Author Archives: Alun

Another Glengallan Picture

The Australian Town and Country Journal printed an article on Glengallan on 19 June 1875. The article was accompanied by an engraving showing the homestead and the then new wool shed.

Someone clipped the engraving out of the Journal and carefully coloured it with what appears to be water colours to produce a very attractive view of the property.

The article provides a good description of the property and its workings so I have kept them together. Interesting reading. Good descriptions of the layout of the wool shed and the facilities for the cattle stud.

The painting has been included with the Martens, Lloyd and Marshall pictures and can be seen HERE.

The pictures are in chronological order so this one is at the bottom.


©Alun Stevens 2018

Did Charles Henry Marshall go to the Turon goldfields?

Nehemiah Bartley (pictured above left) was the brother-in-law of Edmund Barton, the first Australian Prime Minister. He travelled widely across Australia and in August 1851 went to the Turon goldfields in New South Wales. There he met “Marshall … and his West Indian friend, Davson.”

Some biographers have claimed that this was Charles Henry Marshall and that his efforts on the goldfields yielded the capital that allowed him to prosper at Glengallan where Bartley definitely did meet him and Charlotte in July 1858.

The link between the two meetings seems to have been made because Charles’s brother, William, was a cashier at the Bank of England, and the Marshall at Turon claimed to be the son of the Chief Cashier of the Bank of England.

The Chief Cashier of the Bank of England at the time was indeed a Marshall; Matthew Marshall (pictured above right). He was not related to Charles and William. So, did Bartley meet Charles? Or did he meet someone else?

It took some digging by Megan, but the true story is HERE

©Alun Stevens 2018

The Drake Family Bible Etc.

In our last post we indicated that we had been contacted by an antique dealer who had come into possession of a a collection of Drake family memorabilia including the Drake Family Bible. We bought the collection and it has now arrived.

We are slowly working through the material – collating, organising, photographing and scanning. There is quite a lot of stuff so this will take some time to complete. We have started with some of William Henry Drake’s awards and the family Bible.

The Bible is a lovely old leather bound book printed in 1747 in Oxford. A King James Bible in old English script and still in very good condition. The pages are still white and the leather is still smooth and flexible.

The fore and aft pages have been used to record births, deaths and marriages from 1743 through to the early 20th century mainly related to the families of the eldest sons of each generation. The fore pages are not in as good a condition as the rest of the book as they have become detached and worn where they have stuck out from under the cover. Nonetheless, they are legible and present some interesting genealogical information for those interested in the Drakes.

I have photographed and transcribed all of the fore and aft pages and have put them together here. Have a look and let us know what you think.


I have also photographed the “Warrant granting to Deputy Commissary General William Henry Drake the dignity rank and privileges belonging or appertaining to … Companions of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath.” Another interesting document. In flowing Victorian prose and prominently signed by Victoria herself (naturally), and also by Albert. Rather than create a new web page to display the document, I have added it to the existing page that discusses the award when Henry was in the Crimea. The award can be seen on the updated page here. If you click on the images, they will expand to full size.


©Alun Stevens 2018

Drake Collection

We having been watching the traffic to Down Rabbit Holes with some interest. Visitors from all over the world following up on our blogs and also now finding us via online searches and the links on the Crimean War Research Society web site. Visitors as expected from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States, but also from France, Greece, China, India and Canada amongst others.

On Tuesday we had an interesting visitor. Instead of just reading our material, he also contacted us to tell us that he had a collection of Drake family documents from a deceased estate and was looking for a home for them. The collection includes:

  • The Drake family Bible dating from 1747 with records of births and some deaths
  • The warrant from Queen Victoria granting William Henry Drake the rank of Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
  • Photographs
  • Family letters
  • Many other things.

This was all too tempting so we have bought the collection and will know its full extent when it arrives in the near future. From what we have seen, there will be some interesting new information to add to the family story which we will publish in due course.

It is good to see the web site helping uncover these hidden collections because without it we would not have been visible on Google.

As we say on the Home page, family history is like exploring rabbit warrens.

Partridge and Walford

Cornelius Walford; Witham House; and grandfather Arthur Partridge Stevens.

My grandfather’s name was Arthur Partridge Stevens and my great-grandfather’s name was Richard Walford Stevens. Why Partridge and Walford?

It seems likely that the second name, Walford, was derived from Cornelius Walford who was Richard Walford’s uncle and married to his mother’s sister at the time of his birth. A not uncommon naming practice at the time was to give a child its godparents’ surname as a second or third name. The likelihood, therefore, was that Cornelius (2 April 1827 – 28 September 1885) and Jane (neé Malyon; 1827 – 1 January 1863) Walford were Richard Walford’s godparents.

Cornelius was a very interesting person. He was clearly talented with a wide range of interests and aptitudes. He was involved with building societies and insurance in Witham and had an abiding interest in shorthand. He went on to become a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (as I did 120 years later) with a significant career in insurance, including managing some significant companies of the day. He was also a Fellow of the Statistical Society, a Fellow of the Historical Society and a barrister. He published work for both Societies and the Institute including a year book on insurance.

It seems almost certain that Richard Walford named his son Arthur Partridge after his next eldest brother of the same names. Arthur Partidge died at the age of 22 in September 1878 on a steamer between Melbourne and New Guinea, at about the same time that Richard Walford arrived in South Africa. The question, therefore, is why Richard and Eliza Stevens named their third son Arthur Partridge at about the same time as Cornelius and Jane Walford named their first son Richard Partridge?

The likely source of the name is Robert Partridge who was a real estate and land agent of prominence in Witham. He and his wife occupied Witham House (57 Newland Street), a grand house with extensive land including a cricket pitch. He acquired the house from the Pattisson family who had built it in about 1750. Jacob Pattisson was a prominent merchant and well respected, but his great-grandson, also Jacob, was not of the same calibre. He was a solicitor and was, in 1852, publicly accused by Cornelius Walford of inappropriate dealings with the funds of the Witham Building Society. He survived this accusation, but in 1859 went bankrupt and fled Witham and Robert Partridge acquired Witham House.

Witham House is not far from Batsford (100 Newland Street, the Stevens family home) so it is probable that there was interaction between the families. The Partridge children were of similar ages to the Stevens children and later history shows a fairly close connection between the Stevens and Partridge boys involving cricket.

The likelihood, therefore, is that Robert and Jane Partridge were the godparents to Arthur Partridge.

©Alun Stevens 2018

Another Glengallan painting

Since posting the Conrad Martens sketches and Henry Grant Lloyd watercolours, we have received permission to publish another painting of Glengallan from the mid 19th century.

This painting, titled Glengallan. Darling Downs. 23 June 1858, was painted by Charlotte Augusta Dring Marshall and presents a slightly elevated view of the farmstead in quite vivid colours.

The painting is owned by a family member in New Zealand who is happy for the painting to be published here. Please check copyright conditions.

The painting has been included with the Martens and Lloyd pictures and can be seen HERE.


©Alun Stevens 2018

1868 Indigenous cricket tour to England

On 10 April 2018, Cricket Australia announced the men’s and women’s teams that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1868 tour to England by an indigenous team from Australia – the first ever overseas sporting tour by Australians. Ashleigh Gardner will captain the women’s team and Dan Christian the men’s.

This news prompted me to write this short blog and finalise an article on my Stevens ancestors of Witham, Essex, and their involvement in cricket, because this involvement included organising and playing in one of the matches against that touring indigenous team in September 1868.

My great-grand-uncle, Charles Richard Stevens (1851-1910) helped organise the match between the tourists and the ‘gentlemen’ of the Witham Cricket Club. He also played in the match. He only scored 4 and 6 as the tourists went on to win by an innings and 43 runs.

Judging by the members of the two teams soon to go to England, the current gentlemen of the Witham Cricket Club would seem unlikely to do as well against the tourists as their predecessors did in 1868.

The field on which they played still exists and cricket is still played on it as my photograph, taken in August 2016, attests. But it will not feature in this year’s tour.

My overview of the 1868 match and the involvement of the Stevens family in cricket in Witham can be found HERE.

©Alun Stevens 2018

Old Glengallan in pictures

Megan and I visited the State Library of NSW in December 2017 to photograph manuscripts related to the Drake and Marshall stories. Included amongst these documents were a number of sketches by the renowned 19th century artist Conrad Martens and a number of watercolour paintings by Henry Grant Lloyd all depicting Glengallan Station and aspects of the Darling Downs.

Banner image courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales [Call No. PXC 972 Item f.11]

The banner image is a section of a sketch by Conrad Martens entitled Glengallan Dec 30th 1851 C H Marshall Esq. The view is from the creek looking towards the north-west and is one of a number he sketched around this time.

The sketch shows the homestead and farm buildings as they were at the time that Charles Marshall and Robert Campbell tertius took control of the station.

18711106 Glengallan Darling Downs PX_D28 f.47b Glengallan Darling Downs, HG Lloyd, Nov 6, 71
Courtesy State Library of NSW: PX*D 28 f.47

The paintings by Henry Grant Lloyd were painted in November 1871, almost exactly twenty years after Conrad Martens completed his sketches. This painting shows the farmstead as it was around the time of the formation of the Marshall and Slade partnership. It shows the current homestead, built by John Deuchar in the late 1860’s.

All of the documents have suffered to some extent from age. All show the effect of foxing and staining to a greater or lesser extent. The paintings also show the effect of the fading of certain pigments which has caused the images to both become less distinct and to change colour.

I have spent some time with Photoshop® trying to reverse or hide these effects. I can’t claim that the images are now as they would have been when drawn or painted because I have no benchmark for the adjustments I made. But they are now closer to what they would have been like and provide an interesting perspective on Glengallan and the surrounding area in the early 1850’s and early 1870’s.

The full set of images can be seen HERE.

Please also read our copyright statement with respect to the images.


©Alun Stevens 2018

Trip to Witham

My great grandfather was Richard Walford Stevens. His parents were Richard Stevens and Eliza Ann Malyon. Richard practised as a solicitor in Witham, a small town in Essex, as well as in London. He was initially articled to Edward Banks in Witham and lived with him at his residence in Newland Street. Once qualified, he became Edward Banks’s partner and eventually took over the practice and the residence.

Eliza Ann grew up in Witham and was, at one stage, a servant to Edward Banks and his clerk, Richard Stevens, whom she eventually married. Their family arrangements were interesting in that Eliza Ann and the children lived in London while Richard continued to live and practice with Edward Banks in Witham.

Richard Walford was born in London in 1859, the youngest of their eight children. His mother died soon afterwards and he and his siblings moved to Witham. The 1861 census shows them living in Newland Street with their father, an uncle, a cousin and four servants. The residence was therefore reasonably substantial.

In August 2016, Megan and I went to Witham to trace the family home and any other information we could find on the family. Janet Gyford, a local historian, very kindly showed us around and provided us with a lot of local knowledge.

We found the old residence. It was indeed a substantial building and still is. It is located at 100 Newland Street and, at the time the Stevens family lived there, was called Batsford. It is now a Wetherspoon public house.

This means that the building has had a number of additions and alterations, but much of the original building remains and it retains its character.  The advantage of it being a pub is that we could just wander around and look at the building. We were also able to have dinner in the front room – probably close to where the family had had their dinners back in the mid to late 19th century. It was quite atmospheric.

I took a number of photographs and Janet Gyford provided a lot of historic detail about the house which can be found HERE.


©Alun Stevens 2018

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