The Australian Dance and Norbury Family



Descendants of Giles Dance (1670-1751) of London, the son of James Dance




The surname of DANCE has the associated arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Colonel Sir Charles Webb Dance K.H. son of George Dance Esq. R.A. Architect to the City of London. The name was originally a baptismal name 'the son of Daniel'. 




Information and tree by Michael Norbury


Listed below are the descendants of James Dance. 








George William Dance (No. 13), the son of pastry cook George Wilmer Dance and Alice Eleanor Deeker, was born on the 20th of April 1871 in Islington, London, and died 13th of May 1962 at Caulfield, Victoria, Australia. 

He married Fanny Brooks, daughter of James Brooks and Elizabeth Barnard, on the 18th of May 1893 at Mile End Old Town, London. She was born 9th of August 1870 at Colchester, Essex and died 17th of June 1957 in Caulfield, Victoria, Australia.

George and Fanny arrived with their family on the SS Commonwealth  at Port Melbourne in June 1912.  You will see the attached arrival record. Michael has  identified his descendants. They all live in Australia.



George Wilmer Dance 1838-84

315 Wick Road -  Bakers shop. The bakery operated by George Wilmer Dance and then his widow Alice. After her death it was taken over by their second son Edward.  




SS Commonwealth

The Dance family from the SS Commonwealth's 1912 passenger list




The attached family photo is of (from left) Percy, Fanny, George, Ruth, George William and Eva Dance, I think in 1911, just prior to leaving England. Michael

George William Dance was a carpenter. In 1901 the family were living at the sea-side town of Clacton in Essex. Before leaving England he was employed as a builder's foreman at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. The 1911 census indicates that the family had probably been there for at five years as their daughter Eva was born at nearby Thetford. 14 year old son George was listed as a joiner's apprentice. TB




A photo of the extended Dance family taken at Christmas 1954 believed to be at the home of Percy Dance in Caulfield, Victoria (suburban Melbourne).  Michael Norbury is the baby being held second from right first seated row, by his grandmother Eva Dance/Norbury.  His mother (Joan Petty/Norbury) is next to her on the right, Eva's parents, George William Dance and Fanny Brooks/Dance on her left.  At the far left with the bow tie is his grandfather Harold Norbury holding Michael's cousin Gary Norbury.

Front row from left is Percy Dance, George Dance (with grandson David Douglas between legs) and Alan Douglas, husband of Margaret Dance/Douglas, son in law of George and Jean Dance.
Back row from left is Marion Gibson/Norbury (wife of Bruce Norbury who is the photographer), Ruth Dance, Jean Brown/Dance (wife of George Dance), Margaret Dance/Douglas (d of Jean and George), Rose Patterson/Dance (wife of Percy), Brian Norbury (son of Harold and Eva, Michael's father), then in the floral shirt Murray Dance  (son of Jean and George) twins are John and Alan Scott, friends of the Dance boys, and Allan Dance right up the back at right.

A Terry Dance also lives in Melbourne.  We are not exactly sure where he fits, but he is a descendant of George Wilmer Dance, father of George William Dance.  He emigrated after WW2.


Photos kindly supplied by Michael Norbury





Descendant's Report for James Dance  supplied by Michael Norbury.   July 2012



I noticed how much my research into the descendants of James Dance of Winchester has progressed since I gave you my Dance descendancy chart.  If you look at my site, you will find new family members.  Most interesting for me is that the current Earl of Norbury is a descendant of James Dance of Winchester.  From my perspective, what an extraordinary coincidence of names!                      Norbury Web-site







Hester Dance daughter of George Dance the Elder married Nathanial Smith, her cousin (their mothers Elizabeth and Ann Gould were sisters).  He was a director and chairman of the East India Company, also an MP.

Their son George Smith was Chief Justice of Mauritius.  Their daughter Sarah married a Scarlett.

A Scarlett (from the same family) was the officer in charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava.  The Heavy Brigade was well led and survived its charge at Balaclava with very light losses, so did not make it into the history books!

Giles Tottingham owned a pub. I can't remember its name but I think it's on my web site.  He came up with a premium of something like 95 pounds to buy the licence at age 18-19.   MN













Added by Tom Bint




Sourced from the Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, Burke's and Wikipedia &  Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland



















George Dance the Elder (1695 – 8 February 1768) was an English architect of the 18th century. He served as the City of London surveyor and architect from 1735 until his death.

Among his public buildings in London, the most important is the neo-Palladian Mansion House (1739–1752). He also designed churches, including St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate (1725), St Leonard's, Shoreditch (1736-1740), St Botolph-without-Aldersgate, Aldgate (1741-1744), St Botolph's Aldgate (1744), and St Matthew's, Bethnal Green (1743-1746).

St Luke's, Old Street, where Dance worshipped and was later buried, is sometimes attributed to him but is likely to have been designed by John James and Nicholas Hawksmoor; however, he designed the adjacent St Luke's Hospital in 1750-1751.

Further afield, Dance also designed the Town Hall of Coleraine in Northern Ireland (1743; demolished in 1859).

He had five sons, three of whom enjoyed fame in their own right. Eldest son James Love Dance (1722-1744) became an actor and playwright connected with Drury Lane theatre. Third son Nathaniel Dance-Holland (1735-1811) was a notable painter. Fifth son George Dance the Younger (1741-1825) succeeded him as city architect.  Wikipedia


George Dance (1695-1768)



George Dance the Younger (1741-1825)

Born 20th March 1741 in Chiswell Street, Finsbury, London, he was an architect and surveyor. The fifth and youngest son of George Dance the Elder, he came from a distinguished family of architects, artists and dramatists. He was hailed by Sir John Summerson as "among the few really outstanding architects of the century", but few of his buildings remain.

He was educated at the St. Paul's School, London. Aged 17, he was sent to Italy to prepare himself for an architectural career and joined his brother Nathaniel, who was studying painting in Rome. George was a member of academies in Italy, showing much promise as a draughtsman, and much of his later work was inspired by Piranesi, with whom he was acquainted.

He succeeded his father as City of London surveyor and architect on his father's death in 1768, when he was only 27. He had already distinguished himself by designs for Blackfriars Bridge, sent to the 1761 exhibition of the Incorporated Society of Artists.

His earliest London project was the rebuilding of All Hallows-on-the-Wall church in 1767. His first major public works were the rebuilding of Newgate Prison in 1770 and the front of the Guildhall, London. His other London works include the church of St Bartholomew-the-Less (1797). In Bath he largely designed the Theatre Royal, built by John Palmer in 1804-5. Sir John Soane was a pupil.

Many of his buildings have been demolished, including the Royal College of Surgeons, Newgate Prison, St Luke's Hospital for Lunatics, the Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall, the library at Lansdowne House, the Common Council Chamber and Chamberlain's Court at the Guildhall, Ashburnham Place, and Stratton Park (demolished save for its Tuscan portico)

With his brother Nathaniel, he was a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768, and its second professor of architecture, from 1798 to 1805. For a number of years, he was the last survivor of the 40 original Academicians.

His last years were devoted to art rather than to architecture, and after 1798 his Academy contributions consisted solely of chalk portraits of his friends, 72 of which were engraved and published (1808–1814). Many are now held by the National Portrait Gallery. He resigned his office in 1815, and died after many years of illness in 1825 at 91 Gower Street, London.  He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.         from Wikipedia




Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1st Baronet (8 May 1735 – 15 October 1811) was a notable English portrait painter and later a politician.

The third son of architect George Dance the Elder, Dance (he added the 'Holland' suffix later in life) studied art under Francis Hayman, and like many contemporaries also studied in Italy. There he met Angelica Kauffmann, and painted several historic and classical paintings.

On his return to England, he became a successful portrait painter. With Hayman and his architect brother George Dance the Younger, he was one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768.

He was commissioned to paint King George III and his queen, plus Captain James Cook and actor David Garrick. His group portrait The Pybus Family (1769) is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

In 1790, he gave up his artistic career and became Member of Parliament for East Grinstead in Sussex. He served this seat until 1802 when he moved to Great Bedwyn, serving until 1806. In 1807 he returned to East Grinstead, serving until his death in 1811. He was made a baronet in 1800, which became extinct upon his death.

He was married to Harriet, the widow of Thomas Dummer (died 1781), for whom his brother had designed the house at Cranbury Park, near Winchester. They lived at Little Wittenham Manor in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). His wife survived him until 1825.

His nephew, Sir Nathaniel Dance (1748–1827), was a well-known commander of British East India Company ships.   (Wikipedia)




Sir Charles Webb Dance (1785-1844) and the first horseless omnibus

Mr Goldsworthy Gurney was the first person to successfully operate steam carriages on common roads, and he took out patents for his invention in 1825 and 1826-27. In 1830 he entered into contracts with various individuals for the commercial exploitation of his invention, carrying passengers at a lower fare than horse carriages.  

Sir Charles Webb Dance (1785-1844), was the son of George Dance the Younger. He was injured at Waterloo. Charles had served as a Captain with the 23rd Dragoon Guards under the Duke of Wellington.

Since the steamer had run so many times around the Life Guards Barracks near Gurney's workshop the military authorities had become aware of its potential for moving troops and equipment. Sir Charles Dance, Lieutenant Colonel of the Life Guards, was one of the interested officers. He invited Quartermaster General Sir Willoughby Gordon to inspect the steam drag. General Gordon came to the Dance estate at Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, on 22 July.  He reported that the drag "may be directed with greater precision than can any carriage drawn by horses under the direction of a coachman," and could be stopped instantly when necessary. The high pressure boiler consumed large quantities of water and fuel, which would require resupply every few miles along a turnpike route. But the noise and dust were less than those given off by a coach-and-four, and burning coke instead of coal reduced smoke to a negligible level. 

General Gordon calculated that if the expense of running the carriage was threepence per mile as claimed, the proprietors could make a clear profit of 500 percent on intercity routes. He predicted mechanical difficulties, accidents, and frightened horses upon the first introduction of steamers in regular service, but concluded that "it will eventually, and at no distant period, force itself into very extensive use."
General Gordon commissioned Colonel Dance to accompany Gurney on the trip to Bath and take careful notes. Dance's report was published and reprinted by Gurney in the pamphlets he wrote to defend his claims. 

Following Gurney's successful demonstration of the steam carriage, Sir Charles Dance, using Gurney's design, initiated a regular service between Gloucester and Cheltenham, the nine mile distance being covered in about 45 minutes. This service ran for three months in 1831. Dance also financed a Gurney designed drag and omnibus (the engine pulled the omnibus, an attempt to overcome passengers' objections to sitting over a boiler) that ran from London to Brighton and made a demonstration run on London streets in 1833 but by that time the light road locomotive was already doomed by commercial and political opposition and the railway's success. The railways had the mining and manufacturing interests on their side and being joined by the toll road owners and the mail coach lobby. 


The drawing on the right shows the Duke of Wellington at Hounslow in a barouche drawn by one of Gurney's steam coaches in 1829


In 1831 more than 50 private bills had been passed by Parliament imposing prohibitive tolls on steam carriages (two pounds or more, while horse carriages might pay six shillings or less), and the contractors suspended their operations, pending a petition to Parliament. A select Committee was appointed, and concluded that steam carriages were safe, quick, cheap, and less damaging to roads than horse carriages, that they would be a benefit to the public and the prohibitive tolls should be removed. A bill to this effect was passed by the Commons but rejected by the Lords.

Goldsworthy Gurney went on to other projects and would be honoured for his achievements. By the time Gurney died (1875) Siegfried Marcus in Austria and Etienne Lenoir in France had experimented with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. These automotive pioneers were followed by the Germans Daimler, Maybach, and Benz who began marketing his gasoline powered automobiles in the late1880s. Almost sixty years after Gurney's steam carriage journeyed from London to Bath, the age of the automobile had begun.

See the The Life and Times of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney: Gentleman Scientist and Inventor 1793 -1885    By Dale H. Porter




Sir Nathaniel Dance (20 June 1748 – 25 March 1827) was an officer of the Honourable East India Company who had a long and varied career on merchant vessels, making numerous voyages to India and back with the fleets of East Indiamen. He was already aware of the risks of the valuable ships he sailed on being preyed on by foreign navies, having been captured by a Franco-Spanish fleet in 1780 during the East Indies campaign of the American War of Independence. His greatest achievement came during the Napoleonic Wars, when having been appointed commodore of one of the company's fleets, he came across a French squadron under Rear-Admiral Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois, which was raiding British shipping in the area. Through skilful seamanship and aggressive tactics he fooled the French commander into thinking that the British convoy was escorted by powerful naval forces, and the French decided not to risk attacking the convoy. 

Dance compounded the deception by taking his lightly armed merchants and chasing the French away, despite the considerable disparity of force. Having saved the convoy from almost certain destruction.

The achievement of a convoy of merchants not only escaping without loss from a French squadron, but going so far as to attack, drive off, and then pursue their would-be predators, was widely hailed as a signal victory.

Dance received £5,000 from the Bombay Insurance Company (approximately £338,000 in present day terms), a pension of £500 a year (approximately £34,000 a year in present day terms), plate worth 200 guineas from the Honourable East India Company, a ceremonial sword worth £100, and a silver vase.


His captains were also rewarded. Captain Timmins of the Royal George received £1000, a sword and plate, while the other captains received £500, and a sword and plate, with money being paid to the officers and seaman under their command, with an ordinary seaman receiving £6 (approximately £400 in present day terms). 

Nathaniel Dance was born in London on 20 June 1748, the son of James Dance and his wife Elizabeth. James Dance was a successful lawyer of the city, but shortly after the birth of Nathaniel, he abandoned his wife to live with an actress, and in time established himself as a successful actor and playwright in Drury Lane.

Elizabeth Dance and her family were instead cared for by James's father, and Nathaniel's paternal grandfather, George Dance the Elder, a prominent architect for the City of London.

Nathaniel lived with his grandfather until 1759, when he went to sea under the patronage of Nathaniel Smith, a high-ranking official in the Honourable East India Company. With Smith's support, Dance rose through the ranks of the service, having made made eight voyages to India, as well as one to the Mediterranean and one to the West Indies by 1780. 

While making his ninth voyage to India he and his ship were captured by a combined French and Spanish fleet. Dance was taken to Spain, where he spent six months on parole. He became commander of the Lord Camden in January 1787, making another four voyages to India aboard her, before being appointed commander of a new ship, the Earl Camden, in which he sailed to China in January 1803.  Wikipedia


William Dance was the grandson of the architect George Dance (c.1694–1768). His father was the actor James Dance (1721–1774) and his mother may have been James' wife Elizabeth or the actress Mrs Love.

Dance studied the piano under Theodore Aylward the elder (1730 - 1801) and the violin under K. F. Baumgarten. He later studied with the renowned Felice Giardini.

Dance played violin in the orchestra at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane from 1771 to 1774 and in the King's Theatre orchestra 1775–1793.

He was lead violinist at the Haymarket Theatre during the summer seasons (1784–90) and at the Handel commemoration in Westminster Abbey in 1790. Dance was not regarded as a soloist on the violin, however William Thomas Parke praised his "great taste and execution" on the piano.

Around 1800 he gave up public performances and became a notable teacher of music in London.

In 1813 Dance proposed a meeting that led to the foundation of the Philharmonic Society. He became a director and the treasurer of the society until his death.

Around 1812 he noticed Michael Faraday, then a bright but unknown young assistant at a Southwark bookshop who was interested in self improvement and science. Dance mentored him by providing tickets for him to attend lectures at the Royal Institution.  Wikipedia


William Dance - Musician

William Dance (1832-1896) Solicitor








Mrs Helena Dance and her part in Western Australia's History  

Born Helena Barbara Roper (1808-1863) she married Londoner William Townsend Dance (1789-1857) at Westminster in 1828. William was the son of another William Dance, a musician who is credited with forming the first London Philharmonic Society.

Lieut. William Townsend Dance  entered the Royal Navy in 1806 and became a full Captain in 1834.  In 1829 in command of HMS Sulphur he accompanied the  settlers under Captain James Stirling to Western Australia.

The origins of the present state had begun with the establishment of a British settlement at King George Sound in 1826 (later named Albany from 1832). The settlement was founded in response to British concerns about the possibility of a French colony being established on the coast of Western Australia.

In 1829, the Swan River Colony was established on the Swan River by Captain James Stirling. By 1832 the British settler population of the colony had reached around 1,500, and the official name of the colony was changed to Western Australia. The two separate towns of the colony developed slowly into the port city of Fremantle and the state's capital, Perth.

William's ship, HMS Sulphur, had sailed from England in early February 1829, and arrived on June 8th carrying Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Irwin, 57 crew and 69 troops, with 22 wives and 12 children. 

The soldiers were mainly from the 63rd Regiment and brought in to protect the settlers. The Sulphur was placed at the disposal of the colony and was to provide a useful service in all sorts of ways for the next 3 years. It returned to the UK in December 1832.

The couple had seven children. Their first child Arthur Dance was born on HMS Sulphur at Cockburn Sound on the 28th of August 1830, and baptised at Perth, WA on the 26th of January 1831. He was a clerk and ticket collector at Peterborough, Northants railway station for many years. Another child, William Dance bn 1848 at Saltash, Cornwall, also worked for the railways much of his life both at Enfield and West Ham.

This ceremony seems to be William and Helena’s only brush with fame. He did appear in the London Gazette in 1843 as being imprisoned for debt. 

For a period between 1834 and 1837 the family lived near St. Malo in France where three of his children were born. Most of his later years were spent in Devon and he was promoted to retired Rear Admiral in 1846 but without an increase in his Captain’s half-pay. William Townsend Dance died in 1857 and Helena in 1863.






The official ceremony depicted in this painting was held on a small hill overlooking the Swan River. As no stones were readily available, it was decided to mark the occasion by felling a tree. The only woman fit enough to accompany the party so far up the river from Fremantle, Mrs Helena Dance, was invited to strike the first blow. The Foundation of Perth depicts Mrs Dance holding the axe and about to make the first cut. Immediately to her right in the painting is an axe-man, waiting to complete the task. Other people depicted in the work include Lieutenant Governor James Stirling, Captain Charles Fremantle, Commander Mark John Currie, Captain Frederick Irwin, Captain William Dance, the Colonial Secretary Peter Broun, Dr William Milligan and the Surveyor-General Lieutenant John Septimus Roe.






Entries from Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20,   
































































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