snippets received from past and present villagers
Special thanks to Stephen Pearce, Great,
Great, Grandson. July 2016 for getting in touch and sharing the
The Story of Joseph Whatley.of Knook,
Joseph Whatley was born in Knook, Wiltshire, on
the edge of Salisbury Plain, in 1824 one of the six children born to William
Whatley and Elizabeth Kitley. William was a cloth weaver most likely at the
Upton Lovell Cloth Mill just a few miles away. Not much is known about Joseph's
early life but he did become a labourer possibly at Upton Lovell or as an
agricultural labourer. However his life took a dramatic turn when he presented
himself aged 18 years and three months to a Royal Marine recruiting officer at
Salisbury on the 9th August 1841. His military records show that he was 5ft 7
inches and of fair complexion with grey eyes and brown hair. He was accepted
into the 15th Company of The Royal Marine Artillery as a Private (Gunner),
Number 2812. He reported to the Royal Marines just 11 days later at Forton
Barracks, Gosport on 21st August 1841 to begin his basic training.
On 7th January 1842, Joseph reported to his first
ship. HMS Carysfort was a 26 Gun, 6th Rate Ship of the Line. She was only
launched at Pembroke Dock in 1836 so she was only 6 years old. She weighed just
925 tons, her length was 130 feet, her beam (width) was 40 feet, and the depth
of the hold was 11 feet. Her crew of 217 was made up of 152 officers and men, 40
boys and 25 Marines. Her Commander was Captain George Paulet. Many of the crew
were new to the ship so after spending time in training the Carysfort finally
left Portsmouth on 15th March 1842 for Spithead, the stretch of water between
the Isle of Wight and the West Sussex coast. 10 days later on the 25th March the
Carysfort headed out to sea. It would be quite some time before the crew saw "Blighty"
On the 9th April HMS Carysfort dropped anchor at
the Portuguese Island of Madeira, the voyage of 14 days was reported as being
"Very Boisterous!". Five days later the Carysfort headed back to sea for Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil then on to The Falklands before taking on the challenge of
rounding Cape Horn, one of the most dangerous stretches of ocean in the world.
On the 2nd August 1842, ten weeks after leaving Rio de Janeiro, the Carysfort
arrived in Valparaiso, Chile. How long she remained in Chile is not known but
she soon headed North for the coast of California. It was at San Francisco that
Robert Charlton, the British Consul to the Sandwich Islands came aboard to see
Captain Paulet. He had come to complain to the Captain about some land that he
allegedly owned, in the Sandwich Islands, had been denied to him by the local
people and that the King of the Sandwich Islands had disregarded his claim. The
Sandwich Islands are known today by another name, the Hawaiian Islands.
Captain Paulet ordered the Carysfort back to sea,
however before leaving he sent a letter to Admiral Richard Thomas, the Commander
of the Royal Navy Pacific Fleet, explaining his intentions. On the 10th February
1843 the Carysfort arrived at Honolulu, the Hawaiian capital on the island of
Oahu. The following day Paulet went ashore possibly with another officer and a
marine detachment. He arrived at the Palace of King Kamehameha III where he
demanded an audience with the King. It must be noted that the Kings grandfather
Kamehameha I had been responsible for the death of Captain James Cook on 14th
February 1779, Paulet must have been well aware of this. However the King was on
another Island and Paulet was told that the King would return in seven days.
The King did arrive a week later, however on
receiving a very demanding letter from Paulet, the King replied that any
communications were to go through the Chief Government Minister, an American
called Gerrit P. Judd. The reply infuriated Paulet who had been told by Charlton
that Judd was acting as a "Dictator" on the Islands. Many of the senior Hawaiian
Government positions were held by foreigners mostly Americans. There was by
chance an American warship in Honolulu Harbour, the USS Boston, commanded by
Captain Long. on the 17th February 1843 Captain Paulet wrote a warning letter to
"Sir, I have the honour to
notify you that Her Britannic Majesty's ship Carysfort, under my command will be
prepared to make an immediate attack upon this town at 4' o'clock P.M tomorrow
(Saturday) in the event of the demands now forwarded by me to the King of these
Islands not being complied with by that time.
Sir, I have the honour to be
your most obedient humble servant. George Paulet, Captain.
Captain Long decided not to intervene, possibly
not wanting to make what was now an International incident, even worse. The
Hawaiian Government wrote to Paulet on the 18th February 1843 agreeing to the
demands but only under a very strong protest. And so began a British military
occupation of the Hawaiian Islands that was to last 5 months with a "Government"
led by George Paulet. One of his first tasks was to remove the 156 islanders
living on the land claimed by Robert Charlton. Paulet probably used the Marines
on board for this very unfair task. There had been 200,000 Hawaiian's when
Captain Cook found the Islands but they had by 1843 been reduced to 80,000 due
to "imported" diseases from which they had no immunity. They had also already
lost much of their land due to unscrupulous foreigners cheating the Islanders,
who were very naive. What Joseph Whatley thought about this is not known. He was
under orders as was every other man on Carysfort. Naval discipline was still
very strict, a man could still be flogged for any transgression. He would have
been manning the guns firing into Honolulu if events turned out badly. Paulet
also ordered that every Hawaiian Flag should be destroyed.
Admiral Richard Thomas was in Valparais, Chile
when he learned of Paulet's actions. He ordered his flag ship, HMS Dublin, to
Honolulu where she arrived on 25th July 1843. On arrival Thomas saluted a
Hawaiian Flag that had been missed by the crew of Carysfort. After meeting with
King Kamehameha III, Admiral Thomas concluded that Paulet had over reacted and
duly restored the King and his Government. The restoration took place on the
31st July 1843 in a grand ceremony. The King declared before a large crowd, "The
life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." This today is the national
motto of Hawaii and the 31st July is now a Hawaiian national holiday celebrated
as "Restoration Day". The Islanders also incorporated the British Union Flag
onto their own flag in respect to Admiral Thomas where there is also a park in
Honolulu named in his honour. Captain Paulet on the other hand is still
castigated on the Islands. Hawaii was finally recognised as a sovereign nation
in a treaty signed in London in November 1843. Sadly this treaty was ignored
when in 1893 the Hawaiian Islands were annexed by the United States. The
occupation of 1843 is known today as the Paulet Affair, however it did not
affect Paulet's future career path.
Admiral Lord George Paulet - 1803 -1879.
The Carysfort was back in Valparaiso on the 1st
May 1844, she was still there on the 30th November 1844. Possibly undergoing
repairs or she was waiting to travel back around Cape Horn in December during
the summer months when the seas are hopefully calmer. (It must be remembered
that the seasons are reversed in the Southern hemisphere.) Joseph was signed off
from the Carysfort on 27th June 1845 in Portsmouth having served 3 years 172
Days aboard. He had quite a story to tell his parents back in Knook. President
William Clinton later apologised to the people of Hawaii but sadly there are
only around 10,000 pure blood Hawaiians left out of a population of 1.5 Million.
The apology was too little too late, Hawaii had suffered the same fate as many
other indigenous peoples around the World.
Joseph spent nearly 4 years ashore, little is
known of this time other than he probably spent a lot of time training
punctuated by a lot of drill and parades. However he joined the crew of another
ship on the 13th October 1849. HMS Firebrand was a very different vessel, she
was a 2nd Class Frigate of 1190 tons but she was also a paddle steamer. She was
part of The Mediterranean Fleet commanded by Captain Thomas Owen Knox. Not much
is known about the Firebrand, She had been originally called HMS Beelzebub
(another name for the Devil), then renamed HMS Black Eagle before becoming HMS
Firebrand. It is also known that Captain Knox who had married in Valetta in
Malta in 1848 died aboard Firebrand on the 30th April 1852. Joseph left this
vessel in Portsmouth on 4th December 1852 having served 3 years 53 days. He must
have visited Malta and Gibraltar on a number of occasions.
HMS Firebrand in Portsmouth Harbour.
After spending 6 months ashore, Joseph was
assigned on 12th June 1853 to HMS Tribune, a Corvette of 1569 tons driven by
screw propulsion with a crew of 300 commanded by Captain Swynfen Thomas
Carnegie. Two months later on 11th August 1853 the Tribune took part in a very
grand spectacle, The Naval Fleet Review at Spithead. Queen Victoria and Prince
Albert were aboard the flagship HMS Duke Of Wellington, as each ship passed in
two lines, the crews of each vessel raised their caps in salute. However there
was tension building in the Middle East over access to religious sites. A group
of Russian Orthodox monks had been killed in Bethlehem by French Catholic Monks
then part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia decided the
Turks were to blame and mobilised his forces. The British and French were
concerned about Russian expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean area thereby
threatening trade in the area. In March 1854 Britain and France declared war
against Russia, the Crimean War had begun.
On 11th March 1854, HMS Tribune was part of a
fleet that left Spithead heading for The Baltic Sea. They Joined a French Fleet
making 49 ships in all. On the 8th April the leading ships were spotted on the
horizon in Helsinki, Finland then an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian
Empire. The fleet did little at first but began a blockade of the Gulfs of
Finland and Bothnia. There was great panic in Helsinki and the surrounding area.
On the 13th April HMS Tribune detained four Russian Vessels and on the 1st May
she detained two more. However not long after this HMS Tribune left the Baltic
possibly escorting the Russian Vessels ships back to England. The crew of
Tribune were later awarded prize money by The Admiralty for two of the ships.
Not long after the island fortress at Sveaborg outside Helsinki was attacked by
There is a slight gap in the records but on 17th
October 1854 HMS Tribune was now part of a another fleet in the Black Sea. At
6.30 A.M that morning the 31 guns of HMS Tribune began a bombardment in a battle
known today as "The Siege of Sebastopol" on the Crimean Peninsula. Landings
were made and some men of the Royal Marine Artillery went ashore with their
heavy guns. The appalling conditions in the Crimea are well documented. More men
died from these conditions than were lost in battle. Florence Nightingale and
her band of nurses did much to alleviate these conditions. The men of the
Tribune were not immune, 110 men came down with dysentery out of a crew of 300.
Dysentery if not treated correctly can be fatal. The men then had to endure a
Russian winter. The men ashore had virtually no shelter.
On 12th November 1854 HMS Tribune, HMS Lynx and
HMS Highflyer supported a landing at Djemetil near Anapa on the Russian
mainland. Ten days later Captain Carnegie left HMS Tribune he was possibly one
of the men who became ill. His replacement was Captain James Robert Drummond who
joined the ship on the 11th December 1854. On 17th March 1855 Private Joseph
Whatley was promoted to Corporal, he had been a Private for 13 years 219 days.
On the 25th May 1855 HMS Tribune was one of 60 ships that captured the Russian
towns of Kertch and Yenikale on the Eastern side of the Crimean Peninsula .
Thousands of tons of coal and supplies were captured. At one point the Tribune
entered the Dnieper River which was still partly frozen. Joseph finally left the
Tribune on the 19th October 1855 however other records claim that Tribune was
still in the Black Sea on the 17th October. It is also possible that Joseph
remained ashore in the Crimea however he did join the crew of his forth ship,
HMS Vesuvius on the 23rd February 1856. The Vesuvius was a 1st Class Sloop of
970 tons with three Armstrong guns commanded by Captain Edward George Hore. The
Vesuvius was back in the Solent on the 23rd April 1856 where she took place in
The Naval Fleet Review, Joseph's second review. He finally received the prize
money for the capture of the Russian Brig Alexander and The Barque Fenix
(Phoenix) which was available on application by letter from the 17th January
1856 from the Admiralty in Somerset House, London. He was also awarded three
medals, the Baltic Medal, The Crimean War Medal with Sebastopol clasp and a
Turkish medal that was awarded to all British and French servicemen. The
hostilities in the Crimean War had finally ended in September 1855 and a treaty
signed on the 30th March 1856, at which the Black Sea was declared to be
Neutral Territory. Joseph was to spend only 266 days on the Vesuvius leaving her
on the 14th November 1856.
Royal Marine Gunners having just received their Crimean War
Medals in 1856. Joseph Whatley wore a uniform similar to the man leaning
against the bollard.
The prize money must have been very useful for
Joseph for he was back home in Knook on 17th December 1856 for a very special
ceremony. His marriage to Adelaide Miles took place at St Margaret's Church in
Knook. He must have stood out from the crowd as he walked down the aisle with
Adelaide who would have worn her best dress perhaps even a new one. Joseph's
father, William, may even had made the cloth for Joseph's uniform, the cloth
mill at Upton Lovell specialised in material for Military uniforms. The
witnesses were Mary Dyer and Thomas Poole who was the husband of Joseph's sister
Mary Ann Poole née Whatley. Seven months later on 23rd July 1857, Joseph was
assigned to his 5th vessel. HMS Sparrowhawk was a brand new gunboat of 676
tons. However he only served on this vessel for 14 days. She was possibly
undergoing a sea trial and Joseph may have been helping in the training of the
crew. He then spent 4 months ashore. The next posting came on the 29th November
1857 and this was to be his most challenging. HMS Lyra was also a new vessel,
a screw driven sloop of 488 tons with a displacement of 653 tons. However she
also had a shallow draught enabling the Lyra to access shallow rivers. Her
Captain was Commander Bryce Oldfield. She was also designed for a very specific
purpose, HMS Lyra was part of the Royal Navy Africa Squadron. Her mission was to
take up the fight against the African slave trade.
The Lyra headed South for Simons Town at the Cape
of Good Hope. This was the location of HMS Boscawen the flag ship of the Africa
Squadron. On the 10th May 1858 the Lyra's crew intercepted their first vessel,
the French ship Marie et Céline, at about 10 p.m. so it must have been dark. She
was boarded again the next morning so Commander Oldfield must have been
suspicious. However the French did complain. Ten days later on the 20th May 1858
the Arab Dhow the Flor de Mozambique was detained and 4 slaves were found and
later released. The vessel was then burnt. This proved to the first of many
dhows and other vessels that were chased and boarded. Some were only ordinary
trading vessels, after inspection they were allowed to go on their way. However
some proved to be slavers, the crew of the Lyra could tell the moment they got
aboard usually by the odour coming from below. In some cases the men of the Lyra
were involved in hand to hand fighting. It is believed that on one occasion in
1858 three men from the Lyra were killed.
The Lyra operated for the most part around the
Comoros Islands, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zanzibar, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The Lyra was in Quelimane in Mozambique on 13th May 1859 when Commander Oldfield
received news of one of the most famous explorers and missionaries of the
Victorian era. None other than David Livingstone who had been based in Quelimane.
Nine days later on the 24th May, Joseph was promoted to Sergeant of the Royal
Marine Artillery. Many of the captured vessels were taken by prize crews to
Simons Town, South Africa to be adjudicated, if found guilty the vessels were
burnt. However sending prize crews caused the Lyra to be undermanned so a number
of the vessels were burnt immediately. Commander Oldfield still had to explain
his actions, even at a later date.
At some point Joseph was transferred from the Lyra
to the flagship, HMS Boscawen. It is possible this may have happened when a
slave brig was detained after a 5 hour chase. It was believed the vessel was the
Echo, formerly the Rubens Anvers of Antwerp. Although there no slaves on board
she had been fitted out below to take 800 slaves. This vessel was taken by a
prize crew to Simons Town where she arrived on the 10th December 1859. Joseph
may have been one of the prize crew because he was aboard Boscawen from the 17th
January 1860. Joseph had not served on a large ship such as HMS Boscawen, she
was a sailing ship of 70 guns . She had been commissioned in 1817 and was built
on similar lines to HMS Victory. Her crew was over 800 and commanded by Admiral
Sir Frederick Grey. The Captain of the Marines was a Mr. Domville. Soon after
HMS Boscawen made the return journey to England arriving in Portsmouth in
September 1860 where Joseph signed off on the 14th September. This was to be his
last ship, he never went back to sea again. But this event had a very nasty
sting in it tail for Joseph. Somewhere he come in contact with Phtisis, a
disease that was very common in Victorian Britain right up to the Second World
War. Phtisis is an old name for Tuberculosis.
HMS Lyra in the Seychelles 1860.
Joseph went before a medical board in Portsmouth
on the 8th May 1861 and was given a medical discharge from the Royal Marines. He
had served 19 years and 272 days but because of his being under 20 when he
joined up this period was discounted. According to his records his recognised
service was only 17 years 364 days, just one day short of 18 years. Although it
was recognised by the Admiralty that he had developed this awful disease, "In
and by the Service" he was denied a pension as the Queens Regulations dictated
that a full 21 years had to be served. He received his full discharge on the 6th
Joseph set up home with Adelaide at No 6 Hobbs
Court, Portsea, Portsmouth. He had managed to find work at Portsmouth Gun
Wharf, now the site of The Spinnaker Tower, as a labourer. It was here that
their daughter, Martha Rosina Whatley was born in July 1863. They did not stay
long as 2 years later Joseph and Adelaide set up home in a workers cottage at
the Marchwood Gunpowder Magazines near Eling, Hampshire. It was here that their
son, William James Whatley, was born in November 1865. The Marchwood Magazines
were a series of 7 buildings containing 50,000 tons of gunpowder. It was the
most dangerous place in the United Kingdom that one could be. It was Joseph's
experience as a gunner in the Royal Marines that enabled him to obtain work
there as a Labourer. In late 1864 the site was inspected in response to a
request from the Aldermen of Southampton regarding the safety of the site. An
explosion at Marchwood would have destroyed Southampton on the opposite shore of
Southampton water. The Inspector was Colonel Gordon of the Royal Engineers. He
later went down in history as Gordon of Khartoum.
Just 2 years after their son was born, Joseph
succumbed on 15th May 1867, at the Marchwood Magazines, to the Phtisis he had
contracted in 1860. It was a very sad end for a very brave man who had fought
so hard for his country. But the story did not end. His widow Adelaide remarried
on 5th April 1869 at St John the Apostle, Marchwood to William Waller, a chair
maker from Shoreditch, London. He moved the family to Shoreditch where they had
three more children. Albert, John and Adelaide Jnr. Adelaide Snr also succumbed
to Phtisis on 1st November 1874 at the City of London Chest Hospital, Bethnal
Green. She may have caught this terrible disease from Joseph. William Waller in
response kept his 2 surviving children Albert and Adelaide Jnr but sent his 2
stepchildren Martha Rosina and William James Whatley to Bethnal Green Workhouse
were they both marked as "Destitute". Martha Rosina was 12 and William James
just 9 years old. Being orphaned at such a young age led to identity problems
for William James Whatley. He grew up thinking his name was William John Whatley
and he believed that his father was called John Whatley, a sailor. This was his
declaration in 1891 when he married as John Watley (no "h") to Mary Louisa Vyze
in Mynyddislwyn Parish Church in Risca, Monmouthshire. It was my researching the
family history of Adelaide Waller Jnr, who I knew when I was a child, as Great,
Great, Aunt Adelaide Smith who finally led me to the story of Joseph Whatley.
Adelaide Waller's husband Benjamin Frederick Smith was also known to me. His
first wife was also a surprise to me for she was Martha Rosina Whatley, Adelaide
Waller's half sister, who sadly died in 1904 .
It was terribly sad that William James Whatley
knew nothing of this story, he was just 2 years old when his father died in
Marchwood and therefore had no memories of him . Nor did his 3 daughters, Rose
Ellen, Ada and May Whatley. Nor did my father Melvyn Pearce, the son of May
Whatley. Hopefully I have put this right for future generations.
to Sergeant Joseph Whatley. Royal Marine Artillery.
Stephen Pearce, Great, Great, Grandson. July
DR ROBERT D HILL remembers
Special thanks to Dr Robert D Hill for getting in touch and sharing the
Extracts of Dr Hill's emails. Look forward to further contributions
I am responding to your general request for contributions to your website. My
parents owned the Coach House Cafe from 1950 to about 1972 and I could relate
much that went on in the village during that period.
My father was Commander Robert C.J.Hill R.N.V.R. and was for a number of years
up to his death the Commandant of the Warminster branch of the Red Cross where
the Memorial Hall in Warminster bears a wall tablet to his memory.
I am familiar with several of the people living in Heytesbury during that period
including Siegfried Sassoon, The Rev. Hedley Ballance (vicar of Heytesbury
church), and I have a mantle clock (purchased from Lord Heytesbury by my mother)
which is still going strong and has a place on my lounge mantlepiece. My family
was also friends of Eric Lord and his wife. Eric was headmaster of the Avenue
School in Warminster and who was educated at Manchester Grammar School like
myself. Eric Lord later went on to become the Head Inspector of Schools. I also
recall the actress Caroline Blakiston dining at my parents' cafe along with her
friends from the army camp at Knook. Her father was the fox hunt master of the
hounds based opposite the Saxon church in Tytherington.
The foregoing is just a small example of my memories of Heytesbury during the
years my parents were residents in the village. I shall be aged 83 next month
but still have a good memory. If there is anyway I can contribute usefully to
your website please let me know.
I'm afraid I left Heytesbury long
before the by-pass was built. I spent the years 1952-58 at Manchester University
where I graduated and then got my doctorate in chemistry & physics. In 1958 I
got married and so that was the end of my association with Heytesbury except for
those occasions when my family and I made visits to my parents there. There was
an occasion, after my widowed mother had left Heytesbury and moved to
Warminster, when I was Divisional Director of the Chemical Plant Division of
Sutcliffe and Speakman Ltd. When I visited Warminster to advise Mr.
Butcher (Builder in Warminster) on bacterial chemical and radioactive filtration
for his nuclear bunker that he had built in his garden
I will give your suggestion of writing
a piece for your village website some thought. There are many facets that I can
think of covering the people and events there.
The photographs I have of Heytesbury are mostly ones of the family rather than
of the village. However I do have a very good watercolor painting of Heytesbury
church done by Tom Baragwanath (an old resident of the village) who I believe
was related to the vicar, Hedley Ballance.
HEYTESBURY POST 1970
Further to my last email
and with reference to your kind offer to update me on some of the changes that
have occurred since leaving Heytesbury I should have mentioned that I have been
able to observe some of the changes that have been made by using the Google
Earth facility .
For example the small
shop opposite the Angel Inn that my parents used to run has been demolished and
the wall built up where it used to be.
The Coach House cafe
that was next door to the Angel Inn no longer exists and now seems to be part of
the Angel. The passage between the kitchen of the bungalow and the original old
coach house appears to have been built over and the wall between the Angel and
the bungalow demolished and the area now used as a car park for the Angel.
My parents' property had
an extensive garden part of which was used for an enclosure for hens, ducks,
guinea fowl and geese. One winter a spring appeared in the enclosure and a
fairly copious flow of water ensued for several years which the ducks used to
enjoy where a small pool had formed and one could see the water bubbling up from
My widowed mother sold
off this garden area of ground and a detached house (Brindle House accessed from
Mandles Lane) was built on it.
Thinking of photos of
Heytesbury I can remember one that I have somewhere that is the view of the
river Wylie looking upstream that shows the lovely garden with the wooden
pedestrian bridge over the river. The house used to belong to a retired
naval captain called Thring.
Another major change I
have observed was the demolishing of the garage & petrol station on the corner
of Mandles lane and East street that belonged to the garage owner who built the
house on the corner next to the Coach House.
Enough of the
reminiscing of an old man, Sincerely, Robert Hill
BERT SPAREY, HEYTESBURY'S LAST
June Green, nee Sparey -