Friday, May 19, 2023



Found these photos today.  

Christchurch (NZ) is very near my home, so I thought I'd investigate these little girls.

Well, the one on the right is Louisa GORLE 'aged 6', therefore photographed in 1872. By Gaul of Christchurch. The one in the middle is her eldest sister, Henrietta Ann with her husband Thomas Hamilton ANSON. Married 1872.  The one on the left is puzzlingly labelled 'H Gorle'. Its fairly obviously taken at or about the same time as Louisa's .. so it's not Harriet. I suspect it may be daughter no5, Phillis, 2 years older than Louisa.  Anyway, they are Gorle girls ... some of them. Because the Gorle elders had a large number of children, seven (minus one) of whom were girls: Henrietta (1850), Frances (1853), Rachel Mary (1857), Rosa Mira (1860), Phillis (1864) and Louisa (1866) all born before the family's immigration to Canterbury in 1869.

So who were they? John Taylor or Tayler Gorle (b Mapleton 26 September 1822; d Metherell Towers Devon 2 August 1888) was one of those well-bred chappies of military lineage who followed father into the military at a young age, purchasing a ensign rank (1840) then a lieutenancy (1841) and a captaincy (1845) in the 10th Foot and in the 1850s the 40th Foot. He also married, and the breeding began

After his resignation from the army, he set out on a new career (still billed as Captain Gorle) as a colonial farmer and bloodstock dealer. At the end of 1869 the whole family left for Canterbury: Captain, Mrs, 6 daughters and 4 sons. Which seems right.

John Gorle was quickly into his stride, buying up lands at Courtenay and Kirwee near the Waimakariri River. He dealt in livestock from his yards in Kirwee, joined things, ran things, donated to things, wife and children took part in local concert-giving and pony-sports in the approved fashion. Later John bred racing greyhounds and Exmoor (imported) ponies. They took on another home in Sumner (and later New Brighton, Yaldhurst et al) and soon it was 1872 and time for the first daughter to get married. Our Henrietta.

She married a well-established 'pioneer' of her own class. Nephew of an Admiral, son of a Knight, General Sir John Anson, who was killed in a railway crash at Wigan shortly after the wedding. I don't know why Thomas had been exiled to the colonies -- probably like Gorle -- to get a slice of the new country, but he too did all right.  Especially in the breeding stakes. Children not cattle. 

In April 1884 Captain Gorle and his family returned to England with wife and three and then more remaining unmarried children. Three boys and three or was it four girls. Louisa was one. Harriet, of course, stayed in New Zealand with her husband.

Louisa 'of the school of agriculture' died in Devon in 1903. Aged only 43. She never returned to New Zealand.

Harriet lost her husband in 1894. But she and her children stayed in Canterbury .. I see that she died in Jeffrey's Rd, Bryndwr, 27 July 1929.

I lived close to there in the 1960s.

I'm stopping there. There is doubtless a huge family tree to be played with here. 

But it was a nice way to spend a morning, getting to know the folk who lived in my neighbourhood.


1 comment:

Kate said...

Your industriousness, Kurt! What a nice thought to uncover the lives of some of ‘the neighbours’! Kate