THE DANCE FAMILY OF THE WYE VALLEY

 

THE FAMILY OF JOSEPH DANCE FROM MONMOUTH

 

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Monmouth from the Kymin on the edge of the Forest of Dean showing the old bridge over the Wye and Monmouth Grammar School opposite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Another of Thomas and Catherine's sons was Joseph Dance who was baptised at Ganarew in 1812. He married Margaret Pearce (born 1810) from Bridgend, South Wales at Monmouth in 1838.

They had seven children, Elizabeth 1840, Henry 1842, Joseph 1844, Ann 1846,  William George 1850, John (1852) and Catherine 1853. Tragically Henry only lived for a few months.

The family settled in Monmouth where Joseph was a licenced victualler at Glendower Street in 1851 and a maltster in later years.

His first son Joseph Dance (1844) married Broad Oak, Herefordshire girl Kezia (Annie) Roberts (1840) at Kidderminster in 1864 and remained in the Midlands where his son George was born in 1865 and William in 1866.

They later moved to Leicester where his trade was listed as "wool stapler"

 

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Monnow Bridge, Monmouth.

 

Joseph's daughter Ann Dance (1846) married Goodrich born John Worgan at Gwynfe,  Carmarthenshire in 1870. Through the 1870s they lived at St. Mary, Monmouthshire and were at Tintern when their youngest child was born in 1886.

Another of Joseph's sons, John Dance (1852) married Rosina Hooper from Gloucester at Gloucester in 1886. They settled at Shirehampton near Gloucester and had three children, Margaret (1887), Annie (1893), and Eva (1897).

 

 

 

 

 

         
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Glendower Street

 

Monnow Street

 

 

 

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Joseph's daughter Eliza Dance (1840) was a servant at New Court, Whitchurch in 1861.

She married her employer, farmer Paul Simcoe (1835) at Paddington, Middlesex in 1862. They then moved to Gwynfe House at Gwynfe in Carmarthenshire and the 1871 census shows that except for one local girl, all the servants were from the Dance family. 

Her youngest brother John Dance (1852) and her recently married sister Ann (1846) with husband John Worgan (1846) were employed there.

Paul Creed Gwillim Simcoe was the ninth son from a wealthy land-owning family. Born at Penheale, Cornwall on the 30th of September 1835.  He matriculated on the 14 June 1854, aged 18 from Wadham College, Oxford and was probably expected to be a cleric or army officer.

His grand-father John Graves Simcoe (1752) was the first Governor General of Upper Canada whose military career had begun  in the American Revolutionary War as an ensign in the 35th Regiment. He saw his first active service at Boston in 1775.

 

 
 

John Graves Simcoe (1752)

 

     
 

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Lewstone Farm

 

 

 

 

In December, 1782, he married wealthy heiress  Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim (1764), of Old Court Hereford and they had eleven children - eight daughters and three sons.

Their third son Henry Addington Simcoe (1800), Perpetual Curate at Egloskerry, Cornwall, was Paul's father.

In the 19th century the Gwiilim family owned 601 parcels of land in Herefordshire and the Simcoes 159.

Unfortunately Paul and Eliza appear to have had no children and both died within a few months of each other in 1875 at Norton, a suburb of Oystermouth near Swansea, Paul on the 17th of February and Eliza of apoplexy (a stroke) on the 25th of September. She was only 34 years old and is buried at All Saints, Oystermouth.

 

 

 

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Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim (1764)

 
 

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  Old Court, the Gwillim family home at Whitchurch. Now a well-run first class hotel.

It is also very popular with Canadian historians researching the Simcoe family when visiting the family memorial at Whitchurch churchyard.

 
     

 

 

 

 

     
 

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The Green outside Lewstone Farm 

   

 

 

 
 

Joseph's  second son William George Dance (1850) married Mary Ann Phillips (1851) from Bristol and later moved to Frome in Somerset where they ran an outfitters shop for more than 20 years and managed to rear 13 children.One of William George's (1850) daughters, Margaret Daisy Dance who was born at Frome in 1889 married Australian soldier James Edward Razzell at Frome in 1919. He was English born. His parents James (1863) and Ann Razzell had migrated to Brisbane on the the SS Orsova in 1912. James (1863) was a self-employed baker whose bakery in England was at the rear of their Surrey home. They had four children, Elsie (1888), Eva (1893), James Edward (1895), and Olive (1900) all born near Farnham

The photo shows the Razzell family in 1912 before sailing to Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

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The S.S. Orsova left England on the 12th of April 1912 and landed at Pinkenba Wharf, Brisbane Port on the 27th of May. Robyn Moffatt relates that they were on the water the same time as the Titanic and heard of its sinking while still at sea.

The Orsova made the first of what would be seventy voyages to Australia in 1909. During the First World War she was used as a troopship, carrying Australian soldiers to various theatres of war. She survived being torpedoed in the English Channel in 1917, and resumed commercial service to Australia for the Orient Line in 1919. In 1933 Orsova was converted to a tourist class ship, and served briefly as a cruise ship before being scrapped in 1936.

 

 
 

James Edward Razzell enlisted in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) in October 1915. His civilian occupation was listed as a driver.

He left from Sydney, New South Wales on board HMAT Argyllshire on the 11th  of May 1916 arriving at Portsmouth on the 11th of July.

After some training  at Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire his brigade disembarked at Le Havre, France on the 31st of December 1916.

The long and arduous military campaign eventually ceased in 1918 and after a few months he found himself back in England and again billeted  on Salisbury Plain. After a short period he was on a motor engineer's training course at Maidenhead in Berkshire.  His Army record lists him as a  motor engineer billeted at Maidenhead when he married Daisy on the 7th of August 1919 at her home town of Frome in Somerset.. 

 

 

 

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James Edward Razzell

 

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It would be more than a year after the November 11th Armistice before all of the remaining AIF were back home. He returned to Queensland with his  new wife on the  2nd of January 1920 by the troopship RMS Ormonde and was officially discharged  from the Army on the 24th of  February 1920.

Their only child Margaret Razzell was born at Picton, New South Wales in 1921.

James and Daisy went on to farm at Ormiston, Queensland.

He died at Gayndah in 1941 and Daisy in 1943.

 
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Daisy Razzell

 

 

  DANCE PICTURE GALLERY

 

 
 

The photo shows a coat-hanger originating from the Frome outfitters shop that is now with the family in Queensland.

Many thanks to Robyn Moffatt, Daisy's grand-daughter, for the family photos and memories.

 

 

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Frome today © Copyright Phil Williams

In the First World War this small town would have been extremely busy with the large number of Australian servicemen stationed at  nearby No 1 Australian Command Depot and No 1 Australian General Hospital.

 
   

 

 

 

 

Daisy's younger sister Ada Dance also married an Australian soldier.

Station hand John Caughlan enlisted with the 20th Battalion of the AIF at Liverpool, New South Wales in July 1915. Born at Swallow Creek, Carcoar in 1895 he was the son of John and Hannah Caughlan who farmed at Springfield.

His unit embarked at Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT Argyllshire  on the 30th of September 1915. He fought in the trenches on the French battlefields and his record shows him enduring a gun-shot wound, gassing, and the dreaded  

trench foot.

 

 

 

         
 

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  The two photographs show the Camps at Longbridge Deverill and one of the hospital wards at Sutton Veny Military Hospital.  
         
 

He was first put out of action  by a gun-shot wound to his arm on the 6th of May 1916, but returned to duty 11 days later.

In November 1917 he contracted "trench feet". It must have been quite severe as he was sent back to England to the military hospital at

Southall just outside London, for treatment.

Trench foot became a serious problem for the Allies, leading to 75000 casualties in the British Forces and 2000 amongst the  Americans. 

The disease largely attacked the toes; but in many cases, the leg became swollen up to the knee. In severe cases, large blisters, filled with clear, “gangrene smelling” fluid, were present.

Before reaching the trenches, troops often had to march several miles along wet and muddy roads. When they eventually arrived, they had to wade through  mud and water, often at  temperatures only a few degrees above freezing point, and remain motionless at their posts for many hours. 

After leaving hospital he remained in England, attending a Lewis gun course at Tidworth and spent some time with the Training Brigade. He was promoted to Corporal in August 1917 and in October was posted from the Overseas Training Unit at Longbridge Deverill

 back to France and the 20th Battalion. 

After another 10 months in the trenches he was again, in August 1918, back in the UK with the 5th Training Brigade. 

He had recently been the victim of a gas attack and was admitted to Sutton Veny Military Hospital, a few miles  from Frome, suffering from 

an ulcerated cornea.

After 14 days he was released back to Training Brigade but apparently not permanently cured of his eye problems. He did however attend 

another Lewis Gun course at Tidworth where he achieved 'First Class' in the oral and range examinations on the 11th of October 1918.

After returning to Australia, on the 3rd of November 1919 he was discharged as 'medically unfit'.

Later records show he was still disabled in 1923.

 

No 1 Australian Command Depot and No 1 Australian General Hospital were at Sutton Veny so there would at that time have been thousands of Australians in the two closest towns of Frome and Warminster. 

 
         

 

 

 

 

While serving at Longbridge Deverill in Wiltshire he had met and married shop assistant Ada Gwendoline Dance (born 1890) from the 

nearby town of Frome. They were married at the Registry Office there in February 1919.

John and Ada  returned to Australia on the SS Zealandic arriving at Sydney with their new baby on the 23rd of August 1919.

It is not clear from the record  whether the child was born on the voyage.

Four more children later in 1930, according to the NSW Electoral Register, they were living at Boonderoo, Mandurama where John

 was employed as a stockman. 

I believe the baby was probably John (1920) who is so far listed as born in NSW. John who was a Catholic, possibly waited to baptise him at the Caughlan family's local  Church. It does not look as if Ada ever converted as she was buried in the Methodist section of Orange Cemetery. Tom

 

 

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Ada  Dance 1890-1949

 

 

The SS Zealandic

 

 

 

 

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Ada's grave at Orange Cemetery

Carcoar today

 

 

 

Many thanks to Bev, John Caughlan's grand-daughter for the photographs and memories.

 

 

 

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tom.bint@tiscali.co.uk