Christopher John Farrow (1934-2021)




Chris was educated at the Cheadle Hulme School near Manchester, England, and at Imperial College London where he obtained his doctorate in extractive metallurgy. He had his first full-time job on the copper belt in Northern Rhodesia [now Zambia]. There, he met Hilary and they were married in Grahamstown, South Africa. The family immigrated to Canada in 1966.

Christopher worked for Bechtel Company in Toronto for 25 years, during which time he had several overseas assignments. Christopher enjoyed sailing and his great hobby in his retirement years was genealogy. In the 1980s, perhaps because he was living overseas, Chris became interested in learning more about his family roots. At first, with only a family tree showing 'William Barcham of Edingthorpe', he was unable to find the village on maps of Norfolk. Finally, in 1999, he went to Edingthorpe, located the ancestral home, Church Farm, and found gravestones of his ancestors, which gave a great boost to his family history research.

Chris is descended from Captain William Barcham of Great Yarmouth through his great-grandmother, Fanny Elizabeth Barcham, one of William's granddaughters. In the course of his genealogical research he became fascinated by the seafaring activities of his ancestors, and investigated details of the ships that they owned or commanded, and their voyages to various parts of the world. After 30 years of research he had amassed a great deal of information about the lives of his Barcham forebears and those of the Williams and Edwards families, as well as the wider ramifications of the Barcham family. In 2013, owing to health reasons, he decided to retire as Barcham Family Historian.

Chris was the convenor of the 2003 Barcham Family Gathering.

Chris passed away peacefully at University Hospital, London, Ontario on 28 July 2021, aged 87. He was the beloved husband for 60 years of Hilary. He is survived by his daughter, Cathy, and grandchildren, Alexander, Rachel and Jacob. He was predeceased by son, John, in 2018. Chris is buried in St John’s Cemetery, Arva, London, Ontario, Canada.


A tribute by Judith Constantine

I first came across Chris by chance in 2002 when I was visiting my aunt Jean Roberts in New Zealand. The story of how we came to collaborate on the publication of our family history The Barchams of Edingthorpe is related in the Book Story.

During the subsequent 15 months we communicated frequently by email about both the book and the arrangements for the Barcham Family Gathering. I agreed to be co-opted onto the planning committee as the ‘publications and PR person’, little realising Chris’s amazing energy, ideas and enthusiasm! This involved numerous tasks, including the design and printing of a souvenir brochure, various leaflets, invitations and press releases; liaising with North Norfolk District Council members. And we were working on the book at the same time!

I actually met Chris for the first time in June 2003 just before the Barcham Gathering. I was impressed by his huge enthusiasm for our project and his capacity for getting things done even when unforeseen problems arose, such as having to find a replacement venue for the Barcham Banquet at Worstead when the original plan fell through at the last minute. It was largely owing to Chris that the three-day Gathering was a great success and enjoyed by all those who attended.

 After the Gathering and the publication of The Barchams of Edingthorpe, more information about Barcham Family history came to light, so we published a second edition in 2004 to add to the original. No time to sit back on our laurels however! Chris wanted to develop the Barcham website, set up by Trevor Rix for the Gathering, into an ongoing source of all the new information that he was acquiring from the worldwide Barcham Family. But Trevor did not have the time to take on the work involved as he was still a full-time farmer at that time.

As an active member of my local U3A Computer group I was interested in learning about web publishing as an extension of my skills as a former editor/publisher. I went on a web publishing course and in 2004 set up a new Barcham website which would enable our family history, family trees, publications, events, and family news to be made available to any interested person in the world. As Chris had hoped, we received many inquiries from the website, acquired more new information and made many more Barcham contacts throughout the world. Chris kept me busy for the next nine or ten years with numerous updates, newsletters and additions to the website. It has gone through several iterations over the years and the accompanying master family tree has expanded from 1500 names in 2003 to more than 2600 in 2022!

I enjoyed working with Chris until his retirement in 2013 and, although we kept in touch, I did so miss his regular updates and undimmed enthusiasm for Barcham Family history.

All members of the Barcham Family – however remotely connected – owe a huge debt of gratitude to Chris. He was the prime mover for everything ‘Barcham’ from 2002 to 2013. I personally shall remember him with respect and affection as a man who gave me a fascinating pastime in retirement.

Judith Constantine, Family Publisher, July 2022