The Footes of Footes Lane
Local historian Ian Hadrell reveals the story of a family who left their mark on Frampton Cotterell, despite moving to Australia
Local historian Ian Hadrell reveals the story of a family who left their mark on Frampton Cotterell, despite moving to Australia. This is the long version of the edited article that appeared in Frome Valley Voice in September 2013.
Local tradition has it that Footes Lane in Frampton Cotterell takes its name from the Foote family who emigrated to Australia in the 19th century after they had gained prominence in business and local government in the Ipswich area of Queensland. The lane was indeed named after the Foote family, but occurred prior to the family leaving Frampton Cotterell for the antipodes, whilst the head of the household, Joseph, was employed as a local hatter.
Joseph Foote was born about 1791. From family stories, there appears some likelihood that he, or his father, could have been born in Ireland; but our first authentic record of him is as a young man in Frampton Cotterell when he married Elizabeth Clarke of Thornbury on the 22 January 1821 at St Philip & St Jacob church, Bristol.
Shortly after their marriage Joseph and Elizabeth Foote went to live at Calne, in Wiltshire, as Joseph’s name appears in Pigot’s Directory for Wiltshire 1822 as a hat manufacturer in Church Street, Calne. Their first child, John Clarke Foote, was born on July 10, 1822 at Calne and baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Melksham on 20 June 1824. On November 5, 1823, their second son, Alfred William was born at Calne (also baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Melksham) and it is likely that the family moved back to Gloucestershire soon afterwards. Joseph and Elizabeth’s first daughter, Clarissa, born in May 1825 at Kendalshire, near Winterbourne Down, together with their last four children James, Joseph, Lucy and Harriett were all christened on the same day, 23 July 1837, at St Peter’s church, Frampton Cotterell.
Little is known of the intervening years up to 1847; but it is certain that he was an active member of the Independent or Methodist Churches and in his ‘leisure time’ was a lay preacher for thirty years in the villages around Bristol. On the Quarterly Tickets of The Wesleyan Methodist Society, Joseph Foote is shown as being a member in September 1824, and between 1830 and 1834 is recorded as preaching at Zion Chapel in Frampton. Joseph and his family obviously had a close association with the chapel, located on top of Brockridge, as his last four children’s names appear in the Zion Sunday School register in the early 1840s. His wife Elizabeth was also a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Society having joined in June 1816; she is still recorded, in her married name, on the Quarterly Tickets of June 1830.
In the Gloucestershire Register of Electors published in 1832 “for any election which may take place in 1833” Joseph Foote is included in the register and entitled to vote by virtue of owning a freehold house and garden in Crow Lane in Frampton Cotterell. In an 1838 survey of Frampton Cotterell, Foote is recorded as the owner and occupier of a cottage, as he is in the 1841 Tithe Apportionment occupying plot 646 indicated on the accompanying Tithe Map. By the time of the 1841 census, a few months later, Joseph a hatter by trade, and his family are enumerated as living in Footes Lane, in one of only four cottages situated in the lane at the time. Therefore, Crow Lane must have been renamed Foote’s Lane sometime between 1832 and the 6 June 1841, the night of the “first modern census”; named after hatter and local lay preacher Joseph Foote.
An early colonist to Van Dieman’s Land, Joseph Foote arrived on 31 January 1848 at Launceston aboard the barque Britannia from London, leaving his family in England until he was settled. He was an agent of The Colonial Missionary Society, an organization formed in May 1836 as a “distinct society for the Colonies” following the report of a deputation to Canada by representatives of Congregational churches from Britain. Its principal mission effort was directed towards promoting Congregationalist forms of Christianity among “British or other European settlers” rather than indigenous peoples. Joseph Foote was examined in early February 1848 by a member of the Van Diemen’s Land Colonial Missionary and Christian Instruction Society as a prospective home missionary for the society. He was subsequently appointed and based at Richmond, 25 miles from Hobart, riding on horseback to outlying stations. Foote collapsed in the Congregational Chapel at Richmond on Sunday 9 July 1848, while preaching the Gospel to his congregation which comprised many convicts. He died the following evening and was buried in the old Torrens Street Cemetery at Richmond, near Hobart, Tasmania. The Courier newspaper reported that his death was “deeply regretted by all who knew his character and labours”.
His second son, Alfred William, preceded him to Australia and arrived in Launceston, Van Diemen’s Land, from Bristol on the ship ‘Arabian’ on August 24, 1841, less than three months from his nineteenth birthday. For a time engaged in farming pursuits in the Launceston area Alfred liked Van Diemen’s Land so much, that the rest of the family decided to follow him there. Alfred and Eliza Ann Yeates, the only daughter of John Yeates, Esq., of Allanvale, East Tamar, were married on 4 February 1852 by the Rev. John Yarker, at Trinity Church, Launceston, Tasmania. It is said that he proposed to her under an apple tree in her father’s apple orchard. They crossed to Victoria at the time of the gold rush, and subsequently went to Brisbane about 1854, which was then in New South Wales. He was engaged as accountant for Benjamin Cribb in Brisbane, where that gentleman had a business named Moreton House, until Cribb gave up the metropolitan business, when Alfred commenced farming at Warrill Creek, which pursuit occupied his attention for seven or eight years. He purchased 162 acres there on 15 May 1855. Afterwards he became accountant for the firm of Cribb and Foote, which position he held for about thirty years, until about 1895, when failing health necessitated his retirement. Learning Phonetic Shorthand by correspondence from Isaac Pitman of Bath, he and Pitman corresponded until the latter’s death. “He was an able and enthusiastic stenographer. In fact he might safely be called the father of stenography in Ipswich. He also took a deep interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the aboriginals and kanakas in the district. Though not taking an active interest in public matters, Mr Foote was a very well informed and widely read man. His friends were many and by them he was much esteemed. The deceased gentleman was a staunch supporter of the local Congregational church”, commented the Queensland Times following Alfred’s death aged 73 from heart failure on Wednesday 22 July 1896. His wife, Eliza Ann died on 14 November 1915 in her 83rd year; they had 14 children of whom 11 survived.
Joseph Foote Jnr left Frampton Cotterell and arrived at Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, on 18 August 1848, as an assisted immigrant aged 18 on the ship “Cheapside”, which departed Plymouth on May 21st. The rest of his family had intended to accompany him, but his mother refused to leave England until she heard how her husband was getting on in Van Dieman’s Land. Joseph spent one year in Victoria, for at least some of that time employed by E. Lyons of Yarra for 6 months at £22 and rations. His intention was to join his father, who was then a clergyman in Tasmania, but on his arrival in that colony he found that his father had died in the pulpit on a Sunday morning in July 1848. Joseph left Tasmania in 1851 for California, with a friend, and on the goldfields there they were very successful, but as the climate of California did not suit him he returned to Australia, and carried out mining in Victoria for some time. Subsequently he moved to Queensland, and took up his abode in Ipswich. James bought land in Brisbane and Ipswich and the surrounding country. In 1869 he bought 322 acres in the parish of Undullah and in 1870 bought 237 acres at the headwaters of Oxley Creek. He owned a property named Bellesvick and early records show that he and his brother, James had a sheep property in the Bundamba area. Joseph married his cousin Esther Trotman, (28 February 1829 – 29 November 1911) the second daughter of Samuel Trotman of Poplar House, Bristol, 28 April 1863, and for a number of years was connected with Messrs. Cribb and Foote's establishment before setting up as a draper. For the last three years of his life he had been suffering from general debility, the hard work he had gone through in mining in the early days, doubtless, telling upon him. Joseph died at his residence, Denmark Hill, Ipswich on 11 January 1890 aged 58 years, leaving a widow, a daughter, and three sons, two other sons having died in infancy.
Elizabeth Foote, the widow of Joseph, departed Frampton Cotterell in 1850, with her adult children James, Clarissa, Lucy, Harriett, together with John and his wife Mary Anne, on the barque Emigrant. The passenger list states that there were already two sons in Launceston, Tasmania. Elizabeth and the rest of her family had intended accompanying her youngest son, Joseph, when he emigrated to Australia in 1848, but she refused to leave England until she heard how her husband was getting on in Van Dieman’s Land. The Emigrant sailed from Plymouth on 17 April 1850 chartered by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, bound for Moreton Bay, with 276 passengers on board; thirty-nine married couples, fifty-five single women, seventy-two single men, thirty seven male and twenty-seven female children under fourteen years of age, and three infants.
However, when the ship was off the Cape de Verdes Islands (350 miles off the coast of Western Africa), on the 12th May, typhus fever first appeared on board. The disease began to display itself in a young woman from Ireland, by the name Catherine Munsell, which no doubt had been long lying dormant in the system before coming on board; from this occurrence two other young females were attacked, and also a married female, Mary O'Meara, who died on the 25th May, leaving three children to the care of the father. As the ship approached the Latitude of the Cape of Good Hope the disease had reached malignant form, and on the 24th July, 97 days out, the ship entered Bass's Straights, having so much sickness on board it was found necessary to enlarge the hospitals, and by the time the ship reached Moreton Bay on 8 August 1850 there were sixty-four cases of malignant typhus and 14 deaths.
The Emigrant took on board a pilot inside Moreton Bay and when Australian government officials boarded the ship on the 8th August, ordered the entire ship into quarantine, and by the 14th August, the 241 passengers and crew had been transferred to the Quarantine Ground, situated at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay. Whilst on her way there the Health Officer left the bay in the ketch Aurora, engaged to convey provisions, tents, and other necessaries, to the quarantine ground, for the immigrants. Mr. Watson, the local immigration agent, went down to take charge of the station, and four pensioners by the Bangalore, engaged for the service, were sent there to act as guards. Originally built to house convicts, the Quarantine Station was not equipped to handle such a large number of people, its few buildings were old and dilapidated, and it certainly was not ideal conditions for patients suffering from Typhus. The local authorities did all in their power to alleviate the sufferings of the emigrants sending tents in an attempt to alleviate the shortage of accommodation; desiring Mr Kempe, the captain of the Emigrant, to use anything for the fitting up of the place for their convenience, and the government would pay for the same. But when he went ashore and saw the place, he was completely at a loss where to place the people. However, he did provided awnings and sails from his ship for makeshift shelters until wooden huts could be built and by the 15th had got them all located on shore.
To avoid further contamination, healthy emigrants were segregated to higher ground above the hospital, where they cooked for themselves on open fires, with fresh food and supplies ferried over regularly from the mainland. The entire settlement at Moreton Bay was gripped with horror at the typhus epidemic aboard the Emigrant but people on the mainland also sent items, such as books, games and newspapers, to assist the emigrants in their daily life. After being offered wages and extra compensation, a number of the emigrants volunteered their services to help in the hospital, one of whom was John Clarke Foote.
Up to the 8th October the disease that had raged so fearfully amongst the passengers remained unabated, no less than forty-four deaths having taken place since the fever first broke out on board the vessel, although every attention has been given by the authorities to stop the fatal malady. The Emigrant had been released from quarantine, and preceded to the Northward in search of guano. However, whilst there were still 13 fever patients and 1 with debility (14 in all under hospital treatment), the last cases admitted (two women) on the 1st instant, the disease was assuming a milder form.
By late October the Typhus outbreak was abating, and on the 5th November arrangements were made to ferry the remaining emigrants to the mainland. The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday 11 November reported, “I am happy in being able to report that the last account from the medical officer in charge of the quarantine station on Stradbroke Island is very favourable, only one slight case of fever being under treatment; it is expected that the healthy immigrants will be brought up during the present week, after a sojourn of three months' quarantine.” A total of 236 people had to be relocated, and this was completed by the 19th November. The Moreton Bay Courier reported that by Christmas time all emigrants had been engaged in work. Many employers had been waiting for the settlers release from quarantine, and were eagerly waiting on the docks for their arrival.
Twenty-six passengers of the Emigrant are buried in Dunwich Cemetery on Stradbroke Island where the vessel was put into quarantine. Also buried there are the ship's Surgeon Superintendent, Dr Mitchell and the former Resident Surgeon of the Moreton Bay General Hospital, Dr Ballow who volunteered for the task of tending the stricken passengers of the ship. Dr Ballow, after only five days illness, was carried off. Dr Mitchell, surgeon-superintendent, died after laying forty-two days upon his bed.
John Clarke Foote acted from the first landing of the immigrants on Stradbroke Island as principal in the hospital attending day and night administering the medicines and dressing the patients, and was subsequently (December 1850) considered, by George Watson Superintendent of Quarantine, to be one of a number of the Emigrant’s party who were entitled to remuneration for the work they had carried out. “The late Dr Ballow spoke in the highest terms of him for the great moral fortitude evinced in so trying a situation performing such offices as few would have undertaken”.
“…and James Foote came under my observation as having charge of the Stores which were judicially and regularly served out to my satisfaction”, recorded George Watson concerning the efforts of John’s brother.
John Clarke Foote, born 10 July 1822 at Calne, Wiltshire, was the eldest son of Joseph and Elizabeth Foote. He married Mary Anne Hardwick of Kendalshire at St Saviour’s church, Coalpit Heath on 4 April 1850. At the time of his marriage his occupation is described as herdsman. John sailed from Plymouth just 10 days after his marriage, on the barque Emigrant, with his new wife, mother and four siblings arriving at Moreton Bay on the 8 August 1850. The voyage to Australia was to be John and Mary Anne’s honeymoon. John was a teacher at the Nundah German settlement in 1851 and from 1852 was associated with the firm of Cribb and Foote, when he was appointed manager, a position he held with conspicuous success for about two years, when he was admitted into partnership in 1854. On the death of Benjamin Cribb in 1874, John and his sister Clarissa, (Cribb’s widow) carried on the business until 1891, when the firm passed to the control of their sons, Messrs. T. B. Cribb, J. F. Cribb, J. C. Cribb, H.R Cribb, Ambrose J. Foote, William H. Foote, and Joseph Foote. John was a Vice-President of the Queensland Agricultural and Pastoral Society, a trustee of Ipswich Boys Grammar School, and a Member of the Queensland Legislative Council from May 1877 to August 1895. He died 18 August 1895 at Ipswich. “He exercised a practical sympathy with all institutions of a philanthropic nature, and was always to the fore in any movement having for its object the advancement of the town and district. He had a deep interest in religious matters – was Presentor of the Presbyterian Church in his early days in Ipswich; and later, was for thirty-five years Superintendent of the Wesleyan Sunday School.”
Clarissa, the eldest daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Foote married Benjamin Cribb at the United Evangelical Church, William Street, Brisbane on 30 March 1853. The couple had nine children. When her husband, the founder of the firm of Cribb and Foote, died suddenly in March 1874 Clarissa became the senior partner in the firm, but in 1891 she and her brother John retired from it to allow younger members of the families to come in. Clarissa died at her residence, Denmark Hill, Ipswich, Queensland on Thursday afternoon 14 December 1899. She was 74 years of age, and had been ailing for some years, the last time in which she drove out being on the occasion of the Congregational Sunday School treat in November 1898. Messrs. Cribb and Foote’s establishment was closed for her funeral and about 120 employees, many of them carrying wreaths, preceded the hearse to the cemetery. About forty relatives walked behind the hearse.
Benjamin Cribb, born 7 November 1807 at Poole, originally manufactured blacking and sold household appliances and matches in Covent Garden before going to the Moreton Bay district of New South Wales, Australia. Arriving in 1849 on the Chasely with his first wife Elizabeth Brideson, their three children and his brother Robert’s daughter Mary, Benjamin began business in Ipswich as a general merchant that same year. His wife died in 1852 and the following year he married Clarissa Foote. After carrying on business successfully for some years, in 1854 he joined in partnership with John Clarke Foote, his wife’s brother, and Robert Cribb jnr, his nephew, establishing the firm of Cribb and Foote. The company was the first retail business established in Ipswich and their department store on Brisbane Street and Bell Street was a prominent feature in the town. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly (1858-1859) and Queensland’s Legislative Assembly on two occasions (1861-1867 and 1870-1873). Prior to separation in 1859, the area now known as Queensland was governed from Sydney as part of the colony of New South Wales. An ardent Congregationalist, he was a Sunday school superintendent, as well as being a driving force behind the establishment of the Ipswich Boy’s Grammar School. Benjamin Cribb died of a stroke whilst attending a service at Ipswich Congregational Church on 11 March 1874. The Brisbane Courier reported, “During the service at the chapel he was taken in a sort of fit, which was attributed to indigestion chiefly, and he had to be carried out of the chapel in a state of insensibility. Dr Rowlands was summoned at once, and on examination gave no grounds for hope for Mr. Cribb's recovery. Various remedies were applied to resuscitate him, but on being taken home on a stretcher he breathed his last almost upon crossing his own threshold.”
James Foote, born 10 November 1829, Frampton Cotterell, the third son of Joseph and Elizabeth, emigrated to Moreton Bay on the Emigrant, August 1850, aged 21. He first worked at Cribb and Foote (c.1854) and later set up as a grocer in Brisbane Street, Ipswich and remained in that business combined with ironmongery until the time of his death. He was married to Catherine Keith (née Cramb) by the Revd James Love on 21 July 1863 at Clyde Bank Cottage, Petrie Terrace, Brisbane. In 1875 the couple lived in Brisbane Street, Ipswich but by 1876 were living at ‘Bleak House’ located at Newtown, Ipswich. James owned a large area of land that bordered Logan Lagoon later known as Swanbank and was responsible for building ‘Frampton Villa’ located on the corner of Whitehill and Rose Streets, Eastern Heights. James Foote was a Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly on three separate occasions; November 1873 to November 1878, November 1886 to May 1888, and November 1892 and February 1893. He was also an Alderman of Ipswich City Council between 1866 and 1869, and in 1871, and was Mayor of Ipswich in 1870. Before the time of the redistribution of seats in 1873, he represented the West Moreton electorate in Parliament. After the re-distribution he represented Bundamba (one of the West Moreton single electorates). At a later period he also represented the Rosewood electorate for a short time. As a politician James Foote was a man of influence in the district and was deservedly esteemed. James took a keen interest in public affairs and was one of the most prominent men in promoting the various industries of West Moreton, establishing the first flour mill in the district. He largely assisted in the establishment of the most important industries of the district – such as the woollen factory – and was frequently represented on the directorate of that company. He was also a director of the Phoenix Engineering Co. James Foote died 4 September 1895, Ipswich, Queensland and is buried in the Congregational section of Ipswich General Cemetery with his wife who pre-deceased him on 20 December 1893.
Elizabeth Foote did not survive long in her adopted country as she died on 22 May 1852, in her 59th year, at Brisbane Town, Colony of Moreton Bay, New South Wales, less than two years after her arrival in Australia. She was interred two days later at Milton Wesleyan Methodist burial ground. The cemetery was subsequently demolished and her remains removed to the Robert Cribb grave, Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.
Cribb and Foote was the first retail business established in Ipswich, and therefore began the trend that saw the shift from primary industry to retail. The original Cribb and Foote building in Bell Street, Ipswich “Cribb and Foote London Stores” was erected around 1849. The original small wooden building, part of which was destroyed by fire in 1865, was replaced by a new building and in 1910 architect George Brockell Gill designed a 3 storey building embellished with the polychrome brickwork which was characteristic of his work. Cribb and Foote’s strengths were its variety of goods, commitment, and willingness to expand. Cribb and Foote targeted a wide variety of customers, and therefore their goods ranged from clothing to agricultural implements, as their business believed that success was obtained through meeting market demands effectively. Cribb and Foote also supported the Ipswich community strongly, particularly the local cotton farmers. They bought their cotton locally, and established gins in their stores and centres. They also assisted farmers with strategies of cotton growth and how to deal with floods and droughts. Therefore a strong business/community relationship existed between Cribb and Foote and Ipswich, ensuring local support and thus prosperity. The company also expanded according to the market, and by 1910 had established a drapery on the corner of Brisbane and Bell Street, most of Bell Street being owned by Cribb and Foote. By the 1950s Cribb and Foote Department Store had developed into one of the biggest commercial trading firms in Queensland. In 1972 Walter Reid & Co. acquired 91% of Cribb & Foote, and in 1977 the store was renamed 'Reids'. It was destroyed by fire in August 1985, but within days, police determined the fire had been deliberately lit. The policeman in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior-Sergeant Norm Bryans, affirmed that it was a "professional job". "It was not an electrical fault - the whole building was meant to go," he told reporters. Kern Corporation, one of the most prominent property industry players in the '80s, had earlier in the month signed an option to buy the store as part of a $140 million redevelopment. Kern launched three legal bids to have the building's insurers pay it $14 million in compensation. All three failed. Ipswich City Square office and retail complex now stands on the site.
In 1897, John Clarke Foote’s youngest son, also Joseph Foote accompanied by two of his cousins made a business trip to England for Cribb and Foote, leaving Brisbane 17 February on board the QRMS India. These were Harold Foote, son of Joseph Foote Jnr. and Harry S Cribb, son of Clarissa Foote. “We then went up Footes Lane and saw where father used to live…Sunday 2 May 1897. Attended Zion Chapel, the new one, and heard Revd Williams, and enjoyed the service. In the afternoon I went to Sunday School in the Old Zion Chapel and gave an address after the teaching. I went church again in the evening.” A month later Joseph returned to Australia departing from London 3rd of June on the RMS Arcadia and arriving at Sydney on 15th July. Harry Cribb followed his cousin home the following month. The above extract is taken from an unpublished transcript produced in 1980 by Nancy Foote of “Diary of a Trip to England: 16th Feb.-14th July 1897 by Joseph Foote”.
In 1977 there was a proposal to erect a plaque on the house, ‘Vine Cottage’, where the Foote family had lived from the late 1830s to the 1840s, the idea being supported by the Government of Queensland, the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, members of the Foote family, and the local history society. The plaque was intended to commemorate the fact that James Foote, who was for three terms between 1873 and 1893 elected a Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly was born in the house on 10 November 1829. James’ elder sister was born at Kendalshire in May 1825, indicating that Joseph Foote bought the freehold cottage, in what was then known as Crow Lane, between the two dates.
The wording for the plaque was agreed and the names of prominent Australians were put forward as suitable attendees for the unveiling ceremony; including Sir Wallace Rae Agent-General for Queensland, Jack Fingleton, a former Australian cricketer who trained as a journalist and became a political and cricket commentator after the end of his playing career, Richie Benaud another former Australian cricketer who, since his retirement from international cricket in 1964, had become a highly regarded commentator on the game, and members of the Foote family. However, the plan for the historical commemoration of 27 Foote’s Lane was never realized. Vine Cottage, owned at the time by the Rev Ian Lewis whose family had lived in the property during the first half of the twentieth century, and despite a petition by local residents to save the cottage a builder demolished the building in 1979 and replaced it with a pair of four-bedroomed homes.
However, further research has indicated that James Foote may not have been born in Vine Cottage after all. “On 6 May 1831, Joseph Foote hatter, bought from William Winstone Pocock schoolmaster, 1 rood 20 perches of land at Frampton Cotterell “in consideration of the sum of five shillings sterling”, being paid of a piece of ground which formed part of a Close of ground called Upper Shingles. He built on it a two-storied cottage and as the family grew up, another two-storied section was added. This was ‘Vine Cottage’, 27 Footes Lane”, states an extract from ‘A brief outline of The Story of the Foote Family’, written in 1973 by members of the Foote and Cribb families to commemorate the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the arrival of both families in Australia.