Genealogy and family history - so far - Lander, Ashton and Williams connections

GJL'sHomepage Gallery updated May 2008

Richard & Jane Lander - Emigration to NZ Sesqui- Reunion 1841-1991

The sesqui-centenary of our forebears held in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1991 is still bearing fruit. There is a printed genealogy of all the descendants of the eight children of these two - John Richard, Thomas, Eliza Jane Ashton, Fanny Ashton, George, Charles, Emily, William - (some lines now with no issue) A copy of this ought soon (fifteen years late) to be lodged in the Taranaki Museum in New Plymouth where there is material collated in 1940 for the city's centenary. Some money remains which may well provide a headstone and plaque marking their graves in Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, perhaps on the 175th anniversary of their arrival.

These are all very interesting developments in a family which has fractured to bits over the last 150 years in New Zealand. Discovering living kin is exhausting.... and of late ( 2003) a new, very alive and successful "illegitimate" relative has emerged, causing many skeletons to rattle 72 years later! And lies to be exposed. This genteel family, I suspect like many a pioneer family, has had an underbelly history of violence, beginning with the trauma of displacement and settlement (yet to be explored by scholars), greed, arrogance, stupidity and even frontier lawlessness.

Too many, sadly, have been unable to cope with truth and would rather run away and habitually tell lies for their own comfort. The problem for them is that Truth WILL emerge after about 50-70 years.... too late for amends. But the aged can sing like birds - so happily. Connie's "appendicitis"(1931) was a lie. What of Winifred Williams "appendicitis" 1915 at 12 years of age? Both memorialised in the same little Meremere church. And the arrogant Williams family ignoring the gifts of other parishioners

As Early Settlers they came to a country without a Constitution and established Government for many years. A parliament of sorts met occasionally in Auckland, and achieved nothing. No finance was forthcoming from the UK to support infrastructure. Rough Government came from NSW. So settlers lived and died in isolated localities and where necessary took the law into their own hands, thus setting up blood feuds, and internal violences that lasted generations.

Richard Lander found it necessary to take a private 'criminal' prosecution through the new High Court in New Plymouth c1851. The first case heard. Rape was a Tort then, not a crime, a civil abuse of another man's property. The Crown was not interested in action against the Militia who had assaulted Mary Ashton. Thus started the family disregard for the Police, and a sense of being "above" the Law, certainly in Thomas's line, denial and silence being imperative for the next 150 years !

Richard and Jane Lander - plus mother-in-law Mary Ashton, aged 50, and four children, John Richard, Thomas, Fanny and Eliza Jane, came to NZ from Great Torrington, north Devon in 1841 on the sailing ship "Oriental" from Plymouth UK and were a founding family in the city of New Plymouth, Taranaki. They have now 600 or so descendants in New Zealand, and there is a database of about 300 living kin. They had a further four children in NZ - Charles having a line of descendants continuing in the South Island. The family tree is completed from 1841 to 1991. There are some additions and deletions since then of course. The family tree from 1841 back to 1700 has also been done for both the Lander and Ashton lines.

The families on the "Oriental" intermarried and contact was maintained amongst this group for at least one hundred years. (The Pattersons, Landers, Williams, Lysaghts anyway) Fanny Lander married into the Hellier family, (also on the "Oriental") and of particular interest Ida Constance Williams, daughter of William Williams III from Wales, married John Lander, grandson of Richard, and son of Thomas.

William Williams I - III William Williams I was apparently the youngest son of a Welsh Lord, who married a servant girl, (a little short girl first seen in the snow) Mary Griffith/s, against his family's wishes and eventually decided to emigrate to NZ from Cardiff (or thereabouts) courtesy of the New Zealand Company. He died of TB soon after arrival at Wellington leaving a young wife and children to fend for themselves at the far ends of the earth in early pioneer times.

The family history has been researched and a history published by the late Karen Williams "Williams and Sons -A Century of Pioneering in NZ - 1841-1939" (In my opinion an uncritical work - less a history than a biased collection of hearsay - but an account of a pioneer family nevertheless.)  .... next column


William Willams I is said to have won the poetry prize one time at the Eisteddfod. Some of his englynion are contained in the family Bible. (Awful poetry quoted -in my opinion! But I gather Welsh is difficult to translate) To this day an arrogant and conceited line of my family, (can't see why) in perpetual competition with the Landers.

More Info on the Truro explorers HERE

Note - there is no BDM information on any of these pages about the LIVING. Such information is out of place in such a public forum - stolen identities and such....

58 years late marking the grave of three day old David Lander (buried 15 March 1947).
His grave has remained unmarked all these years. Such is denial. "All is well and all manner of things shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)


Richard and John Lander, the Truro Explorers of the River Niger in 1830s
There is an oral tradition which has persisted for 160 in our family about these two who were part of the exploration of the River Niger being part of the NZ Lander family which comes originally from Cornwall - where Landers are like Williams in Wales! Everywhere! We have family tree of these going back to Anne Penrose and John Lander, who ran a smuggling pub "The Fighting Cocks" in Truro, Cornwall... ( Lan, Tre, Pol, Pen begin the names of worthy Cornishmen) A new development in this to watch.

I will be posting more info that has developed out of Professor Raewyn Dalziel's paper on the connections of migrants from SW England. And lately a descendant of the Truro family has made contact from Ontario, courtesy of the Lander Art Gallery in Lemon St, Truro.

Meantime see the special Truro page now - HERE

And in the CORNISH CONNECTION - have a look at this site where there is lots of information about Cornish names. "Lander" is an old Celtic name with a meaning related to churchyards!!!! ('Bally', of course, to the Manx means "house" and Manx is a Celtic language.)


Some every silly ideas abound in discussion forums. Some insist a German connection. Quite simply, it is a very old Cornish family name. Cornish is no longer spoken. Is there an Old Cornish /Celtic dictionary somewhere ? The meaning will only be available there.

LANDER & ASHTON - FAMILY USA Connection. Many towns on the north east coast of USA bear the names of those of South West England (e.g Taunton, Tiverton, Bideford, Torrington) Our family also had connections in Bideford and Torrington. It would be interesting to learn of any of our earlier forebears from Devon or Cornwall who emigrated to the New World. Sarah's records back to 1693 could prove useful. (email me below)

August 2002 (Five years after upload) The above has got a result. Issue of the Ashtons line emigrated to USA - as early settlers in Chicago. I have a verified remote cousin, Ian, a descendant of these living in Toronto. And there is another possibly on Ottawa

St Michael and All Angels, Torrington, where both Lander and Ashton families had a long association. Our Richard and Jane were married there, and children confirmed. They apparently lived next door to the rectory before emigration to NZ..


(Courtesy of Don Jacobs, genealogist)

The church interior is typical waggon roofing of Devonshire. It has a Father Willis organ (similar in size and design to that in St Matthew in the City, Auckland - HERE) The church is very similar to St Mary's New Plymouth (now pro cathedral for Taranaki) , which Richard & Jane would have been involved in building, with wide aisles either side of the nave. Richard and Jane were founding parishioners in New Plymouth and are on the parish roll of the day, including a census of males in 1851.
Ashtons are buried here. - cousins of Richard and Jane, who lived nearby. The rectory is in Calf St near where they lived.

This is the link to the Great Torrington parish website - an Anglican "High" church for centuries, numbering Cardinal Wolsey among its former Rectors. The parish has daughter churches at Little Torrington and other localities, some dating fron Saxon times.ís,%20Torrington

Quarter Sessions Court hearings

I suspect the pre-1700 data has yet to be loaded. These are not proven kin, but some may well be. Some may be closer kin of the Truro family. They are located in the right place. Lander / Launder are clearly interchangeable in some cases. (cf Theodora below) Thick West Country accent.

SOME OF THIS IS HEARTBREAKING TO READ - 18th CENTURY GROSSNESS. Some needlessly vindictive sentences from dreadful judges. Applying the law of the day, or indulging sadism?

1742 at Lostwithiel - Theft of goods of Richard Lander - Wm Parson got public whipping.

1743 at Lostwithiel George Row (Master) and John Mathews (Mariner) of ship "George and Ann", of Padstow (on north coast north of Lostwithiel/Bodmin) testify to loss of frieght of salt duty paid in bad weather on voyage from Bristol to Padstow Shipped by Farley on account of Richard Lander. (merchant?)

1758 - Lostwithiel session - Richard Launder in jury - (all gents)

Jan 1765 Session at Lostwithiel James Lander of Penzance labourer. No mention why but... April 1765 Writ of Certiorari to higher court. James Lander amongst others under surety of William Hartridge of Truro Merchant, and Thos Clutterbuck of Marazion (very south near Penzance) gent. No mention why... must have been serious charge ?smuggling ?brawling

1774 - at Truro - William Launder of Redruth confessed to misdemeanour - fine 1d

1775 At Lostwithiel session Charles Lander in jury list (thank heaven some one has behave, but wait, is he below?))

Truro 1776 Wm Merrett Theft from James Lander of shoes value 8d - one month bridewell and public whipping... (for a pair of shoes?)

1787 Lostwithiel, Charles Launder guilty theft - one month hard labour for 6d (same as above?)

1790 at Lostwithiel Theft from Simon Lander

1794 at Lostwithiel William Lander of Redruth (in south hills) tinner prosecuting for assault

1795 Bodmin session William Launder of Redruth, tinner, and Richard Angove serious theft of tin stuff from Sir John St Aubyn - 2 years hard labour, public whipping till backs are bloody in Bodmin, at beginning and end of sentence. (. Vindictive because case brought by a notable)

1807 - Truro sesssion Sarah Lander single of Penrhyn - Female child born to alleged father Wm Cock of Penhryn

1819 at Truro session- John Atkyns of Helston, guilty - theft of James Lander's shoes - two months hard labour in Bodmin (see mention James at Helston onTruro page) ( James Lander - ex Truro would have been 17 then at Helston)

1826-28 At Bodmin and Truro - Theodora Lander (+ Theodora Launder) four times before court for being incorrigible rogue, prostitute, vagrant and night-walker To bridewell variously for three months / or discharged. Get the picture they gave up trying. What happened to her then? Dead with pox? God help her. Say a late prayer.

1829 At Truro, John Launder of Helston parish discharged by court. (Is this kin of truro Landers? No, wnmg dates)

1829 At Truro - Edward Lander of St Neot Lab guilty of stealing sycamore pole - one month hard labour Bodmin.

1834 Session at Truro - Henry Lander of St Issey (can't find yet), labourer guilty of stealing ass from Charlotte Drew - 12 months hard labour in Bodmin. ...then ....

1835 Session at Bodmin - at Gaol? 165 cases of illness. Henry Lander died of consumption in gaol, AND William May, who was ill on admission as debtor (see the headstone photo from Torrington and Sarah's sheet - has Day as surname) Headstone notes William Morris May as son in law of Ashtons - died 1837 aged 40

1834 Session at Truro, Mary Lander single of Illogan - male child born

OTHER Some wills of Richard Lander, Devon 1828,52 Elizabeth Lander of Plymouth (Too early for our kin to making wills in Devon b 1833, 1812)

1844 Apprenticeships John Lander to Faby Dymond 1754, William Lander 10yrs to William Blight 1835

Feofees (old land conveyance method) Re William Bartlett 1802 In Kingsteighnton with wife 3 kids in Chudleigh. Born Parkham, apprenticed at 14 to James Lander of St Martin Cornwall, who died 3 yrs later, and Wm went tp Hartland for work.... etc (Three regions relevant) (Interesting for the range of travel - Parkham-Cornwall-Hartland while wife at south coast of Devon)

There are a lot of Equity court hearings involving Lander re wills - most in Staffordshire 1600s

A hard world. No wonder they emigrated!