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The Shepherd family of "Preston Downs" West Melton, Canterbury, N.Z.
arrived Canterbury, N.Z. in  October 1863 on the Lancashire Witch.

How do we know the Shepherd family arrived on the "Lancashire Witch" in 1863?
There is the diary written by Henry Shepherd and they attended the 50th year reunion. They are missing from the passenger list which is to be expected as they travelled out as first class passengers but their names should have been in the newspaper in the shipping column as arrivals. At least twelve passenger names are missing from the newspaper item announcing the arrival of the vessel.  I think that it was a late decision for the SHEPHERD'S to be on board the "Lancashire Witch".

The ship's passenger lists in the newspapers of the time were not at all accurate. Henry Thorne SHEPHERD was accompanied on board with two of his daughters, Mary Ann Shepherd (who married Jonathan HILL a Baptist Minister) and Jane SHEPHERD who we think went back to England and married but not her sweetheart who had jilted her when her father lost his money (he guaranteed his daughters husbands business or farms which went bankrupt so we have been told). But after the death of Caroline Sawle ( ms MARTIN from Stithians, Cornwall) in 1903 James Wright SAWLE married Jane Shepherd. One of his nieces Mary KEMP (mother Marjorie Dillon SAWLE and father Richard KEMP) married the only son who was also on board and his name same as his father Henry Thorne Shepherd junior. There is a photo wrongly states that the girls are his sisters??

 Interestingly in 2011 there is a new sub=division in West Melton, Canterbury which is named Preston Downs as it was the farm area that Henry Thorne Shepherd named when he bought it in 1863. Henry Shepherd's estate in Devonshire, England was named Preston so that was the name he gave to his farm in West Melton which has now been developed.

What is wrong with the caption of the Shepherd family photo?
The photo which presumably shows two sisters of Henry Thorne SHEPHERD - it leaves me with no answers, as it seems that he did not have two sisters.  One of  the women would be his daughter, Jane SHEPHERD who shows up on the 50th reunion as Mrs. J W SAWLE.  Henry was definitely was on board the “Lancashire Witch” with his adult children - two daughters and only son. 

Shepherd family descendant report prepared by Janet Drinnan, ChCh, January 2012 pdf 181k

The father:

Henry Thorne Shepherd was the last child born to James Shepherd and Joan/Jane Thorne as she died at his birth. There were other siblings, born before him. James married on 3rd February 1800 and he did marry a second and third time and had two more sons. 
Ann born December 1800 (died as an infant)
Sarah born 1802
Charles born 1803
James born 1804
Henry Thorne Shepherd born in March 1806 in Stolford, Stogursey, Somerset.

Henry Thorne SHEPHERD and Elizabeth ALLEN were married May 1835 in Stogursey, Somerset, UK. They had twin daughters Elizabeth and Sarah in 1836, Mary Ann in 1837 Jane in 1839 and Henry Thorne Shepherd in 1840. They are all living in Perry Farm, Quantoxhead, Somerset in 1841 census with his adopted mother Sarah THORNE who was a widow – she would have still owned the Farm.  The farm runs down to the sea - right on the beach. In 1851 all the children were at private schools – Henry Thorne Junior in a Taunton School and the girls were all being privately tutored and boarded in Bristol, Somerset. By 1861 census, Elizabeth had died March quarter of 1861 in Somerset, UK. And by 1863 the farm was foreclosed. I have found that Jane went back to Somerset in the early 1880s – after the death of her father in 1874.  Henry Thorne Shepherd is buried in the Courtenay Cemetery near Kirwee. His will was proved in February 1875 and the executers were H.T. Shepherd and ‘my friend, Lewis Coutts, farmer’. The goods, chattels, credits and effects did not exceed the sum of £336. It was left to my now living with me viz. Henry Thorne Shepherd, Mary Ann Shepherd and Jane Shepherd (will made in 1870).

The twins married in UK. Elizabeth Shepherd born 1836 married John Stoate DATE – they emigrated to Illinois USA about the time when John’s milling business failed and took the SHEPHERD "Perry Farm" with it. The other twin Sarah married George Thorne BURNETT and had a large family – they emigrated after 1881 census to Canada. His wife Elizabeth ALLEN was born in Preston Farm in Stogumber, Somerset. Henry Thorne SHEPHERD was aboard the "Lancashire Witch" with his remaining children Mary Ann, Jane, and Henry Thorne Junior. It seems that Henry guaranteed a failing Milling business for his son-in-law John Stoate DATE who had married his eldest twin daughter Elizabeth. As a result he lost “Perry Farm” which had belonged to his adopted father Henry THORNE and his wife Sarah Shepherd in June 1863. The engagement of Mary Ann, and Jane were broken off as a result of the Bankruptcy and the next thing (at the last moment) the two girls Mary Ann 25, and Jane 24, plus their young brother Henry Thorne 23, and father Henry Thorne Shepherd had purchased passages on the “Lancashire Witch” to New Zealand for a fresh start.

The children:

Mary Ann Shepherd had married a Baptist Minister Jonathan HILL of Oxford, North Canterbury, N.Z. 

Henry Thorne Shepherd, Jr. m. Mary Dillon KEMP in 1878. Her mother was Marjorie Dillon SAWLE, sister to James Wright Sawle. [Marjorie Dillon SAWLE b. 15 March 1829, Gerrans, Cornwall, ENG, d. 5 Dec 1917, Hamilton, NZ.]
Henry and Mary had two daughters.
i. Florence Allen Shepherd b. in 1879  in NZ, m. William Reynolds HAYNE in 1915. He was the s/o James R. and E. Miriam Haynes. He died in Timaru in 1943. We know that a daughter of theirs Ngaturi Hayne (married name McLaghlan) had the Diary written on board the "Lancashire Witch". Another daughter. Shirley Allen Hayne married Bonsall Oates BUDD.
ii. Olive Maude Shepherd

Jane Shepherd married Ambrose DALLYN in Somerset in 1884. He is not the man she was engaged to when her father lost his estate and the engagement was ended. Ambrose had married in 1837 Mary Greenslade in Somerset – cannot find them (as yet) in the 1841 census in UK, but there was a child Elizabeth Greenslade Dallyn born 1842 and died in 1843. In the 1851 census there is an Elizabeth daughter aged 7 years - Mary was 6 years older than Ambrose, so there would have been no more children. Have just found that the 2nd Elizabeth Greenslade Dallyn died a few weeks after the 1851 census. Aged 7 years – how sad. Mary Dallyn died in June quarter of 1878 in Williton, Somerset. Ambrose had a niece Ellen Christiana Thorne. Eliza Dallyn (sister to Ambrose) married a Henry THORNE – Ellen Christiana Thorne was their daughter – so a niece to Ambrose. There being a family relationship with the Thorne's somehow Jane knew of Ambrose. Ellen was living with him as his housekeeper ( she was a school teacher earlier) in the 1881 census. She died in March 1884, aged 37 years old. Along came Jane Shepherd from NZ and married him in 1884.

Here is a copy of Ambrose DALLYN's will when he died in 1889- he would not have had any children to leave his estate to, and she had been his wife for six years. Probate:
4 February 1889 in Taunton, Somerset. Administration of the Personal Estate of Ambrose DALLYN late of “The Lodge” within the Parish of Old Cleeve in the County of Somerset, England Yeoman who died 29 December 1889 at ‘The Lodge” farm was granted in Taunton, to Jane Dallyn of Lodge widow the relict – total sum of £2,256.5s 6d.

Jane appears in the 1891 census at “The Lodge” with a servant/farm labourer – living on her own means. That was quite a tidy sum in those days. Mrs J. Dallyn travelled back to New Zealand as a first saloon passenger on the R.M.S. Rimutaka which left Plymouth Nov. 1893. In 1903 Caroline SAWLE died. James Sawle and Jane married in the home of Mary Ann and Jonathan Hill.  She was 66 years old. One of the witnesses for the the wedding was a Jane Shepherd BUNN from View Hills, Oxford Canterbury, she was a niece. In 1904 Jane Shepherd Hill had m. Howard Bunn. In 1905/06 James and Jane Dallyn SAWLE were on the NZ Electoral Roll living with a Mr. Parkins, Lombard St., Palmerston North (a farmer). They were married by Jane’s brother-in-law Jonathan HILL (husband to Mary Ann) in Oxford 27 January 1905. Later they shifted to Christchurch – 1911 38 Thorton St. and 1914 33 Forfar St. St., Albans where they both passed away. Incidentally, James Wright Sawle is buried in Bromley old Cemetery in an unmarked grave and in another row very close is Jane Sawle with an elaborate tombstone.  

Sawle, James Wright
DoD: Friday, 1 October 1920
Cemetery: Bromley
Block number: 32 Plot number: 28
Age: 85 years
Address: 33 Forfar St, ChCh
Occupation: Retired Farmer
Place of birth: England
Years in New Zealand: 50
Sawle, Jane Dallyn
DoD: Sunday, 6 May 1923
Cemetery: Bromley
Block number: 32 Plot number: 70
Age: 83 years
Address: 33 Forfar St, ChCh
Occupation: Widow
Place of birth: England
Years in New Zealand: 60

Hawera & Normanby Star 13 October 1920, Page 4
Mr James Wright Sawle, who died on October 1, was one of the pioneers of South Australia (says the Christchurch Press). Born in Cornwall in 1835, he was five years of age when his father, who was a Congregational minister, sailed with his family in one of the first four ships that arrived at Port Adelaide. Settling at Augusta, he founded and ministered to the first Congregational church, and also engaged in farming pursuits. The first, shipment of grain from South Australia to England included wheat from his farm. On the death of his father, as a result of an accident, young James, at the age of eighteen was called to carry the cares and responsibilities of the family, and very largely of the church also. In 1870 he brought his family to New Zealand, and settled in the Ashburton. district. There he very speedily established himself as a capable farmer. He also took an active interest in all social, political and religious matters. Preaching nearly every Sunday, he often rode forty miles to fulfill engagements. He was very early a strong advocate for women's franchise and of no-license. On one occasion he headed the poll for the Ashburton Licensing Committee, and although the only no-license supporter to be returned, he became chairman. He contested a seat in the House of Representatives, but was unsuccessful. Always taking, a great interest in education, he was a member of the North Canterbury Board from 1890 to 1896. He then removed to Taranaki, where he busied himself in, advancing the progress, of that district. Fourteen years ago he returned to the South Island and had since lived a retired life at St. Albans.

Well, there is probably more to this story, but thought you may be interested with the result of my research so far!!
Janet Drinnan, ChCh, January 2012


In August 1892 H.T. Shepherd and J.W. Sawle were provisional directors for the newly formed Hinds saleyards committee for the purpose of erecting saleyards near the township of Hinds. There were no public saleyards between Tinwald and Rangitata. James Wright Sawle married Jane Shepherd in 1905.

Ashburton Guardian, 12 March 1895, Page 3
Henry Thorne Shepherd, of Ealing, farmer, bankruptcy

Ashburton Guardian, 18 March 1915, Page 8 Death in a Church.
March 18. A shockingly sudden death occurred at Rangiora last night in the Baptist Church. A business meeting of the congregation was about to take place, Mr Jonathan Hill, the church secretary, entered and took his seat. The Rev. E. T. Jones, pastor, inquired after his health and Mr Hill replied that he was feeling very well, but almost immediately collapsed and expired, heart failure being the supposed cause. Dr. Will was hastily summoned, but could do nothing, and the body was removed to deceased's residence in Durham Street.

Taranaki Herald, 4 June 1878, Page 2
The Rev. Jonathan Hill, the Baptist Minister, who comes to make a permanent stay in New Plymouth, arrived by the steamer on Sunday last. Mr. Hill comes from Oxford, in Canterbury, and previous to his leaving there the congregation expressed in a very tangible manner their esteem and appreciation of him. He left there with the kindest wishes and most earnest prayers of the congregation for his success in his new sphere of labour. Mr. Hill also received an invitation from the Baptist Association to become its Evangelist. The little chapel in Gill-street, which for the last ten years has remained without a pastor, will now be opened for public worship, and on Sunday next the Rev. Mr. Hill will preach at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  

Browse - Canterbury - 1863


Ashburton Guardian, 26 September 1913, Page 4
Mr H. Holland, Mayor of Christchurch, who as a small boy arrived in New Zealand: by the ship "Lancashire Witch", in October, 1863, is, with Mr G. W. Leadley, of Ashburton, convening a jubilee gathering of surviving shipmates, to be held on October 13. Mr. Holland mentioned to a "Press" representative yesterday, that there were a fair number of survivors in Ashburton and Timaru, but not so many in Christchurch, and it was probable that Ashburton would be found to be the most suitable place for holding the gathering. Of the voyage itself, Mr Holland said he was too young at the time to remember much. The ship was a sailing vessel, and had over 500 souls on board, emigrants coming out to try their fortunes in the new land. The ship put in at Timaru, where a number of the passengers landed. He remembered vividly the sighting of land and the excitement it caused onboard.

Ashburton Guardian, 13 October 1913, Page 2
A jubilee reunion of those who arrived in Lyttelton by the ship Lancashire Witch in 1863 will be held in Christchurch on Friday next. The arrangements are in the hands of Messrs H. Holland (Christchurch) and George W. Leadley (Ashburton), and those interested are invited to, communicate with either of these gentlemen. Already it has been ascertained that about 50 of the Lancashire's Witch's passengers are alive, and most of them will be present at Friday's celebration.

Christchurch Press Saturday 18 October,1913
Passengers by Lancashire Witch after Fifty Years.

At Freeman’s Cafe yesterday afternoon there was a reunion of passengers who came to the Dominion in the ship Lancashire Witch which arrived at Lyttelton fifty years ago, on October 13th,1863.  There was a gratifyingly large number mustered, over which Mr. Henry Holland (Mayor of Christchurch) presided. It was on the initiative of Mr. Holland that the gathering was held. Those present who were passengers on the "Lancashire Witch" were:

Mr Henry Holland (Mayor of Christchurch)
Mr Charles Yates (Chch)
Mr R. Munro (Chch)
Mrs William Elliott (Bennetts Junction)
Mrs N. Barton (formerly Miss Louisa Breesall)
Mrs C. Jones (Sydenham)
Mrs J F Fleming (Chch)
Mr J. Sinclair (Chch)
Mr  G .W. Leadley (Ashburton)
Mrs Giles (nee Mary Ann Cass)
Mrs Fitzpatrick (nee Mary Jane Leadley)
Walter Prestidge, Jesse Prestidge
Mrs Price
A.C. Price
Edward Bennett

H. Mehrtens
J .H. Helliwell
Gilbert Dixon
Thomas Arthur Dixon
Francis Cass
J .W Bowman
Adam Menzies
Mr F. Doell (Linwood)
Mr Richard Berry Wells (Timaru)
Mr M. Winter (Bennetts Junction)
Mrs J .W. Sawle (nee Miss Jane Shepherd)
Mrs G R Rankin (nee Miss Mary Draffin) (Spreydon)
Mrs C Hadfield (Chch)
Mr G.W. Holland

In addition Mrs. James Walter Smart (nee Elizabeth Ann Munton) and her sister Mrs Robert Kingsbury (nee Eliza Munton) travelled by train from Ashburton and Cust respectively to attend this reunion and may have been later arrivals at the reunion. The party sat down to afternoon tea and the opportunity was taken advantage of for an interchange of reminiscences. The Mayor, after the toast of "The King" had been honoured, read apologies from several passengers who found it impossible to be present. The apologies were from:
Mr G .W. Allen (12 Dublin St., Christchurch)
Mr J. Robbie (Palmerston North)
Mr Thomas Prestidge (Addington)
Mrs and Miss Menzies (Opawa)
Mr J. Martin
Mr Robert N. Adair (Bryndwwyr) and others.

Mr Holland said that as one of the younger generation of those who landed by the Lancashire Witch, it gave him great pleasure to see so large a gathering of those who had landed in Christchurch under circumstances somewhat different from those now existing.   He had been informed that the site on which the building stood in which they were assembled was bought originally at 38 pounds per foot, and that recently 500 pounds per foot had been refused for it. He referred to the few incidents of the voyage of the "Witch" that he could recall. Mr. George Holland said that he had been looking forward with keen pleasure to the day’s function .He could remember coming from Lyttelton to the ferry in a little steamer.  At the time when the "Witch" arrived he did not think that there was then a room large enough in Christchurch to hold them; and if there had been, the streets would have been left very bare. He thought that without egotism he could claim that the passengers of the "Witch" had left their mark on the history of the Dominion. They had supplied a Mayor for Christchurch and one of the passengers, the late Mr. P. Duncan, had founded an agricultural implements works that would do credit to a bigger country.  He hoped that all present were happy and prosperous, and thought that a fitting manner in which to commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of the "Witch" was by extending a helping hand to those who had not been so fortunate or by assisting those who had suffered by the recent colliery catastrophe in Wales.

Mr. G.W. Leadley, in proposing the health of "Surviving Shipmates" said that they were only a remnant seeing that the "Witch" brought 430 souls to the Dominion. The passengers by the "Witch" could claim that they had not lived and laboured in vain, but had assisted in taming the wilderness and made it bloom like the rose. He saw present Mr. Prestidge, whose father Jacob Prestidge was noteworthy for having brought the largest family to the Dominion in the "Witch". The toast was heartily honoured and several of those present spoke to it. Mr. G. Holland proposed the toast of "Departed Shipmates" which was fittingly honoured. Before the gathering broke up the party was photographed.

(Christchurch NZ "Press" Saturday 18 October 1913 Reunion held at Freemans Cafe held on Friday, 17th October 1913, with additions of two persons known to have attended but not reported as such). 

Isn't it wonderful how we piece our family history together.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project