19th century Payn emigrants in South Africa

From Jerripedia
Jump to: navigation, search


19th century Payn emigrants

to South Africa

This article by Mike Bisson was added to the site in 2013

William Payn

William Payn, who emigrated to South Africa in 1850 was a descendant of the yeoman farmers on the island of Jersey with a genealogical tree tracing their forbears back to the 13th century.

Le Colombier Manor in St Lawrence was owned by the Payn family.

When William married Janet Shaw in 1853 their marriage bans were the first to be called in St Mary's Anglican Church, Richmond, though the marriage ceremony took place in Oak Cottage, thereafter Hotel Gwendale also of Richmond.

It is interesting to note that St Mary's Church was the first Anglican Church to be consecrated in Natal, even before St Peters in Petermaritzburg.

William and Janet had one daughter, Janet Mary and four sons: William, Alexander Francis, James Herbert and John Samuel.

It is also interesting to note that Janet Mary was the first baby to be christened in St Mary's Church.


These children walked to Richmond to school from Glen App daily, the school being housed in a small building later used as a men's dressing room by the original Richmond Tennis Club. The school was under the headmaster at Kearsley.

In later years William sold the farm Glen App and he and Janet moved to the farm Fernie Hill in the Harding area. Alexander and Anne had moved to Pietermaritzburg some years previously. Janet was the first white woman to live in tle Harding district and she and William lived there for the rest of their lives.

After William's death in 1882 his son John Samuel, known as Jack, inherited the property and Janet continued to live in the old home and was cared for by her grand-daughters. She had become blind owing to having had one eye damaged when a little boy shot towards her with a pop gun and the cork hit one of her eyes. The other eye was blinded by a cataract. These were not operated on in those early days. She lived to the ripe old age of 91.

About five years before her death there appeared in the Natal Witness a portrait of her and representatives of five generations. Those who form the connecting links in the chain were:

Janet Payn, Janet Mary Hackland, Mary Janet Comrie, Natalie Janet Fuller, Robert Garnet Fuller, Roslyn Kaplan and Juliet Kaplan.

At the time of her death she had 27 grand children, about 35 great-grand children and two great-great-grand children. Four generations of eldest daughters succeeding her were married in St Mary's Church.

It will be noticed that all bore the name of Janet including Natalie’s daughter, Nancy Janet. Alexander Shaw's first wife was Janet Muir and his mother was Janet Mc Kenzie. There are several Janets in later generations - a proper family name.

Bill Payn

Bill Payn, christened Cecil, was the son of James Herbert Payn and was a very well known personality, a much loved teacher, and a sportsman. He taught at Durban High School for boys for 40 years or more, only having a break during his army service in the First and Second World Wars. He was particularly well known in Natal and Rhodesia and was described as big hearted and kindly "Big Bill" and stood 6 ft 3 in in his socks. He was a battle-field hero and an ex PoW.

His life was dedicated to helping others, whether his fellow prisoners of war, team mates, school pupils or every day friends and acquaintances. He was a Springbok rugby player and at cricket bowled with distinction. He was a boxer, an athlete and shone at baseball. He was truly a great and kindly man. He left money for his friends to have a drink after his funeral.

Ella Payn, a great-granddaughter of William Payn, took up the nursing profession and trained at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. She later held the position of Matron at the Germiston General Hospital and afterwards at the Johannesburg General Hospital. Also she held positions of importance in other spheres of the nursing profession.

Philip Francis Payn

Philip Francis Payn, of Woodburn, Pietermaritzburg, son of Philip Jourdain Payn a brother of William Payn senior, was born in 1853 in St Helier, Jersey. He came to South Africa in 1856 aged three years and was educated at Rugby School and at Pinetown. His people were known as The Kings of Jersey.

He sat in Parliament for Umgeni for two sessions and was Mayor of Pietermaritzburg during the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria from 1896 to 1897. During his period in office as chief citizen, he laid the foundation stone of the Alexandra Park Pavilion. He held the office of deputy mayor for several years.

During the Boer War, Philip was chairman of the Refugee Committee, was a fellow of the Royal Geographical and Zoological Societies and was an esteemed member of the Pietermaritzburg Victoria Club, the flag of the club being flown at half mast at the time of his death in 1916 and the list was not called at the local stock exchange on that day. He was also a member of the Durban and Rand Clubs.

Philip's home in New England Road, Pietermaritzburg was called Woodburn and the playing fields of that name nearby were named after his home. Mrs Margaret Anne Beve, born Harvey of Guernsey, was a great aunt of Philip Francis Payn and last heard of was in her 109th year. She was related to the rest of the Payn family.

Mrs Willie Payn, Anne (her husband William was the son of William senior) and Miss Remfrey, both of Richmond, were instrumental in organising the erection of the Richmond memorial Hall. The land where the hall stands and the surrounding garden was purchased for the village.

Miss Remfrey contributed generously towards the purchase, as did the Womens League and Institute and donations were given by many people of the district.

The Payn family has increased and live mostly in the Harding and Kokstad regions. A few in the Richmond District and there are other families living elsewhere.

Family tree

Personal tools
other Channel Islands
contact and contributions

Please support Jerripedia with a donation to our hosting costs