Clumber Church
menu

FORMATION AND EMIGRATION OF THE PARTY FROM NOTTINGHAM IN 1820

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

WHY AN EMIGRATION POLICY?

The Situation in England Which Prompted the Authorities to Implement an Emigration Scheme

 Nottinghamshire, and Nottingham in particular, was one of the areas worst hit by the Industrial Revolution and the affects of the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the collapse of the American market. 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 for the poor. 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 Lieutenant 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, for 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 scarcely known what it is to be free from the pangs of hunger."

 The pitiful conditions families found themselves in, resulted on 16 August 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, totally in line with the Duke of Newcastle's proposal that the unemployed of the County should be encouraged to join the countrywide emigration plan. Only one man paid for his deposit, Thomas Webster.  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. Some £3000 was collected and the most notable contributions were: 

£500 The Duke of Newcastle

£150 The Dowager Duchess of Newcastle

£500 The Duke of Portland

£500 Earl Manvers

£100 The Earl of Surrey

£100 Viscount Galway

£100 Hon. Rev. J. Lumped Saville

£100 Hon. J. Simpson

£100 Admiral Sotherton

£100 H. Gally Knight Esq.


The Nottingham Party was one of the last in the country to be accepted by Earl Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary. The original plan was for 300 settlers, but only 167 travelled. Over 700 persons are known to have applied with later applicants still being accepted just prior to actual embarkation. An analysis of these applicants reveals a pattern of distress in the County centered on the demise of the framework knitting industry. 

A Colonization Committee was raised and comprised the following persons :

Edward Smith Godfrey, Organizer, Nottinghamshire Clerk of the Peace from Newark.

Rev. Thomas Becher, Assistant to Godfrey, clergyman and magistrate from Southwell.

George Dennison, Recorder, a half pay Chelsea Pensioner from the 79th Foot. He and and his wife Hannah and 4 children accompanied the Nottingham Party to The Cape of Good Hope.

The majority of the applicants originated from the Borough of Nottingham which was a concern to Rev Becher who, in a letter to E S Godfrey, asked that other Parishes in the County be considered to redress this imbalance.

The application for emigration of John Bradfield, his wife Mary, and their children reveals that the letter was written on 27 October 1819. Only 2 1/2 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. 

Dennison, as recorder, tried to keep abreast of the ever changing make up of the party and on 12 December 1819 he forwarded to Godfrey a list of 180 names of "persons desirous to Emigrate to the Cape of Good Hope".

 

* John Bradfield, his wife Mary, and their 7 children emigrated to South Africa as part of the Nottingham Party of 1820 Settlers


John Bradfield's Letter of Application for Emigration
John Bradfield's Letter of Application for Emigration
Vessel Albury
Vessel Albury

LEAVING HOME

 

The Journey from Nottingham, England, to Algoa Bay, Cape Colony


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. 

The organizing committee had to arrange transport , have boxes made for personal possessions as well as goods supplied by the committee such as children's clothes and writing instruments. Whilst deciding how to transfer this group of people from Nottingham to Liverpool the possibility of using Fly canal boats was also investigated. This option was however rejected and it was decided to move them by road.

From correspondence we know that the Nottingham Party commenced boarding the vessel Albury, 330 tons, in Liverpool, by mid January 1820. It therefore follows that they left Nottingham in 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 Dennison, accompanying the wagons carting the 16 tons 7cwt of provisions and personal possessions (including 2 ploughs and 2 harrows). This journey on foot involved being 3 nights on the road before they reached Liverpool.The wagons were supplied by Mr R Hillberson of Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire at a cost of £114.18s.7d. The  women and children journeyed by coaches, hired from Mr Simpson of Nottingham for £37.6s.0d, traveling 13 persons per coach, 4 inside and 9 outside. They journeyed via Leek and Macclesfield to avoid the Derbyshire hills so that the journey could be completed in a day. The first coach left Nottingham on 12 January and the last on 21 January. Young Elijah Pike recalls the four in hand coach his family travelled in from Nottingham and was in wonder at the forest of masts and spars he saw in the dock at Liverpool. Thomas Calton and his family stayed at Saracen's Head Hotel in Dale Street in Liverpool, prior to embarking on the Albury. A receipt dated 12 January shows that a Mr Sharples billed him for tea, coffee, rum, gin, ale, paper, pens, fires, in addition to his bed and sitting rooms hire. The settlers, however, had rooms at 19d per night at the local grocer, William Whittaker, whose premises was situated at 2 Xbow Lane. Not only did he supply rooms but also vegetables, herbs, sugar, bread, dripping, butter, tea, ale, milk, mustard, beef steaks and flour. This accommodation was necessary as the Albury was not docked and was lying anchored in the River Mersey. Access to the vessel had to be by prior arrangement and was by small craft.

Boarding the vessel was done in stages as the list of proposed settlers was in a constant state of flux. A letter from 19 November 1819 from the Duke of Newcastle to Godfrey urges him to "have as compleat and efficient list made out". Now, in January 1820 the list was still under scrutiny by Calton who rejected some, with reasons given as " naturally sickly, character bad, idle " and others were still coming forward to be added to the list. As late as 16 January the list was far from finalised , Calton taking 30 people on board the Albury  on this date and half were returned owing to their names not being on the list.  By 20 January 112 settlers had boarded and 31 were on shore. Calton  and his family finally boarded on 27 January after goods which were impounded were finally released the day before. 

There was also confusion over payment to Hilberson for the use of the wagons conveying the goods from Nottingham. This payment should have been effected in Nottingham but wasn't, so the goods were impounded. The 2 wagons arrived on January 13 (and presumably the men of the party) and the goods were only released on 26 January after the transport payment was resolved .

The Albury was anchored on the River Mersey 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.

Liverpool was a Centre of embarkation at this time as there were two other vessels, namely Stentor and John, which were embarking Parties whose destination was the same as the Albury, the Cape of Good Hope. Stentor and John sailed on the same day, 13 January 1820, leaving the Albury still anchored in the river.




The Boat Journey

Due to a cold front sweeping in from the direction of Ireland , 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 Temperature 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 Simon's Bay


To their dismay the Nottingham Party was not allowed to go ashore at Simon's Bay but had to wait on board before they could commence the final leg of their journey to Algoa Bay.



More about the Albury

Built in 1804 and classified as a ship with Mr W Worts as Captain. It had a single deck with beams and the boards were sheathed with copper. Accommodation was apparently rather cramped and confining as one could not walk upright below deck.The single men were given a blanket and had to find a place to sleep on the bare boards. In some instances the married folk were even lying 4, and some instances, 6, to a bed !
Afraid of the spread of disease aboard, Elijah Pike recalled how he and many other children were continually washed by their respective mothers as a preventative when one of the children died on the journey.  
The Settlers traveling on the Vessel Zoroaster had to transfer to the Albury at Simons Town and joined the Nottingham Party for the final leg to Algoa Bay. The Zoroaster carried 142 persons; C Dyason's Party from London numbering 67, W Wait's Party numbering 40 from Middlesex and C Thornhills Party numbering 35. The Albury accommodation was already cramped and with an additional 142 persons joining, conditions could not have been pleasant. Jeremiah Goldswain of the Wait Party had this to say about the Albury : 
" we got on board to see the difference between the two ships. I was astonished; the Zoroaster was as clean as possible for a Vessel to be, but the Albury you could not walk upright between her decks and she was not the cleanest Vessel I ever saw."


The Arrival in Algoa Bay, Cape Colony


Artist's impression of the landing of the 1820 Settlers
Artist's impression of the landing of the 1820 Settlers

LAST DAYS ABOARD PRIOR DISEMBARKING

On 15 May 1820 The Albury finally arrived at  Algoa Bay but due to congestion and heavy seas her passengers 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.

There was no pier or infrastructure at Algoa Bay. All Vessels had to ride at anchor and await their turn, in strict rotation according to arrival, before instructions were given to disembark.

The Albury passengers had to wait on board for almost two weeks before they could disembark. They finally stepped ashore on 28 May 1820, having spent a total of 131 days aboard the Albury from the day we know that some were aboard, which, according to documentation, was 17 January 1820 in Liverpool.( The Nottingham Party did not all board on the same day, this was spread over a number of days)

 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 Fairfax Moresby of the H.M.S.Menai was the naval officer in charge of arrival and landing of the Settler vessels. Captain Evatt was in charge of the actual landing operations. He was Commandant of Fort Frederick, the stone fort that stood atop the small hill above the landing beach. All credit to his concern to the wellbeing of this vast influx of people that not one fatality resulted from the landing process.

THE OX WAGON JOURNEY TO THEIR NEW BEGINNINGS

 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.
The Nottingham Party finally left Tent Town on Algoa Bay on 15 July 1820. (Based on a recollection of 3 families sharing a wagon, the number of wagons would have been about 15.) Soon after leaving, one of the wagons tried to cross an old road, lurched, and fell on its side upending its contents and pinning the young Elijah Pike underneath. Fortunately soft sand cushioned the blow and he escaped unhurt. The wagon train 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 25 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.
"It seemed very lonely to us when the wagons went away and left us all alone among the thorns and bushes" said a young Elijah Pike.

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.
An atmospheric old photo of a wagon train in progress
An atmospheric old photo of a wagon train in progress

THE ARRIVAL OF THE NOTTINGHAM PARTY ON THE SHORE OF ALGOA BAY

From their ships the 1820 Settlers were transferred by flat bottomed boats to the sea shore where they were accommodated in tents located on the dunes of Algoa Bay. Here they had to wait their turn for ox wagons to transport them to the final destination on the border of the Cape Colony.

William Pike - Leader at Clumber
William Pike - Leader at Clumber

LEADERS OF THE NOTTINGHAM PARTY


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 on July 8th whilst the Party was awaiting transport. Leadership then passed to Thomas Draper and subsequently and finally to William Pike after Thomas Draper received permission to leave Clumber.

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