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Australia to Ebley and Eisey

From Australia to Eisey & Ebley

Doug & Nitia Stace recently paid a third visit to Gloucestershire, from Sydney, Australia. Their previous visits in 2003 and 2012 were part of a family history research project. The couple were on a quest to link them with Doug’s great, great, great grandparents Joseph & Jane Fox.
Doug’s research had shown that his ‘3 x great grandparents’, Joseph & Jane Fox, had originated in nearby Highworth and moved to Eisey Manor estate as tithe farmers around 1812. Further research also revealed the birth of a son, William Fox, in 1817. The records show that William grew up and worked in the 1840’s as ‘locksman’ at Eisey Lock and that he married Anna Maria Smith, the daughter of the ‘lock master’, William Smith in 1845.

Eisey to Australia — 1848 William & Anna Maria Fox emigrate

On 22nd December 1848 William and Anna Maria Fox, with their two-year old daughter Amelia and a three-month old son Joseph, left Plymouth on the immigrant ship The Tory. They were bound for Australia under the Assisted Immigrants Scheme. The immigration papers confirmed their place of origin as
‘The Lock Cottage, Eisey’. William Fox took up work as a farm assistant on one of the large squatter properties in the New England area of New South Wales. He eventually amassed his own land holding.

From Australia to Eisey & Ebley — The 2018 visit

Doug and Nitia were accompanied by young family members most of whom were direct descendants of William and Jane Fox, the Smiths of Eisey Lock, and their emigrating children, William and Anna Maria Fox. Doug and Nitia felt it fitting to introduce their family members to the work of some of their ancestors, and so chartered CCT’s Trip Boat Perseverance to pass through Ryeford Double Lock.

Jon Pontefract and the Stace Family about to board Perseverance at Ebley Wharf
The Stace Family commence the descent of Ryeford Double Lock
Perseverance crew member Tim Kerry explains lock operation to Will Stace

The cruise into history was followed by a journey to the Eastern end of the Thames and Severn Canal where the family group visited the long derelict Eisey Lock Cottage, and the now semi-restored Eisey Lock between the Eisey Manor farm, and Ruck’s Bridge.

Significant location & substantial donation

It was at this significant location that Doug Stace presented Cotswold Canals Trust Director and Trustee John Allan with a substantial donation.

Doug Stace explains…

“This contribution to the Cotswold Canals Trust is in support of all the excellent work which continues along the Thames & Severn Canal.
“A small part of our family history is tied up in this region, specifically with Eisey, and with Eisey Lock and the Lock-keepers cottage.

“So, we would like to thank and encourage you as work continues at the various Thames & Severn Canal sites. Hopefully, one day the canal will once again come alive between the Thames and Severn. Thank you from the Stace Family of Sydney & Brisbane, Australia… we represent our Fox and Smith family forebears who migrated from Eisey to New South Wales in the late 1840’s.”

John Allan concludes…

“It was an immense pleasure to meet so many descendants of a local lock keeper. We were greatly impressed by their interest and questions.

“Doug’s generous contribution will undoubtedly assist the Trust in its restoration of the Thames & Severn Canal.”