Bishopsbourne: William Webb & Family

The Bush Inn Bishopsbourne: pictured C.1906, built by William Webb prior to 1842. Later it became a hotel with William Webb the first licensee.

The family had a strong connection with Bishopsbourne and were involved with erecting buildings, the establishment and operating the Bush Inn hotel, farming and the postal service.

The patriarch of the family was William Webb who was born on 20 December 1792 at Nether-Stowey, Somerset, England. He married Ann Maria Webber (1789-1860) on 30 June 1818 at the St. James Parish Church, Bristol, Gloucester, England. They had five children –

  • Eliza Webb – 1819- 1890 married William Hartnoll, 21 Nov 1838
  • Mary Webb – 1821-1922 married William Dodery, 15 Mar 1842
  • John Webb – 1822-1857 married Jane Lyall, 4 May 1848
  • Maria Webb – 1824-1858 married William Saltmarsh 2 Mar 1841
  • Sarah Webb – 1826-1903 married Thomas Lawson 3 Aug 1848

All of the above, apart from Maria and William Saltmarsh, had connections to Bishopsbourne, Tasmania and/or area.

William Webb – 1792-1868

William was the son of William Webb (1761-1833) and Sarah nee Cable (1762-1835).

On 5 April 1827 William appeared before the Somerset Court jointly with William Offer charged with burglary and theft of 400 copper coins with a value of £3. His court report gives his age as 35 years, married with five children, height 5 feet 9 inches, weight 179 pounds, dark complexion, dark hair, grey eyes and a butcher by occupation. He had previously been imprisoned for two months for assaulting a Sheriff’s officer. The report also noted him as “a very artful fellow”. He was sentenced to be hung but this was later converted to transportation for life.

William was transported aboard the 501 ton “Bengal Merchant”, carrying 170 male convicts, plus their guard. The ship left London on 25 March 1828, calling at Plymouth and Rio and arriving at Hobart Town on 10 August 1828.

His conditional pardon was granted on 27 May 1840 and a free pardon on 3 March 1843.

On 13 August 1831, William made an application for his wife and five children to be brought to Australia. Permission was granted and they left England on 28 July 1832 aboard the 296-ton barque “Frances Charlotte” and arrived in Hobart Town on 10 January 1833. The boat carried 100 female prisoners besides 51 free women and children.

The locality of the family after arrival is uncertain but is likely to have been in the north of Van Diemen’s Land in the Longford region. The Hobart Town Courier reported that the Government brig, “Isabella”, sailed on 23 January 1833 for Launceston and besides carrying stores also transferred several of the free women that arrived by the “Frances Charlotte”, with their children to join their husbands in service in that side of the island.

 An indication of the family living around Longford comes from the marriage of all William and Ann’s children to partners from that area, the first being their eldest daughter, Eliza Webb who married William Hartnoll on 21 November 1838. The celebrant being Rev. R.R. Davies of Longford.

The 1842 Census, taken on 3 January 1842, places the family at Little Hampton, later known as Bishopsbourne, and records William Webb as head of the household and W.G. Walker proprietor. The property was of brick and complete. Residents totalled seven of which four were free, two former single male convicts but now in private assignment, and the seventh holding a ticket of leave.

The Bush Inn property appears to have been held on a long-term lease, initially with William Walker but after the sale of the property transferring to the new owner, the Bishop of Tasmania. William Webb lists the lease as an asset in his Will.

In September 1844 William sought to license his premises as a hotel to be known as the “Bush Inn”. Despite opposition, the license was granted on the casting vote of the chairman of the Licensing Board. William operated the hotel until 1849 when it was taken over by his son John.

During William’s time at Bishopsbourne, there are records of him operating as a property builder, not only building his Bush Inn hotel/residence, but also the church opposite, Church of the Holy Nativity, as well as around 12 houses in the village. The church foundation stone was laid by Bishop Nixon 9 October 1844 and opened 6 months later on 25 April 1845.

Church of the Holy Nativity in Bishopsbourne, Tasmania.

After leaving Bishopsbourne William and Ann moved to Longford where they operated other hotels.

They are buried in the Longford Christ Church cemetery.

William Hartnoll – (1806-1887) and Eliza Webb – (1819-1890)

William and Eliza with their three children reached Bishopsbourne by 1844 as their fourth child, Alfred George Hartnoll, is recorded as being born there on 21 December 1844. Four more children are recorded as being born at Bishopsbourne, the last Albert Earnest Hartnoll, born on 5 June 1853. Their last and ninth child, Lydia Augusta Hartnoll was born on 10 December 1854 at Barnstable, Devon, England.

The children of William and Eliza Hartnoll

  • Henry John Hartnoll – 1839-1898 married Eliza Pascoe, 1 Aug 1868 
  • William Henry Hartnoll – 1841-1932 married Catherine Henry, 14 Mar 1866
  • Mary Elizabeth Hartnoll – 1842-1844 single
  • Alfred George Hartnoll – 1844-1880 married Mary Webster, 25 Jan 1872
  • Emmalege Hartnoll – 1846-1927 single
  • Priscilla Ann Hartnoll – 1848-1854 single
  • Maria Jane Hartnoll – 1851-1900 single
  • Albert Earnest Hartnoll – 1853-1853 died as a child
  • Lydia Augusta Hartnoll – 1854-1949 single

At Bishopsbourne William rented a 300-acre property from the Bishop of Tasmania which adjoined the Christ’s College complex on the northern boundary. Rent was £200 p.a. It was a mixed farm operation centring around cropping, sheep, pigs and horses. Horses were a feature of his farm operations with his clearing sale on 14 April 1853 listing 7 horses for sale.

William was appointed Postmaster at Bishopsbourne in 1851, retiring in 1853.

William arrived in Van Diemen’s Land as a convict. He was born on 1 July 1806 at Landkey, Devon, England the son of John Hartnoll (1780-1842) and Elizabeth Jones (1779-1873). At the age of 19 years on 11 July 1825 he was convicted at Bristol, Gloucestershire court to “Transportation to the Colonies” for receiving stolen goods, a pair of boots. The sentence 14 years. 

He departed England on 12 April 1826 aboard the 49 year old, 558 ton ship “Chapman” which carried 100 male convicts and a 35 man detachment of the Royal Staff Corps serving as guards for the voyage. Also travelling with the soldiers were a number of wives and children. When off Tristan D’Acunha, about six days sail from Rio, a violent storm overtook the ship, and brought the main mast and mizzen top mast to the deck, which obliged Captain Milbank to put into that Port to refit. A delay of six weeks was thus occasioned. While stopped at the port two convicts escaped.

The “Chapman” arrived at Hobart Town on Saturday 7 October 1826,

William was assigned to Mr David Lord of Hobart and remained friends with this family throughout his life. Later he lived at Morven now known as Evandale and later still after marriage in 1838 at Longford where he worked as a butcher.

William made several overseas voyages. In January 1849, he together with a son, travelled to England with William returning alone by November of the same year. While there was commissioned by Mr J.D. Toosey to select some first-class Southdown sheep for his Cressy estate. This was the foundation of that famous flock.

In 1850 William proceeded to California where he landed a blood sire horse Egrement, which William had bred.

On the sale of their Bishopsbourne farm stock and equipment in 1853, William and his family sailed for England where they would remain for 13 years before returning to Tasmania, Australia. In England the family appears in the 1861 census, listing the family as William (Head) aged 52 years, a retired farrier, his wife Eliza (41), children, Alfred (16), Emmalege (14), Maria Jane (9), Lydia Augusta (6), all listed as scholars and a general servant Elizabeth Rogers (17).

On return to Tasmania, the family settled at Evandale where they purchased a home on a small farm known as “Leighton”.

Eliza was left £250 in her father’s Will.

William and Eliza would remain at “Leighton” for the rest of their lives. There William continued his interest in stud stock, importing the first Lincoln and Hampshire-down sheep, the first brought to Tasmania.

They are buried in the Cypress Street, Launceston cemetery.

William Dodery – (1819-1912) and Mary Webb – (1821-1922) 

William and Mary married at the Longford Church of England on 15 March 1842.

Their children –

  • George Webb Dodery – 1843-1920 married Isabella Henry, 8 June 1869
  • Lydia Maria Dodery – 1845-1931 single
  • William Henry Dodery – 1847-1908 married Ann Dunning, 12 June 1873
  • Ada Grace Dodery – 1848-1949 married Henry Boase Wilson, 3 Apr 1878
  • Augusta Mary Dodery – 1850-1941 married Peter John Wilson, 14 Jan. 1880
  • Louisa Jane Dodery – 1852-1902 married Stephen King, 8 Sept. 1875
  • Eliza Emmeline Dodery – 1854-1941 married Alexander Webster,18 Apr 1893
  • Fanny Amelia Dodery – 1856-1895 single
  • Laura Sarah Dodery – 1858-1908 married Charles Wingrove, 4 June 1890

William and Mary lived all their married lives at Longford but were connected to the Bishopsbourne area by property ownership which stretched towards Cressy, Tasmanaia. Known properties were “Como”, “Stoke”, “Rosemount”, “Lorannah”, “The Rises”, “Meadow Bank”, “Henbury” and “Wandillie”. After purchase, he built a medium-sized timber house on a number of these farms. He also owned a number of properties at Longford, building the Blenheim Hotel in 1846 where he was licensee until 1858.

The family residence was at “Lauraville”, Longford, a large brick two-storied home surrounded by 70 acres of farmland. William built this in 1870.

William was born on 30 August 1819 at Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland son of George Dodery (1794-1857) and his wife Grace (1797-1860). His father George had served in the ranks of the 1st Regiment at Waterloo and was stationed in Ireland with the 57th Regiment. In 1825 he went as a guard to Sydney with his wife and son in the transport “Asia”. In 1831 he took his family to Launceston.

William attended school in Sydney and Launceston and then entered a merchant’s office in Launceston. He visited Britain with his parents in 1835 and returned to his work in Launceston. After marriage in 1842, they soon went to Longford where William built the Blenheim Hotel and becoming proprietor. He also established a coach line between Longford and Launceston.

William was very active and prominent in civic and Government affairs, serving as a member of the Longford Council for 20 years during which time he was warden on 10 occasions. In 1861 he was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly holding the seat until 1870 and then in 1877 was again elected to parliament this time to the Legislative Council. He was a foundation member of the Northern Agricultural Society which was formed in 1856 and was its first treasurer. Also, he was active in the racing industry and owned a number of successful horses. He also became well known as a breeder of Lincoln sheep.

William’s wife, Mary lived to 101 years as also their daughter Ada. A few details of Mary’s life are recorded at her funeral which was conducted by Cannon Finnes. “He paid high tribute to the worth of Mary, and her deep devotion to her church and spiritual life. She married William Dodery about 80 years ago and proved a worthy helpmate. She was possessed of a strong personality which she combined with a genuine kindness of heart that won her many true friends. In all matters pertaining to the welfare of the town both she and her late husband William, took a deep interest and gave their generous support. Mary and William were loyal and generous supporters of the Longford Brass Band. Every New Year’s Eve, the night before her birthday, the band journeyed to “Lauraville” to serenade her – a gracious tribute which she always much appreciated”.

William’s Probate, sworn March 1912, declared his estate at £39,775-17-11.

Mary was left £250 in her father’s Will.

John Webb – (1822-1857) and Jane Elizabeth Mannington Lyall – (1827-1898)

John and Jane married at the Westbury Church of England on 4 May 1848. Jane was the eldest daughter of Robert and Margaret Lyall of Westbury

Their children –

  • Willam Lyall Webb, born 1849 – married Mary Ann Holliday, 1870 at Westbury
  • Lucy Jane Webb, born 1850 – married Charles John Stevens, 1872 at Westbury
  • Margaret Maria Webb, born 1851 at Bishopsbourne. Married (1) – John Thomas Barber – on 4 May 1870. Married (2) – William Thomas Burt – on 6 October 1879

John took over the Bush Inn at Bishopsbourne from his father at the beginning of 1849 and continued its operation till having a stroke in 1857. He died soon after on 1 June 1857 and was buried at the Christ Church Longford cemetery.

Jane his widow on 10 January 1861 secondly married Daniel O’Meara of Westbury and had four more children, Edward (1861-1861), Robert (1863-1936), Mary 1865-1962) and Daniel (1866-1947). She continued to work in the hotel industry and in 1879 was granted a license for the Formby Hotel, Formby (Devonport). In July 1888 Jane was granted a license for Webb’s hotel at Ulverstone the license being transferred from William Lyall Webb.

It is a strong possibility that William was Jane’s son as at his marriage in 1870 the newspaper reported that he was the only son of the late Mr John Webb of Longford. To date, no birth record has been found for William but some records give a birth date of 1849.

Jane died at Ulverstone on 12 April 1898 after a long and painful illness and was buried at Ulverstone.

William Webb in his Will left money to his granddaughters Lucy and Margaret Webb, £550 and a one-third share of the residue.

William Edward Saltmarsh – (1819-1872) and Maria Webb – (1824-1858)

William and Maria were married at Longford on 2 March 1841. They had one son, William Edward (Thomas) Saltmarsh (1854-1881). He died at Echuca, Victoria on Saturday 5 February 1881, a result of being poisoned by an insect bite. He left a young wife but no children.

William and Maria operated hotels at Longford, in 1844 William gained a license for The Longford Inn and in 1859 is noted at the Longford Commercial Inn.

Maria died on 11 July 1858 at the age of 33 years with cause stating “fits”. At the time of her death, she was the licensee of the Berriedale Inn, Longford. She was buried at the Longford Christ Church cemetery and is noted on her parent’s headstone.

Her husband William soon remarried, to Elizabeth Bunton (1841-1928) on 5 April 1859. William died on 19 March 1872 with cause recorded as “Effusion of blood on the brain.” His unmarked grave is at the Longford Christ Church cemetery.

The family was not included in William Webb’s will.

Thomas Lawson – (1827-1883) and Sarah Webb – (1826-1903)

Thomas and Sarah Lawson were married at Longford on 3 August 1848. At marriage, Thomas is recorded at living at Oaks Farm, on the western side of the Liffey river.

Two children have been located-

  • William Richard Lawson – 1849-1900 – married, Sarah Wiseman on 5 Oct. 1870
  • Sarah Maria Lawson – 1851-1916 married, Henry Denton Dowie, at Evandale on 6 Jun 1874

It would appear that Thomas was operating a store at Bishopsbourne, Tasmania as in August 1857 he advertised merchandise for sale at his store next to the Bush Inn, Bishopsbourne.

In May 1859 the license of the Bush Inn was transferred to Thomas and he operated there until 1862.

Thomas and Sarah later moved to Brisbane where their daughter Sarah and family were living. They would remain there until their deaths, Thomas on 6 April 1883, aged 53 years and Sarah on 15 August 1903, aged 77. Both were buried at Toowong cemetery, Brisbane.

Granddaughter Sarah Marie Lawson was a beneficiary in William Webb’s will, receiving £150. The Will noted that monies had previously been paid to Thomas Lawson, Sarah’s husband: nothing further was given.

Notes by Ivan Badcock – 27 September 2019

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