Family tree: Edward Caryl descendants

I wrote an article My Ancestors were Papermakers based on the Caryl family, which appeared in the Oct 2008 edition of Family Tree Magazine

The Rollitts married into the Caryl family, who were papermakers from Brampford Speke in Devon. Opposite the Agricultural Inn in this pretty village, you will find many Caryls buried in St Peter’s churchyard.

The 1841 census shows that William Caryl married girl next door, Ann Lang and William’s father Edward was also a papermaker. In 1851, William and 13-year-old Thomas Lang Caryl worked as papermakers in Exwick village. By 1871, William was still to be found in Huxham and when his wife died, he was a lodger in Colyton Devon.

A rise in unemployment forced journeymen in the trade to become ‘paper tramps’, travelling around the mills of the country in search of work. The unions had set up a benevolent fund so that when the men were ‘on tramp’ for up to ten weeks, they would be able to claim bed and board at the next mill on production of their certificate. The unrest in the industry surely had some influence on Thomas Lang Caryl’s decision to leave Devon.


Thomas Lang Caryl

The River Cray in Kent, near where he lodged in 1861, supported many paper mills and would have been on the tramping circuit, along with Bromley, his next stop where he married Emma Coleman Pope and had two children. Emma died only three years later and it was her half-sister Hannah Roney (later to be Thomas’ second wife) who accompanied him on his travels next to Upper Tovil paper mill in Maidstone, where two children were born in Mill Cottage. The Green Man pub in Wraysbury Buckinghamshire in 1881 was the next stop on the way to settling to papermaking again in Croxley Green, near Watford in Hertfordshire.


Hannah Roney

Hannah Roney was known affectionately within the family as Gran Caryl – she was a formidable woman who ran the Halfway House hostelry in Croxley whilst bringing up seven children. In the only photo we have of her, Hannah looks like Queen Victoria in her customary black. Hannah was born in Burford Oxfordshire. Her parents were William Roney and Eliza Pope, who was born in Highway Wiltshire. They lived in High Street Burford and when William died, Eliza carried on as a laundress.

Bertie Caryl in New Zealand

Uncle Les always wondered what happened to Bertie Caryl but his efforts to trace him came to nothing. All he had were a few photographs and letters.


Bertie Caryl

Bertie Caryl sent his last poignant letter back to his family in about 1931, when he worked at Grey River Hospital in Greymouth, New Zealand.

Dear Mother, Sis and Bro,

Just a few lines after a long time to let you know I am still alive and all OK. I have a rough time this last twelve months been all over NZ work very scarce and shipping no good at all. I got this job here five months ago but I did not write as I did not know how long it would last. I started relieving all hands for their holidays and now I am on the permanent staff. All kinds of work porter fireman caretaker of the Old Peoples Home and handy man in general. I have wealed many a man and woman to the Operation table and many dead ones out to the Morgue. I am writing this while on duty and the sister just came for me to bring a woman to the Morgue and she was not cold when I lifted her off the stretcher on to the table. I have got used to it now but I did not like it for a start. I had a letter from you some time ago. It had been to nearly every port in NZ and covered with post marks. I had one from Ted the same day. Well I must say that things are very bad out here what with earthquakes and hard times the country is no good. Well I hope this will find you all well at home. I have no more to say at present so I will draw to a close with best love to all.

I remain your Loving Son and Bro, Bert

Recent research has revealed that Bertie married Lucy Ann née Bees in Watford in 1907 and within days of the wedding, he travelled with her (and her son George Edmund Webb from a former marriage) to Quebec in Canada. Nothing is yet known of his life in Canada or what happened to his wife and step-son. He reached Sydney in Australia by 1926, according to an intriguing manifest of the Oronsay of the Orient Steam Navigation line where his name was entered and then crossed through, with occupation recorded as seaman; evidently he intended to travel back to England but for some reason he did not make the journey. Poll records show that in 1928,  he lived in sailor’s homes in Waitemata and Auckland in New Zealand and in the 1930s he was a labourer in Buller and Greymouth; between 1946 and 1948 he lived at Old People’s Home in Greymouth. He died in 1951 at Hokitika.