Eatwell New Zealand Timeline

Eatwell New Zealand Timeline

This article provides a timeline of the Eatwell family from their life in England through to the early 1900's.

The current understanding of the origins of the Eatwell family are discussed elsewhere on this website, so we will start with the family of Robert Eatwell (1796-1872) and Elizabeth Bozier ().

Robert Eatwell was the son of Adam Eatwell(1752 - ) of Wiltshire and Sarah Murrell aka Minall (). The name appears in various documents as Eatall, Eatal, Yetwell, Yotwell, due most likely to the oral versions of pronounciation of the name. Robert was one of seven siblings, Mary, John,  Mary Anne, Elizabeth, Luke and Thomas.

Adam Eatwell Family

Robert married Elzabeth Bozier (1800-) on the 12th October 1814. This was the era of the Napoleonic Wars which had been going since 1803. They had nine children, three boys and six girls. Two of the boys, William John (1834 - 1893), and Robert Jnr (1839- ) have descendants in New Zealand.  William John came to New Zealand with his wife and family in 1875 on the ship Mataura, and Robert's son Robert Harry came with his wife and family around 1907.


Robert Eatwell (1839-) marries  Mary Ann Streat () in Newberry, Wiltshire.


Mary Ann Eatwell dies.


Robert Eatwell (1839-) marries Sarah Farmer (1840-) in Newberry, Wiltshire. Robert works as a Furniture Broker / Dealer.

They have seven children:

William (1853-)
Charles (1865-)
John (1867-)
Miriam (1869-)
Frank (1871-)
Robert Harry (1877-1942)
Edith (1880-)

It is Robert Harry Eatwell (1877 - 1942) that travels to New Zealand in 1907.


Wlliam John Eatwell Snr (1834-1893) and Anne Watts (1833-1918) are married on the 5th April 1856 in London.

They have eight children:

  • Elizabeth Anne - Annie (1858-1893) married Thomas Ninnes (1849-1927) on 28th June 1876
  • William John (1859 - 1841) married Maryan Jessie Vercoe (1868-1917)
  • Ellen - Nellie (1862-1949) married Walter Ransden (1860-1914) on 16th October 1885
  • Emily (1863-1953) married James Herbert Rodley (1858-1941) on 22nd November 1895
  • Jane - Jinny (1867-1946)  married Stephen Vosper (1863-1939) on 29th December 1892
  • Charles (1869-)
  • Rose (1871-1939) married James Spencer () on 31st October 1894
  • Kate (1874-1875) died at sea


Here are the census records for the two families in Wiltshire. The first is the family of William John Eatwell and family. As the eldest living son, we note his father Robert is living with them. He died in 1872, which them freed the family up to emigrate. William was listed as a Gardener in Battersea. This is the last English Census they appear in as they travel to New Zealand in 1875.

Subsequent to this another daughter Kate is born in 1874. She unfortunately dies at sea on the journey to New Zealand ( see later ).

Robert's Family


William John Snr and his wife Ann travel with the family to New Zealand on the ship Mataura. The ship left Gravesend on Sunday the 8th August 1875 and arrived in Nelson on Wednesday 11th November 1875 after 100 days at sea.

Here is their record on the passenger list.

On the voyage two sad events occurred for the family. Firstly their youngest daughter Kate died aged 14 months. Then William John fell and broke his hip in the stormy conditions. The leg was not set very well, and he suffered pain fro the rest of his life.

Here is a segment from the Ship Diary of Thomas Scott. The whole diary can be read here:

Note the name Eatwell is written here as Entwell. In another diary from this trip is is written as Eastwell.

One can only imagine the emotions felt, and how easy it was to fall in the conditions.

The diary referenced above provides hand drawn pictures of the views experienced on the voyage, including these of the icebergs:

After arriving in New Zealand, John aged 15, went to work for Lucas’s at Nelson Evening Mail but had to leave later to help on the farm his father had leased at the foot of the Maitai Valley, on what was called ‘Richardson's Estate’. They milked cows for town supply. Eventually John took over and with his sisters made a successful job of that.


The 1881 census shows Robert's family - William has left home by this time.


They were not emigrants without money. In 1885, John’s father took a bush section in Stanley Brook, building a house. He always called himself a sheep farmer, as he did very little cropping and only milked cows enough for home supply - milk, cream, butter with very little over to sell.


John married Mary Ann Jessie Vercoe in 1891 she was 23 and he was 32. They were a very devoted couple.


Mary Ann Jessie Eatwell was killed in an accident when she went driving with some cousins in Blenheim on her way home from seeing her son Bert off in Wellington, leaving with Expeditionary force in January 1917. The horse vehicle was hit by a car driven by her cousin George Newman on his way home from the races (he had been drinking also) and she was thrown out on her head on the road. She lived unconscious for a week or two, Bert did not know (that his mother had been killed) until he got to England, or wherever they landed. There was no way of communicating in those days en route on troop ships. Her death was a very great blow to the family, and indeed the whole of Stanley Brook, as she was dearly loved there.