained in her settler research as connections of James Fayers.


Wheeler, James Napoleon

Wheeler, James Napoleon

Born c. 1821, Norwood, Surrey. Died 18.10.1887, Pietermaritzburg,  Natal.

After many different jobs was appointed Assistant Town Clerk, Inspector of Meats and Inspector of Rates for Pietermaritzburg in1859. In addition to these posts was appointed Market Master in 1861. By 1862 he was also Inspector of Works.

Haigh to Hogshaw completed

We are delighted to announce that Shelagh has completed the first volume of the H’s – Haigh to Hogshaw. Jenny Duckworth helped enormously with this task, as did Brian.

The completed work will be formally handed over to UKZN Press on the 19th of February.