Emma Lockwood

All her life Emma was defined through the men in her life. As a young girl she was known as Miss Atkins, all her decisions and any documents with her name on them were signed off by her father and in public, she was known as Miss Atkins, or Miss E. Atkins. Once married Emma became known as Mrs. Lockwood. This included the documents that show the evidence of her purchasing her own business. Emma Lockwood, wife of Frederick Lockwood says the document. Yet none of that shows the force that Emma was to become.

When the world changed and Frederick Lockwood could no longer keep working as a coachbuilder it was to Emma’s business that he turned. Emma was running a successful business in Granville and it was this business that kept the family afloat through good times and bad.

It was through Emma’s business that the Lockwoods became a force in the Parramatta and Ryde council areas. Emma was known for her suppers given at glamorous balls and weddings, Masonic ceremonies, and socials. While socialite women in their satins and furs and men in their black suits swanned around Emma was in the background supplying suppers that were often praised and were certainly mentioned in the papers.

Throughout what must have been a hectic work schedule at events Emma was also known for the quality of the displays in the windows of her shop.


Argus Advertisers’ Displays.

Mrs. Lockwood, the favourite caterer of Granville, has a very showy Christmas display in her window. First and foremost there is a large stock of the best quality of fruit and preserves, vegetables and confectionery the other lines are tobacco and cigars and fancy goods and stationery and iced drinks in abundance. Mrs. Lockwood announces that she makes picnic hampers ready at a few hours’ notice, which should be a great convenience to picnickers during the festive season. A special line with Mrs. Lockwood is poultry, and orders are taken for poultry guaranteed young and fresh. Great preparations have been made for the Christmas trade, and a big trade is anticipated.

1897 ‘CHRISTMAS AT GRANVILLE’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 18 December, p. 2. , viewed 16 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85767379

It wasn’t all parties and catering though, Emma had her fair share of eventful happenings. She quite literally had the proverbial bull in a china shop one Tuesday afternoon. What was noticeable about this event, aside from the fact that a large bull got into a shop and rampaged around while Emma was there, was that the shop was mentioned as being owned by Mr. F. Lockwood. Despite Emma being the person this happens to, and Emma being the person that runs the shop, the article is still about Mr. F. Lockwood’s shop. It is almost like Emma gets sidelined in her own business. The bull tore through the dining room of the shop, smashing a piano, sending food flying and striking at least one child before smashing a window to exit the shop and finally being trapped and caught in the back yard. Fred isn’t even present during the events of the day. It is Emma that is caught up in the events.

It was both Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood who put out a fire that Miss. Lockwood accidentally lit a fire in 1906. Once again Emma and Miss. Lockwood are defined in terms of their relationship to Fred, although in this case Fred is also defined in terms of his father and his heritage, not in terms of who he is. It is also noticeable that by this time, there is an acknowledgement that the shop is Emma’s, not Fred’s.

When Emma moves to Bondi, it is to open up a new business, a tearooms that is currently being run by her daughter Emily Lockwood. By this stage, the articles are very much about Emma and Emily, Fred Lockwood is not mentioned. It is at this point that the finances of the family become notable in that it is the woman who are driving the prosperity of this family, not the men. Fred is still working, but he is working with Emma and doing some smaller jobs on the side.

Emma does not seem to be as prosperous in Bondi. At this stage, the world is heading towards the First World War and things are changing. There starts to be rationing and food shortages, Emma has to pay a fine of £10 or do two months hard labor for adulterating milk. This appears to have been a mistake by a child, but the judge still imposed the fine.

Emma’s business at Bondi survived throughout the First World War to be hit by a cyclone that ripped a large section of the roof off the AV Tearooms that Emma owned and ran. Then in 1926, Emma decided to retire and sell the tearooms and the couple moved to Harris Park, back to Granville where the family had done so well earlier in Emma’s career.

On Fred’s death, his Will is contested by Emma and her son George. It appears that there is a dispute because some of the property that is being wound up and disposed of through the will does not belong to Fred, it belongs to Emma. This includes a property in Vaucluse. There is no mention of the property in Fred’s will, the will just mentions “all property” but because Emma is his wife it seems to be that the assumption is that all of the property owned by the couple was in Fred’s name and not in Emma’s. So, Emma and her son have to fight the will so that Emma can retain the property that she bought and had sole ownership of.

When Emma died, all of her property, including the property that she fought to retain when her husband died was shared equally between all her children.

Emma was a driving force in her marriage and was unusual for her time, although certainly not alone for her time. She was the main breadwinner and was the owner of property and of a business. It was her money that meant that the family were able to become prosperous and to be part of a world that would otherwise have passed them by, as they were by no means from a wealthy background. Yet, they were able to experience large parts of that upper echelon social life from the shadows of Emma’s business. Despite all of this Emma lived in a world where her contribution was mainly acknowledged through her relationship to her father, her husband and later her son when it was him that had to help her fight for the property that she owned outright.

1897 ‘ODDFELLOWS’ BALL AT BLACKTOWN.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 24 July, p. 6. , viewed 20 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85772811

1897 ‘PROSPECT.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW :

 – 1950), 13 November, p. 11. , viewed 16 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85765054

1898 ‘Wedding.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 13 August, p. 8. , viewed 17 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85836336

1900 ‘The Enfield Mounted Rifles.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 28 November, p. 2. , viewed 08 Feb 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85819850

1906 ‘A WILD BULL.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 10 February, p. 4. , viewed 02 Feb 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85942136

1906 ‘FIRE.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 1 December, p. 4. , viewed 02 Feb 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85933518

1908 ‘The Cumberland Argus.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 11 July, p. 2. , viewed 19 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85984345

1913 ‘MILK THAT WAS FAULTY.’, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 – 1930), 31 January, p. 7. , viewed 27 Jan 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238618269

1922 ‘DAMAGE AT BONDI’, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 – 1930), 25 July, p. 6. , viewed 27 Jan 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245738217

State Archives NSW NRS-13660-31-10076-Series 4_376063 Emma Lockwood Date of Death 21/02/1951, Granted on 21/05/1951

State Archives NSW NRS-13660-31-10076-Series 4_226322 Frederick Nicholas Churcher Lockwood- Date of Death 24/07/1937, Granted on 14/12/1937

The Dead Horse Ceremony

It appears that sea shanties are very popular at the moment. I have always loved them. So, when I found out that one of my relatives, Edwin Gransden, had been in the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy I did a bit of research into the sorts of ceremonies that he would have participated in that also had a sea shanty attached to them. One of the most popular was the Dead Horse Ceremony.

As part of the book that I am writing about Edwin, I wrote the below section. The section still needs a lot of polish, but it gives you and overview of Edwin’s experience.

Edwin had been paid his first months wages by his employer before he got on the ship. He and his friends had never had that amount of money all of their own before. So, before they had really thought about what they were doing they had raced off to spend their money. Many of the older sailors went to the local public house or found a prostitute and drunk their money or paid for favours that they would not be able to have for months while onboard a ship. Edwin used all of his money, the first time he was paid, to get some of the things that his brother had told him would be necessary for life on-board.

Once everyone was back on the ship and sailing they didn’t receive any more money until they had been sailing for a month. It was a long time to go without pay. So when payday was due and they finally started to earn money that hadn’t been spent as soon as they received it the crew performed the ceremony of the Dead Horse.

A horse was made out of anything that could be found. The tail was of hemp and bottles were used as eyes. The misshapen horse was then put on a box and covered over. On the last day of the month at dusk, one of the sailors jumped onto the horses back and the horse was dragged all over the ship. The horse was then auctioned off and the horse and rider hoist to the yard-arm. From there, one of the sailors cut the horse down and it fell into the ocean. Sailors rushed to the side to watch as it sank singing a requiem to the horse.

I found the below youtube video that gives information about the Dead Horse Ceremony and includes a version of one of the Dead Horse shanties.

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction- Part 3.

The Owen Family

James Burne Owen and his wife Isabel Annie nee Powell purchased Fernleigh. James and Annie had married in St Leonards in October of 1882. James was working as a clerk of the Out-door Superintendant’s Joint Staff in Darling Harbour. James and Annie lived at Fernleigh until James death in 1919. At this stage, Annie was James’ executrix and made the decision to sell Fernleigh.

1919 ‘Advertising’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 22 November, p. 13. , viewed 09 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86111640

The House had still not sold by December 1920 when it was re-advertised including much of the furniture that had been contained in the house, a pony dogcart and a sulky and harness, both types of light horse-drawn carriage.

1920 ‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 6 December, p. 13. , viewed 08 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28089228

The Stark Family

During the 1920 sale, Fernleigh was purchased by the Stark family. George Campbell Stark was born in 1880 in Dundee Scotland. George has lived for many years in Randwick in New South Wales. During this time he became heavily involved in the Methodist Church. It was this involvement that lead to him being sent to Western Australia in 1902. This is where George met and married Gertrude Billing. Gertrude was born in 1872 in Mount Gambier, South Australia. The pair married in Perth, Western Australia in 1905. George worked in a series of positions, first as a Clerk and then Secretary and later, President of the Methodist Men’s Association.

George Campbell Stark.
Gertrude Stark nee Billing

It was at this time, while the Stark family lived at Fernleigh that some beautiful photos were taken that show how Fernleigh looked at its height.

Fernleigh House, Meadowbank
Fernleigh House, Meadowbank, seen from the side.

The Stark family purchased Fernleigh and moved to Meadowbank. This was to be the home of the Starks until George Stark’s death in 1945. The Stark children, Frona, Kenneth, Arthur, Mary and Geoffrey were born at Fernleigh and spend the majority of their childhood in the house. Later electoral rolls show Kenneth as a warehouseman and Frona working as a schoolmistress. The remaining girls were shown as engaging in home duties, given George’s involvement with the Church, this probably means that the Stark girls were very much engaged with Church life. Certainly, Fernleigh seems to be a hub for Church activities at this time with regular church group meetings being advertised in the Newspapers.

The view of Constitution Road from Fernleigh.

As well as church meetings Fernleigh became known as a sanctuary for wild birds and George Stark refused to allow anyone to molest the birds and he did everything he could to encourage the birds to his land. On the 30th of March 1945 George Stark died leaving Fernleigh to his sons Kenneth Lawrence Stark and Arthur Campbell Stark. Once again Fernleigh was sold, this time to Mary Jane Elizabeth Clark and Eric Charles Clark.

Fernleigh; From Construction to Destruction Part 4

Fernleigh, from Construction to Destruction Part 2- Edward Atkins Junior

Edward Atkins Jnr was born on the 10th of January 1852 in West Pennant Hills. Edward Atkins Jnr, like his father, also known as Edward Atkins, was a successful Nurseryman. He married Maria Allsop in 1878 and the family made their home mostly at Edward Atkins Snr’s property ‘Mount Pleasant’ situated at present-day Atkins Road in Ermington. In the 1880’s Edward was planning on expanding his Nursery and Orchard Company, this would also give Edward Jnr and his young family, the opportunity to move to their own house.

Purchase of sections of the Bennet Estate by Edward Atkins.

Edward took out a loan in 1891 to buy the section of Bennets Farm that he was interested in purchasing. He then set about building the house.

1890 ‘Ermington.’, Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), 24 May, p. 14. , viewed 09 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71111968  

Unfortunately, due to a series of court cases ending in eventual bankruptcy for Edward Atkins Jnr Fernleigh had to be sold shortly after the house had been completed and the family had been able to move into the new residence.

In particular, Edward has appointed a Mr Morris to act as an assignee to his estate while he was absent in Mildura. Edward went through a series of losses in banks and companies that he held shares. As a result, Mr Morris sold Edward’s nursery in one lot failing to account for the assets in the nursery, such as trees and other plants. These losses and poor financial management, particularly due to the resale, Mr Terry, then foreclosed on the mortgage on Fernleigh. The discharge on the Mortage after selling the estate finally came through in October of 1895.

In 1894 the house and lands were advertised for sale.

1894 ‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 27 February, p. 3. , viewed 08 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13942344

Edward did manage to build his fortune back up and do well for himself. But, Fernleigh was, by this time, lost to the Atkins family.

Fernleigh House as it was originally built in the 1890’s.

For further information about Fernleigh please see Part 1 below.

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction Part 1

Historical Pensions Part 5

Chelsea Pensions Part 2- William Pratt

Like many other ancestors who have received a pension, I didn’t find out about William Pratt’s pension until I found him in a census. William Pratt was in the 1851 census at the age of 72. In the 1841 census, William had been noted as a labourer. So, it wasn’t until he was living off his pension in his older age that the pension became his sole source of income. This is often the case with those who are on pensions, they are entitled to them from the time that receives their injury but they either don’t receive them or do not use their pension as their sole or major source of income until later in life. This can make finding details of the person’s pension and service harder to find, as there is not necessarily a reason to look for army records until a reference to a pension is found. Another reason for always checking every person in every census that the person and family are likely to be living.

1851 Census- William Pratt, Chelsea Pensioner
Ancestry.com. 1851 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

Using the Census details for William Pratt, I was able to find his attestation papers. According to William’s attestation papers, he served in the army for over 18 years, from 1803- 1822. Even better, from a genealogy point of view, his papers were able to give me William’s birth parish and a general description of what William was like and why he had left the army. William was pensioned out because he was worn out, his conduct was good, and he had received a slight wound in his right hand and hip at Waterloo on the 16th of June 1815.

Wo 97 – Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913
William Pratt Discharge Records

Based on the information about William that I was given from his attestation papers, which also become his discharge papers, I was able to find out a lot more about William’s life and times in the British army. William had enlisted, or had been pressed at the Plymouth Dock in Devon on the 28th Day of August in 1803. William served for 18 years and 226 days, but, because he had been in the Battle of Waterloo he was attributed an additional two years of service giving him a total of 20+ years of service attributed to him on his service record. This was important because these additional days meant that he could claim a pension. A pension, at this time, could not be claimed unless the solider had served for 21 years. William had served close enough to the 21 years and had been discharged partially due to injury, being worn out, and with a good character. It is probable that he received his pension because he was this close to making the 21 years.

William’s early days in the army would have included his attestation before a magistrate. Once he had completed this William would have belonged to the Army until they discharged him. William would have been paid roughly one shilling a day, hence the saying- the “Kings shilling”. From attestation, William would have then gone through a medical process to see if he was fit for service. He would have then spent some weeks in a depot where he would be kitted-out and trained.

William’s kit would have included his uniform and a backpack. The uniform of the 28th Foot was red, like most of the other uniforms at this time, with yellow facings. The yellow facing was distinct to the 28th Foot only. The uniforms were often tight and uncomfortable for soldiers to wear. This may be why the 28th was used to trial loose grey trousers when on a campaign in 1809.

A Soldier of the 28th Foot in his uniform with the yellow facings.
By Vinkhuijzen, Hendrik Jacobus (1843-1910). Published 1910 according to this NYPL catalog entry and this Google book listing. – From The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47db-b2a6-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4250304

When discharged William was 42 years of age, five feet, five inches with light hair, grey eye and a fair complexion. His trade before and after being in the army was that of a labourer.

William Pratt fought in the 28th Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion also known as the North Gloucestershire Regiment. The 28th was particularly active during the Napoleonic Wars. William Pratt joined the Regiment in August of 1803. By 1805 the 1st Battalion was in North Germany and from there were deployed to Copenhagen. They did not arrive on the Peninsula until 1808.

The Official March for the Gloucestershire Regiment

On the Peninsula, the 1st Battalion of the 28th participated Battle of Copenhagen in August of 1807. Next, they were deployed in Portugal in 1808 where they took part in the Battle of Corunna on the 16th of January 1809. They were evacuated from the Peninsula the next day. The Regiment was split at this stage, with some members participating in the Battle of Talavera, the later became the second battalion, and others in the Walcheren Campaign, William stayed in the first battalion so probably saw action at Walcheren.

In 1810 the Battalion saw action in the Battle of Barrosa. Over the next few years, between the Battle of the Barrosa and the Battle of Waterloo the 28th saw action at the Battle of Albuera, the Battle of Arroyos dos Molinos, the Battle of Vitoria, the Battle of the Pyrenees, the Battle of Nivelle, the Battle of Nive, the Battle of Orthez, the Battle of Toulouse and then finally the Battles of Quatre Bras and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The 28th Foot at Quatra Bras
By Elizabeth Thompson – Artrenewal.orgNational Gallery of VictoriaFile:Elizabeth Thompson – The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras – Google Art Project.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4082016

The Battle of Waterloo was the first Battle where all soldiers were entitled to a Medal for their service. Along with many of his comrades, William Pratt received a Medal for his service during the Battle of Waterloo and is noted on the Medal Roll.

The Medal that all soldiers who fought in the Battle of Waterloo were entitled to.

William continued on, after the Battle of Waterloo for another seven years. The 28th served in the Mediterranean, Ireland and then England and finally in Australia. It is possible that hearing stories from members of the 28th later in life contributed to the decision that William’s son made when he chose to move to immigrate to Australia.

I don’t know if William would have seen action in every one of these Battles. It is probable that he would have been involved in most of these battles, if not all of them. No doubt, he occasionally missed out on some due to sickness or because he was on furlough.

During his time in the 28th Foot William and his companions saw parts of England briefly, usually for a short time every year. He may even have had the occasional chance to catch up with his family. However, despite some of the awful conditions that William would have experienced, would have been provided him with travel opportunities and a steady job. It is probable that no other profession could have given him any of the opportunities that the army would have given him. William was able to see parts of Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium as well as parts of England and the Mediterranean that we would have had no chance of seeing had he not taken the Kings shilling.

28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

Brown, S. British Regiments and the Men Who Led Them 1793-1815: 28th Regiment of Foot

(Muster Books and Pay Lists) at The National Archives.

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; General Muster Books and Pay Lists; Class: WO 12; Piece: 4430

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; General Muster Books and Pay Lists; Class: WO 12; Piece: 4430

The National Army Museum. 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot.

White. Service in the British Army.

Gransden Weddings- Robert Richard Burt and Betty Joyce Gransden


The Presbyterian Church was the scene of a very pretty wedding on Tuesday, 25th April, when holy bonds of matrimony were solemnised between ACW Betty Joyce Gransden second daughter of Corporal Robert S. and Mrs. Gransden, of Prince St. and Sapper Robert Richard Burt, on leave from New Guinea, only son of Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Burt, of Sampson St. The bride made a charming picture as she entered the church on the arm of her father. The bridal frock was of white lace over satin, and featured a long train falling gracefully from the waistline. The hand-embroidered net veil was held in place by a halo of orange blossoms. A beautiful shower bouquet of pink and white gardenias and gladioli with fern completed the picture. The bride was attended by the bridegroom’s only sister, Miss Sue Burt, who was gowned in deep pink romaine, trimmed with silver bugle beads. The duties of groomsman were capably carried out by Mr. Keith Baker. During the signing of the register, Miss Sylvia Tindall sweetly rendered “Because.” The party then adjourned to the home of the bride’s parents where the bride’s mother, wearing a smart black frock and hat, with shoulder spray of deep red roses, assisted by the bridegroom’s mother, who chose a becoming blue wool suit with matching hat, received the fifty guests. Mr. Roberts was chairman. Pride of place on the table was given to the two-tier wedding cake made by the bridegroom’s mother and artistically decorated by Mr. Roberts. Deep regret was expressed by all present at the absence of the bridegroom’s father, who has been seriously ill in the Base Hospital for the past 12 weeks. All wished him a speedy recovery.
Later the happy young couple, who were the recipients of many useful gifts, cheques and congratulatory telegrams, left by train for Sydney where he honeymoon is being spent. The bride travelled in her WAAF uniform.
1944 ‘WEDDINGS.’, Leader (Orange, NSW : 1899 – 1945), 1 May, p. 1. , viewed 05 Jul 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255246106

Left to Right- Keith Baker, Robert Richard Burt, Betty Joyce Gransden, Robert Stanley Gransden, Sue Burt.

Gransden Weddings- Baker- Gransden

I found another Gransden wedding. I don’t know how I missed this one, particularly as I have two photos from this wedding. But, somehow I missed it. So, now that I have found the report I am putting the details up.

Wedding of Keith Neville Baker and Thora Gransden.
Groomsman Tom Baker on the left, Groom- Keith Neville Baker, Bride- Thora Elaine Gransden, Garth Gransden (giving the bride away), Shirley Gransden- bridesmaid.

BAKER—GRANSDON. (spelling in the paper)

Holy Trinity Church was the scene of a very pretty wedding on Saturday, 10th February, when the marriage was solemnised between Thora Elaine Gransden, of Prince St., Orange, and Keith Neville Baker, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Baker, of Edward Street, Orange. The bride made a charming picture as she entered the church on the arm of her brother, W.O. Garth Gransden, RAAF, being attired in a frock of white lace over satin and featuring a long train falling gracefully from the waistline. The hand-embroidered net veil was held in place by a halo of pink and cream gladioli. She carried a bouquet of similarly toned gladioli and fern. The bride was attended by her sister. Miss Shirley Gransden, who was gowned in a full-length frock of white crepe and white organdie picture hat. She carried a bouquet of red roses tied with red tulle. The duties of best man were carried out by the bridegroom’s brother, Mr. Tom Baker. During the
signing of the register, Mrs. Weathersten gave a sweet rendition of “Oh,
Promise Me.” The reception was held in the Masonic Hall, the 60 guests being received by the bride’s mother, wearing a smart black beaded frock and hat, with a shoulder spray of deep red roses, carnations and fern. She was assisted by the bridegroom’s mother, who chose a smart pink frock, with black accessories, and a shoulder spray of pink tiger lilies, frangipani and fem. The Rev. A. G. Halliday occupied the chair, and pride of place on the table was given to the beautiful two-tier wedding cake. It was regretted that the bride’s father was unable to obtain leave to be present. Later the happy young couple, who were the recipients of many useful gifts, cheques and congratulatory telegrams, left by train for Sydney, where the honeymoon is being spent. For travelling, the bride chose a green tailored summer suit with black accessories.
The future home of the happy couple will be at Orange.
1945 ‘WEDDINGS.’, Leader (Orange, NSW : 1899 – 1945), 23 February, p. 1. , viewed 04 Jul 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article254669460

Shirley Gransden- bridesmaid

Historical Pensions Part 4

Chelsea Pensions Part 1- Elijah Freshwater

In 1681 Charles II issued letters patent notifying of the intention to build “an hospital for the relief of such land soldiers as are, or shall be, old, lame, or infirm in ye service of the crowne”. Thus, in 1682 the Royal Chelsea Hospital, based on the French, Hotel des Invalides located in Paris, was founded.

Prior to the building of the Chelsea Hospital care of wounded soldiers was through religious foundations which were otherwise catering to the elderly and the poor. However, many of these houses had been demolished during the dissolution of the monasteries.

Once the monasteries were no longer providing relief Elizabeth the 1st made the first grant of pensions to the military by statute. There were administered at the local parish level by Justices of the Peace. Every soldier could make a claim on the treasury for either permanent or temporary relief. Pensions of, no more than £20 per annum could be allocated. Soldiers could also seek help at either Ely House or the Savoy were soldiers had been able to receive lodging since 1642.

Originally the Chelsea Hospital was designed outhouse 412 veterans, but even before it was opened there was a realisation that this would not be enough to house all of the soldiers that would need relief. However, in 1692 the Hospital was opened and the first 99 Chelsea pensioners moved into the building.

Residents increased in number very quickly and as funding for the hospital was through deductions from army pay it was not feasible to turn soldiers away if they needed help. As a result, the concept of outpatients came about. Inpatients lived in the Hospital, they received a uniform, their bed and board. When on the grounds, not being formal, the inpatients wore a blue uniform. When undertaking formal activities they wore a red uniform.

A Chelsea Pensioner, seated, wearing a red coat and tricorn hat, holding a pipe and a stick. Watercolour painting. Credit: Wellcome CollectionAttribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Out-patients lived elsewhere in the UK, or abroad. These were the most common Chelsea pensioners and certainly the most common in Australia. Chelsea pensioners in places other than the Hospital received a pension that depended upon the nature of their injury and their length of service.

Like with the Greenwich Pension, I have two Chelsea Pensioners, so far located.

Elijah Freshwater

I found Elijah Freshwater’s pension through the 1861 census. In the previous two censuses Elijah had been noted as an Agricultural Labourer, however, in the 1861 census, he was noted as a Chelsea Pensioner. It was obvious that as Elijah aged he was no longer able to supplement his income with agricultural labour and he was now supporting himself and his wife Ann on his Chelsea pension.

From the 1861 census, I was able to find Elijah in the British Army Service Records. Elijah had joined the army at the age of 17 and had been discharged in October of 1811. He had been part of the 7th foot (the Royal Fusiliers) and had never risen above the rank of Private. This lack of mobility for Elijah in the ranks suggests that he didn’t have enough money to buy preferment. Elijah only served for 2 years and 7 months before he received a gunshot wound to the hand in Spain on the 16th of May in 1811.

Based on the above date, and the fact that Elijah served with the 7th Foot, it was possible to determine that Elijah had been injured at the battle of Albuera during the Peninsular war. A mixed contingent of English, Spanish and Portuguese had engaged the French in Albuera, a small village in Spain. This battle was part of the much larger siege of Badajoz which was eventually abandoned by the allied forces.

Elijah, once he received his pension returned to England where he was married and had 6 children.

Historical Pensions Part 5

Historical Pensions Part 3- Greenwich Pensions continued

Edwin Gransden- Greenwich Pensioner

I found Edwin Gransden in a different way to finding George Lockwood. Unlike George, I wasn’t looking at census papers. Initially, I was trying to find Edwin Gransden’s arrival in Australia. Eventually, I found Edwin as a member of the crew on the Washington Irving arriving in Australia in 1855.


This early small piece of information made me start looking into how I could find out more about Edwin’s position as a member of the crew. How had he become a member of the crew? Had he sailed elsewhere, was this his first ship etc?

Researching the Merchant Navy is not easy and it is almost impossible to get some of the records in Australia, or at least it was more difficult than it is now. Ancestry was starting to put some of the records up as I was searching, but in this case, I engaged the services of a genealogy researcher in England to go and do some digging for me at the National Archives in London. Peter from Forefathers Research did an excellent job for me. Unfortunately, he is no longer undertaking research.

The original aim was to find out what ships Edwin had sailed on in England. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds. What we found, is that Edwin has sailed in the Merchant Navy for a few years between the ages of 16-18. Then Edwin had ended up in the Royal Navy for a couple of years before moving to Newcastle where he seemed to be continuing in the Merchant Navy. Finally, Edwin then immigrated to Australia, on a ship that he was a crew member on.

It was while researching this move into and then out of the Navy that I found out about Edwin’s pension. Like with George Lockwood earlier, I hadn’t realised that there was a difference between a Greenwich pension and a Chelsea pension, one to write about later, but finding the pension was pretty exciting.

Using the pension documents, I was able to find out that Edwin had sailed on two ships, the Firebrand and the Gorgon. The Firebrand was the main ship that Edwin had sailed on and was exciting because it was part of an experimental fleet that was using paddle steamers on some of the ships, including the Firebrand.



Edwin’s time on the Gorgon, also a paddle steamer, was probably just his transfer from the Firebrand to the hospital. Edwin was injured during the battle of Obligado in Brazil. To date, I have not been able to find out specifics about Edwin’s injury.

Edwin was given a partial pension, not a very large one as he had only served in the Royal Navy for a short time. He became an outpatient and moved to Newcastle. Whatever Edwin’s injury it obviously made him unsuitable for work in the Royal Navy but not in the Merchant Navy as he obtained his Merchant Navy ticket and continued to work on ships around the Newcastle area. Edwin did this until he immigrated to Australia.

Edwin’s pension was transferred to Australia with him and appears to have followed him to Sydney, Melbourne and finally Rockhampton. Certainly, the knowledge of Edwin’s death was noted in the pension books as the reason for cessation of his payment. There is a comment about his payment being transferred but, to date, I have been unable to find relevant documents in Australia to see how that transfer was managed.

Edwin only travelled on one other documented ship once he immigrated to Australia. On his move from Victoria to Rockhampton in Queensland, Edwin is recorded as working on the same ship as his brother Silas Gransden. It is probable that this is how Edwin and his wives moved from Sydney to Melbourne and later from Melbourne to Rockhampton.

Finding Edwin’s Greenwich pension helped me to find out so much more about Edwin than I could have hoped to ever find out without those records.

Ancestry.com Wo 22 – Royal Hospital Chelsea: Returns Of Payment Of Army And Other Pensions 1842-1883

Ancestry.com. UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1919 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

FindMyPast Merchant Navy Seamen BT114 http://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=tna%2fmsea%2fbtoth%2f4620365%2f00548&parentid=tna%2fbt113%2f2132922312%2f1

National Archives British Royal Navy & Royal Marines service and Pension Records, 1704-1919

National Archives ADM 38-8197 Muster Book of Her Majesty’s Ship Gorgon

National Archives ADM 38-750 Muster Book of Her Majesty’s Ship Firebrand 1 April to 30th June 1845

National Archives ADM 38-752 Muster Book of HMS Firebrand 1st Jul 1846-30 Sep 1846

National Archives ADM 38-752 Muster Book of HMS Firebrand 01 Apr 1846-31 Dec 1846

National Archives ADM 38-8110 Description Book of HMS Firebrand 07 Sep 1844- 17 Jun 1848

National Archives Wo 22 – Royal Hospital Chelsea: Returns Of Payment Of Army And Other Pensions 1842-1883 3210 4/2 3/12/46 Seaman Edwin Gransden transferred from Southampton 31/5/50 permanent pension

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction- Part 1

Fernleigh was a house very close to where I live. I had no idea it existed until I read an obituary notice for Mary Atkins nee Annetts, my three times great grandmother.

The funeral notice for Mary Annetts read-


I like to look at the places that my ancestors have lived at. So when I saw the details for Fernleigh Ryde I went looking for a place of that name. It didn’t take me long before I found an address, Fernleigh, Sherbrooke Road, Meadowbank. A few minutes later I was taking a walk to find a block of land that I thought would have nothing left of the house that I was looking for because I had never seen or heard of it and I had lived in that area for five years at that stage.

When I got to the place where the property was I was surprised to see that Fernleigh, to some extent, still existed.

Fernleigh Nursing Home, Meadowbank

This was the beginning of a fascination with this house. There was not a lot of the original house able to be seen from the street, just a few chimneys and some sections of sandstone. Large sections of the house were hidden from view behind some more modern red brick renovations. However, I wanted to know more. What had this house had to do with our family, when did it become a nursing home and what was the land like that the house had originally stood on?

First I went searching through my personal archives and family photos and memories. There were just tiny snippets of information including the possibility that Edward Atkins Jnr had built the house and some reference to photographs of the house that belonged to our family connections. But, no one knew much about the house. There was one potential reference to the house from a collection of family letters, but the details were too vague and others had attributed the description to another house ‘Eulalia’ that had been known to belong to the same family. However, the description didn’t really match that of Eulalia. It is possible that this description is that of Fernleigh, however, it is likely that the description is too late to be of Fernleigh.

On the basis of this information, and some information from another member of the Ryde District Historical Society, I went searching further to see what I could find out about Fernleigh.

The original site for the Fernleigh house was owned by William Balmain the assistant surgeon with the First Fleet. William was given a grant of land in 1799 which he called Meadow Bank.

Meadow Bank stretched from the Parramatta River back to the current Victoria Road and bounded by two creeks, Charity Creek and Archer Creek.
Current day Meadowbank

Balmain didn’t stay in Australia, instead he left Wentworth D’Arcy to act in his stead, as agent, with regards to his Meadow Bank property. D’Arcy sold the property to John Bennett, however the deeds to the estate never arrived from England to confirm the sale and purchase of the property.

Bennett was an ex-convict from Ireland. He had arrived on the Marquis Cornwallis in 1796. The wrangling over the Meadow Bank property went on for many years as Bennett attempted to finalise the purchase of the property. In 1824 Bennett unsuccessfully applied to the Governor and the Supreme Court for Justice hoping to finally receive the lands that he had paid for. During his lifetime Bennett was never to see a successful outcome.

John Bennett died in 1827 and his estate, including all of the troubles that went along with it, was passed on to Captain William Andrew Bennett, the nephew of John Bennett. Finally, on the 31st of December 1838, more than 10 years after the death of John Bennett the family received formal notification of their ownership of what was then called the Bennett farm. That farm included the lands of present-day Meadowbank.

During John Bennetts ownership of Bennett farm a section of the farm was sold off to the Darvell family, a prominent family of the area. When Captain William Bennett died in 1866 and the Bennett Farm was transferred to his wife Susan Bennett. Susan Bennett lived on the Bennett farm until her death in 1883. At this stage, John Bennett, son of William and Susan Bennett subdivided the Estate and sold off sections of the farm over a number of years.

1883 ‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 17 April, p. 11. , viewed 08 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28374653
Meadowbank Park Subdivision 1890.

For more information on Fernleigh please see Part 2.

Fernleigh, From Construction to Destruction Part 2- Edward Atkins Junior.