In August we received an inquiry from Elizabeth Saunders (JnJ), whose grandmother, Daphne Beryl Juler, is a descendant of John Juler (b.1718) who married Sarah Barcham in 1746.  Elizabeth has traced the family tree back to forebears who lived in Southwold, Suffolk and North Walsham, Norfolk, most of them Master Jewelers and Watch/Clock Makers.  She knows very little about the family before 1718 and wants to find out more about the forebears of John Juler. John Juler's father was a Matthew Juler who married a Hannah Long. We tried to put Elizabeth in touch with our past Juler correspondents, but sadly one has died and we have lost contact with another. If any member of the family can help, Elizabeth would be very grateful (please contact Judith initially).

Later that month Chris Dawson (JnB) contacted us. He is a descendant of Sarah Emma Barcham (b.1854) who married Robert Greensmith Dawson (b.1846) in 1875. Chris provided detailed information about his branch of the family and helped to update and amend the family tree where some errors had crept in. He is interested in the veterinary surgeons in the family and his family’s connections with them: Robert Barcham (b.1821), Robert Samuel Barcham (b.1860) and Thomas Edward Barcham (b.1866) were all veterinary surgeons in North Walsham. Chris’s father Alexander Herbert Dawson (b.1908) was also a veterinary surgeon and the grandson of Sarah Emma Barcham. Thomas Barcham sold the practice to Tom Love, a veterinary surgeon, who married Sarah Louisa Dawson, daughter of Sarah Emma Barcham. Tom Love went into partnership with his nephew Alexander Dawson. The practice was based in Paston; when Tom Love retired it returned to North Walsham, where the family lived. The tradition continues with Giles Little, grandson of Alexander Dawson. Giles Little was born in Canada, where he qualified, and is now a practising veterinary surgeon near Seattle in the USA. His Canadian wife is also a qualified veterinary surgeon.

In September we received an inquiry from Celia Conrad (WmB) about Barcham family links with the Paul family. She is particularly interested in Onesiphorus Barcham Paul, her great-great-great-grandfather who was born about 1790 and was the son of James Paul who married Sarah Barcham (b. 1770) in 1789. There is some mystery about Onesiphorus Paul who was apparently left £600 in trust by his great-grandmother but not much more is known about that!  Sarah was the daughter of William Barcham of Great Yarmouth and the sister of Captain William Barcham of Mundesley. Celia’s great-great-grandfather Onesimus Paul was the second son of Onesiphorus Paul and her great-grandfather, who was Frederick Ernest Paul, had an elder brother called Onesiphorus Barcham Paul. These unusual names aroused Celia’s curiosity. David Blakely was able to tell her about his research into Onesimus Barcham and what he knows about Onesiphorus. Celia is still working on the descendants of James and Sarah Paul and we are looking forward to hearing more.




In April Pauline Davis (BnB) sent crew assented lists that she had found in the archives in Sydney, NSW, Australia.  They show that Jedidiah Benjamin Pegg Barcham (BnB) (b.1845), a great-grandson of Neal Raven Barcham, was an able seaman aboard the John Williams, a barque owned by the London Missionary Society (LMS) and named after the English Missionary who was active in the South Pacific until he was murdered on Samoa. [John Williams’ body was brought back to England and buried in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, north London. The ship was built at Harwich in 1844, and was wrecked at Pukuka, Cook Islands, in May 1864, source Wikipedia]. Jedidiah Benjamin Pegg Barcham was born in Sherringham, Norfolk, in 1835.  He was enumerated with his father, stepmother and younger brother at Cley-next-the-Sea in the 1851 Census of Norfolk, where his father was a blacksmith. It has not yet been established when and where Benjamin was apprenticed as a seaman and joined the crew of the John Williams. The crew lists show that on 9 October 1866 the ship arrived at Sydney from the port of Anatam, Fiji; and on 14 October 1874 he arrived at Sydney from Loma Loma, Fiji. On that voyage Benjamin was listed as a teenage passenger, presumably a working seaman.  In 1864 the captain was John Williams, possibly a relation of the late missionary. This was probably Benjamin’s last voyage. The ship had a crew of 20 but there is no evidence that Benjamin was ever more than an able seaman. The ship had seven cabins for passengers, mainly LMS missionaries. Ashore, Benjamin became a shopkeeper in Waterloo, a suburb of Sydney. In 1876 he married Frances Margaret Swinfield, starting another branch of the Barcham family in Australia.


Sarah Ashley contacted us in May inquiring about her great-great-aunt, Mary Paterson (b. 1863), who married William Bidlake in 1885.  One of their children, Harriet Thornton Bidlake, (b. 1885), was living with a Harriet Barcham in 1891. This proved to be Harriet Paterson who married Captain Sidney Barcham (WmB) in 1877. After some correspondence and further investigation, Sarah concluded that Harriet Thornton Bidlake was adopted by Sidney and called herself Harriet Barcham (although this may not have been an official adoption, so the date is not known). Apart from a reference to his ‘girlie’ in a letter dated 23 October 1909, nothing had previously been known about the existence of Harriet. Sarah explains what she has discovered about Harriet below:

I am Sarah Ashley (nee Paterson) and I am not linked to the Barcham family tree apart from by marriage when my Great Aunt married Sidney Barcham and then my first cousin twice removed was adopted (not known whether formally) by Sidney. This is a little bit of information on Harriet Thornton Bidlake, the girl adopted by Sidney.

Alexander Paterson had five children, Harriet, Joseph, Ellen, Mary and Alexander. Harriet Paterson was born in 1852 in Fremantle, Australia. She returned with her family back to England in January 1858. Mary Paterson was born in Sydenham in 1863.

Harriet married Sidney Barcham on the 8th May 1884 in Penge.  Her younger sister Mary married William Bidlake on the 28th March 1885.  Mary and William had three children: Harriet Thornton, William Thompson and Norman James. Harriet and Sidney did not have any children.

Harriet Thornton Bidlake was born on the 29th December 1885 and was baptised in Tooting Graveney on the 5th June 1887. Her father William is a decorator at this time. There is no trace of William Bidlake, Mary or their sons, William and Norman in 1891. Harriet is aged 5 at this time and she is living in Streatham with her Aunt, Harriet Barcham, and her Grandmother, Harriet Paterson.  They also have three boarders living with them but presumably Sidney Barcham was at sea when this census was taken as he is not there.

Harriet Barcham (nee Paterson) died on the 19th September 1893 in Penge.

In 1901, all three Bidlake children are living in Streatham with their Grandmother, Harriet Paterson. They have one servant.  Their father William is at a hospital in Croydon and their mother Mary is staying with the Somers family in Sydenham.

In 1911, William Bidlake is at a workhouse in Guildford and there is no trace of Mary. Their son, William Thompson died in 1907. The other two children, Harriet and Norman are still living with their Grandmother but Harriet is now listed as the head of the house rather than the Grandmother. Harriet now goes by the name of Harriet Barcham and her occupation is an ‘actress’. They live at 76 Upper Ritherdon Road, Tooting and have two servants.

I assume that Harriet chose Cecily as her stage name and then starts using it as her real name.There is an entry in the Stage Year Book dated 16th September 1913 which lists Cecily Barcham as one of the four actresses in a play called ‘Sensk of Bumour written by J H Irvine which was produced by The Black Cat Club. (I do wonder if it is actually called Sense of Humour.) John Henry Irvine had played Hotspur in Richard II at His Majesty’s Theatre in 1903 and Archibald in Henry IV at the Lyric Theatre in 1909. He had also previously been in New York as he returned from there on the 13th April 1914. On the 3rd June 1914, Harriet Thornton Bidlake, under the name of Cecily Harriet Thornton Barcham, married John Henry Irvine in West Brompton, London. She names Sidney Barcham as her father rather than William Bidlake. In 1915, Cecily Harriet Thornton Irvine sailed on the New York, arriving in New York on the 6th October 1915.  She returns to England because in 1916, Cecily  sailed from Liverpool again, this time on the Philadelphia, arriving in New York, New York on the 11th August 1916.  On both manifests she names her father as Sidney Barcham and her occupation as actress. Henry and Cecily appear to have travelled to and from New York on several occasions in the 1920s. In 1930, they are living in Manhattan and they are working as ‘dramatic instructors’. He is using the name Harry rather than Henry.

On the 3rd December 1934, Sidney Barcham died. The executor of his will was John Henry Irvine.  He left various sundry items to his sister Ethel (Barcham) Johnson and then his estate was split between his sisters Ethel and Annie Barcham and his adopted daughter Harriet Thornton Barcham. They would have received just over £500 each.

John became a naturalised citizen of the US on the 9th November 1937. In 1940, they are still in New York; John’s occupation is an actor and Cecily doesn’t appear to have an occupation. At some point they moved to Boothbay Harbour, Maine, and set up the ‘Theatre in the Woods’.

An article from the Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth New Hampshire) has a recollection from a Mrs Cordova who as a child studied ballet at Harry and Cecily Irvine’s ‘Theatre in the Woods’ every summer.  Mrs Cordova later became a ballet dancer and instructor in her own right.

It is not known what happens to John and Cecily after operating the ‘Theatre in the Woods’.

I hope you have found Cecily Harriet Thornton Bidlake Barcham Irvine as interesting as I do.  I would be very interested to know when and where she died. I am also aware that the Boothbay Historical Society has a file of programmes and similar documents on her husband and I would love to see those papers at some point. 


Later in 2014 we received updates from two of our Family Correspondents:


Miles Ballaam (JnB) has been researching the history of his great uncle Charles Stuart Browning, which is summarised on a document on the Barcham website He was killed in action leading the charge at the German fort at Kibata, Tanganyika, on 10 December 1916 while serving with the 129th Duke of Connaught's own Baluchis.  He is buried in the War Cemetery at Dar-Es-Salaam. He wanted to find out more about the cemetery which is only about 50 miles from where Miles was born. After some more research he eventually discovered The War Graves Photographic Project This is a project carried out by volunteers, in association with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which aims to photograph graves and memorials, and make photos available at a small cost on request to family members, researchers and others. Miles contacted the TWGPP and they have kindly supplied photos of the cemetery and his great uncle's grave, which are now posted on the photo gallery In WS Thatcher’s The 4/10th Baluchi Regiment in the Great War Captain Charles Browning gets a lot of mentions, with his time in Ypres and Givenchy, where he was wounded. There is graphic description of the horrors of war in the trenches, including coming down with the measles. The regiment then transferred to the war in German East Africa, where the regiment pursued the Germans from Voi in Kenya, across the slopes of Kilamanjaro and on to Tanga, then through Dar Es Salaam and then down to Kilwa Kivinje, through the scrub and forests; not only were the Germans a deadly foe, but their pursuit was hampered by roaming gorillas. En route to Kilwa, Charles was killed storming a German stronghold at Kibata. Charles was recommended for the Military Cross in Belgium and again in German East Africa. Charles’ regiment was acknowledged by the opposing General Von Lettow Vorbeck as being ‘very good’.

By strange coincidence Miles was born in Mkwaya, about 30 miles south of where Charles was killed.


David Blakley (JnB)  has uncovered some more information about John Blakely (1820-1849) who was the eldest son of John Rix Blakely and Naomi Barcham. He is also working on a book concerning the lives of three Blakely brothers from the 19th century [published in 2016]. David will be visiting the National Archives early in January, mainly to try to find on what ship John Rix Blakely I (father of JRB II, the minister who married Naomi Barcham, and the other two brothers in the book) returned from the Far East after the Admiral's flagship he had been on was wrecked in 1783. My great-uncle, who drew up our family tree in 1910–50, thought JRB I was a naval captain: he was definitely not — he joined the navy as a midshipman and was promoted to acting lieutenant, but that rank was never confirmed as, on his return to England, he had to run the family farm instead. But one of the other midshipmen, also from Ipswich, later became an admiral and mentioned JRB I in his journal, part of which can now be found on the Internet! The major advantage of seeing documents at the National Archives is that they encourage the use of cameras, unlike the British Library which I also visit, where I have spent ages copying parts of East India Company ships' logs that relate to one of the other brothers who did eventually become a captain.