Origins, Life in England, Trip to Australia

Charles Martin's home page 

  1. Charles Henry Martin - Ancestry.
        1. Peter Martin. (c. 1690 to 1772/3) (Great-great grandfather of Charles)
        2. John Martin. (1712 - 1793) (Great Grandfather of Charles).
        3. William Martin. 20th October, 1748 - 1803. (Grandfather of Charles).
        4. Charles Martin - Charles Henry's Father -(1797 - 1878).
        5. Frances Prickett - Charles' mother (1800 - 1879).
      1. Charles Henry Martin
        1. 1827
        2. 1829.
        3. 1832.
        4. 1833.
        5. 1836.
        6. 1839.
        7. 1842.
        8. 1849.
        9. 1850. Baptism.
        10. 1851. Teacher Training.
      2. 1852. Migration to Australia, leaving London in July or August..
        1. The Melbourne to which Charles Came.
        2. The Hitchcocks.
        3. His brother Henry

Charles Henry Martin - Ancestry.

    The Martin family from which Charles Henry descended can, at this stage, be traced back to about the year 1690 to a farming family living 60 miles north of London in the county of Northamptonshire, in the villages of Spratton and Teeton. As this family has very intelligent ancestors, its members must have been very intelligent farmers. They also appear to have been reasonably well off, but in contrast to the intelligence, the money did not make it down to the present generation.

Peter Martin. (c. 1690 to 1772/3) (Great-great grandfather of Charles)

    Peter Martin was born probably about 1690. In 1710 he married a Bridget Pierson in the village of Guilsborough, quite close to Spratton and Teeton. Six children were born to them. They were -
    John (11th August, 1712).
    William (died in infancy).
    Mary (14th December, 1715 .
    Peter 17th January, 1718/19).
    Sarah 21st February, 1720/21).
    Thomas (about 1724).

    The family seems to have lived at Spratton, and held land with voting rights at nearby Teeton. When Peter died in 1772/73 he left half his farm to a grandson John (son of his eldest son, John), and the other half to his wife Bridget. This half was also to go to John when Bridget died. He left his dwelling house to his son Peter.

John Martin. (1712 - 1793) (Great Grandfather of Charles).

John was the eldest of Peter's six children. He also had land at Teeton. In 1743 he married Sarah Chadwick, and five children were born to them.
    Sarah (8th October, 1 745).
    John (29th November, 1746).
    William (20th October, 1748).
    Peter (17th January, 1750).
    Mary (17th February, 1751).

The second son, John, was the inheritor of Grandfather Peter's farm when
he died in 1772/3.
In 1766, Sarah died, and in 1768 John re-married, this time to a Sarah Clark. Two children were born to them -
    Robert (October, 1771 }
    Bridget (???).

When John died in 1783/94, his estate was valued at £5000. The majority of this appears to have been left to Peter and Robert, but the others were provided for by various lump sums and annuities. William was to be given a lump sum of £200, plus £20 yearly. If the amount was not paid, he had the right to enter premises and take goods or animals to the same value until the rent was paid.

William Martin. 20th October, 1748 - 1803. (Grandfather of Charles).

    William was the third child of John and was born on 29th October, 1848. In 1777 he appears on the militia lists (with his brother Peter) as a junior farmer at Teeton. In 1780 he, along with Peter and two others, was. leasing a big estate at Spratton, but in 1872 he left the partnership. However, he rented land at nearby Twywell, and apparently farmed this land through most of the 1880's and 1890's. He married Hannah Coalman at Twywell on 30th May, 1787. Their children were -
    William (christened - 17th August, 1788).
    Susannah (1790 - lived for 6 months).

    James (christened - 17th September, 1791).
    John (christened - 21 July, 1793).

    Susannah (christened - 13th May, 1795).
    Charles (born - 9th October, 1797).

William gave up his farm at Twywell, possibly because he was in poor health, and the family left Twywell in 1800.

Charles Martin - Charles Henry's Father -(1797 - 1878).

    Charles Martin was born at Twywell on 9th October, 1797. When he was about 3 years of age, the family left Twywell, apparently moving to Islington, London. In 1826 Charles married Frances Prickett at St Mary's, Islington, and four children were born to them -
    Charles Henry - (23/1/1827- 29/7/1908).
    Hannah (Farr)
- (21/9/1829 - 1888).
    Henry - (13/3/32 - 28/4/97).
    Louisa (Crump) - (4/5/33 - 1904).
    Charles was a master butcher in Islington. In 1854 (aged 56) he came to Australia with his wife and two daughters and their husbands and settled in the Castelemaine/Heathcote area living with Louisa (Crump) and her family. He apparently resumed his trade as a butcher. He died in 1879 and was buried in the Castlemaine cemetery.

Frances Prickett - Charles' mother (1800 - 1879).

    Frances Prickett was born on 26th April, 1800, and was christened at St Botolph Church of England, Aldersgate, London, a month later on the 25th May.
 (extract from Records).
 Her father was an upholsterer who lived at St Martin's Le Grande in the city of London (information provided by Frances on a census form conducted on 5th November, 1831). However, he may also have been a steam boat owner on the Thames, as this is the information provided by James Crump on the death certificate of Frances when she died at Castlemaine in 1879. It is possible that James was wrong in the information that he provided - but it is also possible that both are correct and that he changed occupations. The Prickett family appears to have been fairly well off.

Charles Henry Martin


    Charles Henry Martin was born on 23rd December, 1827, at Islington, London. His father was a butcher whose address at that time was 6 Brunswick Pde, White Conduit Fields, Islington.
 (Transcript of Certificate)
No details are known of his upbringing or his early years. Whether his parents were in the Church of England, or attended one of the "dissident" churches, or maybe never attended church at all, is unknown to me, but it appears that he was christened along with his younger siblings Henry and Louisa (but not Hannah) at St Mary Magdalene Church, Bermondsey, London, on 6th July, 1834, thus indicating that his parents were at least nominally Anglican.


21st September - Hannah born.
(Transcript of Certificate)
At this time, Charles senior was living at 134 Upper St, Islington. (Charles jnr. was thus 2 years older than Hannah.) Hannah was to marry a carpenter named Thomas Farr. Thomas had been born in Southgate, Middlesex, on 28/3/1824. They were to migrate to Australia in 1854, settle for many years in Ballarat, and have eleven children. Hannah died in St Kilda in 1890, aged 61 or 62.

    Also in about 1829 or 1830, the marriage took place of John Hitchcock and Charlotte Carolyn Cox. John became a city missioner in London. Charles was to marry their daughter.


    13th March - Henry born. Henry was to migrate to Australia, probably on the same ship as Charles in 1852, and settle in Melbourne. (Charles was thus 4 years older that Henry.) He married Eleanor Maw, and was to have nine children (eight survived). He died on 28th April, 1897, aged 65.


    4th May - Louisa born. She was to marry James Crump in London in 1852 or 1853, and was to migrate to Australia in 1854, and eventually to settle in Castlemaine with her family - including her parents. They were to have eleven children (8 survived). Charles was 5 years older than Louisa. She died in Melbourne in 1891, aged 58.
    Thus, at the time of Louisa's birth, Charles was five years old with three younger siblings. Nothing is known of his life for the next ten years, but in view of the fact that he later attended the prestigious British and Foreign Schools Society, which was an early type of Teachers' College, and that he was obviously very literate, I assume that he probably attended a school of some kind and received at least an elementary education.


    21st October. Elizabeth Hitchcock born, daughter of John Hitchcock, London City Missioner and Charlotte Carolyn (nee Cox) at Leamington, London. She was to become Charles' wife, and bear him eight children. Charles was 8 years old at the time of her birth - almost 9. I don't know if the Hitchcock family knew the Martins, or if the young Charles was in any way aware of her birth.


    A daughter, Hannah, is born to Joseph and Margaret Featherston (nee Harrison) in Weardale, County of Durham. She was to become Charles' second wife.


    During his "teen "years I have no idea what he did, although I guess 'that he found some kind of employment (As a clerk? Or in his father's butcher shop?). What is known, however, is that at about the age of 15, he began attending the Calthorpe St Sunday School, which he then attended for eight years. There he sat under the teaching of a John Roberts, whom he later spoke of as an "ideal teacher", and he described his classes in glowing terms. In an article which he wrote in 1896, he spoke thus -
AN IDEAL TEACHER - I will sketch a short eulogy to my Sunday School teacher, John Roberts. It was my privilege for about eight years, when in my teens, to be a member of his class, in the Calthorpe St, Sunday School. He was an ideal Lord's day school teacher. A journeyman tailor, working long hours every day (there was no half-holiday then), and he, after using every scrap of time during the week, did not believe in shortening the Lord's day by lying idle in bed, but, though working late on Saturday evening, rose at four o' clock the next morning to finish the lesson for his class. In the course of my pilgrimages I have met some hundreds of Sunday School teachers, but I have not met one whom I have considered worthy to be placed in comparison with him. His audience (class and visitors) frequently numbered one hundred and fifty. He allowed nothing to interfere with his work, and during thirty eight years he was absent from his post only seven times, and that was through illness. His power of arresting attention was extraordinary. I longed for the return of the Lord's day, that I might hear him deduce lessons from some portion of the Holy Scriptures."
Small wonder then, with this example and teaching, that his life was committed from an early age to the Christian faith.


    April - His sister, Hannah, married at Camden Town, London, to Thomas Farr, carpenter. She was 19 years old at the time, and Thomas was 25. (and Charles was 21). Thomas had been born at Southgate, Middlesex, on 28th March, 1824, and was christened on 25th April.

1850. Baptism.

    20th December. Baptised in the "John St Chapel, Bedford Row, London", by the Hon. B.W. Noel, on Friday evening, 20th December, 1850. This was three days before his 23rd birthday. If he had been brought up at all within the Church of England (which I doubt), then it is obvious that by this stage of his life he had been well and truly converted to the "non-conformist' church doctrine. He had commenced teaching in the Sabbath School connected with this church in March of this year. He had apparently left the Calthorpe St Sunday school which he had attended for about 8 years, and early in 1850 commenced attending the John St Church.

1851. Teacher Training.

    He "united with the John St Chapel and taught Sunday School there" and as a letter given to him by the minister of his church states, he was "persuaded by his friends to devote himself wholly to the work of Education. After much prayer and careful consideration he entered the Normal School of British and Foreign Schools Society, and (I have it from the authority of his tutor) most successfully passed through the usual course of six months training".
    On his application form to enter this college Charles lists his occupation as "clerk", which indicates that he had probably been working in this capacity for at least a short time, and had maybe even received some training therein. His address at the time is 33 Lucas St, Commercial Road. He entered the College in July, completing the course in December (but he was not "classed", which I guess means that in some way he didn't sit the official exams). The college was in Borough Road, and had been founded about 100 years earlier, by the "dissenters' , or the emerging evangelical Christian groups, which were breaking away from the established churches at that time. No doubt in the beginning it was looked upon with some distaste by the other churches, but over the years it became a prestigious college, noted for its strict discipline and high academic standards.
    We have a couple of sketches of the environment Charles worked in  -      The Central School    and     Lecture aux Demi circles
    Upon completion of the course, it appears that Charles did not seek employment as a teacher with any educational institution in London, as his name does not appear on any staffing lists in the area where he lived. He probably continued in his occupation as a clerk, and this would account for the reason as to why he first of all gained a job in that field when he migrated to Melbourne.
    Elizabeth also attended a teachers' training college for some time, possibly a sister one, known as "The Normal School of the Home and Colonial School Society". I'm not sure of the time of her attendance there, but it may possibly have been in the following year, 1852, as Charles was later to state in a letter that she was "partly trained" in this college, and I guess it's possible that the reason for her non-completion was that her course was interrupted by her migration to Australia. Courses at this college were of 12 months duration.
    There is no way of knowing when and how Charles and Elizabeth met. Was it in a church gathering, as she was the daughter of a city missioner, and would obviously be part of the church scene? Her father was very ill during this year, and died in September at Stepney, London, after a long and painful illness. Elizabeth was 14 at the time of his death, turning 15 about a month later.
    Also in 1851 his sister Hannah gave birth to her first child - Alice

1852. Migration to Australia, leaving London in July or August..

    Charles boarded ship for Australia probably on 30th or 31st July. What did he do in the six months prior to leaving? I don't know for certain, but it appears likely that he returned to his occupation as a clerk. However, in a letter which he was to write to the National School Board of Melbourne some three years later, he stated, "I was engaged as a teacher in England", and although he is most likely referring to the time he spent as a Sunday School teacher, it is possible that he had found employment as a teacher in some kind of education system.
    A number of articles about Charles mention July as the date of his leaving, but I have as yet not been able to discover a primary document which verifies this. However, if it was July it must have been on the 30th or 31st, as in his pocket (or whatever it was in which they carried things in those days) he carried the following character reference from the minister of his church, or church school, dated 29th July -

North London British School,
    (The Hon and Rev. Baptist Noel's)
        Calthorpe St,
            Grays Inn Road,
                    July 29th, 1852.
    The bearer of this Mr Charles Martin, who is emigrating to Australia, has requested me to furnish him with a testimonial, as to his fitness and capabilities for the office of schoolmaster, which he is desirous of filling in that country, should an opportunity offer.
    I have known him for several years and believe him to be a pious and devoted Christian man. He laboured most efficiently for some time as a Sabbath School Teacher in connection with this place, and was then persuaded by his friends to devote himself wholly to the work of Education. After much prayer and careful consideration, he entered the Normal School of the British and Foreign School Society, and (I have it from the authority of his tutor) most successfully passed through the usual course of six month's training with the highest credit.
    He is considerably above mediocrity in his intellectual attainments, in addition to that knowledge which every Elementary Teacher ought to poss≠ess, he has a very good acquaintance with the Classics and Mathematics. His other qualifications for the office of a teacher are equally good, and I have great pleasure in recommending him to any Committee or Christian minister in Australia who may want a teacher.
            (Signed) Thomas Ryder,
                    Head Master of the Above School.

    (I'm glad to know that my ancestor was "considerably above mediocrity". I guess that we would express it today by saying, "considerably above average".)
    Images of this letter 
    It seems fairly logical to me that Charles obtained this document shortly before his departure, so it can probably be safely assumed (in view of the other reference to a July departure) that he did indeed set sail on the 30th or 31st of July. Despite an extensive search of the shipping records I have not been able to locate his name, nor Henry's, so their particular ship must be one of the ones of which the records were lost. They probably arrived in Melbourne in November. Henry's fiancee (Eleanor) arrived in Melbourne three or four months later in March, 1853.
    Elizabeth also migrated in 1852, (aged 15 when the ship departed, but turning 16 on the trip) with her mother Charlotte (aged 36 according to the shipping list, but more likely about 44), a sister (Mary - aged 12) and two younger brothers (Edward 10, and John 8. An elder brother or sister born to Charlotte stayed in England.). They left London on the "Orestes" on 11th August, 1852, and arrived in Melbourne on 5th December. Charles had probably arrived two or three weeks earlier. I do not know if he and Elizabeth had become "romantically involved" prior to migration, as Elizabeth was very young, but it would appear probable that that was the case. They married less than a year after her arrival in Australia.

The Melbourne to which Charles Came.

    When Charles arrived in Melbourne towards the end of 1852, he came to a fast-growing, bustling city of about 30,000 people which had only been in existence for a mere 17 years. It had been first settled in 1835. ("This is the spot for a village", as someone had said. Was it Batman or Fawkner? Yes it was.) Melbourne quickly increased in size and importance. In 1836 Major Mitchell undertook his famous journey of exploration through Western Victoria, and brought word back of the vast areas of grasslands which existed there ("Australia Felix"). The inland of Victoria was then opened up by pastoralists who brought in their herds (and of course in the process dispossessed the unfortunate aboriginals of their land). By 1850, Melbourne had been established as the chief administrative and commercial centre in Victoria, and was home to 23,000 people (out of 67,000 in Victoria). The following year, on July 1st, 1851, it gained its independence from N.S.W. as a colony in its own right, and four days later came the event that was to really put it on the map - the discovery of gold. Then, within a few short months of the initial find, more gold was discovered at a number of places in the Ballarat and Central Victorian areas. Melbourne's population jumped from 23,000 in 1851 to almost 70,000 in 1854. In addition, between 1851 and 1856, more than a quarter of a million people passed through Melbourne on their way to the gold-fields. By the year 1861 its population had risen to 140,000 and it was now Australia's largest city. (By 1891, it was home to almost half a million people.)
    It is doubtful if Charles, with his Christian disposition which eschewed wealth, would have any thoughts of seeking his fortune as he boarded his ship in July, but he certainly was migrating with the early waves of gold seekers.
    Charles no doubt arrived in late November or early December and initially settled in Melbourne. His address, as noted on his marriage certificate a year after his arrival, is Little Collins Street. He appears first of all to have obtained a job as a reporter - both the "Age" and the "Argus" in their obituaries state that he had worked for them. This confirms that he had received a good education and was very literate. However, in a letter which he wrote to the Education Board in 1855, he does not mention this, but says that "1 have been employed as a bookkeeper and latterly as a shorthand writer". He also must have worked for some time as a "clerk", as this is the occupation which he registers on his marriage certificate.
    NOTE - Why did he spend over two years working in professions other than school-teaching, given his prayerful guidance in that direction, and his six months training? Was it difficult to find a job as a school-teacher at that time? With his training I think not, as there were very few trained teachers in those days. Also, the gold rush was in full swing, and as it had emptied most professions of able-bodied men there was a demand in every sphere of labour and employment. So he should have been able to find work very easily as a teacher. Perhaps he decided that he would continue to work at his old occupation as this was what he knew best. I guess we'll never know.

The Hitchcocks.

    After arriving in Australia, the Hitchcocks initially settled in Melb≠ourne. Charlotte, the mother, re-married less than a year after arriving, to a Charles Clay, and it appears that they then settled there. Elizabeth married Charles and eventually moved with him to Ballarat. Mary attended the early Melbourne Teachers' College in 1857, before moving to Ballarat to teach at Charles' school. In 1860 she married William Davey and they then joined Charles' church at Dawson St. Mary died in 1880 aged 40. Edward who is the grandfather of Harry Hitchcock and Ed Freeman of Grenville, at some time in the early 1860's moved to the Ballarat area and took up land in the Durham/Grenville area, some 18 miles out, where he married a Mary Robertson and had eleven children. John, the youngest brother, died in 1859, aged 15.

His brother Henry

    Henry was 20 years of age at the time. He was engaged to a girl named Eleanor Maw. Eleanor came to Australia on a ship called the "Hope" which left London on 8th November, 1852, and arrived in Melbourne on 18th March, 1853. She was engaged to Henry prior to leaving London, and was 22 years of age at the time. Her denomination is listed as "Baptist", and her educational standard is "read, but not write".
    Also in 1852, back in England, his sister Hannah Farr gave birth to her second child, Sarah, and his other sister, Louisa, married James Crump.

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