CHAPTER ONE Oxfordshire:- Origins of the Bonds

On November 13th 1856, the "Mary Ann" sailed from Plymouth for the Australian colonies. On board were some 290 passengers, just a tiny fraction of the estimated 700,000 who flocked to Victoria in the decade 1850-1860, the boom years of the goldfields.

Many of those who made the momentous decision to leave for the far distant new world were no doubt lured by tales of fabulous wealth, however probably over one third of the new arrivals had embarked upon the long journey for quite different reasons. They sought to escape the miserable and overcrowded conditions then existing in England, especially for the working classes in the industrialized cities, and looked to build a new life in new surroundings far from their ancient homeland. As well they were encouraged to take this step by a colonial government desperately seeking labour to work the large properties in place of the thousands who had deserted their jobs and joined the rush for gold. It is into this latter category that James Bond probably fitted. He was a 31 year-old labourer from Middlesex, who with his wife Elizabeth, sons James (8) and Charles (4) and infant daughter Martha embarked upon the "Mary Ann". 1

Modern genetic research can shed some light on our distant ancestry. My DNA test suggests that the Bonds probably came to England from northern Germany (in the region around modern day Bremen) as part of the Anglo-Saxon migration (or invasion) which took place in the 5th-6th centuries following the collapse of Roman Britain. This is supported by the belief that the name recorded variously as Bond, Bonde, Bonds, or other similar variations is considered to be of Anglo-Scandanavian pre 7th century origin. It was at first a status surname for a peasant farmer or husbandman, the derivation being from either the Old Norse-Viking word "bonde", or the Olde English and Anglo-Saxon word "buan", both meaning to dwell, but an alternative is from "bindan", meaning to bind.

More precise and detailed knowledge about the origins of James and Elizabeth in England is known. James was born in the historic town of Woodstock, Oxfordshire around 1825.2 Woodstock is a town associated with several English kings. Edward the Black Prince, a son of Edward III, was born there in 1330; Henry VIII often stayed there and hunted in the nearby Wychwood forest whilst his daughter Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) was confined there for some months during the reign of her half-sister Mary I. Blenheim Palace was built just outside the town in 1705 for John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, and it was here that a descendant, Winston Churchill, was later born in 1874. James' parents Richard and Jane were themselves both born in Woodstock. Richard was the fourth child of Thomas Bond and Elizabeth French and was baptized on Feb 6th 1784 whilst Jane, the ninth of the ten children of John and Ann Moss, was baptized at Woodstock on Sept 12th 1781 3

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Ancestry of Richard Bond the father of James Bond

Thomas and Elizabeth had been married in Woodstock on Oct 11th 1777 but both seem to have been born elsewhere. In the case of Thomas it was not very far away, as he was born in the neighbouring village of Begbroke on Jan 11th 1756, the second of the nine children of Thomas and Ruth Bond. A brief description of Begbroke at this time was given in a report of the curate H Wilbraham to the Bishop of Oxford in 1738:- "The Parish of Begbrook is near a mile in length and half a mile in breadth. It consists only of one Township of the same name in which are fifteen houses, eight whereof are poor cottages. There is not any family of note in it"(From the last comment it is obvious that the Bonds had not yet arrived in the town!)

In fact the Bond family would appear to have moved into the district sometime between 1745 and 1753, the latter date being when Elizabeth, the first born of Thomas and Ruth, was baptized. That they were not living in Begbroke before 1745 can be ascertained from the fact that the name does not appear in any parish records before this and also from the distribution of the legacy of one Benjamin Sweete who had previously bought Begbroke House (now St Philip's Servite Priory) in 1718. Upon his death in 1744 he left the sum of ten pounds to be distributed among the agricultural poor of Begbroke. A detailed account of the disposal of this legacy includes no mention of any Bonds.

When Benjamin Sweete died in 1744, he left Begbroke House and the adjoining farmland to Catherine and Ann Fulford, the daughters of his cousin Francis Fulford. Catherine Fulford was almost nine years old at the time and Ann Fulford almost two. They lived with their parents near Exeter in Devon. The estate was administered by trustees. One of the stipulations made by Benjamin Sweete was that the estate was not to be sold until the youngest daughter came of age. Some time after this, Thomas Walker the Town Clerk of Oxford rented the house and farmland. Eventually he bought it. Most likely he commenced renting the property shortly after his marriage in 1752. As he was an attorney, house and estate agent, and also a lawyer to Oxford University, he would not have had much time for farming and would have needed someone to work the land. It is therefore possible that he was the person who brought Thomas Bond to Begbroke. 4

Once having arrived at Begbroke Thomas and Ruth Bond were to live out the remainder of their lives in the area. Ruth died a few months after the birth of her ninth child and was buried at Begbroke on Jan 16th 1775. Thomas was buried at Begbroke on June 22nd 1782. 5

As mentioned previously Thomas Bond Jr was married at Woodstock, a somewhat larger town just two miles to the north of Begbroke. It is interesting to note that the Thomas Walker already mentioned became town clerk for Woodstock in 1764, and also acted as auditor for the Duke of Marlborough to whom he eventually sold Begbroke House with its adjoining farmland in 1788. Perhaps Thomas was able to obtain employment at Blenheim Palace through him in view of the possible connection between Walker and the older Thomas referred to above. However apart from the christening of his six children in Woodstock nothing further is known of the younger Thomas Bond until the recording of his burial at Woodstock on May 5th 1798, at the comparatively young age of 42 years. Elizabeth followed her husband to the grave almost exactly two years later, on May 2nd 1800, but no age is recorded in her case. As there is no reference to any other members of the French family in the Woodstock or Begbroke registers it would seem likely that they were not native to the district.

Possibly Elizabeth French was the sixth child of Thomas French and Sarah Frankling (or Franklin) who was christened at the nearby village of Deddington on 19th Feb 1747. Thomas and Sarah had themselves been married at Charlbury on 17th Feb 1734. Possibly Thomas came from Tyso in Warwickshire just across the nearby county border from Deddington. Sarah in turn was the daughter of Roger Franklin and Elizabeth Whale (or Weale) who were married in Charlbury in 1704. Elizabeth Whale was the fifth child of Parmey Weale and was christened on 10th Sep 1676. She was buried on 19th Aug 1763. 6

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Ancestry of Jane Moss the mother of James Bond

Richard Bond and Jane Moss were married at Woodstock on June 3rd 1803. Jane's father John Moss was a native of Charlbury in Oxfordshire, having been baptized there on April 14th 1745. His father, John Moss was also from Charlbury and after his marriage on May 18th 1732 to Hannah Upston at Shipton-under-Wychwood, settled at the nearby village of Ascott-under-Wychwood where the couple's first two children were baptized. Hannah Upston was born at Sarsden in Oxfordshire, the third child of Edward Upston and Martha Watkins who had themselves been married at Sarsden in 1703. The origins of Edward Upston were in the neighbouring county of Northamptonshire. He was born in the town of Kings Sutton in 1670 the second of the four known children of Ladwick Upston amd Alice Baker. Between March 1733 and December of the following year John and Hannah Moss returned to Charlbury where a further four children were born. Both John and Hannah were eventually buried in Charlbury, John on Nov 3rd 1760 and Hannah on Oct 15th 1773. Between these two dates their youngest child, John had married. His bride was Ann Leech, whom he married on July 5th 1766 at Charlbury. It was also at Charlbury that the first six children of the couple were subsequently born. Some time around 1777 the family appears to have moved to Woodstock where a further four children were born. Tragically six of the couple's children did not live beyond seven years of age; four of them being buried at Charlbury and two at Woodstock. Ann was herself buried at Woodstock on Dec 29th 1800. No record of her husband's death has yet been found.7

Charlbury, Oxfordshire

The baptisms of five of the children of Richard and Jane Bond are recorded in the Woodstock registers: Mary-Ann (Jan 10th 1806), Elizabeth (Oct 18th 1807), Thomas (Jan 29th 1809), Elizabeth (June 2nd 1815) and Sarah (Aug 25th 1821). The gaps between Thomas and Elizabeth and between Elizabeth and Sarah suggest that there were other children. Perhaps the family had moved several times or perhaps they were baptized (along with James) in a neighbouring parish. Richard's occupation in 1815 is given as "carter", in 1821 it was recorded as "labourer". James appears unlikely to have received much, if any, formal education - the usual situation at that time, and when he came to Australia could read but not write. 8

It is not known exactly when James left Oxfordshire and moved closer to London, but possibly it was part of the huge migration from the rural areas of England to the cities as the effects of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions began to be felt. The census of 1841 records a Richard and Jane Bond living at 'Brook's Banks', Willesden with their 15 year old son, James, which could indicate Richard may have even relocated his family from Oxfordshire while James was a young child. 9

On Sept 5th 1847, James married Elizabeth Smith at St Mary's Paddington. 10 Elizabeth too was of working class origin. Her father James Smith was a labourer but nothing is known of her mother except that she gave birth to Elizabeth on Dec 2nd 1825 11 at Kingsbury (now a northern suburb of London but at the time a rural village in Middlesex). Elizabeth learned to both read and write. 12 She gave birth to five children in England; James, the first born, at Willesden in 1848 13; Martha in 1850 and who unfortunately died of pneumonia just three weeks later on August 24th, (the address of the family at this time was 8 Chapel Row in Willesden); then a second son, Henry also died in infancy (perhaps it was this second tragedy that convinced James and Elizabeth of the need to migrate) before Charles Henry Bond was born at Willesden on Oct 26th 1852. 14 Finally another daughter, Martha, was born on Aug 3rd 1856 shortly before the family left England. 15

James was listed as the head of the household in the house at 128 Chapel Row, Willesden on the night of March 30th 1851 when the next census was taken. Richard then aged 70 years and Jane 72 years were described as lodgers in the house occupied by James Bond aged 25, Elizabeth (24) and their son James (2). 16 Perhaps Richard was still the owner of the house, because he and Jane seem to have continued to live there after the departure of James and his family for Australia. This is suggested by the fact that the death of Jane took place at Chapel Place, Willesden on 22nd March 1860. She was 81 years old and the cause of death was recorded as chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. Richard was described as an agricultural labourer. At some time after his wife's death Richard moved to the local workhouse at Edgware, presumably because of his age and possible infirmity and because there were no family members in a position to care for him. It was here that he died on 25 Jan1865. 17

The voyage of the "Mary Ann lasted 76 days. Fortunately the journey by this time was far less of an ordeal than even ten years previously. The ships on the whole were much larger, the food was of a much better quality, and varied, and each passenger had an individual curtained cubicle by way of accommodation. A doctor providing free service accompanied each ship. On a typical voyage three meals were served each day commencing with a light breakfast at 8 am and more substantial meals at 1pm and 6 pm. During the day the passengers had the freedom of the lower deck but all had to return to their sleeping quarters at night with lights out being at 10 pm. 18

Thus it was that a new chapter in the life of James and Elizabeth and their young family began at Portland in south-western Victoria when the "Mary Ann" finally berthed on Jan 28th 1857 after a journey that had brought them half way round the globe. 19

Church and graveyard at Charlbury

GO TO CHAPTER ONE FOOTNOTES

GO TO CHAPTER TWO

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