Marshall on the Turon Goldfields

Nehemiah Bartley; the Turon goldfields; and the Bank of England.

Nehemiah Bartley published his book Opals and Agates in 1892 containing reminiscences and observations based on his travels in Australia and Polynesia. He made two references to Marshalls that are relevant to the Marshall family story.

The discovery of gold in New South Wales was announced in May 1851 and in early August 1851, Nehemiah took a coach to Penrith and then walked to the goldfields at Turon near the town of Sofala. On page 52 he described the following encounter:

Travers and Turner were camped near me, so, also, was Marshall, a son of the chief cashier of the Bank of England, and his West Indian friend, Davson. Fearfully and wonderfully made was the “damper” compounded by Marshall and Davson; wedges of putty were digestible in comparison therewith.

In July 1859 he “took a trip to the Downs” and on page 153, he recorded another encounter with a Marshall:

July 13. – Track very indistinct for three or four miles; saw Clifton station far off, to my right, across the plains; got on to a good road at last; crossed the Dalrymple, and found Mr. and Mrs. Marshall, at Glengallan, very hospitable; Mrs. Cowper was there, and, after lunch, I met Mr. Cowper, on the Warwick road. I had never been this way before, but old “Harlequin” knew the track to town, and carried me, viâ the bridge, into the much altered town of Warwick, which I found in all the “agonies” of the races, quite full, and not a bed to be got; I put up at Hudson’s, where were Carden, and Bob Collins, J. D. McLean, of Acacia Creek and Westbrook; also, Beevor, and Lethbridge; I had to “camp” on the sofa, against the window, in the parlor, while all the jockeys and servant girls danced merrily, the night through, on the verandah; sleep trifling.

July 14th. — Out to the Warwick races; the Canning Downs stable “beat the New England horses hollow; “Punch and Judy” show there; the Gores, Cobhams, Hardies, Andrew and Mrs. Ross, Mr. and Mrs. Jephson, present; another extempore ball at Hudson’s that night, and in the parlor, too; the bachelors invited the servant girls, &c.; a sort of servants’ ball, in fact, as they have, at times, in England; Gillespie, Westley, &c., were there, and C. M. Winniett (who had been brought up in Germany) danced a “Varsoviana” with Mrs. Simon Mayer; I “fled,” at midnight, to Berkman’s, and slept there, to make up for last night, and for the to-morrow that was to come.

July 15th – Walked out to the races, for the only time in my life, as “Harlequin” was not to be found, and I suspect some “wretch” had “borrowed” him; Andrew Ross beat Dick Cobham, a private match, over hurdles, despite some accident with the girth, or stirrup. Bennett Clay (see map of Brisbane, “Paddington” Estate) had a show on the course, barrel organ, dogs, and monkeys, I borrowed a black coat from W. H. Brown (afterwards of the S. D. Court, Brisbane), and went to the Canning Downs ball, having been invited on the course; it was a splendid function; Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Cowper. Mrs. Jephson, Mrs. Hardie, Mrs. Carden Collins, Mrs. Beevor Daveney, Miss Anna West, the Misses Gore, Messrs. A. F. Matveieff, C. Wheeler, &c.; the supper was splendid in poultry, jellies, wines, and fruits, and worthy of the old “Leslie” name and fame in every way, though the station belonged, I think, to Gilbert Davidson, then; we walked back into Warwick, in the fog, at 7 a.m.

The second encounter was clearly with Charles and Charlotte Marshall. They were resident on Glengallan at the time. Charlotte was a young mother, but clearly still able to attend a ball. She had shortly before painted this charming view of the farmstead.

It has been suggested by some biographers that Charles Marshall was also the one who met Nehemiah Bartley at Turon. Charles  was on Glengallan at the time of this reported encounter, having recently gone into partnership with Robert Campbell tertius, so could have gone to Turon. His brother, William, was working for the Bank of England at that time and did eventually rise to the rank of Cashier. Did Charles go down to the goldfields? Was it possible that Bartley had misheard? Was he somehow confused or deceived about the family relationship? The simplest method to test this possibility was to determine whether Charles could have been on the goldfields and who the Chief Cashier of the Bank of England was at that time.

Could Charles have been at Turon?

The simple answer to this question is no.

At the time, Charles was on Glengallan dealing with the exodus of workers to the goldfields. This is demonstrated in a letter he wrote to his aunt, Mary Ann Benthall, from Sydney on 4 May 1852: 1

I am living on Darling Downs, in the district of Moreton Bay, and still continue my former occupation of a Sheep and Cattle Grazier – I have been fortunate in getting a very farmable property [Glengallan], and am so situated as to have the benefit of the society of several very agreeable neighbours – as well as the Post town [Warwick] being only a short ride distant from my house – All these are very considerable advantages which I was dubious of in VD Land [Van Diemen’s Land – Tasmania], and you will easily imagine that I like my present residence much better than the former – The wonderful discoveries of Gold out here has long since reached England, and no doubt has caused some excitement. Here it has made quite a revolution in the Colony – and while benefiting many people, has proved a serious misfortune to them – The whole country is becoming quite deserted in consequence of the numbers leaving for the diggings, and in some places the price of labor has increased four fold – I amongst others who are large employers of labor are anxiously looking out for the arrival of emigrants – but as yet so few have come, as not at all perceptibly to have relieved the demand – that it is to be hoped that the Government will continue some means of supplying our wants, while at the same time they relieve their overpopulated and often I fear starving parts of England & Ireland, of their surplus inhabitants.

More definitively, Charles was a regular traveller, and his movements can be tracked via shipping notices. He left Brisbane for Sydney on 12 August 1851 on the Eagle, arrived there on 13 August 1851, and departed again for Brisbane on 19 August 1851, also on the Eagle. Bartley did not provide a date for his meeting with Marshall and Davson, but his description of his overnight stops shows that the encounter took place one week after his leaving Penrith in “early August”. Charles’s travels meant that it was impossible for him to have met Bartley at Turon.

Bartley must have met another “Marshall.”

Who was the Chief Cashier of the Bank of England?

Finding out who the Chief Cashier of the Bank of England was in August 1851 proved to be a simple task. I visited the Bank of England website and found a list of Chief Cashiers dating from 1694 which shows that the Chief Cashier in 1851 was Matthew Marshall who was in the role from 1835 to 1864. Sir John Clapham’s history of the Bank of England (1966), 2  and A. D. Mackenzie’s history of the Bank of England bank notes (1953), 3  also show that Matthew Marshall was the Chief Cashier of the Bank at this time.

His role was also extensively covered in the newspapers of the day. A search for “Marshall Chief Cashier” in the Newsvault database of British newspapers between 1835 and 1864 yielded over 8,000 references with one of these being for the London Times of 18 September 1835 which reported that:

Mr. Matthew Marshall has been appointed Chief Cashier to the Bank of England, in the room of the late Mr. Thomas Rippon.

He was clearly well reported and undoubtedly broadly known because all the British bank notes of the time had his signature on them.

His portrait, in the Bank of England Museum, shows him as a man of standing.

Mackinlay, Thomas, 1832-1870; Matthew Marshall (1791-1873), Chief Cashier of the Bank of England (1829-1835)

Matthew Marshall (1791–1873), Chief Cashier of the Bank of England (1829–1864)
Thomas Mackinley (1832-1870)
Bank of England Museum

Mathew Marshall was no relation of Charles Henry Marshall. He was born at Amersham, Buckinghamshire and christened there on 17 September 1790. He died on 30 June 1873 at Beckenham, Kent.

Who did Bartley meet?

The Chief Cashier of the Bank was a Marshall so did Nehemiah Bartley meet one of his sons?

This proved a more difficult question to answer, but the Empire newspaper of Sydney provided some insight, in an article published on 14 November 1851 entitled “The Gold Mines”, by their “Special Reporter” at Turon, and dated 10 November 1851. Among other things, there was discussion about the “license fee being too exorbitant”, and a meeting was held on that matter. One of the resolutions put to the meeting was as follows:

Moved by Mr. F. Marshall, and seconded by Mr. John Whitelaw: “That the tax paid by diggers is exorbitant in amount, and that the present mode of collecting it is unnecessarily vexatious.” Carried unanimously.

So there was an F. Marshall at Turon. Further research brought the following notices to light:

DEATHS. On the 21st instant, at Sydney, Francis Marshall, in the 40th year of his age. [Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 1860.]

FUNERAL. – The Friends of Mr. FRANCIS MARSHALL are invited to attend his funeral, THIS (Tuesday) MORNING, at half-past 9 o’clock. The procession will move from Macquarie-street at the above hour. C. KINSELA and SON, undertakers, Sussex-street, and South Head Road, opposite Crown-street. [Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 1860.]

DEATHS. MARSHALL. – On the 21st July, at Sydney, Australia, Francis, son of Matthew Marshall, Esq., of the Bank of England, aged thirty-six. [Morning Post (London), 19 October 1860.] 4

Nehemiah Bartley met 27-year-old Francis Marshall, the second son of Matthew Marshall, Chief Cashier of the Bank of England, at Turon in 1851. There was no confusion about his position.

Francis Marshall was born on 21 January 1824 in London, the son of Matthew Marshall and his wife Charlotte Wilkin. He died in Sydney on 21 July 1860, six months after Nehemiah Bartley met 41-year-old Charles and 21-year-old Charlotte Marshall at Glengallan.

A scandal

While researching the meeting at Turon, I came upon an intriguing scandal in London to which Matthew and Francis Marshall were linked. It involved a rather gruesome suicide in which a young woman killed herself by drinking sulphuric acid in a bedroom of a tavern near London Bridge. A very interesting letter was printed in the South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal of 14 September 1850:

SUICIDE AT THE LONDON BRIDGE TAVERN. — In this journal of Thursday a paragraph was inserted, copied from a London paper of June 2nd, referring to the melancholy suicide of a female, caused by the desertion of a person who had sailed for South Australia. We gladly publish the following letter from Mr FRANCIS MARSHALL, the gentlemen supposed to be alluded to, indignantly disclaiming any knowledge of the circumstances; and we have good reason also for believing that Mr MARSHALL’S statements are strictly correct:—


Barque Bernicia, Sept. 13, 1850.

Sir—An account of a suicide at the London Bridge Tavern having appeared in your paper of yesterday, in which my name appears in a manner likely to much injure me in the colony, may I beg your immediate insertion of the following statements:—

In the first place I have never had an illicit connection with a married woman in England; secondly, I never knew a lady of the name of Lloyd; thirdly, the letters from which extracts are given were not written by me, nor have I ever written a letter of the kind.

I feel confident that, as far as I am concerned, the matter will be cleared up when the account of the proceedings at the adjourned inquest comes out, for I know that no connection can be traced between myself and the woman who has thus miserably perished.

I cannot form any conjecture as to who may be the culpable person, but as he mentions his mother solely in his letter, it would seem that he was the son of a widow, while as I, on my departure fiom England, had both father and mother.

I am induced to make these remarks as I am so distinctly referred to, being the son of Mr Matthew Marshall, the chief Cashier of the Bank of England, and having a brother of the same name in the establishment.

Some cowardly scoundrel has taken advantage of my departure to escape the consequences of his own misdeeds — an act perfectly in keeping with the cruelty and heartlessness displayed in his letters found on the person of the unfortunate woman.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,


The article of 12 September 1850 to which the editor refers is the following:


EXTRAORDINARY SUICIDE IN THE LONDON BRIDGE TAVERN. — Mr Payne was engaged for several hours on Thursday night in investigating the circumstances attending the death of a highly-respectably dressed female about 30 years of age, who destroyed her life by swallowing a Iarge quantity of oil of vitriol [sulphuric acid] at the London-bridge Tavern, Southwark. It appeared that the deceased took apartments at the above tavern, and while there a young woman brought her a letter, and the next night she swallowed a large dose of vitriol whilst sitting in her bed-room. The following are copies of the letters found on the deceased’s person :— ‘I have not one minute to myself. This oniy to say that I will be, at half-past six o’clock, where I agreed to meet to-day (Thursday ).’ The other letter ran as follows:— ‘Listen to me, dearest! — listen to reason. It is all very well to say that you would rather destroy yourself than return to your home. Words, mere words. Your duty is then plain and obvious. Were I to let you act so rashly I would not be a man. Believe me when I say that, much as I iove you, I deeply regret at this moment having ever loved you or even thought about you. You say “that I am free — that I can do what I like.” That “you are independent” I own; I own also that I am a single man is all true. But I have a mother. Shall I break her heart? Must I be her shame? Again I entreat of you, do you be persuaded by me. You fancy you might be happy for ever with me; but should you altogether forget him, surely you could not forget them. Can a mother forget her own children? Never. I have taken a desperate resolution — the only one which could save us both. When you receive this letter you will know that I have left England, to where I do not intend to return for a period of two years at the least. Mary will give you this letter, and, I trust, comfort you. She is a good creature, and will feel for you. Good by, and forget me; it is necessary for to do so. God bless you.’ Taylor, the summoning officer, informed the coroner that no one had come forward to identify the deceased; but a gentleman had waited on him, and informed him that if he went to Mr Matthew Marshall, jun., the deputy-cashier of the Bank of England, he would learn who the party was. He accordingly called upon Mr Marshall, who said he knew nothing of the letters; but they might have been sent by his brother. If so, he had left England for South Australia on Saturday last. The Coroner said the present was a most extraordinary case. Here was a female, and, judging from the contents of the letters, she was a married woman, and had been keeping up a correspondence with another person. He (the Coroner) thought the jury would oniy be doing their duty to find out, if possible, who the writer of these letters was. A young woman, called Mary, had delivered one at the house deceased was staying at, and probably, if the letters appeared in the public journals, they might lead to her identity. The letters were addressed thus :— ‘ Mrs Lloyd, London-bridge Tavern, London Bridge.’ The inquiry was further adjourned till Wednesday next, June 6.

The article names Matthew Marshall Jnr., Matthew Marshall’s eldest son, as having been interviewed and indicating that the letters might have been written by his brother, Francis. He clearly disagreed with this, because on 19 September 1850 the South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal republished the following letter from him to the Times in London:

THE INQUEST AT THE LONDON BRIDGE TAVERN. — We had the satisfaction of publishing on Saturday the letter addressed to us by Mr FRANCIS MARSHALL regarding the imputations conveyed in the report of the inquest on the body or a woman who poisoned herself at the London-Bridge Tavern. The confident expression of our disbelief of the story, founded upon statements privately made to us, was a simple act of justice on our part to Mr MARSHALL, as it would have been to any other stranger wrongfully accused; and we have painful reason to know how difficult it sometimes is to refute the most grossly false accusations when direct evidence is only obtainable from a distant quarter of the globe. But the following letter from Mr MARSHALL’S Brother, published in the Times of June 3rd, shows so distinctly how the calumny has arisen, and refutes it so effectually, that we are sure Mr F. MARSHALL will now suffer no further annoyance upon the subject:—

Sir — A paragraph appears in the Times of this day in reference to an inquest held on the body or a woman who destroyed herself at the London Bridge Tavern by taking vitriol. I find that my name is made use of; and as what I am reported to have stated to the officer who called upon me happens to be exactly the reverse of what I did say, you will, I trust, allow me to give public contradiction to the mis-statement through your columns. Certain letters were exhibited to me by the officer, who said that he had been instructed to do so by a party unknown to him, and who declined to give his name and address. I examined the papers, in one of which the writer makes some allusion to his being about to leave the country. I said that I had certainly no such intention, but that my brother had left England some short time since. I further told the officer that the handwriting was certainly not that of my brother, and that I had no reason to believe that he or any member of my family was in any way mixed up with the occurrence; which statement I also made at the police-station after I had inspected the remains of the unfortunate woman, whom I was, of course, unable to identify. I regret that I did not attend the inquest and depose to the above facts direct to the Coroner, by which I might have been saved the annoyance of having my name made use of in connexion with the gross, though I hope not wilful mis-statement of the summoning officer. I beg to enclose my card, and am, Sir, your very obedient servant.


Bank of England, June 1.

The final sitting of the Coroner closed the matter, but brought Matthew Marshall Snr. into the proceedings too. The Coroner’s comments emphasise Matthew Marshall’s public profile and standing. The South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal seems to have been fascinated by the story because they reprinted the following article from the Globe on 26 September 1850.

THE LATE EXTRAORDINARY SUICIDE AT THE LONDON BRIDGE TAVERN. — We find the following in reference to this affair in the Globe of 6th June:—
Last evening Mr Wm. Payne the Coroner resumed for the third time, at the Harrow publick-house, Borough Market, the adjourned inquest respecting the death of a young female most respectably attired who destroyed her life at the London Bridge Tavern on the 23rd ult by swallowing a large dose of vitriolic acid.
The inquest it will be remembered was adjourned on the last occasion to allow time to find out who the writer of two letters found in the deceased’s possession was with a view of leading to the identification of the poor creature.

Mr Matthew Marshall chief cashier of the Bank of England, and his son, whose name has been so unwarrantably brought before the public by some annonymous individual in connection with this mysterious case were present to watch the proceedings.

The coroner enquired of Taylor the summoning officer whether he had been able to find out any of the friends of the deceased.
Police constable Smith of the A division said that under the direction of Inspector Yates he had made every inquiry with a view of finding out who the deceased was but without success.

Mr M. Marshall sen. produced a letter which his son had received on Monday last and which was to the following effect:—
‘It is quite certain that your brother is a scoundrel to illuse a woman in the way he has. I shall be at the adjourned inquest if you dare to appear there.

The Coroner here showed the two letters found in deceased’s possession the writing of which Mr Marshall denied as being his sons. He had brought the last letter his son had written to his mother which would prove that he was not the writer of the two letters in question.

The Coroner having inspected the letter he said it was quite apparent that the writer of that one was not the author of the other two. He therefore desired Taylor to inquire whether J.H.H. was present. The officer having called the initials over three times and no one having answered thereto.

The Coroner said it was a most wicked thing for any one to send a letter of such a character to Mr Marshall and not come forward to meet the party after throwing down the gauntlet so boldly. Mr Marshall said it was quite clear that whoever the writer was he did not intend to come, but had merely written to annoy himself and family.

The Coroner said the name of Matthew Marshall was so well known and so highly respected that although the letters must have caused great annoyance it would do him no injury, for the name was as undoubted as the Bank of England.

Mr Marshall jun. said that when the constable called upon him he distinctly informed him that his brother had not written the two letters found on the deceased’s person.

A juror inquired how it was that Mr Marshall’s name should have been mixed up at all in the affair.

The summoning officer said that a gentlemanly-looking man called upon him and requested to see the letters, when he said ‘If you go to Mr Marshall he can open the ball if he likes, for I know the deceased.’ He pressed him to give his name and address, but he refused for fear as he said of its getting into the papers. He also promised to attend the inquest and bring one of the deceased’s shoes with him but he had not made his appearance.

The Coroner said that an advertisement had been put into the largest circulated newspaphr [sic] in the kingdom, for the pur-yose [sic] of finding out who the deceased was, and since then the letters had been printed in full in several other journals; but they had notwithstanding been unable to find out any of the deceased’s friends. He must say that it was very wicked for any one to send such a letter as had been sent to Mr Marshall when there was not the least ground of suspicion against that gentleman. Taking the whole case into consideration it was a most mysterious affair and he would leave it for the jury to say whether they would adjourn for further evidence.

The Jury at once returned a verdict of ‘Temporary Insanity.’

A very interesting case. Apart from other reportage similar to these articles, I have been unable to find any further information regarding the woman or why the Marshalls were drawn into the matter. The handwriting evidence is compelling so who were the mysterious “gentlemen” who led the investigation towards the Marshalls and then threatened them? Why did they do so? It would appear that no-one will ever know.


1.  Letter from Charles Henry Marshall to Mary Ann Benthall, dated 4 May 1852. Taylor family archive.
2.  J. H. Clapham, The Bank of England, a history by Sir John Clapham, Vol. 2, (Cambridge, The University Press, 1966), pp. 232 & 453
3.  A. D. Mackenzie, The Bank of England note, a history of its printing, (Cambridge, University Press, 1953), pp. 107, 114 & 160.
4.  “Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries.” Morning Post [London, England] 19 Oct. 1860: 8. British Library Newspapers.

©Megan Stevens 2018

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