The 'Castle Eden'


b. c. 1820/1823, Windsor, Berkshire, England; Christened 27 February 1825 in Windsor, Berkshire, England.

d.  30 November 1906, Nelson Hospital, Nelson.

Married LUCY ELLIS (parent THOMAS ELLIS and MARIA) 23 Jun 1844 St James, Paddingdton, Middlesex, England.  

b.  c. 1818 St Leonard, Shoreditch, London, Middlesex, England.

d.  19 August 1907, Nelson.


Marriage Certificate:  GEORGE was a minor, whilst LUCY was of full age.  GEORGE was a porter and lived at Union Place, whilst LUCY lived at South Wharf Road.  DANIEL WHITNEY was a Gardner, and THOMAS ELLIS was a shoemaker.

Death Certificate:  Ref - 1906/2542.  He was 83 years old when he died (occupation: Gardner).    Cause of death:  Senile Decay, Syncope.  His mothers name is 'unknown' while his fathers occupation is also Gardner.  He had been in New Zealand 55 years.  Childrens ages when he died:  M - 61, F - 59, 55, 51, 44. 

Buried in the Wakapuaka Cemetery (Nelson), Block 02, Plot #1 079 (reference WKBP02079).  Date of Interment 2 December 1906.  The headstone has nothing legible on it.

GEORGE had a twin brother called Henry.


Baptised:  13 March 1818.  St Leonard, Shoreditch.  Residence was William Street.  Fathers occupation was a shoemaker.

Death Certificate:  Ref - 1907/2066.   She was 89 years old when she died.  Cause of Death:  Bronchitis, exhaustion.  Her fathers occupation was listed as a Bootmaker.  She had been in New Zealand for 57 years.  Childrens ages when she died:  M - 63, F - 60, 58, 49, 45. 

Buried in the Wakapuaka Cemetery (Nelson), Block 02, Plot #1 078 (reference WKBP02078).  Date of Interment 21 August 1907. (Photo of the plot below as buried with Alice but no headstone for Lucy).

Children of GEORGE WITNEY and LUCY ELLIS are:

i    GEORGE WITNEY, b. 6 October 1844 in London, England; d. 3 February 1919 in Springville, Utah, USA.  Married Sarah Fallover on 11 September 1876 in Nelson.  Immigrated to the USA in 1890.

ii   MARY WITNEY, b. 28 April 1848 in Marylebone, London, England; d.  1 January 1929.   Was an assistant matron of the Auckland hospital.  Married James Fearnsides 20 November 1888.

iii  SUSAN WITNEY, b. c. 1848; d. 28 April 1919.  Married William Frederick Worley.


v   LUCY WITNEY, b. 1 April 1845, Marylebone, London; d. 30 December 1924 in Nelson (Halifax Street).  Married  JOSEPH WOOD on the 14 April 1874, in the Residence of George Witney, Vanguard Street North, Nelson.

vi  ALICE WITNEY, b. 20 August 1861, Nelson (possibly 1852?); d.  29 October 1928 in married William Estcourt.  Buried in the same plot as her mother.  Reference WKBP02078_A.  Headstone transcription:  "In loving memory of ALICE beloved wife of William ESCOURT.  Died 29th october 1928 a good wife."

vii  FRED WITNEY, b. c. 1850 in Nelson.  (note: must have been born earlier then?); d. 10 June 1905.

viii DANIEL WITNEY b. c. 1853 in Nelson; d. 1861 in Nelson.

ix   LUCY WITNEY, b. 8 October 1847 in London, England.

x    DANIEL WITNEY, b. 2 March 1852 in Canterbury; d. 2 March 1852 in Canterbury.

xi   DANIEL WITNEY, b. 22 July 1853 in Nelson; d. 22 July 1853 in Nelson.



They went to New Zeland as part of the Canterbury Association of 1843 to establish a Church of England settlement on Canterbury Plains on the South Island of New Zealand.

George and his family relocated to New Zealand in 1851 on the 'Castle Eden'.  The Castle Eden departed Plymouth, England and arrived in Lyttelton on the 14 Februrary 1851 with 204 passengers.  The passenger list includes in steerage:  George Witney, 26, Ag. Laborer; George Witney, 6; Lucy Witney, 5; Lucy Witney, 31; Mary Witney, 2.

The ship CASTLE EDEN, a barque, built in Sunderland, Enland 1842  Originally registered 760 tons, under new Lloyds calculations rated at 930 tons in 1848, belonging to Port of London ad was used for London/Australia and New Zealand run, classes as A.1. Owners: J & F Somes; Master: Capt. Timothy Thornhill, Commander.  The company flag which was hoisted at the main mast on grand occasions bore a big 'S', which the bluecoats called 'S for starvation'. 

An account of the voyage is available  here.

In 1851 a 'Wood cutting license' was issued to George Witney.  When settlers first arrived in Canterbury, the first thing they had to do was build accomodation so they had to apply for a licence to cut the bush for timber at a cost of 10 shillings.

14 December 1865 Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle

Back to Home