John Hill Munday's notebook

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John Hill Munday's notebook  (1881) 
by John Hill Munday


From account of the Munday family written by me (H.J.M.) at the dictation of aunts Kate & Elizabeth. —himself. 1881.

Our dear father James Munday was the second and only surviving son of Thomas & Mary Munday of Shrewton Hills. The eldest (William) having died of consumption at the ago of 21. There were besides four daughters his sisters viz: 1st Mary, who married a Mr. Geo(g) Giles by whom she had a large family of sons Mr Giles died at Bishopstrow. 2nd Priscilla who married Mr Small by whom she had also a large family, this branch of the family sank in life considerably, tho Mr Small was a well-to-do baker: they all tired of Shrewton. 3rd Elizabeth, who married Mr Garrett, the issue being probably three sons & one daugher, viz:

Francis, who went to Cheltenham and did well, as a coachmaker.

William, who enlisted as a soldier & passed through Waterloo he however returned & died a natural death. He married a woman of low birth.

Thomas, the 3rd son, died at Cheltenham in the employ of this brother Francis.

The daughter called Patty, but real name uncertain, probably Elizabeth, married a man named Salter Strickland. He became bedridden for years, through sleeping in a damp bed, and his wife supported him, as a straw bonnet maker at Warminster. She had one son Philip.

Our father's 4th sister's name was Catherine, who married Wm Stone (? a tailor) and lived at Shrewton at the family house. They had one son Joseph, who turned out badly.

Our father was married at the age of 38 on the 14th Feby 1798, at Bishopstrow Church to which village he had migrated a short time previously to this event. Our mother was 28 at the time of marriage & was the daughter of Benjamin & Sarah Browne of Iford near Bath. Her father was a maltster & he had two brothers & one sister (as far as can be remembered).

The eldest brother (Benjamin) married a widow (who had already been twice married with children by both husbands); by her he had four children, two sons & two daughters. The two sons & one daughter went to Sydney, it is believed, where the former practised as doctors, with considerable success. The other daughter married & settled at Trowbridge.

Our mother's 2nd brother (John) was a bookseller at Bath, he owed our father money, which was probably never repaid as some of this silver is in our possession & marked with his initials. Our mother's sister (Kitty) married a Mr Perkins, by whom she had one daughter (Mary Ann) who married a Mr Grant a builder (illegible text) at Warminster.

Then our mother's father Benjamin Browne died at Iford, there was no will to be found, although it was severally believed that he had made one, so that the bulk of the property went to the eldest son before referred to viz. Benjamin, instead of being divided amongst all the children. Benjamin continued to live at Iford, where he probably died. Before his death, he became very depressed & it was thought that he had something on his mind, for although nothing was ever definitely discovered there was every suspicion of of unfair dealing on his part respecting his father's will. He committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor. So much unpleasantness occured on the subject of the will that the sons & daughters as before stated, went to Australia.

The only relatives our father had beyond his own immediate family that we remember to have heard or seen were some cousins of the name of Bennett. (Probably 2nd cousins.) There were two families of this name, one lived at (illegible text), viz.: Wm Bennett, who had occupied the Bishopstrow farm, that our father subsequently rented (he was a man of very inferior education) & two other families, one also named Wm & the other Thos. both lived at Bruton, Somerset. The former Wm was a sack, harness, saddle &c maker, his wife was blind; though superior in other respects he was a man of very violent temper & language. His son Thos. Bennett was a land conveyor & died a short time since leaving a son who is still in business at Bruton.

The other brother Thos. Bennett kept the "Blue Ball", he died without issue. Other cousins of our father were named Mundy, but they spelt their names without the "a", this appears however to have been matter of caprice on their part.

These cousins named respectively, Samuel, Joseph & John, were extensive clothiers at Bradford, and at one time very well off, but through the failure of some firm, connected with them in business, they were ruined & their establishment broken up. They had one sister, who married a Mr. Fotham, who was in some way connected with the clothiers & was dragged into the above mentioned disaster; subsequently the Fothams settled at Kidderminster. It seems that the three brothers Samuel, Joseph & John must have had some private means, for they continued to live at Trowbridge — Samuel married & had a son & daughter named Edwin & Emma — Edwin died some few years since (1881) & Emma Mundy still survives (Nov. 1881)

Aunts remember some story in connection with a certain Munday, a craftman in the family of a Madam Bowles, who was reputed to have run away with & married at Shrewton a a daughter of the Bowles family. Here they lived & some little relics of the Bowles' were handed down, amongst others a small necklace with some silver ornaments, this was given to Kati Thorpe, and a delf dish in possession of Uncle William. This daughter was believed to have been heir to the Bowles' estates, but when the above event occurred, or what became of the children of this union is not known. (From what Aunts say, I should imagine the marriage must have taken place, considerably more than 100 years ago. H.J.M.)

Note as to rings &c in my possession.


The mourning ring with hair in it was made by Aunts for their mother to wear in memory of their father, but the name is spelt without an "a" by mistake; the hair is my grandfather's. The mourning ring without hair is in memory of the Benjamin Browne already referred to viz. the father of my grandmother.

The hair in the breast pin is that of my grandfather & grandmother, this pin was originally a guard for a watch & was worn in the dress. Aunts had it made up for me.

The small twisted keeper ring belonged to & was worn by my grandmother.

The breast pin with turquoise in it was given me by Uncle William, it was a present to him from my mother.

The other gold breast pin was given me by father, this also was a present to him from my poor mother.

The ring in a case was my mother's, a present to her from my father.

The small breast pin with pearls & a garnet has no history. The three large gold studs with a white stone on one side belonged to my Uncle John Hill. Aunt Jane gave them me after his death.

The old round snuff box (tortoise shell) belonged to my grandfather Munday. The silver studs too were his & the little heart shaped shirt pin.

The gold broach with amethyst belonged to Aunt Eliz., it was a present to her from Uncle James on his return from Australia in 1835.

Joseph Harris who married Jemima was the son of Walter Harris, a builder or architect living at Bathwick, Bath. This Walter Harris was probably either first or second cousin to Aunt's mother (Jemima Browne) as their grandmother's maiden name was Sarah Harris. She (Sarah) married first a Mr. Butler by whom she had children & after her first husband's death, she married Benjamin Browne, as already mentioned. It was in this manner that the relationship between the Harris and Munday family was established, so that Joseph & Jemima, above referred to were cousins when married, but in what degree Aunts cannot now remember.

Note as to the supposed death of John Munday son of James and Jemima.

In the beginning of the year 1830 James & John emigrated to Australia (Swan River) at that time supposed to be the most promising of the fields of emigration. They took with them farming implements & large stores and a young man from Bishopstrow named as servant. On the voyage out James broke his arm when assisting to haul in the anchor. This accident was the precursor of other troubles for the land allocated them by Sir Charles Darling, the then governor of Western Australia, proved perfectly useless. James turned his attention to building & entered into partnership with a man named Davis (?).

John however being disgusted with the misfortunes encountered at Swan River, migrated to Hobart Town, Tasmania, where some mystery envelopes his career. It is supposed however that he became entangled with sharpers, as he ultimately wrote home for the share of money due to him, under his father's will. This was sent out, but what happened after this is not known.

He however disappeared & it is supposed committed suicide by shooting himself, as reports of a pistol were heard, either this is probable or else he was murdered; it is strange however that his body was never discovered.

This happened in the year 1835. When the Rev. K.B.J. Thorpe went over to Hobart Town in 1861, he made enquiries on the subject, but no light was thrown on it; probably the colony was in so unsettled a condition that no regular government existed at that time.

Meanwhile James, in accordance with a promise to his mother, returned home and John's death occurred before he left; some blame, it was felt attached to him, for not having looked more after his brother, & for not making an investigation into the cause of his disappearance. On arrival in England, he met with & married Sophia Davis. As she refused to emigrate to Australia, he was compelled to sacrifice his interest in the partnership with Davis (?), at a great loss & subsequently went to Canada (Montreal). The severity of the climate however, was such, that neither could endure it, & they soon returned to Cheltenham, thence to Worthing & ultimately to London where he died in 1863, his constitution having been ruined by the excessive hardships he had undergone.