Edith Mary Beaufort came lately to the Order of the Golden Dawn, being initiated at its Isis-Urania temple in London on 20 March 1897. She chose the Latin motto ‘Caritas’. She does seem to have begun the work of studying occult texts that was required if you wanted to get as far in the GD as doing practical magic. But then - according to the GD administrative records - she decided that couldn’t afford to continue to pay her subscription. I used to think that this was a very strange reason for the wife of a barrister to give, for dropping out of the Order; but now, knowing a bit more about her and her husband, I think I can see why that happened.
UPDATE JULY 2021
It’s really rare for me to be contacted about artefacts connected to GD members, but this month, Plaza Jewellery got in touch. They had bought a mourning brooch with Edith Beaufort’s name on it and, looking online for more about her, had come across my GD web pages. The brooch was inscribed as given to Edith by a J S Cann Lippincott and Plaza Jewellery asked me: did I know who this person was? I did, but I didn’t know about the close relationship that the brooch implied, between Edith and her husband’s aunt: thanks are due to Plaza Jewellery for bringing it to light.
At least in June 2021, while it was still unsold, you could see the brooch at Plaza Jewellery’s website: www.plazajewellery.com: an elegant piece of work in agate, gold and enamel.
End of update details
Edith Mary Griffith was born in 1856, the eldest daughter of Rev Charles Higman Griffith and his wife Hannah, née Mockridge.
Griffith is the English spelling of a Welsh surname. Griffith (as opposed to GriffithS) is not a common surname but despite this I haven’t been able to find out where in Wales the family originated. However, Edith’s parents named her younger brother Llewellyn, so I assume that Charles Griffith thought he was Welsh and was proud of his ancestry. He might even have had reason to think he was descended from the Welsh prince Llywellyn ap Gruffydd who fought Edward I. He had been born in Bruce Castle, Tottenham, himself - it was then a pleasant suburb to the north of the City of London. His father, John William Griffith, had been born in the City; he worked as an architect and surveyor. Charles’ mother, Philadelphia, also had Celtic ancestors - she had been born in Cornwall.
Charles was born in 1829, the youngest of John William and Philadelphia’s children. As Charterhouse School was still at its original address, in Charterhouse Square next to Smithfield (it has since moved out of London), Charles was able to attend it as a day boy, from 1839 to 1847. For a couple of years after he left the school he used the education he got there working as a tutor in Classics. I cannot find any evidence that he went to university, but he must have studied theology somewhere because in 1853 he was ordained as Church of England priest. On the strength of having been offered a job as curate of St George’s church in Wrotham, Kent, he married Hannah Mockridge, the daughter of a Somerset farmer, in 1853. Charles and Hannah lived in Wrotham for five years - their elder son William, and Edith, were born there - before a great stroke of luck befell them, probably through a recommendation made by the bishop of Winchester, who had presided over Charles’ ordination: Charles was offered the job of curate of All Saints, Stratfield Turgis, Hampshire, by its patron, Arthur Richard Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington, with the possibility of his taking over as Rector, if he satisfied the Duke’s requirements.
The village of Stratfield Turgis still is owned by the Wellesley family and forms part of their estate; though the village of Stratfield Saye is nearer the house. The Griffiths moved into the Rectory in 1858. On the day of the 1861 census Charles and Hannah were there with William, and two daughters who had been born since their arrival in the village - Gertrude and Catherine - and a nine-year-old visitor from New Zealand. Charles’ yearly salary was around £300 at this time, enough for him to afford a cook and a nursemaid. Edith wasn’t with her parents on that day; she had gone on a visit to her grandmother, Martha Mockridge, who lived with her two unmarried daughters at Stapleford near Taunton. The following year, any uncertainty that Charles Griffith might have felt about the future was removed when the Duke confirmed him as the Rector of Stratfield Turgis. One more child was born to Charles and Hannah Griffith - the boy Llewellyn that I’ve mentioned above.
The job of rector of vicar of a parish was one you would hold for life unless circumstances intervened - promotion, for example. So Edith and her siblings grew up in Stratfield Turgis, with very little change to be seen in the household on the census of 1871. Much more change was noticeable on census day in 1881: Charles and Hannah’s two sons were not at home on that day (in fact, I can’t find Llewellyn Griffith anywhere after 1871); Catherine, too, was away visiting, but Edith and Gertrude were at home. As well as the family, there were four boys living in the household, all teenagers, pupils of Charles. Charles’ income as rector was dependent on the profits of agriculture; and these were being squeezed by the 1880s.
1881 was the last census day Edith Griffith spent in Stratfield Turgis with her parents. Early in 1883 she married a barrister, Leicester Paul Beaufort. I have no idea how she met him.
Leicester Beaufort’s ancestors on his father’s side had come to England at the beginning of the 18th century, as Huguenot refugees fleeing France. The original immigrant, Daniel Cornelis de Beaufort, had joined the Church of England and held several important posts in the Church of Ireland; but the best-known of Leicester’s Beaufort ancestors is his great-grandfather Rear-Admiral Francis Beaufort, naval surveyor and inventor of the ‘Beaufort Scale’ of wind-speeds. Leicester Beaufort’s father was Francis’ younger son, Rev Daniel Augustus Beaufort.
Looking at Leicester Beaufort’s family for clues about his own life, I found more that was similar in his mother’s family, the Davises (no relations of mine as far as I know, though they are - like me - from Bristol). Leicester’s mother was Emily Nowell (some sources give Newel) Davis, whose grandfather and father had both had distinguished and lucrative careers in the service of the East India Company. Her grandfather, Samuel Davis, ended a long working life in India as the Company’s Accountant General in Calcutta before returning to England and joining its board of directors. Her father, Sir John Francis Davis, worked in the Company’s offices in Canton, went on Lord Amherst’s diplomatic mission to the Emperor of China in 1816, and ended his working life as the second Governor of Hong Kong. He was created a baronet in 1845. He returned to England in 1848 and retired to his father’s estate at Henbury on the outskirts of Bristol. He lived there, at Hollywood Towers; married a woman half his age after Emily’s mother’s death in 1866 and produced a second family; and died there in 1890 at the remarkable age (for the 19th century) of 95.
Daniel Augustus Beaufort married Emily Davis in 1851. They had two children: another Francis Beaufort, and Leicester Paul who was born in 1853. From 1850-72 Rev Daniel was rector of Warburton in Cheshire; he then retired from the church and went to live at Lee, Lewisham. Francis Beaufort joined the Royal Artillery and was sent to India. Leicester Beaufort went to Westminster School and then to Queen’s College Oxford. He graduated in 1875 before becoming a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1879. When he married Edith Griffith he was working as a barrister in courts in the north of England, though he and Edith are more likely to have settled down into married life living near London, where the senior courts and all the barristers’ offices were.
Time is not kind to those who are not the Great and Good. After they have died, sooner or later, their stories are lost and their possessions are thrown away. So we’ll never know, now, how well (or ill!) Edith got on with her parents-in-law, Emily and Daniel Beaufort. However, the mourning brooch sold to Plaza Jewellery in 2021, with a lock of grey hair secured within it, shows that Emily Beaufort’s sister Julia knew that Edith would appreciate a momento of her, after her death.
Julia Sulivan Davis was Emily Beaufort’s younger sister. She was born in Macau in 1825. After John Francis Davis’s retirement in 1848, the family lived at Hollywood Tower (or Towers), in Henbury just outside Bristol. In 1854, Julia married one of their landed-gentry neighbours, Robert Cann Lippincott of Over Court, Almondsbury. Robert was a widower with a family, so Julia had several step-children. However, she never had any children of her own; so perhaps Edith – born two years after Julia’s marriage – became the daughter she had never had. There’s no clue in the brooch as to whose hair is tied in it; but I suggest it was Julia’s own, and that Julia intended the brooch to be amongst her bequests to Edith – an item that could easily be sent long-distance by post if necessary. And it was necessary: Julia Cann Lippincott died in 1911 and Edith was living a very long distance away at that time, Julia may not have seen her for many years.
Returning to the 1880s, as the wife of a professional man, Emily had a household to manage; and she soon had two daughters - Marion Cicely, born 1884; and Ursula Ernestine born 1885. At some stage Leicester Beaufort was elected to the London School Board (I haven’t been able to find exactly when) and their lives were going on in a very ordinary and predictable way when Leicester Beaufort was offered, and accepted, a job that - in due course - sent him and his family to the other end of the world. Of course, Australia and New Zealand are at the other end of the world from England. But I think it’s a lot further, psychologically speaking, to Borneo.
I hope I’ve shown above that Leicester Beaufort’s family had a track record of working for companies that traded through, and then governed, parts of the world that were not part of the British Empire - at least, not yet. Usually these parts of the world got absorbed into the Empire once the private companies had done all the hard work of getting their foot in the door. In the 1880s it was no longer an option for Leicester Beaufort to take a job with the East India Company; but there were other, similar, companies - including the British North Borneo Company, which had been (to quote a contemporary Cyclopedia) “taken under the protection of the British crown” on 12 May 1888.
The British North Borneo Company had been founded in England in 1881 by two of the Dent brothers (of Dent and Co based in Hong Kong and Shanghai). They had got a royal charter issued allowing the Company to administer North Borneo on behalf of the British government. The Company’s purpose was to exploit on behalf of its shareholders the northern tip of the larger island of Borneo (now known as Sabah, a province of Malaysia). The Dents had, perhaps, been inspired by the exploits of James Brooke, who in 1841 had been given the province of Sarawak by the Sultan of Brunei, to rule over it as its first (of three) white rajah. In 1882 the Company began the long project of turning northern Borneo into a plantation-based economy administered on typical British lines through a series of districts ruled by British employees of the Company, with cooperation from local tribal leaders where they could get it and with the help of immigrants, in north Borneo’s case from India and China. All this was to be paid for by the profits of the plantations that would be established; and by taxes on the local population.
The Beauforts’ long haul to North Borneo began in 1889, when Leicester Beaufort was appointed legal advisor to Charles Vandeleur Creagh, whom the directors of the Company had appointed governor of the territories it had taken. His job was to set up system which would apply the law (English law, of course), and to be the Company’s senior legal official. He would also be required to stand in as acting governor for Vandeleur Creagh when necessary - which might have been as soon as the Beauforts arrived because some of my sources say that Vandeleur Creagh was on leave in 1889, back in Europe.
Some wives, when told that their husband was considering taking a job in a country they probably hadn’t even heard of, might have opted to stay in England and let their husband take the risks alone, but Edith not only went with her husband herself, she took her two daughters as well. Wasn’t she brave? A woman who had grown up in a village in rural southern England and who probably knew very little even about her own country. Weren’t they all brave, the imperial wives who took the option to step into the unknown.
I presume that the Beauforts stopped off at Kuching, on their journey, to make the acquaintance of the 2nd white rajah, James Brooke’s nephew Charles Johnson Brooke. Although the rudiments of colonial administration were quickly being laid out in north Borneo, and the first British administrators were in post, it’s still likely that Charles Brooke’s wife Margaret will still have been Edith’s nearest European woman neighbour during her years in North Borneo - and Kuching was hundreds of miles away by boat (travel overland all but impossible), far beyond Edith being able to call for help when in need.
When the Beauforts finally arrived in north Borneo they will have set up home in Pulau Gaya where the Company was based. I haven’t been able to find out much about what life in this Company town was like, but the number of Europeans living there would have been very small.
I imagine facilities were pretty basic, so that when Edith discovered she was pregnant again she must have felt as much anxiety as delight; but she survived giving birth to a third daughter, Monica, in 1893 and and the baby, too, lived through her infancy there (Ranee Margaret of Sarawak had lost her three eldest children to an epidemic in 1873).
Sabah is known for its biodiversity but I doubt if Edith would have had many opportunities to set out in search of it, even if she had wanted to. Her husband may have glimpsed some of it, in their early years there, while out shooting it. However, the impositions of the British North Borneo Company on the native population, and the seizure of their lands, caused an insurrection to begin in 1894 that lasted, on and off, until 1900, threatening the Beauforts’ safety and curtailing what little chance they had to travel around. A year into the uprising, Vandeleur Creagh resigned the job of governor. Instead of sending out a new man, perhaps someone with some military experience and who might arrive with a wife family to give Edith a woman friend to talk to, the Company opted to accept the suggestion of its managing director, William Cowie, to appoint Leicester to be the new governor. No doubt Edith was pleased with the Company’s high opinion of her husband’s abilities; but she must, surely, have wondered whether he could cope with all the extra demands which would be made of him. And, possibly, thought it unreasonable that he should be asked to take on so much more responsibility in a time of crisis.
Several of the books I referred to for this section of Edith’s life say that Leicester Beaufort’s promotion to the top job was a mistake; that he lacked administrative experience, and (unlike the Brookes) had no flair for it, and had thus reached the level of his incompetence. And of course, he had restless natives on his hands: as the Company’s governor he was also its commander-in-chief, but one with no military experience at all, very few weapons, and probably no fighting men other than the Sikhs who had been brought in to run the Company’s police force. It would have taken a man of greater abilities than Leicester Beaufort to make a success of such a situation. The insurrection wouldn’t go away and - probably in 1896 though I can’t find out the exact date - the Beauforts decided that it was just too dangerous for them all to live in north Borneo. Edith and the children went home - just in time, it would seem, because in 1897 the rebels destroyed the Pulau Gaya township; so thoroughly that it was never resettled. Leicester Beaufort survived the sacking of Pulau Gaya and his most positive contribution to the future of north Borneo was to be in charge of the founding and building of a new Company headquarters at the town now named Beaufort after him.
I can’t imagine that Edith had many regrets about leaving north Borneo although to be separated from her husband when he was in some danger must have been a terrible worry; and - I would suppose - she had no idea how long they were going to have to live apart. She arrived back in England at a difficult time in her family. She had already missed her sister Gertrude’s wedding in 1893. Her father died in April 1896 - Edith probably got home too late to see him before it happened - and her mother had to move out of the Rectory where Edith had grown up, to make way for the new parish incumbent. And then her father-in-law, Daniel Augustus Beaufort, died in 1898.
By 1898, Edith had moved into a house in Chiswick. I think Marion and Ursula were sent to school for the first time at this point, probably to Sadre School, Gunnersbury Lodge Brentford, a boarding school run by Jane and Elizabeth Spark; Monica was a pupil there on the day of the 1911 census. And it was while she was living in Chiswick that Edith is most likely to have met people who were members of the Order of the Golden Dawn; there were at least 10 GD members living in the district in the late 1890s.
Perhaps, when Edith was about to leave north Borneo, she and her husband had discussed the possibility of her returning when it was safer. In the event, neither Edith nor her daughters ever returned there. Leicester Beaufort carried on as governor of North Borneo until 1900 but then he was replaced; by the day of the 1901 census he was back in England and the family were staying (perhaps for the Easter holidays) in a house in Stratfield Turgis, a few doors away from Edith’s mother, who was still living in the village with Edith’s unmarried sister Catherine. But for a while Leicester Beaufort didn’t have a job; his salary as Governor had been good, but while he looked for employment they will have had to be careful with their money. Hence Edith pleading ‘poverty’ to the Golden Dawn, and dropping out.
Leicester Beaufort may have had a very difficult last few years in north Borneo, but his work in what he knew - the law - had been good and had attracted notice. In 1901, he was offered a very similar kind of appointment by another of these empire-administering private companies, the best-known of them all at that time: Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (BSAC).
The BSAC had been issued with a royal charter in 1889 which authorised it to act like an extended arm of the British government over whatever lands the Company could lay hold of in southern Africa. In January 1900 the British government issued a constitution for the territory that became known as Rhodesia after Rhodes’ death (in 1902) and is now the separate states of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The newly-authorised territory needed English law and English lawyers to administer it, and that was where Leicester Beaufort came in: he was appointed the first judge of the territory of North-Eastern Rhodesia, to be based at the town then called Fort Jameson (now known as Chipata in the independent Zambia) with five British magistrates and 31 native commissioners working for him.
Edith will have known - or thought she knew - a great deal more about southern Africa than she did about Borneo. And at least the climate was rather less sapping and English civilization - in the shape of Cape Town and Durban - was not quite so long a journey from where she was going to live in Africa as they had been on Borneo. However, when I was following the BSAC through the Times between 1900 and 1912, I couldn’t help noticing how isolated Edith still was at Fort Jameson: there was no railway link until 1910 and then it went to the Congo not to South Africa and was about exports not passengers; in 1903 letters to and from England took six weeks via Cape Town and Salisbury (now Harare); in 1912 there were still only 1497 Europeans living in all of North-East Rhodesia; and there was a high level of violence, particularly by employees of BSAC against natives objecting to being ousted from their tribal lands (though of course the Times didn’t put it like that) and refusing to pay the BSAC’s hut tax - with the inevitable resulting fear amongst white residents of native reprisals, which Edith would have known all too well.
Although Leicester Beaufort was the most senior legal official in Rhodesia there were three officials who out-ranked him already in place (though none of them were lawyers) when the Beauforts arrived there late in 1901: W H Milton, the top man, the Senior Administrator for all Rhodesia; Robert Codrington, a personal protégé of Cecil Rhodes, who although only in his early 30s was already Adminstrator of North-Eastern Rhodesia; and Codrington’s equivalent for North-Western Rhodesia. Milton and Codrington were based in Fort Jameson, where Leicester Beaufort’s offices and high court would be; the Administrator of North-Western Rhodesia was based in Livingstone.
Leicester Beaufort might be out-ranked by three old BSAC hands, but at least during 1904, Edith was the senior European woman in Fort Jameson. I’m very grateful to the compilers of the Purchase family history for publishing my only glimpse of Edith doing her duty as an imperial wife: in February 1904, she held the first ever formal dance to take place in Fort Jameson. It was a very sophisticated affair - so much so as to cause consternation as well as excitement amongst the invited guests as they searched or sent for such rarely-used items as evening shoes and long gloves. Despite the lack of resources at her command, Edith did the job properly: there was dancing, there was music, and a separate room for those who despised both of those and only wanted to play cards; there was a big supper at 11; and the guests finally began to go home at 3am.
1904 was a year of highs ending on a terrible low for Edith. It began with the social triumph of organising a dance in such difficult circumstances - the unprecedented event was reported in detail in at least one south African newspaper. In the summer Marion, her eldest daughter, married James Charles Spillane, a surgeon; though she married him in Lewisham and Edith may not have been able to be there. But at the end of the year Edith’s second daughter, Ursula, got dysentery - that well-known killer of residents in the tropics - and died, at Fort Jameson, of its complications. Ursula was 19, and was about to embark on a survey of the flora of Rhodesia on behalf of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, picking up where Robert Codrington had left off a couple of years earlier - he had attached an initial list of local plants to his BSAC accounts for the year to March 1901. In the Kew archive there is a sad little letter from Leicester Beaufort explaining why his daughter would not, after all, be collecting plants for Kew.
The grief that Ursula’s death caused both her parents may not have been even slightly lifted until Marion and James Spillane came to visit them at Fort Jameson in 1906. Edith was able to be there when what turned out to be her only grandchild was born - Mona Beaufort Spillane. I haven’t been able to find out very much about James Spillane, except that he specialised in tropical medicine. He may have worked in Natal - that was where he died, in 1938. If this is correct, he and Marion had the same difficult decisions to make about where to live, and what to do about the children, as Edith and Leicester Beaufort had done in north Borneo: on the day of the 1911 census, Marion and Mona were staying, or perhaps living more permanently, with Marion’s grandmother (Edith’s mother-in-law) Emily Beaufort, still alive at the age of 87 and living on Lewisham Hill. James Spillane was not in England or Wales on that day, presumably
It was expected by BSAC’s hierarchy that employees would cover for colleagues who were on leave or ill and Leicester Beaufort did act as a temporary Administrator several times, the longest-lasting occasion following the unexpected death of Robert Codrington in December 1908. However, these periods did not expose Beaufort’s inadequacies and experience to the same extent as his time as Governor of North Borneo, as there were plenty of good and experienced administrators on the spot to help and advise him. The autumn of 1910 brought Queen Victoria’s military son, the Duke of Connaught, and his wife to Rhodesia on an official visit, part of a larger tour of southern Africa. I couldn’t discover from the coverage of the tour in the Times whether the royal couple actually made it to Fort Jameson - possibly not, as travel to it was still so slow, it took two weeks (for example) to get from Fort Jameson to Livingstone. However, they did go to Bulawayo and Barotseland, and Edith and Leicester Beaufort may have been allowed to to travel to one of those places to meet them. In 1911, a big reorganisation of the way Rhodesia was governed included the establishment of its first High Court: Leicester Beaufort became its first High Court Judge. It was his last promotion: he retired in 1918 and was knighted in the 1919 New Year’s Honours list, so that Edith became entitled to call herself ‘Lady Beaufort’ (these things made a big difference to your social life still, in 1919).
1918 was not a good year in which to think of coming back to England, even after many years in the colonies in which you had pinned all your hopes on doing just that. It’s possible, though, that Edith and Leicester Beaufort didn’t consider returning all that seriously. Edith’s mother had died in 1905, Leicester’s mother in 1916; as I’ve said, I think their son-in-law may have been working in South Africa; so they did not have much to return to Britain for. I imagine, too, that Leicester’s pension from the BSAC would go a great deal further if he stayed in the area it governed. The Beauforts retired to Wynberg, a pleasant suburb of Cape Town, moving into a house called Sandown, in Broad Road. No doubt the fact that the Royal Cape Golf Club was in Wynberg influenced their decision: Leicester Beaufort was a keen golfer. They had not been there very long, however, when the great flu epidemic engulfed South Africa.
Spanish flu was first detected in South Africa in Durban on 14 September 1918. In the next seven weeks half of the total population of 6 million people caught it, and 140,000 people died. It is well-known that the Spanish flu tended to take the young and spare the old; quite why that was so still puzzles medical researchers. The Cape was particularly hard hit by the epidemic and one of the casualties there was Edith and Leicester Beaufort’s youngest daughter Monica, who died on 21 October of pneumonia and heart failure. She had been training as a nurse at the military hospital in Wynberg.
Both Edith’s younger daughters had tried to break out of the limited roles allotted to them by the expectations of their times. I imagine their urge to do more was mainly Edith’s doing. It must have added to her grief over their deaths that they had hardly been able even to get started before they died.
Leicester Paul Beaufort died, in Wynberg, on 13 August 1926. At some point between his death and her own, Edith finally returned to England. I haven’t been able to find out the exact date but I think the move will have depended on Marion, now Edith’s only surviving daughter: Edith will have moved to be near her, wherever she was, and I’m not sure where she was. I’ve said that Marion’s husband died (in 1938) in Durban. Something in the probate registration to do with his death made me think he and Marion were living separately at the time of his death.
Surely Edith came to England, at least for a few weeks, to attend the wedding of her grand-daughter, Marion’s daughter Mona. Mona Spillane married Brigadier-General Francis Ernle Fowle in 1930. The Fowle family owned the Charlton estate in the vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, not so far from where Edith had grown up. Whenever it was that Edith returned to England permanently, she went to live near Mona and her family. She and Marion (now widowed herself) were living at a house called Sundown, in Manningford Abbots in the vale of Pewsey by 1942; Edith died there on 17 December that year and Marion was still living there at her death in 1964.
BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.
Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. As far as I know, the records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have not survived either.
Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.
Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.
Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.
Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.
THE BEAUFORT FAMILY
Wikipedia has good coverage of the family though as the names ‘Daniel’ and ‘Daniel Augustus’ occur several times it’s a bit confusing.
County Families of the UK volume 59 published 1919 compiler/editor Edward Walford and it’s generally known as Walford’s County Families. Confirms the details of Leicester Paul Beaufort’s parents, his school, university and qualification as a barrister. His father the Rev D A Beaufort died in 1898; his mother Emily died in 1916.
SIR FRANCIS BEAUFORT Leicester’s grandfather. Plenty abt him on the web: 1774-1857, RN, hydrographer, surveyor of the Río de la Plata, trainer of Fitzroy who captained the Beagle when Darwin was on board; inventor of the Beaufort scale. FRS FRGS KCB 1848. Amazing revelation at wikipedia: between his two marriages (during 1830s) had a sexual relationship with his unmarried sister Harriet - he wrote about it in a cipher-code journal; code has now been cracked.
Leicester Paul’s father DANIEL AUGUSTUS BEAUFORT
At history/beewarb.org/ is a history of the church at Warburton Cheshire, with a list of its rectors. Daniel Augustus Beaufort was appointed rector 1850 and remained in post until 1872 when a member of the Warburton family took over. Rev Daniel was a son of Sir Francis Beaufort the admiral, who’d had a problem getting his son a living until this one came up.
Via familysearch, England EASy source film 1595677: marr of Daniel Augustus Beaufort to Emily Nowell (sic) Davis 24 June 1851 at St Mary Henbury.
BRIEFLY ABOUT LEICESTER’S ELDER BROTHER
Via familysearch India-EASy source film 510868: Francis Beaufort married Adela Hasting (sic and incorrect) Divett, daughter of Edward Divett. The marriage took place in October 1882 at Ambala Bengal.
Website www.chch.ox.ac.uk is the website of Christ Church cathedral Oxford. It has memorials to the dead of the 2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, including Francis Hugh Beaufort, born 1883 killed 15 May 1915 son of Major Francis Beaufort, Royal Artillery and his wife Adela Hastings (sic) Divett daughter of Edward Divett MP. This memorial gives details of Francis Hugh’s career in the army - he hadn’t only volunteered in 1914.
LEICESTER BEAUFORT’S COUSIN
At www.thepeerage.com Daniel Augustus Beaufort’s sister Sophia (born 1819) married Rev William Palmer. They had two children:
Francis V Palmer born 1846
Blanche Palmer born 1848.
Francis V Palmer takes on his mother’s original surname and becomes Sir Francis Beaufort Palmer. He’s a barrister and author of legal text-books, eg Palmer’s Company Law, reference works on insolvency etc.
LEICESTER BEAUFORT’S MOTHER’S FAMILY, the DAVISes of the East India Company:
See below the about the views of Bhutan, they were painted by Samuel Davis. The V&A has some of Samuel Davis’ other works eg views of India, see //collections.vam.ac.uk. The V&A website has a short biography: 1760-1819. Born in West Indies where his father was Commissary-General. Joined Madras Light Infantry; arrived in Madras 1780. As Lieutenant in 1783, sent with others by Governor-General of India Warren Hastings on a mission to Tibet but refused entry, possibly because his habit of drawing caused suspicion. Various appointments back in India including as Collector, as a magistrate in Varanasi, as superintendant-general of police in Calcutta. Last job before retirement was as Accountant General of India 1804-06; he then returned to England with his family. He served as a director of the East India Company from 1810 to his death in 1819.
At www.holmesacourt.org/hac/4/9466.htm a rudimentary family tree indicates that Samuel Davis 1760-1819 married Henrietta Boileau 1773-1853.
JOHN FRANCIS DAVIS son of Samuel and Henrietta:
There’s a wikipedia page on him.
At www.phoenixbonsai.com is a history of Bonsai; John Francis Davis was first English person to describe it, in one of his works on China.
My own list - compiled from the sources below - of John Francis Davis’ marriages and children:
By his first marriage to Emily Humphrays:
Florence, who married Lt-Col James Burnie Lind in 1863, in Paris
Julia Sullivan, who married Robert Cann Lippincott of Over Court, Almondsbury near Bristol.
Emily Newel born c 1824, Leicester’s mother
By his second marriage to Lucy Ellen Rocke:
Francis Boileau Davis 2nd Baronet born 1871
At www.holmesacourt.org/hac/4/9466.htm a rudimentary family tree indicates that John Francis Davis’ first marriage was April 1822 to Emily Humphrays.
JULIA SULIVAN DAVIS and the mourning brooch
As of June 2021 the brooch was for sale at www.plazajewellery.com/product/victorian-agate-gold-enamel-mourning-brooch; with photographs, a thorough description, and a video of its history.
Familysearch database of GB Births and Baptisms has the record of Julia Sulivan Davis’s baptism at the British Chapel, Macao (sic) Colony on 4 September 1825. Parents: John Francis and Emily.
The Lippincotts of Over Court Almondsbury:
The house doesn’t seem to exist any more though I saw quite a few mentions online of a deer park, part of which at least is still there.
//discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk has lists of papers on the family estates at Gloucestershire Archives and personal info on the Cann and Lippincott families.
Robert Cann Lippincott:
Walford’s Co Families 1871 p611.
Walford’s Co Families 1912 edition part 2 p707 with Over Court now owned by Julia’s eldest step-son, Robert Cann Cann-Lippincott.
Probate Registry 1890 on the death of Julia’s husband on 17 June 1890. Julia was one of the executors.
Probate Registry 1911 on Julia’s death, at St Clouds, 79 St Helen’s Road Hastings on 3 August 1911. Julia was a rich woman with no direct descendants; perhaps Edith inherited a great deal more than just a mourning brooch from her.
LEICESTER PAUL BEAUFORT
The Record of Old Westminsters Volume 1 issued by the School in 1928: p66 has Leicester Beaufort on it though from the snippet I couldn’t see which years he was at the school.
BEAUFORT AS A BARRISTER
Law List 1893 p16 Counsel list: Leicester Paul Beaufort called to bar 7 May 1879; Inner Temple. Working on the Northern circuit. He continues to have an entry in the Law List until 1925; I gather from the entries that he never worked as a barrister in England after 1893.
BRITISH NORTH BORNEO now called Sabah
My contemporary sources:
The Solicitors’ Journal 1889 p111 anouncement of the appointment of Leicester Paul Beaufort as “Legal Advisor to the Governor of North Borneo”.
Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute 1901 (this was a google snippet and I couldn’t see the page number): Leicester Beaufort had been elected a member in 1893.
Appleton’s Annual Cyclopedia volume for 1893 p326 the British North Borneo Company had been “taken under the protection of the British crown” on 12 May 1888. The current Governor of British North Borneo was Charles Vandeleur Creagh; Leicester Beaufort was Acting Governor.
Nature: International Journal of Science volume 48 1893 p15 a report of Beaufort presenting a crowned gibbon (stuffed, presumably); I couldn’t see from the snippet which institution he was giving it to. He probably shot the gibbon himself.
For statistics on Sabah’s biodiversity, listen to Brian Cox in episode 1 of his Wonders of Life series, first broadcast Sunday 27 February 2013. The sequence in Sabah shows the tropical rainforest and a sanctuary for orangutans; even in the 21st century, Cox had to reach the sanctuary by boat.
Appleton’s Annual Cyclopedia volume for 1898 p317 mentions that Beaufort been chosen for the post of Governor of British North Borneo by the Board of Directors of the British North Borneo Company; but the appointment had required ratification by the Colonial Office.
The Statesman’s Year Book 1899 p110 British Empire - British Borneo. There is a political resident, a Col F A Wilson. Governor Beaufort earns a salary of $9850 pa. The Chairman of the Court of Directors of the British North Borneo Company is Richard B Martin MP, who is based in London.
Wikipedia on British North Borneo Company says that it issued its own currency which was the official currency of the area from 1882 to 1953; Beaufort’s salary was paid in that currency.
Colonial Office List 1904 p217 the dist of Labuan was taken into British North Borneo in an agreement dated 1889. The Governor of North Borneo’s official title is: “the Governor of the territory of the British North Borneo Company”.
My modern sources:
There is now (January 2013) a good deal about the British North Borneo Company on wikipedia. And there’s plenty there, too, about the Brookes, white rajahs of Sarawak.
Wikipedia has some information on the modern town of Beaufort: a district, and a town 90km south of Kota Kinabalu, nowadays a good place for white-water rafting. The railway station building is dated 1905 (after the Beauforts left, of course). The website says that Leicester Beaufort arrived in British North Borneo in 1889 and took up his post based at the town of Beaufort but I think that’s not correct.
The town of Beaufort figures a lot on the web in English-language Malayan/Indonesian websites on their own history. Eg www.worlstatesmen.org/Malay_states.htm which says that Beaufort’s predecessor in the job in British North Borneo was Charles Vandelleur (sic the 2 l’s and that’s not correct) Creagh who served 1888-95. Then Beaufort did the job 1895-1900 when he was replaced by Hugh Charles Clifford.
A History of Modern Sabah by K G Tregonning. Sabah was called North Borneo between 1881 and 1963. This book says on p42 that Beaufort was sent out to British North Borneo to replace one of the Dent brothers, who’d been thrown “off the Court” (I’m not sure what that means exactly). As the first governor who had never been a colonial official before, Beaufort had a very hard time in the job.
Clifford, Imperial Consul by Harry A Gailey 1982 p27 Beaufort was appointed Governor on the recommendation of William Cowie. Beaufort was appointed in 1895, a lawyer with no administrative experience.
A Short History of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei 1981 by Constance Mary Turnbull p168 she is explaining that North Borneo was NOT like Sarawak: the British North Borneo Company did not have the political and economic freedom that Rajah Brooke had in Sarawak. Beaufort “held office from 1895 to 1900" (as Governor that is).
THE BEAUFORTS AND THE BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA COMPANY
Firstly a bit from wikipedia on Robert Codrington mentioned a lot below: 1869-December 1908 in London; one of the Gloucestershire Codringtons. Brilliant career cut short by heart disease. Hand-picked protégé of Cecil Rhodes, very important in establishing government by professional, colonial-style officials in what became Rhodesia. Appointed by Rhodes as Administrator of North-Eastern Rhodesia (based at Fort Jameson) in 1898 with instructions to get Rhodes’ way by any means necessary; in that job till April 1907 when he was moved to become Administrator of North-Western Rhodesia, based at Livingstone; he started work there in February 1908.
Times articles about the British South Africa Company; I searched the whole period from 1899 to 1918. A general note, especially about the years 1900-05: much of central Africa is still at the ‘being explored’ stage; very few rail links as yet in what became northern Rhodesia.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any mention in the Times of Leicester Beaufort’s appointment.
The most succinct information I got on how the BSAC got into what is now Zambia was wikipedia’s page on the Northern Rhodesia Police. Rhodes got the British South Africa Company (BSAC) its royal charter in October 1889; to act as an arm of the British government, including having authority to negotiate treaties and set up police forces. From 1889 to 1899 BSAC ran what became Rhodesia through white “collectors” who attempted to raise money by collecting a tax on hut. An Order in Council issued by the British government in January 1900 formalised a constititution for the terrritory which became Rhodesia. The constitution estabilished a system of courts to administer English law there. Leicester Beaufort arrived there in 1901 to be its first judge. He was based at Fort Jameson (now Chipata, very close to Zambia’s border with what is now Malawi). He worked with 5 magistrates; and 31 native Commissioners who replaced the BSAC’s original, white, tax collectors. In 1910 a railway was completed with linked northern Rhodesia to the Congo.
Times 3 August 1901 item on the financil statements issued by BSAC up to 31 March 1901; in which the costs of governing Rhodesia are included. The most senior official in Rhodesia is the Senior Administrator, a Mr W H Milton. Robert Codrington is Administrator for North-Eastern Rhodesia; he completes that part of the BSAC’s financial statement which shows the figures for North-Eastern Rhodesia; but he also includes a section on its flora and fauna.
Times Sat 2 November 1901. At the moment what became Rhodesia is called the British Central Africa Protectorate. Very few Eurs lived there but one or two companies had their headquarters in the town, including an exploration company and a telegraph company.
Cecil Rhodes died on 26 March 1902 and in the following years, all my sources show the British government getting more and more involved in decisions about how Rhodesia is governed.
Times Mon 27 July 1903 (I forgot to get the page number): mention that letters to/from GB to Fort Jameson took 6 weeks and went via Cape Town and Salisbury.
The Genealogy of the Purchase Family in Britain and Southern Africa published 2008, by Nancy R Purchase and H Graham Purchase. On p44 there’s coverage of Edith’s dance at Fort Jameson, taken from a report in a local newspaper. Harvey George Purchase and his wife Grace Lillie were two of Edith’s guests. Harvey Purchase worked for BSAC; and Grace had been a nurse at the Nyasa Industrial Mission until her marriage to Harvey in April 1903.
Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute 1908. This was a google snippet and I couldn’t see the page number: Beaufort was still a member of the Institute, with address Fort Jameson North-Eastern Rhodesia.
Times Wed 27 January 1909 p6 reported that Robert Codrington had recently died in London; he’d been Acting Administrator of North-Western Rhodesia since April 1907. In the wake of Codrington’s death there had been a shift-around of personnel: L P Beaufort had been appointed Acting Administrator of North-Eastern Rhodesia as part of it. L A Wallace had been appointed Administrator of North-Western Rhodesia. Wallace was senior to Beaufort, he had been working in Rhodesia since 1895. These appointments had to have the approval of the Secretary of State for the Colonies but the men involved would still be working for the BSAC.
Hazell’s Annual 1910 p162 section on Rhodesia. Fort Jameson was the site of the new High Court of North-Eastern Rhodesia, with Beaufort as the senior judge based there.
Times November-December 1910 covered the south African tour made by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. They did visit parts of Rhodesia but I couldn’t find a reference to their having spent any time at Fort Jameson.
Times Tue 22 November 1910 p5 the Connaughts had done a day of official engagements in Bulawayo.
Times Thurs 17 August 1911 p3 item on Northern Rhodesia detailing the government reorganisation which was coming into effect there. The report noted that only 1200 white people were living there. As result of the changes, L A Wallace would become Resident Commissioner, governing all of northern Rhodesia as representative of BSAC; the old divisions of Rhodesia into NW and NE would cease. Wallace would rule the larger area with an administrative council which would include legal officials as members. A High Court would come into existence.
LEICESTER BEAUFORT’S KNIGHTHOOD
The Law Times 1918 volume 146 (I couldn’t see the page number in the google snippet): the announcement of Leicester Paul Beaufort’s knighthood; as “Lately Judge of the High Court of Northern Rhodesia”.
Times Wed 1 November 1919 p9g an Honours’ list p10 includes Leicester Beaufort’s knighthood.
SOME EXTRA INFORMATION ON LEICESTER BEAUFORT
The Rulers of British Africa 1870-1914 1978 by Lewis H Gann and Peter Duignan. P237 Beaufort born Warburton, the son of a vicar. Educated Westminster School, Oxford. Barrister Inner Temple, member of London School Board. Who’s Who says recreations shooting, fishing, golf.
EDITH’S FATHER CHARLES HIGMAN GRIFFITH
I couldn’t get any information on John William Griffith from the web; nor on his wife despite her unusual name. There was a lot of information on a group of Quakers called Griffith, originally from Gwynedd/Merioneth, but now living in Philadelphia County Pennsylvania. Despite the very detailed accounts of this family on the web, I couldn’t spot John William amongst all the references that came up. I couldn’t find any details for a marriage of John William Griffith to Philadelphia on familysearch or anywhere else, so I do not know what Philadelphia’s original surname was.
Charterhouse Register 1769-1872 editor R L Arrowsmith, published 1974. Charles Higman Griffith was born 14 April 1829, son of John William Griffith of Bruce Castle Tottenham. He was a day pupil from 1839 to 1847.
Crockforld’s Clerical Directory issue of 1868 p276 Charles Higman Griffith: ordained priest 1853 by bishop of Winchester. Currently rector of Stratfield Turgis, appointed 1862, its patron is the Duke of Wellington.
Wikipedia for which Duke appointed Charles Griffith: he was made curate in 1858 so that means it’s the great duke’s son, the 2nd duke, Arthur Richard Wellington 1807-84. Royal Horse Guards; then Rifle Corps 1830. MP 1830s. Married 1839 Elizabeth Hay; no children, the marriage was unhappy. On his death he was succeeded by his nephew Henry 1846-1900 as 3rd duke.
Crockford’s Clerical Directory issue 1880 gave more details of Charles Griffith’s career p413: ordained deacon 1852, priest 1853, both by bishop of Winchester. Curate St George’s Wrotham Kent 1853-57; curate of Stratfield Turgis 1858-62.
Crockford’s Clerical Directory issue of 1895 p551 has Charles Higman Griffith still in the same job.
None of the Crockford’s issues give any details of where he qualified for the priesthood; I’m rather puzzled about that.
A BIT ABOUT STRATFIELD TURGIS
Wikipedia has very little about Stratfield Turgis but there’s a picture of All Saints; it’s now de-consecrated.
Antiquarian and Topographical Sketches of Hampshire by Henry Moody 1846, curator of the museum at Winchester. On p132 Stratfield Turgis is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s a smaller parish than Stratfield Saye. It’s now part of the lands owned by the Wellesley family, dukes of Wellington. The rectory’s current annual value is £320.
Victoria County History of Hampshire and Isle of Wight volume 4 by H A Doubleday published 1973 p64: the dukes of Wellington own every single thing in the parish of Stratfield Turgis and are lords of the manor there.
Via googlebooks, one publication by Rev Charles Higman Griffith came up: A History of Strathfield Saye published 1892. I checked the British Library catalogue: this was the only item registered under his full name.
EDITH’S MOTHER HANNAH MOCKRIDGE: details from the 1851 census at Greenway House, St James Taunton
head John Mockridge, 52, farmer of 200 acres with 9 employees, born Taunton. Also in the household: his wife Martha 51; his children Hannah 22, Martha 18, John 15, Robert 11, Edward 7. Plus a housekeeper and various farm servants.
EDITH AND LEICESTER IN BRITAIN 1898-1901
Via google to a list of addresses on www.docstoc.com, prob a Directory of some sort but I couldn’t see the source details: an address 1898 for Edith Beaufort of 36 Cornwall Grove Chiswick. And another address 1898 at www.genesreunited.co.uk at Newton Abbot but the website says it’s a death registration so there’s something wrong somewhere.
MARION CICELY BEAUFORT’S MARRIAGE
Law Times volume 117 1904 p328 in a list of marriages: Marion Cicely Beaufort to James Charles Spillane MB MRCS; at St Stephen’s Lewisham.
Law Times volume 118 p424 in list of death notices: Ursula Ernestine Beaufort aged 19, at Fort Jameson NE Rhodesia. I couldn’t see the exact date on the google snippet though the year was 1904.
DEATH OF URSULA BEAUFORT
At //plants.jstor.org/visual/kadc5376, Directors’ Correspence volume 193/181, the Kew Archives on the web: a letter dated 13 January 1905 written at Fort Jameson northern Rhodesia by Leicester Paul Beaufort to the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Beaufort explains that his daughter has died of heart failure, just as she was beginning to recover from dysentery. As a result, she wouldn’t be undertaking the work for Kew that she’d been so looking forward to doing. Nice comments on how happy and loving a daughter she’d been.
LEICESTER BEAUFORT’S RETIREMENT; MONICA’S DEATH
Wikipedia on WYNBERG: it’s a suburb on the south side of Cape Town. The Royal Cape Golf Club was established there in 1885. The Wynberg Military Camp is there.
At www.health24.com there was a short article on the Spanish flu in South Africa, added to the website in November 2012. South Africa was hit very hard: ½ million died in all, 62% of whom lived in the Cape. 140,000 people died in 7 weeks during September-October 1918.
At www.sahistory.org.za from these 2 sources:
Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar by F Wallis 2000.
Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa eds D Potgeiter et al 1970. At the time the Encyclopaedia was compiled, Spanish flu was still the worst ever epidemic to hit South Africa. It was first diagnosed in Durban on 14 September 1918. The population of South Africa at that time was 6 million; nearly half of them caught it. This site confirms the data of 140,000 deaths but says it was 6 weeks. Blacks and coloured people were particularly badly hit although death rates were especially high amongst whites, often from secondary infections like pneumonia.
Times Fri 29 November 1918 p1b death notices: Leicester Beaufort’s youngest daughter Monica Gertrude Alice had died “On the 21st October ” of pneumonia and heart failure at Wynberg Military Hospital, Cape Colony where she had been training as a nurse.
It’s unusual to have so many details of the death in a Times announcement.
Times Sat 14 August 1926 p10d obituary of Leicester Paul Beaufort issued by Reuters “Cape Town, August 13 ”.
Probate Registry 1926: Sir Leicester Paul Beaufort died on 13 Aug 1926. Last address Sandown, Broad Road, Wynberg South Africa.
EDITH’S SON-IN-LAW JAMES CHARLES SPILLANE
A quick search with google suggested to me that he was a specialist in tropical medicine. Via Ancestry to the General Medical Council Registers: he’s listed in them for the first time in 1907 and for the last in 1919, with the poste restante-type address Royal Societies Club St James’s St. MB London 1895. MRCS 1895. LRCP 1895.
Probate Registry: Spillane still has the Royal Societies Club address but it’s clear he has been living abroad: he died on 9 April 1938 at 51 Surrey Mansions, 323 Currie Road Durban Natal. Probate London 7 June  to Mona Beaufort Fowle wife of Francis Ernle Fowle; and to Horace Tyrrell Lewis, solicitor.
MONA SPILLANE FOWLE
Francis Ernle Fowle’s family owned the Charlton estate in the Vale of Pewsey: via www.british-history.ac.uk information from A History of the County of Wiltshire volume 10, published 1975, on the manor of Charlton, centered 4miles SW of Pewsey and including bits of the Ridgeway and of the Vale of Pewsey. The manor of Charlton was owned by the Mundy family in the 17th century; then by the Giffard family. It was bought by William Fowle before 1838. By the end of the 19th century, the family was calling itself Ernle Fowle - the Ernle family were also long-time gentry, but based in Sussex, Dorset etc. Thomas Ernle Fowle inherited the Charlton estate in 1893. He sold some of the estate’s downland to the War Department in 1902, but bought Drax farm in 1919 and Coombe Farm later. He died in 1932 and his son Francis succeeded (that’s Mona’s husband). Francis died in 1969; his son W F B Fowle succeeded and still owned the Charlton estate in 1972.
Mona inherited some drawings that had been in the Davis and Beaufort families since the 18th century: part of the collection of drawings done by Samuel Davis, of India and other places that he was sent to in the course of his career with the East India Company. Most of his drawings of India became part of the collection of the Director General of Archaeology of India; Marion and then Mona inherited the others. The pictures owned by Mona Fowle have now been published as Views of Medieval Bhutan: The Diary and Drawings of Samuel Davis 1783 by Samuel Davis and Michael Aris. Published Serindia 1982. In the book’s introduction, on p39, Aris states Mona was the only child of Marion, daughter of Leicester Beaufort; and that Mona married Brigadier-General Francis Fowle in 1930. The drawings and diary remained in the Fowle family until 1967 when they were bought by the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art, which is where they are now.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
7 January 2012
1 August 2021
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