John Pyne

John Pyne

b: 1774
d: 1853
From 'The James, Pyne, Dixon Family Book' - the Reminiscences of Edith Elizabeth Chaplin (nee Pyne), 1913:

"My grandfather, John Pyne, was born in the year 1774 at Wellington in Somersetshire, where his family had been settled for two generations. His father, also John Pyne, and also born at Wellington, is described as a maltster, in a little note left among some of my father's papers; and his grandfather, Nathaniel Pyne, is mentioned in the same note as a sergemaker.

I have seen in the Wellington church register the baptism of John Pyne and his two sisters, Betty and Mary, my great-aunts. A few scattered hints (about this generation) remain in my memory. One is of a little silver teaspoon with I & B engraved on it, which belonged to my Aunt Anne, and which she told me was the property of her grandparents, John and Betty Pyne, but neither of these grandparents figured in the early reminiscences of their grandchildren. My father once mentioned to me that his grandfather had owned some land at Wellington, a field called 'Potman's', which had 'gone to pot' through the unsteadiness of its owner. However that may be, this John Pyne the elder seems to have given his children a good education, and the two sisters remained living at Wellington and had charge of their brother's children when he went to Gibraltar. I believe Miss Betty, who died of cancer, must have died at Wellington, while Miss Mary accompanied her brother, when he moved the household from Wellington to Somerton, after his return from Gibraltar. My father once describing some condition of his childhood said they were 'very poor, but always reckoned as gentry'.

My grandfather was admitted as a solicitor in 1795, as 'John Pyne, Junior, of Wellington'. About the year 1806, he married Hannah, the only daughter of the Rev. Henry Rawlins, and settled at Martock in Somerset, where his six children were born. Five of these children lived to grow up; one, a boy called John, died in infancy.

The eldest son, my father, Henry, was born in 1809, on January 2nd. He was about seven years old when he lost his mother. He told me once he remembered crying himself to sleep every night after her death. There is a letter of John Pyne's in existence written to Elizabeth, his eldest child, and to Henry, jointly, on their mother's death; I do not think it is calculated to comfort a child or bring father and son together in a common grief. The stem creed of John Pyne was, I believe, accompanied by a certain rigidity of character, which separated him from his son in childhood. His wife must have been a woman of unusual charm and amiability, and much sympathy was felt for my grandfather at her early death from consumption, leaving behind her five children, the youngest almost an infant. An old letter, written when she was expecting to return from some seaside resort where she had gone in the vain quest for health, mentions this youngest child, with a hope that 'little Anne' may be able to run to meet her when she comes home. My father was devoted to her memory and talked of her to me up to the last years of his life.

About the time of her death, unfortunately, my grandfather's affairs fell into difficulties. When he was at Martock, he was starting some kind of small banking business in addition to his practice as a solicitor, investing the money entrusted to him by his clients in landed investments (possibly on mortgates), then considered by far the safest form of property. After the peace which followed the battle of Waterloo, land depreciated in value. When this sudden fall in the value of land occurred, John Pyne might have become bankrupt. His creditors, however, so thoroughly realized that he was not to blame, that he had no diffculty in coming to terms with them, giving up all his own money; and though there was not quite enough to repay his clients in full they were satisfied with what they received and the business was honourably wound up on both sides.

After the loss of wife and fortune - such as it was - John Pyne determined on a fresh start and left Somerset for Gibraltar in 1817 at the age of 43. He worked up a good business there as a solicitor, combining it with the profession of barrister; the two sides of the law could at that time be combined in one person, so far as the dependency of Gibraltar was concerned. There are old faded copies of the letters he took with him - letters of introduction to merchants and others at Gibraltar. I think his misfortunes had aroused much sympathy and he is constantly described as 'respectable' in the early meaning of that word; 'worthy of respect'. (One of these letters seems to have been given him by a Quaker friend; another, signed 'Poulett', is from Earl Poulett, of a Somersetshire family. Also there is one from Gore-Langton, and I fancy he was of the family of Bennet-Langton, Dr. Johnson's friend.) Armed with these introductions, he prospered at Gibraltar and began to make some money. The first use he seems to have made of his improved fortunes was to repay in full all his old creditors, although he was no longer legally - or, most people would have thought, morally - responsible for those cancelled debts. There exists a silver waiter presented to him by the solicitors of the country, with an inscription:*

Universally presented
the Attornies' Club of the County of Somerset
to their late member
As a small testimony of
their esteem and
Epiphany Sessions

My own first clear memory of John Pyne, my grandfather, was of his coming to visit us in Crescent Place when I was very little, probably in the summer of 1849. I remember I liked him well enough to wish to keep him, when the day came on which he was to leave us, and in the bustle of departure in the large front entrance hall, I contrived to hide away his walking stick. I was under the impression that he could not go out without it and would have to stop with us if I could deprive him of it. [*This is now in the possession of Rosamund Hodgson, dcscendant of Harriet Henvey, née Pyne]

At this time, he was living at Somerton with his unmarried daughter, my Aunt Anne, to keep house for him. I paid them a long visit in the late autumn of 1852, staying on till Easter time the following year. Later on, my mother told me I had stayed on so long as Aunt Anne had always begged her to let me stop each time she suggested my return, on the plea that my grandfather enjoyed having me with him. At the time of my visit, when I was seven years old and he was over eighty, my recollections of him are vague and childish and though I know he talked with me,I cannot remember anything he said; from which I gather he said nothing remarkable and fortunately spared me those searching questions about my soul, which 'serious' people used sometimes to put, to the confusion of the young.

He was then I believe at the beginning of his last illness though not very actively ill. He used to have his breakfast in bed, and after I had had mine with Aunt Anne, I used to go up to his room and sit with him for a while and read (a chapter, I think) out of the Bible to him. Also I recollect my taking up my needlework; it was the stitching of the wristband or cuff of a shirt, and I felt very grand and grown up at being given it to do, though I have a vague association of headache connected with it and the prophet Isaiah, whom I could read but not understand.

There was a sunny path paved with slabs of stone along the garden side of the house, up and down which he would walk on fair mornings, a picturesque figure, which I can still call up in my mind. He generally dined at our early dinner and shared the tea, which was brought into the pretty, old-fashioned drawing-room, where we spent the evening. I was left a good deal to myself, after the morning reading, till Aunt Anne took me out for a walk, generally going into the little town, and I still remember how the people used to stop Aunt Anne, and the sort of reverential tone in which they enquired 'How is Mr. Pyne today?'.

He was an Evangelical in his religious belief and a Tory in politics; the name 'Conservative' had not yet been invented, nor that of 'Anglo-Catholic'. At a period before my visit to Somerton, the Rector of the town had wished to introduce certain 'Popish emblems' into the parish church - a cross I believe, possibly candlesticks - on the communion table. (The word 'altar' was not generally used in those days.) My grandfather, who had no power to prevent the introduction of these emblems, yet felt it incumbent upon him to withhold his sanction from the idolatrous form of worship, in spite of his Tory principles and adherence to Church and State, quietly discontinued his hitherto regular attendance at the Sunday morning and evening services and withdrew to the Wesleyan chapel. The result of his action was quite unforeseen. Tall, dignified, whitehaired, though somewhat bald, with blue eyes, clear skin, a delicate aquiline profile, his presence was at once missed in church. It seems to have been a shock to the town when it became known that Mr. Pyne had been driven away from his parish church by the introduction of the 'Popish emblems', and was obliged to resort to the Wesleyans for public worship. Mr. qrne's defection was an extraordinary event, probably the more upsetting because he was a quiet man who avoided controversy, spoke the truth and was known to be of spotless integrity. The result was that, after a while, he was waited on by a deputation of the congregation to enquire whether he would return to church if the Popish emblems were removed. This he consented to do, the offending objects were taken away, and Mr. Pyne was once more to be seen at morning church. In gratitude, however, to the hospitality he had received from the Wesleyans, he continued to attend the evening service at the Wesleyan chapel till failing health put a stop to any form of public worship for him.

Another instance of the impression made by his personality was told me, years after his death, by an old school fellow and friend of my Aunt Anne. Once a countryman from a distance had been found wandering through the streets of the town, asking his way to the lawyer's house. He had heard that in Somerton there was 'an honest lawyer'!"
  • 1774 - Birth -
  • 1853 - Death - ; Somerton
  • 1795 - Fact -
  • 1817 - Fact -
  • 1832 - Fact -
  • BET 1832 AND 1853 - Fact -
John Pyne
1732 - 1810
John Pyne
1774 - 1853
Betty Webber
1736 - 1799
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) John Pyne
Marriageto Betty Webber
FatherNathaniel Pyne
PARENT (F) Betty Webber
Marriageto John Pyne
FatherJohn Webber
MJohn Pyne
Marriage1806to Hannah White Rawlins at Martock
MWilliam Pyne
FElizabeth Pyne
FMary Pyne
FSarah Pyne
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) John Pyne
Death1853 Somerton
Marriage1806to Hannah White Rawlins at Martock
FatherJohn Pyne
MotherBetty Webber
PARENT (F) Hannah White Rawlins
Marriage1806to John Pyne at Martock
FatherHenry W. Rawlins , Rev
MotherElizabeth White
MHenry Pyne
Birth2 JAN 1809
Death9 FEB 1885Woodchester, Gloucestershire
Marriage7 APR 1840to Harriet James at Old Church, St Pancras, London, England
FElizabeth Rawlins Pyne
Marriageto John Barney
MWilliam Pyne
FMary Pyne
Marriageto Frederick King
FAnne Pyne
Descendancy Chart
John Pyne b: 1774 d: 1853
Hannah White Rawlins b: 1785 d: 1817
Henry Pyne b: 2 JAN 1809 d: 9 FEB 1885
Harriet James b: 25 DEC 1819 d: 13 MAR 1895
Edith Elizabeth Pyne b: 28 SEP 1845 d: 1928
Ayrton Chaplin , Rev b: 19 OCT 1842 d: 1930
Ursula (Ulla) Chaplin , M.D. b: 30 NOV 1869 d: 1937
Adriana (Audrey) Chaplin b: 26 APR 1872 d: 15 DEC 1945
Ursula Joan Gregory b: 29 JUL 1896 d: 17 JUL 1959
Christopher John (Kit) Gregory b: 11 JUL 1900 d: 1977
Marion Eastty Black b: 3 MAY 1902 d: AUG 1998
Elizabeth Gregory b: 22 OCT 1933 d: 1938
Henry Ayrton Chaplin , L.R.C.P. & S. b: 21 AUG 1876 d: 2 JUL 1905
Mary Juliana Pyne b: 17 FEB 1841 d: 1927
Alice Pyne b: 21 OCT 1843 d: 1917
John Granville Grenfell b: 1839 d: 1937
Bernard Pyne Grenfell b: 16 DEC 1869 d: 1925
Edward Lionel Grenfell b: 9 MAY 1873 d: 20 SEP 1874
Helen Sophia Pyne b: 27 MAY 1844 d: 1931
Edward Frederick Grenfell b: 1841 d: 29 DEC 1870
Arthur Pascoe Grenfell b: 24 APR 1868 d: 25 NOV 1932
Harold Granville Grenfell b: DEC 1869 d: 29 FEB 1948
Allen Dowdeswell Graham b: 1837 d: 10 JUL 1905
Irene Marguerite Graham b: AUG 1881 d: JUL 1897
George Roland Graham b: 17 APR 1884 d: 17 MAR 1905
Helen Muriel Graham b: JUN 1880 d: 1916
Harriet Pyne b: 22 AUG 1847 d: 1929
Frederick Henvey , I.C.S b: 1842 d: 1913
Margaret Henvey , O B E b: 1868 d: 1946
Mary Isobel (Molly) Ramsay b: 29 JAN 1894 d: 1970
Victor Wellesley Roche , Col b: 1889 d: 1970
William Henvey b: 21 JUN 1867 d: 11 JAN 1904
Mary Duffield d: 1897
Frederick Charles Henvey b: 7 AUG 1870 d: 10 DEC 1891
Isabel Henvey b: 19 AUG 1872 d: 1925
Katherine Mary Henvey b: 19 MAR 1873 d: 1960
Ralph Henvey , Col b: 3 JAN 1875 d: 1945
Constance Pyne b: 2 APR 1851 d: 1929
Jervoise Athelstane Baines , K.C.S.I. b: 17 OCT 1847 d: 26 NOV 1925
Sylvia Baines b: 29 SEP 1875 d: 14 JUL 1941
Philip Edward Percival , ICS b: 11 NOV 1872 d: 1939
Alicia Constance Percival b: 13 MAY 1903
David Athelstane Percival b: 29 MAY 1906
Cuthbert Edward Baines b: 12 JUN 1879 d: 1959
Margaret Clemency Lane Poole b: 6 APR 1886 d: 1945
Anthony Cuthbert Baines b: 6 OCT 1912
Elizabeth Eularia Baines b: 4 MAY 1914 d: 1970
Cyril Clarke d: 1975
Elizabeth Rawlins Pyne b: 1807 d: 1883
William Pyne b: 1812 d: 1880
Mary Pyne b: 1813 d: 1865
William King d: 1880
Anne Pyne b: 1814 d: 1890