Sunday, July 25, 2010

'Get the place and wealth, if possible, with grace:If not, by any means get wealth and place.' Alexander Pope 1688-1744

Marwell Hall

Marwell Hall, Image by permission Siobhan White  ©

Before I continue the intriguing story of Rex Morley Hoyes (last blog), I would like to write something of the history of Marwell Hall, the historic British, Grade 1, Listed home, which my great uncle, Rex, bought in 1934 with his second wife, Patricia Blackader (formerly Lady Waleran). When I first searched the 1934 UK phone book for Rex M Hoyes' address, I had no idea of the surprise which lay in wait for me. The name Marwell Hall Estate sounded charming enough, however, as soon as I saw the magnificent manorial home, pictured above, I was more than curious to discover the history of the home and the surrounding estate. When I discovered that the original house had been built in 1320 and that in the 16 th century, King Henry VIII had granted Marwell Hall to the Seymour family, this amateur historian embarked on yet another exciting journey i
nto the past. As I have conducted my research from Australia,I acknowledge that this account of the history of Marwell Hall is only as accurate as my sources, which I will acknowledge at the conclusion of my story.

Marwell Hall Estate is now a Zoological Wildlife park. Situated in the parish of Owslebury, Hampshire in the south of England. Marwell Hall is about 9.6 km from Winchester, on the Roman road from Winchester to Portsmouth.(see map below right). Evidence of settlement in Owslebury, has been found, dating as far back as the Iron age and the Romans. In the ancient Saxon times of King Edgar the Peaceful, Owslebury was pronounced as oselbryg. In around 964 AD, King Edgar granted land at Owslebury, to the Bishop of Winchester. The Domesday Book, of which I have a well read copy, shows land at Owslebury held by the Bishop of Winchester, prior to and after the Norman Conquest (William the Conqueror). Much of the land which became the Marwell Hall estate, was used as parkland by the Bishop for hunting, grazing cattle and timber getting. The area where Marwell Hall stands was known then, as Twyford with Marwell. Local legend says that the name Marwell comes from, mere meaning water and well meaning a spring. There are several natural springs in the grounds of Marwell Park and Fisher's Pond is about 2 km away adding credibility to this story. In the 1100's, the Bishop of Winchester, Henry de Blois established a College of Secular Priests, where a number of buildings including a chapel were built, on a moated site at Lower Marwell.

Owslebury, Hampshire Image Wikipedia ©©

In the early 14 th century, the Bishop of Winchester was by then, a Henry Woodlock (1305-1316), who granted land at Twyford with Marwell to a Walter Woodlock, (believed to be a relative of Henry Woodlock). Walter Woodlock was granted a licence to enclose the land at Marwell in about 1310, and paid rent for the property to the Bishop. The Manor or Country Estate became known as Marwell Woodloke or Woodlock. The original home which Walter Woodlock built at Marwell between 1314 and 1320, was a timber framed construction called a base cruck which was 8 metres by 13 metres in size. A base cruck construction was common in Hampshire and other parts of England in this period and was defined by the cruck blades or timbers which rose from the ground up to a tie-beam or collar-beam which supported a separate roof construction.

Cruck Framing Image Wikipedia ©©

By the early 16 th century, the Bishop of Winchester, Bishop Fox, granted use of Marwell Hall to the Corpus Christi College at Oxford and revenues from the estate helped to fund the college. In about 1551, the Bishop of Winchester surrendered Marwell Hall Estate and all of its land to the Crown in return for a fixed income of 2000 marks. King Henry VIII granted the estate to Sir Henry Seymour whilst he was courting his sister, Jane Seymour (who became wife number 3). Henry Seymour at the time, already held Twyford Manor adjoining Marwell Woodlock (Marwell Hall). Legend tells us that at the precise moment that Anne Boleyn was beheaded, King Henry and Jane Seymour were married in a secret ceremony at Marwell Hall prior to their official public marriage. Whether or not this tale is true, there is no doubt that the story lends a certain air of romance to Marwell Hall's history. What is known, is, that King Henry VIII spent time at Marwell Hall after his marriage to Jane Seymour. Henry and Jane's son, Edward VI is known to have visited Marwell Hall on a number of occasions and the Royal Arms and
initials ER can be seen carved in a stone panel above the fireplace in the Great Hall. The Seymour Crest (pictured left) can still be seen today in the library, now known as the Seymour Room. Much remodelling of the house was done by Sir Henry Seymour and the medieval Great Hall still remains the central core of the building today (pictured above above). A square dovecote, which survives today, was built during the time that Sir Henry Seymour owned Marwell Hall. This building, which was converted to a dairy in the 1800's, has walls 1 metre thick built of brick and flint and is thought to have housed around 700 bird's nests. In the middle ages, doves and pigeons were a valuable source of meat and only manorial lords were permitted to keep the birds. Most dovecotes were built from stone and were round in shape. When a dovecote was timber framed, it was usually square as is the one at Marwell Hall or rectangular in shape.

A rectangular Covecot Image Wikipedia ©©
Sir Henry Seymour's descendants, including Sir John and Sir Edward Seymour, occupied Marwell Hall until around 1638, when the family fell out of royal favour and were reduced to poverty. Sir Henry Mildmay, a friend of King Charles I, took possession of Marwell Hall and the adjoining Twyford Manor. They were occupied by his descendants, until the 19th century,beginning with his grand-daughter, Letitia. Marwell Hall Estate was the stage for some interesting happenings and escapades in the 1600's. During the English civil war (1642-1651), Marwell Hall was the site of a skirmish, when a drunken party of Royalists moving from Winchester, took on a party of 60 Roundheads who were staying at the Hall. The Roundheads won the battle despite being outnumbered( being sober helped!). During the late 17 th century, King Charles II is known to have visited Marwell Hall on a number of occasions making the hall a very royally frequented estate.

In 1940, a firm of solicitors who had acted for the Mildmay family for many years, handed 22 boxes of family records to the British Records Association. Many of these records were related to Marwell Hall and in 1972 these were sent to the Hampshire Archives, where, now catalogued, they provide a wonderful source of information about the estate. Meticulous records were kept by the Mildmay family which date back to 1447 and they include lists of tennants at Marwell Hall as well as expenses and sundries, journals and events. These records provide an irreplaceable source of information about Marwell Hall. Information regarding these documents can be found at the following link:

According to several sources, William Long purchased Marwell Hall and occupied the estate from 1798 until around 1839. William Long wh was a prominent surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, made major alterations to the house between the years 1812 and 1816. He rebuilt the upper storeys and was responsible for remodelling Marwell Hall to appear as it stands today. The huge Cedar tree which still stands on the lawn at the rear of Marwell Hall, several hundred years old, with a girth of almost six metres, is believed to have been planted by William Long.

Marwell Hall, Hampshire Image Wikipedia ©©

By the middle of the 19 th century, the owner of Marwell Hall was John Gully, an MP for Pontefract and a race horse trainer from Danebury. John Gully was reputed to have had two wives and 24 children!

Marwell Hall was purchased in 1882, by Rowland Standish, whose family occupied the estate until the last of his descendants, William Standish, died in a car accident in 1933.
No manorial home is complete without at least one resident ghost. Marwell Hall is well known for the spirits which haunt its rooms. Jane Seymour is said to haunt the corridors of Marwell Hall. Another spirit to frequent Marwell, is King Henry's previous wife, Anne Boleyn. Anne's ghost reportedly wanders the corridors of the mansion plotting her revenge on Jane Seymour! The most famous of Marwell Hall's ghost stories is that of the Mistletoe Bough. According to this ghostly tale, during a party, that was held one Christmas Eve for a young newly married couple, it was decided that the guests would play a game of hide and seek. The bride was the first to hide and after a while the guests discovered that she was nowhere to be found. Although they searched all night long and into the next day, there was no trace of the girl. Many years later, the young woman's skeketon was discovered, by workers, in an old chest in a room at Marwell Hall. By her side was a piece of Mistletoe. She had become trapped in the chest when the lid had closed tightly, turning the chest into her grave. The young bride has been heard wandering through the corridors of Marwell Hall. Details of ghosts that have been investigated and detected at Marwell Hall can be found at .

Along with its distinguished, Royal and ghostly past, in July 1934, Marwell Hall went to auction and was purchased for 5750 pounds, by my great uncle, Rex Morley Hoyes and his wife Patricia (nee Blackader and formerly Lady Waleran). Whilst Marwell Hall was in the possession of Rex Hoyes, the estate became very much involved wartime activities. A secret airfield was built in the grounds of Marwell Hall and operated there from 1941 until 1944. The airfield was an important site for the conversion of Spitfires to Seafires and of American bombers and fighter planes for use by the British RAF. Rex was Managing Director of Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Ltd from 1937 and the company moved part of its operation to Marwell Hall where their aircraft production and conversion would be safe from enemy bombing at Southampton. This dispersal airfield, as Marwell was known, was a highly kept secret, well camouflaged amongst the woodland on the estate. So well hidden was it that many of the test pilots, most of whom were women (another well kept secret), overflew the airstrip on more than one occasion. One of the aircraft hangars that was built on the grounds, during this period, is still standing today and is heritage listed. At Marwell Hall, Rex entertained such distinguished guests as Lord Mountbatton ( whom he called 'Monty') and Winston Churchill. Rex and Pat were known to entertain the War Cabinet at Marwell Hall for weekends during the war years. It is not known exactly when Rex sold Marwell Hall. There has been some conjecture that he sold the estate whilst Pat was overseas opening Malcolm Clubs (for servicemen) during the war and that she returned to England in 1948 find it sold. Rex had remarried in 1848 but the details of the sale are unknown. ( read more about Rex Morley Hoyes and the secret airfield at Marwell Hall in the next blog). (Pictured above is the location of the Marwell Airfield in the grounds of Marwell Hall).

The London Times reported an auction of parts of the Marwell Hall Estate on October 26 1959. 'In a recent auction held by Mssrs James Harris & Son, parts of the Marwell Hall Estate, near Winchester, which was recently purchased by Sir John Blunt, Lower farm, extending to 179 acres was disposed of for 23,000 pounds.'

In September, 1963, the London Times once again reported the auction of Marwell Hall Estate. By now much of the original estate had been divided and sold off and the remaining 348 acres was for sale. 'The well known first class Agricultural, Residential and Sporting MARWELL HALL ESTATE, Owlesbury,Nr, Winchester, comprising, A beautifully equipped Country House of Tudor origin: 3 reception rooms, study, billiards room, 6 principal bedrooms, 2 dressing rooms, 4 bathrooms, 7 secondary bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, oil fired central heating, main electricity, private water supply, garage and stable block, well timbered grounds and parklands together with 9 well modernised cottages, a first class Dairy Farm extending to about 200 acres with well equipped modernised and attested farm buildings.Valuable woodland extending to about 130 acres. Extensive shooting rights available. In all about 348 acres'

In 1969, John Knowles purchased the Marwell Hall Estate with plans to turn the estate into a Zoological Park focusing on endangered animals.
In 1972, Marwell Zoological Park opened to the public with endangered species such as the Siberian Tiger and the Scimitar-Horned Oryx.

Since then, the Zoo has gone on to open an education centre and has helped to save many species of endangered species of animals from all over the world. Many of the endangered animals from Marwell Zoological Park have been re-introduced back into their native environments in places such as Brazil and Tunisia.

The stately home at Marwell Zoological Park, once the home of the Seymour family, and visited by King Henry VIII, and King Charles II, is available for functions such as weddings and conferences, offering the Seymour Library Room (capacity 40 people) which bears the Seymour Coat of Arms, The Long Room (capacity 80 people) named after William Long, the Woodlock Room (capacity 40 people) which is the medieval hall and the Tudor Rose room which features a grand entrance, high ceilings and an ornate staircase.

Wedding at Marwell Hall

Another pleasant feature at Marwell Hall is the Formal Garden which includes some ancient trees and is located near the back lawn of the Hall. These three gardens, the Knot garden, the Parterre garden and the Kitchen garden, represent garden styles of the 16 th and 17 th centuries and and visitors can explore the ancient historical and ecological importance of the garden.

London Times Online

Detail in the Great Hall at Marwell Hall

Thursday, June 17, 2010

'The greater the wealth, the thicker will be the dirt.' J K Galbraith1908 -: The Affluent Society 1958

Warrior II Image ©©

REX MORLEY HOYES: An Extraordinary Life - Part 1

This story would not have been possible without my fellow researchers, friends and cousins, Len and Jan who have joined me me on a captivating journey into the past. It is together, that we tell the amazing story of our uncle, Rex Morley Hoyes. This story will be of particular interest to those people who have contacted me through my blog, seeking information about Rex and his steam yacht 'Warrior', pictured above in a painting [1] commissioned by the yacht's first owner, American millionaire, Frederick Vanderbilt.[2] The true life story of Rex Morley Hoyes is an extraordinary one. It is a tale which seems too astounding to be true, but it is as factual an account as I know, of the sensational life of an ordinary but extraordinary man. It is a story which embodies suspicious implications, a secret airfield, a millionaire's yacht, illegal gun running, criminal trials, MI5, spies, excentric name changes and not least of all, the curious title of Vicompte.

As we researched Rex's life and his story unfolded, we travelled from New Zealand to England, Spain, Japan, America and France and to remarkable and exotic places such as Hyderabad and Tangier, Morocco. We encountered among Rex's personal friends, Lord Mountbatton and Winston Churchill and among his associates, General Peter El-Edroos, Sidney Cotton and Agent Zig-Zag as was known the infamous World War 2 double agent, Eddie Chapman (pictured below). Rex's associations escorted us into the world of British nobility, Leaders of State, Ministers of Government, the rich and famous, common thieves, numerous wives and many other colourful characters. Over the course of our journey, we, the Hoyes descendants, were obliged to ponder whether Rex Morley Hoyes was a brilliant entrepreneur, or a charming rogue, an unscrupulous fellow or a man of principles beguiled by the world of affluence and grandiosity he perceived in England. There is a saying that 'actions speak louder than words' but these proceedings occurred more than seventy years ago so we are left with mere words. We are optimistic that our words will bear sufficient witness to past deeds, for as Rudyard Kipling said 1923, ' Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind'. So in our own words, here is the story, as we know it, of a most colourful character, Rex Morley Hoyes.


Rex Morley Hoyes was born in Auckland, New Zealand on March 30, 1902. His father, Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes was the youngest son of English born parents, James Berry Hoyes and Elizabeth Morley (pictured below), who had immigrated t

o New Zealand as part of the famous missionaries, the Albertlanders [3] , on the ship Gertrude in February, 1863. [4] Born in Nottinghamshire, in England, James had turned his back on his family tradition of weaving, and learned the trade of milling in Houghton, Lincolnshire under the guidance of William Morley, the grandfather of his future wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the daughter of a strict Methodist, Thomas Morley, in the parish of Houghton, Lincolnshire. [5] James Berry Hoyes was the choirmaster at the great Gonerby Church where Elizabeth Morley and her family were also parishioners [6] and where James and Elizabeth were married. Once established in Auckland, New Zealand, James Berry Hoyes was regarded as a gentleman. In addition to his occupation as a miller, James had various other lucrative interests which included owning shares in silver and gold mines. [7]

Rex's mother, Elsie Violet Wood, was also born in New Zealand, to Enoch Wood and Martha Spragg. [8] Enoch Wood was a butcher whose business was in Symonds Street, Newton, Auckland, not far from where the Hoyes family lived in Rose Street. [9] According to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Mr Wood was the organist at the Newton Congregational Church for thirty years. [10] It is possible that the two quite religious families attended the same church in Newton as it was not uncommon for Methodist and Congregational parishioners to meet in one church even prior to the formal establishment of the Uniting Church..... Leonard Hoyes and Elsie Wood married in 1900 [11] and two years later, their son Rex Morley Hoyes was born.

Rex's middle name of Morley was given in honour of his grandmother, Elizabeth, as it was her maiden surname. The name Morley was to feature significantly in Rex's later life. When Rex was 4 or 5 years old, his father, Leonard, an amateur opera singer, left New Zealand and travelled to Sydney, Australia, where he obtained a number of jobs before joining a small travelling opera group. [12] It is thought that Rex's father, Leonard left New Zealand in about 1906 as the 1905 Auckland Post Office Directory shows him to be living with his family in New Zealand and working as a furniture manufacturer at the address of Mt Roskill Road, Mt Eden, Auckland. It is possible that when Leonard settled in Australia, he intended to send for his wife Elsie and son Rex since he lived with Elsie's sister, Eva and her husband, Helier Harbutt, when he first arrived in Sydney. [13] For reasons known only to Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes, he disappeared from his son's life and Rex was left to grow up with his mother in Auckland. His grandfather, James would most likely have been a positive influence in young Rex's his life, but tragically, he was killed accidentally in 1910, when he stepped off a tram and was hit by a bicycle. [14] The New Zealand newspaper, The Evening Post, which carried the story on December 24, reported that James had been on his way to buy his wife, Elizabeth a bonnet for Christmas when the accident happened. At the age of 8 years, Rex had lost his father and grandfather. It is believed that James Berry Hoyes provided well for the education of his grandson, Rex, as he was enrolled in the most prestigious boys school in New Zealand. The King's College, situated in an affluent area of Auckland, known as Remuera, was established in 1896 and offered all the subjects required for entry into the University of New Zealand as well as Military Drill and Gymnastics. [15]

King's College Remuera

In 1909, at the age of 7 years, Rex began his education at the King's College in Auckland in Form 1, his register number: KR721. [16] Young Rex's grandfather, James Berry Hoyes and his mother, Elsie, must have been proud of him, as he set off on his first day of school in the military style uniform of the King's College. Records from the College Archive show that he attended the King's College until 1912 when, according to archive records, he left the school, to move overseas. The King's College crest bore the Latin words Virtus Pollet which mean 'Truth Prevails', [17] however, as Rex's life story unfolds, it may become apparent that Rex, in his later life, let slip from his memory, his old school motto.

Shipping records show that Rex, at the age of 12, travelled to Sydney with his mother Elsie on board the Makura in 1914. [18] The ship had originated in Vancouver but its route to Sydney, Australia, was via Auckland. There is no way of knowing whether Rex and his mother began their journey in Canada or in New Zealand. This trip, was most likely, a visit to his Aunt Eva's home in Turramurra, Sydney, NSW, Australia, where his uncle Helior Harbutt was a well respected builder of substantial homes on the North Shore of Sydney. [19] Little is known about Rex's childhood years including whether he lived for a period outside of New Zealand. Elsie Hoyes divorced Rex's father, Leonard in 1911 citing that she had been deserted. [20] It is possible Elsie took her young son overseas for a few years to complete his schooling. Perhaps, alternatively, the year 1912, when Rex left the King's College, corresponds with the death of his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth. [21] It may have been that the Hoyes family were contributing to the College fees and with the death of his grandmother, Rex was forced to leave the prestigious King's College. Rex probably grew up with little contact with his father Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes, although we know from Rex's only surviving half brother who lives in Australia, that Leonard did return to New Zealand a number of times, over the years, to see his family, even living in Auckland for about a year in the 1920's with his second wife Florence Morrison and his eldest son Ian from his second marriage ( two younger sons, Leonard and Lawrence were left in Australia with their maternal grandparents). It is unlikely, given that his father deserted his mother and himself, that the young boy Rex, enjoyed a close relationship with his father.
In 1921, aged 19, Rex travelled to Chicago, via Canada to study, sailing on the S.S.Makura and arriving on the 3rd of March. Shipping records state that he was a student. It is believed that he studied engineering in America in Chicago or in Seattle, Washington. [22] The 1966 Kelly's Directory [23] states that he was educated at the King's College in Auckland, New Zealand and in America. It is an interesting insight into Rex's character that he describes his religion as aethiest which he boldly printed on his alien card pictured left. Perhaps the religious beliefs of his grandparents had not been passed on to Rex or quite possibly he was a typical teenage student, about to embark on an adventure and eager to throw off the shackles of home.


After completing his studies, Rex Morley Hoyes returned to New Zealand, where in 1925, at the age of 23, he married Muriel Bates Philcox. [24] [25] After the death of Muriel's father, Harry Bates Philcox in 1930, Muriel's sister,Vivienne journeyed to London in 1931 with her mother, Anne, to pursue a career as a dancer. [26] With her mother and sister both living in England, there is no doubt that Muriel would have been excited at the prospect of accompanying her husband, Rex on a business trip to London in 1933. [27] Rex and Muriel Hoyes left New Zealand, bound for London, on board the MV Rangitane, arriving on the January 26, 1933. Rex was 32 years old and a Company Director, according to the ship's passenger records. This trip to London would change Rex and Muriel's lives in ways that they could never have foreseen. There can be no doubt that Rex believed he was destined for great things in life and possessed a resolute desire for both wealth and influence. Unfortunately for Rex, it was a charge of bribery and corruption ( of which he was later acquitted), which afforded him the most notoriety, especially in the London Times. Rex's penchant for the good life was undisguised amidst his flamboyant lifestyle in London, his relationships with diplomats, politicians, royalty and dalliances with exotic people and places. There is no doubt that some of Rex's associations were of a dubious and questionable nature, however his life was undeniably fascinating from the moment he arrived in London.

Rex and Muriel quickly moved into influential and diplomatic social circles in London. On February 5, 1933, only weeks after her arrival in London, Muriel was presented at the Royal Court to the King and Queen, by Lady Wilford, as part of presentations made in the diplomatic circle. [28] The London Times gave a detailed and descriptive account of the presentation. Life must have seemed wonderfully exciting for the young New Zealand couple. Lady Wilford's husband, Sir Thomas Wilford was the New Zealand High Commissioner in London. [29] Encouraged by Sir Thomas, Lady Wilford, had formed the New Zealand Women's Association in London, in 1930 which invited wives of diplomats to socialise and to meet members of British nobility. Sir Thomas and Lady Wilford were actively involved
in horse racing, both in New Zealand and in England. Rex, also, had racing connections in his home country, so it was perhaps, through the Wilfords that Rex was introduced to high society and people of influence in London.
Rex appears to have had found employment on arrival in London. The British Phone Book for 1933, listed Rex's profession as a Stockbroker and his address as 190 Piccadilly, W1, Regent. There has been a suggestion that Rex made a large amount of money on the stock market through an association with Sir Alfred Butt, a Baronet and member of parliament. Sir Alfred was also a keen horse racegoer and race horse owner and a flamboyant figure in London theatre circles. Sir Alfred was charged with prospering from a serious leak regarding government budget secrets and although there was no trial, in 1936, Sir Alfred resigned as a member of parliament over the affair. [30] The story of a connection between Rex and Sir Alfred has been passed on verbally, from a contact in England however, given, that in the following few years, Rex, quite publicly enjoyed life as a millionaire, it is quite likely that the story is credible.
The 1966 Kelly's Handbook is a window into Rex's intriguing professional life. According to this well respected 'who's who' directory, Rex held the following positions: Chairman of the Southern Board, Minister of Production 1942-45; Vice Chairman of the Southern Board Emergency Services Organisation (M.A.P.) 1940-45; formerly Managing Director of Cunliffe-Owen Aicraft Ltd., formerly Director of British and Foreign Aviation Ltd., Marwell Shipping Company Ltd., European Aviation Company., Aircraft Inventions Ltd. and Eagle Star Insurance Ltd, ( Southern Board); Air Advisor to the H.E.H. Nizam of Hyderabad and Govt., Deccan-India 1947. [31]In August of 1933, 8 months after arriving in London, Rex Hoyes travelled to America on board the luxurious liner, RMS Aquitania, arriving in New York on the 1st of September. Travelling with him, were Lord William George Hood Waleran and his young wife, Lady Margaret Patricia Waleran nee Blackader. From an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, dated Saturday, 2 March, 1935, [32] we know that Lord Waleran, lived in New Zealand from 1927-1930, when he was the second Secretary to the then Governor General, Sir Charles Fergusson. It is entirely speculation that Rex Hoyes met Lord Waleran in New Zealand before he arrived in London, however, what is clear, is that the New Zealand connection played an important part in the unfolding events of Rex's life in England. The journey to New York, was presumably for business purposes as Rex is listed as a Company Director on the passenger list. Rex travelled to New York on the Aquitania without his wife Muriel which was to be a decision that Muriel would come to deeply regret and one that within a short period of time would change the course of her life.

The Aquitania Image Wikipedia ©©
The RMS Aquitania, launched in 1913, and sister ship of the Mauretania and the Lusitania, was one of the most of the most revered of the Cunard Line ships. No other ship boasted such exquisite and luxurious interiors as the Aquitania. Her elegant accommodation and size would have assured Rex and his companions, a most pleasurable journey. It is easy to picture Rex relaxing in the oak panelled smoking room or dining with Lord and Lad
y Waleran in one of the restaurants, beautifully decorated in Louis XIV or Jacobean styles. [33] From her maiden voyage in 1914, the Aquitania was used for regular transatlantic crossings and amidst the festive and opulent surroundings on such a crossing, in 1933, the young Lady Waleran and Rex Hoyes obviously discovered a mutual attraction. Perhaps it was whilst strolling around a moonlit deck or whilst dancing to the music of a band after dining that the romance began.

Aquitania First Class Dining Room Image Wikipedia ©©
However discreet Rex Hoyes and Lady Waleran (or Pat as she was known), attempted to be, evidence shows that Lord Waleran became aware of the affair between his wife and Rex in late 1933. In March of 1934, newspapers in London and as far as Sydney, Australia reported the news that Lord William George Hood Waleran ( Walrond), 2nd Baron, was seeking a divorce, citing adultery as the cause and naming New Zealand businessman, Rex Hoyes, as co- respondent. In May of 1934, a decree nisi was granted to Lord Waleran and undoubtedly,to Muriel's public humiliation, the London Times carried the story of the divorce, stating that, 'It was alleged that the respondent and the co-respondent had committed adultery at a flat in Bury Court, Jermyn Street, W, in November, 1933.'[34]

There can be little doubt that for Muriel Hoyes, 1934 was a wretched year. The distress she must have felt due to her husband's infidelity could only have been worsened by the tragic death of her sister, Vivienne in March of 1934. A much publicised inquest into the death deemed due to an accidental overose of slimming pills, (the first such death recorded)was closely followed by the London Times. [35] Following this, only two months later, Muriel was forced to endure the public embarrassment of the Waleran divorce. For Muriel, the new and exciting life in London, which began in early 1933 with her presentation to the King and Queen, ended a year later in heartbreak and tragedy. Muriel Hoyes returned home to New Zealand with her mother Anne Philcox, on the ship Orama which departed England on June 22nd,1934. [36] Once back in New Zealand, Muriel petitioned for divorce and a decree nisi was granted in March 1935. [37]
With a divorce from Muriel finalised, Rex Hoyes was free to marry Pat Blackader, formerly Lady Waleran. It is a testiment to his overt charm that Pat, aged in her early twenties, had discarded the title of Baroness for the New Zealand businessman who had appeared on the London social scene only a year earlier. The couple announced their engagement in the social pages of the London Times and were married in a civil ceremony in Westminster, Middlesex, in April 1935. [38]
Prior to their marriage, on July 13, 1934, the couple had purchased, at auction, the stately Marwell Hall [39] Manor Estate, once owned by King Henry VIII. This opulent new home for Rex and Pat Hoyes, Marwell Hall, reportedly sold for 5750 pounds. [40] The UK Phone Book for 1934 listed the address for Rex M Hoyes, as Marwell Hall Owslebury...6, South Lodge...6, Estate Office...6 and Hurst Common...6. This would indicate that Rex, and possibly Pat, might have been living at Marwell Hall prior to their 1935 marriage.
Marwell Hall, near Winchester, Hampshire was built in the 14th century for Walter Woodlock, a relative of the Bishop of Winchester. It was later owned by King Henry VIII who presented the Estate to the Seymour family prior to his marriage to Jane Seymour. It is rumoured that Henry married Jane at Marwell Hall at the precise moment that Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Despite, changes being made over the centuries, to Marwell Hall, the Medieval hall remains the core of the building. Jane Seymour's son Edward VI is said to have visited Marwell Hall and with the Royal Arms and the intitials ER carved above the fireplace in the great hall [42] (pictured below right), Marwell must have been an impressive home for Rex Morley Hoyes and his new wife Patricia.

In a eulogy, delivered by a close friend of Pat's (then Patricia McCarthy), at her funeral in September, 2002, [43] it was said that the marriage was not a happy one however it is probable that the couple were in love in the early years of their relationship. It appears that they embarked on a long honeymoon following the marriage in June of 1935. On January 24, 1936, Rex and Pat arrived in Southampton aboard the S.S. Potsdam [44] having cruised to Yokohama, Japan from Palma in Spain, according to the ships passenger records. The couple, Rex aged 36 and Pat aged 22 travelled first class through ports that included Barcelona, Shanghai and Colombo. Rex's profession was given as a merchant and the couple's country of residence as Spain. This may have been an error on the ship's records or possibly the couple spent some time residing in Spain before returning to Hampshire to take up residence in their stately home, Marwell Hall.

Marwell Hall Estate (left) is now a large Zoological Wildlife Park and three of the beautiful reception rooms are used for receptions, conferences and seminars. [45] Image Wikipedia ©©

In the next Blog - Rex becomes Managing Director of Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Ltd, The wartime years at Marwell Hall reveal a secret airfield, Rex is charged and goes to trial for corruption and bribery over a government deal to convert spitfires, Rex buys the steam yacht 'Warrior', Wartime activities attract the attention of MI5, Illegal gun running, The Nizam of Hyderabad and much more....




  3. New Zealand Electronic Text Centre. 'The Albertlanders; Brave Pioneers of the Sixties' Sir Henry Hook

  4. New Zealand Society of Genealogists: Shipping Database




  8. New Zealand Births deaths & Marriages

  9. New Zealand Electoral Rolls

  10. Encyclopedia of New Zealand


  12. Sydney Morning Herald

  13. Sydney Morning Herald






  19. Australian Electoral Rolls

  20. NZ Archives



  23. Kelly's Handbook of the Titled, Landed and Official Classes 1966



  26. London Times Online

  27. Sydney Morning Herald

  28. London Times Online


  30. London Times Online

  31. Kelly's Handbook of the Titled, Landed and Official Classes 1966

  32. Sydney Morning Herald


  34. London Times Online

  35. New Zealand Archives




  39. Marwell Life Maureen taylor

  40. Hampshire Archives

  41. Marwell Life maureen Taylor

  42. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb/ Descendants of Sir Philip Skelton
  43. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb/

Friday, May 14, 2010

'Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.' Ralph W Emerson, Poet 1803-1882

A treasure
of information -
how newspapers
told me a story
about the life
of an ancestor.

The National Library of Australia has introduced a wonderful website called Trove ( ) where it has made available, searches of digitalised newspapers from all around Australia as well as diaries, pictures, journals, magazines and other archived materials. The wealth of valuable information that has been made easily accessible, is not only interesting, but has particular importance for family historians.

Through searches of the newspaper articles which I found on the Trove site, I have been able to tell a detailed story about my 2 times great grandfather, John Morrison. I have been researching my Morrison forebears for some time and had discovered that the family had arrived in Melbourne, Australia in 1878 on the ship 'Kent' from Northumberland in England, with four children. I had found the Australian births of five more children in Newcastle and Sydney, NSW and the death of a son, William John a year after their arrival. I knew that the Morrisons had, for some reason relocated, from NSW to Queensland between 1894 and 1905. (These are the same Morrisons that I spoke of in a recent blog, whose gravestone my husband and I cleaned in Cooroy, Queensland - posted January 25, 2010).

From birth, death and marriage records, I knew that the Morrison family had lived in Newcastle and Sydney,after arriving in Australia and that John was a builder. The Australian Electoral Rolls, showed that the family's Sydney address was Morwick Street, Burwood. I knew that this was the address where the family had remained until sometime after 1894. John and Hannah Morrison and some of their grown children then appeared on the 1905 electoral roll in Ipswich, Queensland, Between the years 1894 and 1905, the Morrison family seemed to disappear until they turned up in South East Queensland. From the Queensland electoral rolls I found that John had later managed the Stewart River Sugar Mill in Queensland and lived in the town of Cooroy. I had to assume that John had found work wherever he could and that this had been the reason for the family's move from Strathfield in Sydney to Ipswich and then Cooroy in Queensland. With no oral family history at all about the Morrison family, I was left with a bare skeleton of a story, and nothing extra-ordinary, until I discovered a wealth of information through the National Library of Australia's Trove website. The value of online, easily accessed information in newspapers became apparent, as I read article after article, as well as advertisements in The Sydney Morning Herald, the Brisbane Courier Mail. Many enlightening newspaper items which I discovered written between the years of 1884 and 1933, enabled me to sew together, colourful threads of information, into a wonderfully informative account of John Morrison' life in Australia.

The first search of Trove for 'John Morrison', resulted in my finding a Tender advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald, August 7, 1884, which called for the delivery of 120,000 bricks and 100 tons of sand to an un-named building site and which advised the tenderer to 'Contact, John Morrison, Builder, Burwood.' This was a substantial amount of building material, obviously intended for a large project. If this was indeed my great great grandfather, I deduced that he must have been a builder of considerable note. My curiosity intensified as I read other Tender advertisements for things such as a '3 ton jib crane, 60 feet jib, John Morison Contractor, Burwood.' I wasn't certain that this builder was my John Morrison, but I had a certain 'hunch' that urged me to continue to follow this trail. Another Tender requested 900 perch of Stone to be delivered to the site in George Street. I was confident that this building project was significant, and now I had an address for it as well. More importantly, the last Tender gave the address of the Contractor, as John Morrison of Morwick Street, Burwood so I knew without a doubt that the builder was my 2 times great grandfather. With much enthusiasm, I went in search of what it was that he was building, widening my search to 'John Morrison, George Street'. I was quite excited when I found what I was looking for, in an article written in the Sydney Morning Herald, on November, 27, 1885 entitled, 'The Chapter House at St Andrew's Cathedral' which described the new addition to the well known Sydney Cathedral, George Street, Sydney, which was designed by architects Blacket Bros, and built by John Morrison for a price of 7,600 pounds, pictured below and right.

Another tender notice in the same newspaper in August, 1885, which advertised for a large amount of stone and sand to be delivered to Newtown prompted me to search futher until I discovered that John Morrison had also been contracted to build a large Presbyterian church known as St Enoch's in Newtown ( pictured below right), which was completed in 1887. St Enoch's was a beautiful stone building of Gothic design by the same architects Blacket Bros who had designed Chapter house and were the sons of the well known colonial architect, Edmund Blacket. The large church seated over 600 people and housed one of the two largest pipe organs in Australia. Unfortunately it was demolished in the 1960's when many Presbyterian and Methodist churches became redundant with the uniting of these denominations with the Congregational church. Few pictures remain of this significant stone church.
Tender notices and other advertisements in the Sydney Morning Herald between the years of 1884 and 1889 informed me of the many building projects which John Morrison undertook as a contractor. He built a number of churches, mostly in the Gothic style of architecture, including the Presbyterian Church at Burwood, as well as large villas and homes designed by prominent architects, in Manly, Woolwich and other affluent suburbs of Sydney. One particular Tender notice which interested me, invited tenders for plasterers and concretors for 'Municipal Buildings' in Strathfield. Further searching revealed that John Morrison had built the Strathfield Council Chambers ( pictured below, right). This was especially significant as it was where my husband's grandfather had spent much time as a member of parliament and as a mayor. As each building that my great great grandfather had built, became known to me, I visited the sites to take photographs. I am from Queensland and must admit that since marrying, and living in Sydney, have never really felt quite the same 'connection' to this city as I have done to my home town of Brisbane, Queensland. With the discovery of my new heritage, I experienced a considerable sense of new pride, as I realised that important contribution my ancestor had made to the built fabric of of Sydney, NSW.

Next, I read an interesting Tender notice from October, 1887 in which John Morrison invited offers to advertise on a ' large railway frontage at Strathfield Junction'. I assumed that since Morwick Street, Burwood where John lived, bounded the railway line near Strathfield Station, that he was advertising his building contracting business. Further searches revealed that between 1889 and 1890, John Morrison's Tender advertisements for building materials ceased. Then I discovered several articles written in the Sydney Morning Herald between April and June of 1890, which explained the significance of the 1887 'railway frontage' advertisement. Intrigued, I read the following words, from the Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, April, 19, 1890 'The Railway Commissioners yesterday took delivery of the second chain of railway carriages built by Mr John Morrison of Strathfield ...', and ' railway carriage factory, Strathfield'. I wondered if could this possibly be my John Morrison. My challenge was to discover whether a builder of churches, homes and council chambers could turn his skills to the industry of carriage building. As I searched the advertisements in the Sydney Morning Herald from 1887 to 1890, it became evident that John Morrison , builder, and John Morrison, carriage builder, were one and the same man. Through further searches of the advertising section of the Sydney Morning Herald, I discovered that John had a large tram and rail carriage works adjoining Strathfield Station on the site where the Tafe College now stands. The business began its operations in 1889 and was located directly adjoining his address in Morwick street, on the other side of the rail line. John Morrison would only have had to step out of his home and walk across the railway line to his workshop.

With pride, I read article upon article, which praised the quality of the fine rail carriages built by my 2 times great grandfather, the first of which was in service in 1889 on the suburban railway lines in Sydney. Through these news items I became aware that John Morrison was at one time, one of the six largest providers of rolling stock for the Australian government. My desk overflowed with printouts of news stories, photographs and advertisements for John Morrison's rail and tram carriages from 1889 to 1993. My great great grandfather, was clearly a very wealthy and prominent business man. The question remained as to why he had left Sydney and moved his family to Queensland, when he had built up several successful businesses. A large notice in the Sydney Morning Herald, in March, 1894, under Auction Sales, provided the answer I was seeking.

With dismay as I read, I realised that that due to a cancelled government contract for 180 rail carriages 'J. Morrison Carriage Builder' had lost everything he had worked so hard to achieve. A large advertisement which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, in 1894, advertised an auction sale of all of John Morrison's household goods to be held on Friday, July, 9, at 11 am at 'Myella', Brooklyn Street Burwood. The auctioneers announced with regret that, 'the furniture was not displayed to its best advantage due to it having been suited to the Morrisons' previous much larger home', which John had obviously lost due to his unfortunate circumstances.

Part of the advertisement read: 'Favoured with instructions from Mrs John Morrison.... the auctioneers will sell the whole of her exceedingly Handsome, modern and substantial furniture and household effects...Dining, Drawing, Breakfast and bedroom suites... Seven grand carpets, all bordered...Magnificent Overmantel and mirrors, Really splendid water colours by Huddlestone, Fletcher Watson and other artists of great ability....two pianofortes... ' On and on went the list of beautiful things that my 2 times great grandparents were forced to part with. 'Expensive jewelery, designed by well known craftsmen, Ladies riding equipment' As I read, I found myself thinking about the great wealth that John Morrison had obviously built up for his family and the even greater loss this family had sustained. I felt the pain of how devastating this tragedy must have been for them as they sold all of their possessions, ' now for sale owing to the terrible losses sustained by Mr John Morrison and family, owing to the cancellation of Government contracts and consequent closing of the carriage-building shops at Strathfield station.'

From the searches of the Sydney Morning Herald on the Trove site, I learned that John Morrison had remained in Sydney after losing his rail carriage business, until 1907, once again working as a builder, contracting his building services to architects and the contruction of homes. I found the addresses of many of these homes in Mosman, Cremorne and Potts Point through Tender notices. Finding no further information regarding John Morrison in Sydney, I turned my attention to the Queensland newspapers. An article entitled 'Overland Passengers' in the Brisbane Courier Mail, on Saturday January 27, 1900 informed me that Hannah Morrison, wife of John, and several of their daughters had left Sydney bound for Ipswich by rail, the previous day on January, 26.
On Saturday, September, 3 1910, a story appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail under the heading; 'Carriage and Wagon Shop - XII, by W.B.D', in which John Morrison was mentioned as the carriage works foreman. Finally, I knew why John and his family had relocated to the town of Ipswich in south east Queensland. In the photograph at the top of this page, also from the Brisbane Courier Mail, John is pictured standing fourth from the right in a white suit. This is the only known photograph of my 2 times great grandfather. Pictured below, also from the Brisbane Courier Mail, is the Ipswich Carriage Workshop where John Morrison remained as foreman for some years before moving to Cooroy.

Queensland newspapers told the next chapter in John Morrison's life, after leaving Sydney, until his death in 1927, however, that tale is for another time. I have now personally seen three of the carriages which my great great great grandfather built. They are housed at the State Rail Musuem at Thirlemere. I have visited many of the buildings which he constructed and felt admiration for this man who I never met, but feel that I know through his wonderful craftsmanship. This story would not have been possible but for the enormous project undertaken by the National Library of Australia in digitalising so many of Australia's leading and regional newspapers.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

'If you endeavour to take out...that manly confidence which ought to be cherished in every civilised human begin the work of demoralisation

A Convict in the Family Tree

The above quote is from Lawrence Frayne, a convict on Norfolk island who was my 3 x Great Uncle on my mother's side of my family. The picture is of a tombstone erected on Norfolk Island by Lawrence Frayne in memory of his friend and fellow prisoner, William Storey who died 9 January 1838 aged 29 years, a native of Dublin.
Like many Australians, I grew up with no knowledge of my convict ancestry. As with many families, mine had most probably gone to a great deal of trouble to cover the fact that we had a convicted felon on the family tree . It was not always as fashionable to 'claim' a convict in your past as it is today as we embrace our felonious foundation in Australia. To deny heritage, however, is to deny your identity.
I was quite excited when I discovered, some years ago, that the father of my great great grandmother Sarah Frayne (who married Edward Joseph Weston), was a Lawyer from Dublin. Until then most of my ancestors had been coal miners, bootmakers, farm labourers and even a law clerk but an Irish lawyer was something new to research. His death certificate, obtained from the Queensland State Archives, issued in 1878, stated that Michael Frayne had lived in the colonies for 40 years. This indicated that Michael had arrived in Australia from Ireland in around 1837 or 1838.

As I was researching several other family lines at that time and as I also knew that Irish research was difficult, with less online resources than other parts of the UK, I filed Michael Frayne in the temporarily 'too hard' basket. While I went on to discover my husband David's fascinating Royal connections, something kept bothering me about my 3 x great grandfather, Michael Frayne. If he had indeed left Ireland around 1837, this date would appear to be too early for a free Irish settler to have arrived in the colony of Australia. Daughter Sarah's birth certificate in 1868,  stated that her parents Michael Frayne and Mary Williams were married in Singleton, NSW but I was unable to find a marriage certificate for Michael and Mary in NSW. Similarly, no record of a marriage was located in Queensland where Sarah was born. Although I was thrilled to have an Irish lawyer on my tree, I was left with a niggling suspicion that all was not as it seemed.  I decided to re- examine the information I had.

When I looked again at the birth certificate for Michael's daughter, Sarah (my 2 x great grandmother), I noticed my mistake immediately. Since first 'finding' Michael, I had become much more familiar with old handwriting and poor Michael Frayne fell from grace at once, as I read that he was a 'Sawyer'..... not a Lawyer! In old handwriting, the flourishing style of letter 'S' is often easily mistaken for an 'L'. A disappointing discovery when your husband has many Kings and Queens in his ancestry. The discovery of another record verified that Michael was indeed a 'timber getter' and had nothing to do with the law.... or so I thought! My great great great grandfather was about to fall even further down the social ladder..

I had a hunch - one of those feelings we family historians get where we just 'know' something! The more I thought about Michael Frayne, the more the date of his arrival became significant. I began to suspect that my 'Lawyer turned Sawyer', 3 times grandfather may have arrived in Australia as a convict. I began to research Irish immigration and soon discovered that the first free Irish settlers had arrived in Australia in 1839, when an immigration plan was put in place to bring farmers to this country from Ireland with their families. This discovery made it vital to put a date on Michael's arrival. If Michael Frayne had indeed arrived a year or two earlier than 1839, as I believed, it seemed quite likely that this 3 x great grandfather of mine, might indeed have been connected to the law after all, but as a convict and not as a lawyer as I had first thought.
Growing up as I did, believing that I had no connections to Australia's colonial founding, this discovery was very exciting to say the least.

The next step was for me to search all convict records I could find. The Australian Society of Genealogists, (SAG), based in Sydney, had put some records online on their website. I discovered three Michael Fraynes and two other Fraynes (Peter and Lawrence) who had arrived on different ships as convicted felons. The NSW state Archives also had a considerable number of convict records such as Tickets of Leave, Pardons, Permission to Marry and Convict Bank accounts which I searched. A Michael Frayne had arrived in 1837 on board the convict ship 'St Vincent' and I suspected that I had found my 3 x great grandfather. So began my search for evidence.

My search for Michael Frayne began some years ago, and at the time there were not as many online convict records available as there are now. Now, with online records made available by organisations such as FindmyPast and, convict records in particular are easier to access. In the early stages of my research, 'Michael' was forced to sit an archive box to wait until I had time to visit the Archives or the State Library to research in person. Then, as I often do, when I 'file' an ancestor away, I climbed out along another branch of the family tree and forgot my convict as I became engrossed in the world of MI5 and 2 x great uncle Rex Morley-Hoyes who it seemed likely had been a World War 2 spy/ traitor/ illegal gun runner/  titled gentleman or all of the above.

Some time later, after a break in researching the family history, I suddenly remembered great great great grandfather Michael Frayne and decided to pursue his possible convict past once more. I discovered to my delight, that many more resources were available to me through and the Irish Archives and that the Australian Society of Genealogist's website was much improved. On this website, I found the link I needed to prove beyond doubt that my Michael Frayne was indeed the convict who had arrived on the St Vincent in 1837. I found records for the convict, Michael Frayne, which linked him to his wife Mary Williams, daughter Sarah, parents Michael 'Freyne' and Sera Phoenix as well as a step son Richard Brown and a brother Larry Frayne.

I re-examined Michael's death certificate and discovered that the witness present at his death was his step son Richard Brown. I had found the proof I needed to establish beyond doubt that my 3 x great grandfather was a convict. An exciting discovery but as is so often the case in the pursuit of family history, when one mystery is solved, others are unearthed.

Michael's death certificate stated that he had been married in Singleton in 1858. This date made little sense as Michael's wife Mary, born in around 1845, would have been too young to have married in 1858.  Searching  the NSW Births Deaths and Marriages Historical online records, I discovered that Michael had indeed been married in 1858, but to not to my 3 x great grandmother, Mary Williams. Michael's marriage in 1858 was to a Bridget Donelly and had not married in Singleton as stated, but in St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.  (This was not the large Cathedral which stands today but it was on the same site as the current cathedral occupies. The original cathedral was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt.) So I now had two wives for Michael. Or at least I had one legal wife and a step son whose mother was a mystery. I could find no record of a child named Richard born to either Bridget nor Mary.

The marriage certificate for Michael and Bridget confirmed that Michael was born in Dublin and was aged 34 years at the time of the marriage on the 18 th February, 1858. This meant that in 1837 he was only 13 or 14 years old when he arrived in the Colony as a convict. A quick search of the BDM's showed that Bridget had died on the 29th August 1864 in Singleton aged 26 years. No marriage record has been found for Michael and Mary Williams, whose daughter Sarah was born in Brisbane Qld, 4 years after Bridget Frayne's death. The fact that Michael's death certificate states that he was married in 1858, seems to suggest that he did not marry Mary Williams.

The Irish Archives and a helpful site provided by Peter Mayberry, 'Irish Convicts to NSW 1788-1837', informed me that Michael Frayne was tried for 'burglary,robbery' in Dublin in 1836 aged 14 years. He was described as 'single' and an 'errand boy'. His brother's name was given as Larry Frayne -who arrived about 1827.' Michael's sentence was 'death', later commuted to 'life'.  I discovered that not only did I have a great great great grandfather who was a convict and a Dublin burglar, but it appeared that my 3 x great uncle Larry Frayne also arrived in the colony as a convict. I was thrilled to have several convicts on my tree. With my husband descending from almost every Royal House in Europe, this provided me with some very colourful, and significantly, very Australian colonial history of my own. Little did I know then, however, just how interesting a journey the  felonious Frayne family would transport me on.

I had previously seen a record for a convict named Lawrence Frayne who had arrived on the ship 'Regalia' in 1826, but had not realised his connection to Michael. Now that I knew they were brothers, I began to research both Michael and Lawrence Frayne. According to a record of convicts on Norfolk Island in the NSW State Archives, Lawrence was sentenced in Dublin on the 5th of October, 1825 for 'stealing rope'. He was described as a pantry boy, born in 1809. Lawrence Frayne was just 17 years old when he arrived in NSW as a convicted thief to serve his 7 year sentence.

The next record I searched was the 1838 Convict Muster. There I found Michael Frayne employed by a James Brown at a property called 'Strathallan', NSW. This record showed me that the ship 'St Vincent' had departed Cork, Ireland on the 13 September 1836 and arrived in NSW on the 5 January 1837, a voyage of almost 4 months. Strathallan is near Braidwood where there had been considerable land grants made in the 1830's and convict labour was in demand. The 1872 NSW Post Office Directory describes Braidwood as 'Distance, 186 miles south of Sydney.'

I didn't confine my search to just Michael and Lawrence as I have found it useful to research the people around the lives of ancestors such as neighbours and relatives of a wife. Every clue can be important in the search for vital 'pieces' of an ancestor's life story. A search of the S.A.G (Society of Australian Genealogists) website, revealed information about Michael's first wife, Bridget Donelly. Her parents were James Donnelly and Mary McMahon and the witness to the wedding of Michael and Bridget in 1858 was Margaret McGee. I recorded these details in case they proved useful in tracing Michael Frayne's life in NSW.

My search for convict records in Australia was far from over however I decided to try to find some record of the births of my convict forebears in Ireland. I am a subscribed member of a wonderful website called Emerald Ancestors but this proved of no use as unlike my paternal Irish family who hailed from Counties Tyrone and Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Michael and Lawrence were born in Dublin. No records are available for Dublin on this site.

After a number of investigations, a search of a site called the Online Irish Records System proved successful in providing me with a record of Michael's baptism. Michael Frayne was baptised at St Paul's Arran Quay, Co Dublin on the 4th of June 1821. His parents were recorded as Michael Frayne and Sera.. 'surname not recorded.' Sponsors for the baptism were James Gerety and Margaret Hoey. A surprise discovery was another brother Peter Frayne, baptised at St Pauls Arran Quay Dublin, on the 7th of July, 1822. Sponsors for this baptism were Michael Tierney and Elisa Farrell. A new question arose in my mind. Was the convict, Peter Frayne, I had found earlier in my research, the brother of Michael and Lawrence? Were three brothers tried and convicted of crimes in Dublin Ireland and sentenced to transportation to Australia?

A search of the convict records of a Peter Frayne who served his time in Tasmania have as yet proved no connection and this lead is still a work in progress.

Both the NSW State Archives and provide an online search facility for convict records. In the 1828 Muster, I found that Lawrence Frayne was sent to Moreton Bay for 3 years to be served in the employment of the Government. He was later granted a Ticket of Leave in Maitland, NSW in 1845. This was reported in the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River Adviser on Saturday 10 May 1845, 19 years after he arrived to serve a 7 year sentence. A further notice in the Maitland Mercury dated August 15, 1845 read that, 'The tickets of leave belonging to the under mentioned prisoners of the crown have been cancelled for the reasons stated opposite their respective names....... Lawrence Frayne absent from district, Maitland bond.'

A Ticket of Leave was a document given to convicts to allow them the freedom to live and to work in a given district before they were pardoned or before their sentence expired. With a TOL, a convict could hire him or herself out for employment but had to remain in the district for a stipulated time. To leave the area, permission was required and 'passports' were issued to allow convicts to move between districts for the purpose of employment. Church attendance was required. How or when Lawrence left the Moreton Bay Penal Colony remained to be discovered.

I knew by now that Lawrence Frayne had been originally sentenced to a 7 year sentence which began in 1826 on his arrival in NSW. It appears that he was first sent to Yass to work and then to Moreton Bay. Lawrence was transported to Norfolk Island in 1830, sentenced by the Supreme Court, Sydney for stealing from a dwelling house. From his ticket of leave I know he was working in the Maitland area in the Hunter Valley NSW in 1845 and the Certificate of Freedom pictured right shows that he obtained his freedom in 1846. Below is a copy of the original documentation for Lawrence Frayne's Pardon in 1846, 20 years after his arrival in NSW to serve a 7 year sentence. I was very interested to learn the reason he had ended up with a 20 year sentence and so planned to do more research on my convict, 3 x great uncle.
The Certificate of Leave for Lawrence Frayne was an especially exciting discovery for me as it described his physical appearance. He was 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, had brown hair and hazel eyes. The colour of his eyes was significant as both my mother and sister have hazel eyes but no one else in the family seems to have them. Perhaps they are inherited from the Frayne family. The record states that Lawrence had a scar in the corner of his right eye and another on the bridge of his nose. It is obvious from this description that Lawrence Frayne had endured a rough life. I knew that Michael Frayne had died in Brisbane in 1878, 10 years after the birth of his daughter Sarah in September 1868. From a Courier mail article dated Thursday July 9th, 1868, I discovered that he had been fined 10 shillings in the Central Police Court before Mr G Petrie for 'drunkeness'. A website called Trove which has digitalised quite a few Australian newspapers, provided me with a picture of Michael's life in Australia. Any hope that he had been reformed in this penal settlement was dashed when I read that Michael and wife Bridget were frequently in Court, in Sydney, in 1858and 1859, on charges which included 'stealing shoes and boots', drunkeness, drugging a man named Donald Cameron Dingwall and robbing him in their home and stealing money from a number of people, just to list a few crimes. Michael was taken before the court on Thursday, 20 September, 1860, charged with 'being a prisoner of the crown illegally at large'. He was charged and returned to the service of the Crown. The same year, his wife, Bridget then aged 22, was charged with 'keeping and maintaining a disorderly house for lucre and gain'. I can only imagine what that means!! The address given for the Fraynes was York Street, Sydney. It appears that Michael and Bridget Frayne just could not stay out of trouble as they were again brought before the Police Court, this time in Maitland, 11 August, 1864. Bridget was charged with use of obscene language on Sunday 31st July and find 10 shillings or 24 hours imprisonment in default. Michael, now a Publican, was charged with allowing disorderly conduct in his premises on the same day. The scene described in the Maitland Mercury tells that between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning on the said Sunday, Bridget was observed from outside the Public House through the open front door an open bedroom door, to be half naked and half in and out of her bed in a 'state of beastly intoxication.' When asked to put a stop to his wife's behavior,Michael told the attending policeman, ' What the ____ has that got to do with me. There is a keg of rum for my wife to drink if she choses to drink it' and that he would do in his own house what he thought proper. Living the life that Michael and Bridget Frayne lived, it is little wonder that Bridget died two weeks later, at the young age of 26 years. I know little of Michael Frayne's life after Bridget died. He was declared insolvent on Thursday 15th of May, 1866 by the Supreme Court of NSW, his address given as 139 King Street Sydney. How or where he met my 3 x great grandmother, Mary Williams is a story waiting to be discovered. Two years later, in 1868, Michael and Mary Frayne were living in Edward Street Brisbane and that is where daughter Sarah was born in the September of that year. I may never know who was the mother of Michael's step son Richard Brown. Richard later changed his name to Frayne and died under that surname in Queensland in 1912. If I had thought the life of my 3 x great grandfather to be interesting, if not sad, nothing prepared me for the journey I was about to go on with his brother Lawrence. Through a Google book search, I discovered that Lawrence Frayne was mentioned in a number of books, including 'The Fatal Shore' by Robert Hughes, which devotes almost an entire chapter to Lawrence and his time on Norfolk Island. Another book written by Carol Baxter, called' Breaking the Bank' also makes mention of the apparently notorious convict Lawrence Frayne. I discovered that there exists a CD of songs by artist Martin Curtis which features, 'The Ballad of Lawrence Frayne' which I am eager to obtain a copy of. it was becoming very apparent that lawrence was something of an interesting character and my curiousity well and truly aroused, I went searching in earnest to discover more about my convict great great great uncle. In a sermon, entitled, 'God with a Human Face', by the Reverend John C Purdy, which I found on the internet, I found the following story,' Lawrence Frayne, irishman, kept a written account of his captivity. He was originally sent to Australia for theft. For attempting to escape, he was sentenced to death. That sentence was commuted and he was sent to Norfolk .(Island) As he lay at night chained to the stone floor of his cell, his back scarred with hundreds of lashes, his mind numbed with months in solitary confinement, he despaired. Because he had been reared a Catholic, suicide was unthinkable. For comfort, he clung to verses of the bile that he had memorised as a youth. Night after night, over and over, he recited the words of Psalm 88. The 14th vrse reads, 'Oh Lord why do you cast me off, Why do you hide your face from me?' From my research I have discovered that Lawrence Frayne was the only convict to leave a written account of his treatment on Norfolk Island. The quote at the beginning of his blog is from that account which is held in the NSW State Library as part of the 'Colonial Papers'. The 'biography' of Lawrence Frayne reflects a well read man. For a period, Norfolk was under the command of Alexander Mcconochie, a man who encouraged the prisoners to read and to educate themselves in orderto become better equipped to live as free men in society. This was an unusual attitude towards convicts at that time but one that obviously benefited Lawrence Frayne. Lawrence included in his writing, a 'point by point denunciation of transportation and a laying out of his own ideas about penal reform. Given Frayne's personal history, it is unlikely that he read Paine, Cobbett and Owen before he came to Norfolk Island and Maconochie is the most likely person to have passed these writers on to him.' One day soon, I hope to spend some time in the NSW State Library. reading the long document, written by my 3 x great uncle, in which Lawrence poignantly wrote of the demoralization of harsh treatment of convicts, saying of it that,' you make him (the convict)regardless of himself, and fearles as to the cosequences of doing wrong to others.' In 1833, Lawrence Frayne was involved in a convict rebellion on Norfolk island. He was granted a Ticket of Leave, according to the Maitland Mercury, on Saturday 10th of May. 1845. On August 15th 1845 his TOL was cancelled, the reason given, that he was absent from the Maitland district. As with all of my family history research, the Frayne family tree is a work in constant progress. I have yet to discover what became of my famous convict great uncle, Lawrence Frayne. His whereabouts, after 1845 are completely unknown to me and there is much more to his life story that I would like to discover. As with all historical research, family, local or world, there are always facts to find and new stories to tell. Hopefully, soon, I will have much more to add to the story of my convict ancestors Michael and Lawrence Frayne.