Formation and Emigration of the Party from Nottingham

St Mary's Nottingham where John Bradfield married Mary Dennis 23 November 1790 . They are buried at Clumber.*

The Local Situation Which Prompted the Authorities to Implement an Emigration Scheme

Nottingham was one of the areas worst hit by the Industrial Revolution and the affects of the end of the Napoleonic Wars. This was a Centre where cottage industries such as lace and hosiery making, flourished. These home industries could not compete on costs with the new factories and so all these cottage industries shut down, putting thousands out of work. Families were starving and the people looked to the councilllors of the town for financial assistance. Nottingham simply could not afford such massive amounts of support. There were riots and considerable social unrest. By August 1819 there were daily processions of protest.

 In the same month the unemployed people wrote an appeal to the Lord Leiutentant and the gentry and noblemen of the county in which they stated:

"From the various and low prices given by our employers, we have not, after working from sixteen to eighteen hours per day, been able to earn more than from four to six shillings per week, to maintain our wives and families upon, to pay taxes, house rent, &c., which has driven us to the necessity of applying for parochial aid, which after all has not in many instances left us sufficient to supply the calls of nature, even with the most parsimonious economy; and though we have substituted meal and water, or potatoes and salt, for that more wholesome food an Englishman's table used to abound with, we have repeatedly retired, after a hard day's labour, and been under the necessity of putting our children supperless to bed, to stifle the cries of hunger : nor think that we would give this picture too high a colouring, when we can most solemnly declare, that for the last eighteen months we have scarecely known what it is to be free from the pangs of hunger."

 The pitiful conditions families found themselves in resulted on August 16 in a Protest March of some 5000 men.

The town's authorities were so fearful of trouble that they called in troops. Four companies of the 52nd Regiment of Foot took possession of Bromley House and several wagon loads of ammunition and stores were brought in. Memories of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in August 1819, where troops charged into a crowd estimated to be some 60 000 strong, was fresh in the authorities mind. Women carried signs with the words " Pity our Distress!" "We ask for Bread ", "Pity our Children ". When the opportunity of emigration arose many reached out to the lifeline presented to them. The majority that applied to join the Nottingham Party were out of work and destitute. This Party was among 4 of the total of 61 Emigration Parties of 1820 that consisted of the poor.  Parishes attempted to raise funds but they were not allowed to use money from the "poor relief" to pay the deposits for their members. The Duke of Newcastle lobbied wealthy patrons and got sponsorship for the Party. Only one man paid for his deposit, Thomas Webster.

The application for emigration of John Bradfield, his wife Mary, and their children reveals that the letter was only written at the end of October 1819. Less than 3 months later they had moved out of their home, packed those possessions they could comfortably carry, and left the life they had known behind them. 

* John Bradfield, his wife Mary, and their children emigrated to South Africa as part of the Nottingham Party of 1820 Settlers

John Bradfield's Letter of Application for Emigration
Vessel Albury


The Journey from Nottingham to Algoa Bay, South Africa

The Nottingham party comprised of 158 persons ; 60 men, 26 women and 72 children. This of a total of 3700 people who emigrated from Great Britain. This group had to travel from Nottingham to Liverpool, a distance of some 170 km to join the vessel Albury there.

From correspondence we know that the Nottingham Party was all aboard the vessel Albury, 330 tons, in Liverpool, by mid January 1820. It therefore follows that they left Nottingham either in late December 1819 or early January 1820. The weather was bitterly cold as ships were iced up on the Thames in London at this time. The men walked over the Pennine Moors under Sergeant George Harrison. The women and children journeyed by coaches and cart.

The Albury was located on the river when on Friday 28 January 1820 the Liverpool Auxiliary Bible Society came aboard to ascertain if Bibles were needed by the emigrants. After ascertaining that all could read, the Depositary came aboard again on Monday 31 January to distribute Bibles. Henry Holland, aged 22, a stone mason, penned a letter of thanks to the Society.

The Boat Journey

Due to a cold front , the Albury only sailed on 13 February 1820. There were heavy seas and gales off the coast of Wales until 18 February whereafter the weather improved.

13 February 1820 Deaths of Henry Hartley, 4 years, youngest son of Thomas and Sarah Hartley, and John Cross, infant son of John and Mary Cross.

These deaths, according to George Dennison in a letter to E S Godfrey " have been occasioned by being so long on this unhealthy river"

27 February 1820 Anchored at Madeira

1 March 1820 Passed the Canary Islands

3 March 1820 Came aside the Aquatic laden with coal for St Helena

5 March 1820 Passed a Portuguese slave ship

9 March 1820 John Sykes complained of being ill

13 March 1820 Caught a shark

14 March 1820 Came alongside the Charles Grant and another ship. Longitude 22. Day Temperature 84 deg F, Night Teperature 82 deg F

Thomas Calton in a letter on this date wrote : " some there are whom I find have proved themselves greater eaters than workers, so I am afraid will prove the same at the Cape. These are the Frame Work Knitters. I must sincerely beg and pray you to send no more here"

He also adds that the Settlers are lying 4 to 6 in a bed and even that there are two men with their wives in the same bed, notes : " I wonder no mistakes are made"

15 March 1820 Crossed the Equator

18 March 1820 Met up with Clydesdale merchant ship Bengal heading to Bengal

19 March 1820 Sykes very ill

20 March 1820 John Sykes died at midnight

21 March 1820 The captain went aboard Nestex on her way from Calcutta to England

27 March 1820 Got the trade winds after being virtually becalmed since the 10th

4 April 1820 Crossed the tropics with a moderate breeze 

8 April 1820 Gales and heavy winds continued till 17 April

17 April 1820 One man shot a large bird

18 April 1820 Light breeze, three albatrosses shot, one with a 5 ft 9 inch wingspan

1 May 1820 Came in sight of the Cape

1 May 1820 Anchored at midnight in Simmons Bay

15 May 1820 Arrived Algoa Bay but due to congestion and heavy seas could not disembark. On this date not only did the Albury arrive but 3 other ships also anchored off Algoa Bay - the Aurora carrying 344 Settlers, the Brilliant carrying 144 Settlers and the Weymouth carrying 478 Settlers.

28 May 1820 Finally disembarked Algoa Bay

The Arrival

Artist's impression of the landing of the 1820 Settlers

 Settlers were lowered in their vessel's boats and then transferred to flat bottomed surf boats and pulled through the tumbling breakers by ropes from the shore. When they reached shallow water the men got out and had to wade through the surf. The women and children were carried by sailors and soldiers to the beach. Captain Evatt was in charge of the landing operations. He was Commandant of Fort Frederick, the stone fort that stood atop the small hill above the landing beach.

 The Journey from Algoa Bay to Clumber

Accommodation for the Settlers was provided in some 2000 tents on the sea shore which the Settlers named Tent Town. The Nottingham Party had to wait here for wagons and carts to transport them to their destination. All Settlers were made to wait in strict rotation, as landed, for transport. There were allready 1500 people in the queue ahead of the Nottingham Party. They were still waiting for transport on 8 July 1820 when Thomas Calton , the leader of the party, died. They elected a new leader, Thomas Draper, on 10 July 1820.
They travelled North, then East, crossing the Zwartkops and Couga Rivers near the coast. Then inland over Grass Ridge to Addo Drift, across the Sunday's River about 20 miles from the mouth, and then over Addo Heights. Then South East, more or less parallel to the coast, passing Congo's Kraal and Graafwater to Jagers Drift on the Bushman's River. After the Mission Station at Theopolis, they forded the Kowie River at its mouth at low tide by utilizing two exposed sandbanks. Then inland via Kowie Pass to Bathurst and on to their final destination. They outspanned at the foot of a small hill close to the Torrens River on 26 July 1820. There was no infrastructure here, no town, only open uninhabited and unworked land. After offloading their possessions the wagons departed, leaving the Nottingham Party to fend for themselves and to forge a new life. 
Young Rosa Pike recalled :
"I remember that while the wagons were being unloaded...I ran down to look at a small river which was near, and on my return found my mother sitting on a large box and crying. On asking her what was the matter, she said she was afraid, she thought the tigers and wolves would come that night and eat us up."
They named the small hill at the base of which they had offloaded their belongings, Mount Mercy. At the top of the hill they held a service of thanksgiving for safe deliverance of a journey that had taken over 6 months.
The Party originally considered naming their location Mansfield, but decided to name their location Clumber after the seat of the Duke of Newcastle, Clumber Park. This in appreciation for his genuine concern for the welfare of this group of people whose financial situation was dire. Under his chairmanship a public subscription was raised to assist the unemployed to emigrate.
Artist's impression of the Boer escorts and wagon's on the the Settler's journey
Comings and Goings at Tent Town
Elijah Pike, Edward Timm and George Tarr; 1820 Settlers
William Pike - Leader at Clumber

Is it Calton's Party or Nottingham Party ?

 On this Website we refer to the " Nottingham Party".

In the articles on 1820 Settlers it is generally referred to as "Calton's Party", in reference to his leadership of the Party. We refer to it as the "Nottingham Party" as they departed from there and the leadership of the Party was eventually passed to 3 people.  Calton, the original leader, died in Algoa Bay whilst the Party was awaiting transport. Leadership then passed to Thomas Draper and subsequently and finally to William Pike.

Interior of the 3rd Clumber Church opened in 1867
Created by Courteney George Bradfield