Hewitt Family Photos

My new found cousin Olivia has kindly provided some photos of the Hewitt branch of the family to share with everyone.  There are three generations centering on my gg-grandfather Walter Augustus Hewitt:

  • his parents, uncle and mother-in-law
  • one of his brothers, a sister-in-law, Walter’s wife and her sisters’ families
  • his children

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of Walter.  To help put them in context (as well as I can) here is a Hewitt family tree which shows how most of the people here relate to each other (click on it to see it bigger, use ctrl + to make it readable):

Hewitt Family Tree

First Generation

Frederick Hewitt (1793-1883)

The beard growing continues to this day! There are allegedly also some portraits of Frederick, his wife Elizabeth (below) and Frederick’s maternal grandfather William Hughes.  Frederick left these to his son Arthur Turner Hewitt, but I’m not currently in contact with any of his descendents to see if they still exist.

Photo of Frederick Hewitt

Elizabeth Turner Mrs F Hewitt (c1800-1874)

Photo of Elizabeth Turner Mrs Hewitt

Susanna Birch Mrs Jonathan Muckleston Key (1807-1872)

Mother of Mary Sophia Key, Walter’s wife.

Photo of Susanna Birch Mrs Key

William Hughes Hughes (1792-1874)

Walter’s uncle William took his maternal grandfather’s surname as a condition of William Hughes’ will.  He was a Member of Parliament. Photo of William Hughes Hughes

Second Generation

Albert Spencer Hewitt (1837-1921)

The elder of Walter’s two younger brothers.

Photo of Albert Spencer Hewitt Photo of Albert Spencer Hewitt

Louisa Whitmore Mrs Stanley Hughes Hewitt (c1850-aft 1913)

Wife of Walter’s youngest brother, Louisa was the mother of Frederick Whitmore Hewitt, an army chaplain killed in 1915. See Ben Makin’s comment and link below about a visit by her grandfather to Louisa, Frederick’s wife and daughter in 1913.

Photo of Louisa Whitmore Mrs Hughes Hewitt

Mary Sophia Key Mrs WA Hewitt

Walter’s wife and my gg-grandmother, daughter of Jonathan Muckleston Key and Susanna Birch (see above).

Photo of Mary Sophia Key Mrs Hewitt Photo of Mary Sophia Key Mrs Hewitt

Susanna Key Mrs Charles Harvey (1834-?)

One of Mary Sophia Key’s younger sisters – you can tell. Photo of Susannah Key Mrs Harvey

The Harvey Family

Susanna’s husband Charles Harvey and their children Amy Susanna Harvey Mrs Arnold Pittis (1862-1959) and Ralph Key Harvey (1866-1948). charles harveyamy harvey mrs pittisPhoto of Ralph Key Harvey

Susanna’s sister Mary Alice Key married Edward Harvey (Charles’ brother?) and had a son Edward Key Harvey (1867-1921):

Photo of Edward Key Harvey

Third Generation – Walter Augustus and Mary Sophia’s children

Thomas Hughes Hewitt (1864-1946)

My g-grandfather – a younger and older view.

Photo of Thomas Hughes Hewitt Photo of Thomas Hughes Hewitt

Reginald Key Hewitt (1868-1945)

After the premature death of his first wife, Reginald moved to South Africa.  He had two children with his first wife Alice:  Doris Kathleen and Reginald Charles and a second daughter Marion Mrs Martin with his second wife. Photo of Reginald Key Hewitt

Elsie Maud Hewitt (1870-?)

Married to John Carpenter Turner in 1892 – a late Victorian wedding. Photo of Elsie Maud Hewitt Mrs Turner Photo of Elsie Maud Hewitt Mrs Turner

Sophia Beatrice Hewitt (1872-1960)

Sophia never married.

Photo of Sophie Beatrice Hewitt Photo of Sophie Beatrice Hewitt

Constance Ada Hewitt (1874-1952)

Constance married John F Newton in 1913 (aged around 39).  I’m unsure if they had any children.

Photo of Constance Ada Hewitt Photo of Constance Ada Hewitt

Kathleen Emily Hewitt (1875-1956)

Kathleen moved to South Africa and there married Francis Ernest Tonks in 1915 (aged around 40).  They had no children.

Photo of Kathleen Emily Hewitt Photo of Kathleen Emily Hewitt


Where’d the money go?

Updated: 10 January 2013

A large number of my recent ancestors were peasants, but many were upper-middle class/lower-upper class.  I think we’ve come out nicely in the middle – middle class.  So while the peasants have gone up in the world, we’ve obviously slipped on the rich side of the family!

I’ve been brought up to believe that talking about money is vulgar, but everyone who finds a rich ancestor must wonder – where’d the money go?  So here’s my attempt to explain using the example of my 3x g-grandfather Jonathan Muckleston Key (brother of the other John Key).

JMK died in 1888 worth £86,891 13s 5d:

Which is not too shabby an amount now!  But using the conversions found at Measuring Worth.com it comes out as:

£   7,550,000.00 using the retail price index
£   9,460,000.00 using the GDP deflator
£ 36,600,000.00 using the average earnings
£ 56,400,000.00 using the per capita GDP
£ 95,100,000.00 using the share of GDP

(See the website to see what each one means)

Where did all this money come from?  Inheritance for the most part.  Having a rich godfather as well always helps.  In the 1871 census under occupation it notes that he had income from “houses, dividends and interest of money”.  JMK also had a job – Commissioner of the Lieutenant of London.  This was an honorary position which probably came from having money rather than to make some!

So where did the money go?

I recently acquired a copy of JMK’s will.  It’s TEN pages of closely written spider sprawl.  Needless to say I tuned out pretty quickly.  However, the gist of the will is that his 5 children alive when he died – all daughters – inherited a fifth each, in trust.  This is confirmed in his daughter Mary Sophia’s will as she inherited one fifth of her father’s “residuary estate” (ie after all debts, taxes and administrative expenses have been paid) – in trust.  So around £17,000 (still millions in today’s terms).

JMK’s daughter Mary Sophia Key married Walter Augustus Hewitt in 1861.  There was a large marriage settlement which under the law of the day would have been the property of Walter with various legal provisions on the death of either party.  However, JMK died after the enactment of the Married Women’s Property Act 1882 so any inheritance would not have automatically gone to Mary Sophia’s husband.  As Walter predeceased his father-in-law by eight months, his wife had control of both her marriage settlement and her inheritance.

Mary Sophia Mrs Hewitt died only 3 years after her father.  Her estate was valued at £2,601 15s 10d – significantly less than her father’s!

This equates to:

£    221,000.00 using the retail price index
£    280,000.00 using the GDP deflator
£ 1,020,000.00 using the average earnings
£ 1,660,000.00 using the per capita GDP
£ 2,700,000.00 using the share of GDP

How much can a widow spend in three years??? Well, reading through the legalese of her will, you get the impression that her estate does not include two valuable items – the Indenture settlement made on her marriage and the trust containing her inheritance from her father.  But that’s still a lot of silver and linen!

Mary Sophia had 8 children – 4 of each.  Her will leaves everything pretty evenly split between them although the girls got to split all the plate, linen and other personal effects between them – provided they reached 21 (the youngest was 16 at her death).

In an 1891 codicil, Mary Sophia says she has recently advanced her son Thomas Hughes Hewitt (my g-grandfather) £400 and if he doesn’t present her with whatever is owing from that amount at her death he doesn’t get any of his grandfather’s JMK’s estate.  Which was worth considerably more!  A good incentive?

My g-grandfather Thomas Hughes Hewitt (from the documentation I’ve found so far) had a pretty normal life for someone of his position in society.  He went to school and then worked as an insurance underwriter.  He got married aged 22 to Florence Marion Venn and had three sons.  But when he died in 1946, his estate was worth £492 18s 9d (between £16k and £72k).  Given he inherited around £5k from his father and probably at least a matching amount from his mother and grandfather (assuming he paid her back), where did it all go????

A hint comes from the Edinburgh Gazette of February 21, 1908:

From the London Gazette

Receiving Orders

Thomas Hughes Hewitt, lately residing at Audley, Woodridings Avenue, Pinner, Middlesex, but whose present residence the petitioner is unable to ascertain.

Bankrupt and possibly absconding?!  This might explain why in the 1901 Census THH’s wife and children are living in Ratby, Leics (???) and he’s nowhere to be found!

How did he go bankrupt?  Perhaps he didn’t pay his mother back…

His granddaughter Elizabeth had this to say, “My Father was a very gentle man, he came from wealthy, well-educated parents, but his father (THH) was foolish.  He was in Lloyd’s, and instead of putting back profits to cover insurance claims, he withdrew his money and eventually retired from Lloyd’s.”

Lloyd’s of London is “the world’s specialist insurance market” made up of syndicates of people who insure pretty much anything (not far off gambling IMO).  But not having enough money available to pay insurance claims is a sure way to go bankrupt.  And in 1906 there was an earthquake in San Francisco where Lloyd’s members were ordered to “pay all of our policy holders in full irrespective of the terms of their policies” (there are probably a few people in Christchurch who wish their insurers were as generous!!).

On his death, THH left the princely sum of £50 to his middle son (my grandfather), his hanging wardrobe to his sister Beatrice and, apart from some other bequests, the rest to be split between his two other sons.  He obviously didn’t approve of my grandfather’s decision to immigrate to New Zealand!

On the up side, my Dad says that the £50 was enough for my grandparents to buy out my Gran’s brother and sister’s share of their parents house.  Given that the £50 has a current worth of between £1,620 and £7,320, houses have gone up a lot since then!  So future estates will be worth more than some previous ones!

So in summary, to end up as rich as your rich ancestor you need to be the following:

  • the descendent of lots of only children
  • nice to your mother
  • not a gambler
  • nice to your father
  • know that property can be a good investment over time

GG-Grandparents – Paternal Side

Updated: 30 March 2016

My father’s side is where the majority of the scandals are.  I suspect this is not because they were any more scandalous, but because they were more affluent and things got written down!

General note: children with a ‘+’ are known to have descendents, those with a ‘-‘ are known not to.  If there is neither, then I don’t know.

Please post a comment if you have further information or if there are any errors.  Child(ren) in caps are my ancestors.  Further posts with more information on each will follow in due course.


b. 30 Apr 1831 in Clapham, Surrey, England to Frederick Hewitt (1793-1883), son of John Hewitt and Clapham Brewery Owner , and Elizabeth Turner (1800-1874)

d. 15 Feb 1888 in Surbiton-hill, Surrey, England

m. 28 Aug 1861 in St Matthew’s Church, Brixton, London, England


b. c. May 1831 to Jonathan Muckleston Key (1806-1888) and Susanna Birch (1807-1872)

Mary’s uncle was the Other John Key

d. 28 Dec 1891 in Surbiton-hill, Surrey, England


+ Charles Augustus Hewitt


+ Walter Ernest Hewitt

+ Reginald Key Hewitt

+ Elsie Maud Hewitt

– Sophie Beatrice Hewitt

? Constance Ada Hewitt

– Kathleen Emily Hewitt

A Hewitt cousin has provided some photos of the Hewitt family and their Key connections.


b. 10 Jul 1838 in London, England to William Webb Venn (snr) (1810-1894) and Jane Wilson (c1807-1884)

d. 12 Apr 1896 in Greenwich, London, England

m. 07 Jan 1858 in St Mark’s, Clerkenwell, London, England

divorced 16 Nov 1869


b. 16 Jun 1837 in Tottenham, Middlesex, England to John Keeling (1796-1884) and Maria Howard (1800-1880)

d. 16 Sep 1915 in Axbridge, Somerset, England

m. (2) 1869 William Frederick Ebbs (c1836-1880) in New Zealand and had two further children Charles Frederick Ebbs (1870-1908) and Alice Emily Ebbs (1872-?)

(3) 1886 William Henry Phillips in Lancashire, England



+ William Eustace Venn

– Ethel Mary Venn


b. 17 Feb 1850 in Bermondsey, London, England to John Nicholls (1802-1890) and Elizabeth Ludwell (1803-1873)

d. 28 Feb 1924 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia

m. 07 Jun 1869 at Parish Church, Parish of Woolwich, Kent, England

abandoned by wife in late 1876 in Melbourne, Australia


b. 05 Oct 1849 in Middleton, Norfolk, England to Robert Buxton (1822-1884) and Frances Maw (or Man or Shaw???) (1823-aft 1881)

d. 20 Apr 1925 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

immigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1875 on Samuel Plimsoll as assisted immigrants

Rose immigrated to NZ, via Tasmania, with her children and James’ brother Alfred – they never married (links to my half-cousin Ruth’s blog on this).  NZ records give the impression that all the children were Alfred’s.

Children of James and Rose:

+ John Robert Nicholls

+ Louisa Elizabeth Nicholls


Children of Alfred and Rose:

+ Ethel Nicholls

– Dora Nicholls

– Harold Nicholls

– Gareth Nicholls

+ Aldyth Nicholls

– Son Nicholls


b. 1839 in Fermoy, Ireland to Denis O’Callaghan (1787-1867) (see Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry for his lineage) and Sarah Pyne (1804-1881) daughter of Arthur Pyne

immigrated 1861 to Christchurch, NZ on the Chrysolite – Chief Cabin with brother Thomas Robert O’Callaghan

d. 20 Jun 1895 in Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand

m. 18 Apr 1872 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand


b. 03 Feb 1853 in Lyttleton, Canterbury, New Zealand to Charles Baker (1806-11 – 1868) and Emma King (1810-1889) who came to NZ on the Duke of Bronte in 1851 – the 8th ship into Canterbury

d. 21 Nov 1932 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand


– May O’Callaghan

– Dora Sarah O’Callaghan


+ Edith Emma O’Callaghan

+ Thomas Robert O’Callaghan

+ Jasper Warner O’Callaghan

– Gerald Charles O’Callaghan

– Gordon Harcourt O’Callaghan

+ William Bell O’Callaghan

The Other John Key

As it’s  election year here in New Zealand, I thought it might be interesting to tell the story of the other John Key – my 3rd great grand uncle.  This is a story of research and proof that there’s nothing new under the sun!  No similarity to persons living is intended!!  And as far as I’m aware, there is no relationship between either JK.

Fairly early on in my family research I discovered that the uncle of my gg-grandmother Mary Sophia Key had been a Lord Mayor of London – Sir John Key, Bt; brother of my ggg-grandfather Jonathan Muckleston Key.  It helped immensely that he was a ‘Bt’ as the Key family lineage was to be found in various Baronetcy books.  My research into Sir John was limited to these and biographies such as the one found on www.london-city-history.org.uk :

Key, Sir John (1794-1858)

wholesale stationer and reformer was one of the lasts links to City radicalism. Born 16 August, the eldest son of John Key of Denmark Hill, he joined his fathers business in 1818. Originally located at 30 Abchurch Lane as John Key and Sons they moved finally to 97 and 103 Newgate Street. He married Charlotte Green and they had one son and three daughters.

No stranger to the City’s streets, he became an Alderman for Langbourn ward in 1823 and for Bridge Street Without in 1851. He formally retired just two years later, by which time he could look back to an illustrious career in City politics. In 1824 he was Sheriff for London and Middlesex, Master of the Stationers’ Company and in 1830 and 1831, Lord Mayor. Famously, during his second Mayoralty, he advised William 1V and Queen Adelaide not to attend the opening of the new London Bridge fearing violence against the Duke of Wellington and for this decision became the target of popular satire. He went on to be presented with a Baronet at the end of his term of office by the King and was elected to parliament to represent the City between 1832 and 1833, when he finally accepted the Chilton Hundreds. Demonstrating his reformist credentials, he supported the abolition of slavery, the repeal of part of the assessed taxes, abrogation of the Corn Laws, the adoption of triennial parliaments and the vote by ballot. Earlier he had expressed enthusiasm for the extension of the franchise. His most arduous test came, however, when he fought Benjamin Scott for the post of City Chamberlain in 1853. In a bitterly contested election, Key finally won through polling 6,095 and beating his rival by just 275 votes. When he died after suffering for some days with gout on 15 July 1858, Scott succeeded him to that prized office.

A fairly straight-forward life really.  Nothing particularly interesting in it at all – another politician uncle (there are others in my tree).

Thus I moved onto more perplexing things – where had the Muckleston come from in my ggg-grandfather’s name?  It wasn’t a maternal surname and no one else had it in their name.  So I kept searching for him wherever I went.

One day in the National Library in Wellington, I went searching for him in the Times newspaper archive.  The search came up with an article with the enticing title of “First Report from the Select Committee on the Stationery Contract”.  Stationery was the Key family business.  The date – August 26 1833.

The fourth paragraph of the article states that the facts of the allegations are “so notorious that your committee deemed it unnecessary to examine witnesses to that point”.  What….?!!  Fortunately, being a newspaper, they kindly gave a full run down of the allegations which culminated in Sir John “accepting” the Chilton Hundreds after only 2 years as an MP.

So what is the Chilton Hundreds?  Its full title is Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham.  From my research, I like to think of it as “the naughty seat”, although it’s not really a seat.  In Britain, while you can resign your seat, you can’t resign from Parliament.  Instead you are appointed to an “office of profit under The Crown” which disqualifies you from sitting as an MP.  This dates from 1624 when MP’s were often elected “against their will” (see Wikipedia for more information).  The last MP to “accept” the Chilton Hundreds was Eric Illsley who resigned before he was due to be sentenced for dishonestly claiming parliamentary expenses.  Other recent incumbents include Tony Blair and John Profumo.  (okay, I have picked the more scandalous ones – ill health and appointments to more interesting jobs have also been the reason for “accepting”).

So what did Sir John Key, Bt do to end up in the “naughty seat”?  The Select Committee were looking at two things:

  • The contract entered into in June 1832 between the Government Stationery office and Jonathan Muckleston Key, and,
  • The appointment of Mr Kingsmill Grove Key to the situation of the storekeeper of the Stationery office.

Sir John had given the Government stationery contract to his brother Jonathan.  Jonathan had turned up to sign on the dotted line, but that was the limit of his involvement.  Sir John provided the bills and wrote all the required correspondence.  Therefore Jonathan was considered the “nominal contractor” and Sir John the real one.

Further research online found the Hansard for August 5 1833 (see Google Books).  Sir Robert Peel (creator of the ‘Peelers’ – the first Police) states:

That Act contained provisions declaring, that no man entering into any contract for the supply of articles for the public use should have a seat in Parliament, and that no man in Parliament should enter into any such contract, and retain his seat; and it further declared, that “in every such contract, agreement, or commission, shall be inserted the condition that no Member of the House of Commons shall be admitted to have directly or indirectly, any share in the gains, profits, or benefits arising there from.”


But not content with that, when the position became vacant, Sir John’s son Kingsmill Grove King Key was appointed the storekeeper of the Stationery office.  The storekeeper’s job was to inspect the incoming stationery supplies and ensure they were of appropriate quality.  Sir John told Charles Wood, the secretary to the Treasury who made the appointment that his son was “of age”.

Kingsmill is described to the Select Committee as “a youth of 18 or 19 years of age, not legally competent to give the necessary bonds of security, or qualified to perform the official duties of a situation requiring a knowledge of the that stationery business, only to be obtained by experience.

Oops again!

So how did this all come to a head?  Reports relating to the goings on in Parliament on 5 August 1833 can be found in the Hansard and The Parliamentary Review And Family Magazine (PRFM) (again on Google Books).  PRFM reports that, unlike the important matters of the day, the Sir John Key case “drew crowds of anxiously curious and enquiring members to the House at an early hour”.  Nothing like having one of your local MP’s getting in trouble to attract a crowd!

Hansard reports that Sir Henry Hardinge (MP for Launceston) presented to Parliament a petition by other stationers “twenty-six or twenty-seven in number”.  This petition made the allegations above.   However, from PRFM it would appear that Sir John had already “accepted” Chilton Hundreds and “and a salary, we believe, of ten shillings a-year, or some such magnificent sum”.  It goes on to say “Sir John has, by vacating his seat, tacitly admitted that he values the profits of a Stationery Contractor more highly than the honour of being one of the Representatives of the first City in the world, and a Senator of the Land”.

Sir Henry got his select committee, but PRFM implies that by letting Sir John accept the Chilton Hundreds he got away with it.

Fraser’s magazine for Town and Country (also on Google Books) of September 1833 provides another interesting insight.  “Don” Key (as they refer to Sir John) “was desirous of procuring for his hopeful heir the benefits of the Stationers’ Company, as a freeman of that very rich corporation”.  Stating that his son was 21, the Stationers’ Company checked Sir John’s marriage certificate and came to the conclusion that “Eighteen years and three months, therefore, was the full age of the boy, unless Oh! the Don Key!”  Already annoyed by the contracts going to his brother, the Stationers’ Company had dobbed Sir John in by petitioning Parliament.

All this scandal doesn’t seem to have affected Sir John much (when was Teflon invented?).  Despite Fraser’s suggesting “that the city, if it have any sense of honour left, should strip him of his aldermanic gown and chains”, as detailed in his biography above he continued to hold offices in the City of London until his death in 1858.

His son Kingsmill lived to inherit the Barontcy which died out with his grandson Sir Kingsmill James Key in 1932.  You can read more about the Grove family (Sir John’s gt-uncle), Sir John and his son Kingsmill on the Thornbury House website.

Jonathan (1806-1888) had apparently “retired” from the family business by 1832 (aged 26!).  In the 1861 census his occupation is “Commissioner of the Lieutenant of the City of London for Taxes”.  And I did eventually find the origins of the Muckleston – it came from his godfather and (rich) family friend Joseph Muckleston.

And thanks to one of John Key’s descendents, we have a political caricature of Sir John, Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington.  I don’t think it’s a true likeness of Sir John 😉