The Rev Christian Bateman and his family

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The Rev Christian Bateman


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The man who restored Longueville Manor in the 1860s has always been known as the Rev W B Bateman, but these were not his initials, and the mistake goes some way to explaining why his background was such a mystery until now


Longueville Manor, the history of which can be traced back to the earliest years of the 14th century, if not before, had fallen into disrepair when it was purchased by the Rev Christian Henry Bateman and his wife Margaret, in 1863.

Young family

But who were they, and how could a Congregationalist priest and his wife, with seven young children, afford to buy one of Jersey's premier manor houses?

It is on record in Jersey's land registry that in 1863 they paid £2,228 2s 7d plus 382-5-2/3 quarters of wheat rente, to acquire the property from Philippe Arthur, who had paid somewhat less 27 years earlier to become the first person to buy the manor, and acquire the title of Seigneur, after it had passed from generation to generation by inheritance for nearly 350 years.

As we shall see, it was significant that this was a joint purchase by Christian and Margaret, which was certainly not common in the mid-19th century, when property was still very much vested in the husband, unless it had been part of his wife's inheritance.

Parents

Christian Henry Bateman was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1813. He was the second son and fourth child of John Frederic Bateman and Mary Agnes La Trobe. Both his parents are noteworthy, his mother being the daughter of a Moravian Bishop, and his father a civil engineer, who has been credited with being the father of the water supply system throughout England.

John Frederick La Trobe Bateman (he incorporated his wife's surname into his own by Royal Licence in 1883, six years before his death, was the eldest son of John Bateman, described as an 'unsuccessful inventor'. John Frederick worked in the water supply industry for more than 50 years, designing and constructing reservoirs and waterworks.

He is perhaps best remembered for the construction of what was, in its day, the largest chain of reservoirs in the world, constructed between 1848 and 1877, to supply water to Manchester. The city still relies on these works, which led to Bateman being described as 'the greatest dam builder of his generation'.

His sons John Frederic La Trobe Bateman and Charles Benjamin Bateman followed him as civil engineers, and a third son Edward, was a draftsman. Christian Henry was educated to follow his maternal grandfather into the Moravian Church, but eventually joined the Congregationalist Church in Scotland, probably after meeting and marrying his wife, Margaret Fleming Brown, in 1845.

But what brought Christian and Margaret to Jersey in 1863, and how could they afford to buy Longueville Manor?

Although Christian's father was so successful in his career, and was probably a man of some substance, he died in 1851 and any inheritance was likely to favour his older sons.

Wife's family

Margaret was the fourth child of James Brown, of Midlothian, Scotland, by his second wife Ann, and here probably lies the clue to Christian and Margaret's ability to buy a Jersey manor.

James was a paper manufacturer, having acquired Esk Mill, Penicuick, in 1820, and built it up to a business with a staff of 240 by 1851. In that year's census his daughter Margaret was living with her parents, together with her two young sons. It is not clear where Christian Bateman was, at this stage, but he and Margaret had five more children between 1853 and 1859.

James Brown died in 1852, and his business passed to a son-in-law, married to Margaret's elder sister Jane. It seems that the two sons of James Brown's first marriage either did not enjoy an inheritance from their father, or had predeceased him.

So it can be assumed that Margaret shared in her father's estate, and she and Christian moved to Jersey with their young family and acquired Longueville Manor.

Records we have uncovered show that Christian Henry Bateman held positions as a Congregationalist minister in Edinburgh, Muirfield, Hopton and Reading. He acquired Longueville Manor jointly with his wife in 1863, and set about restoring the property.

Jersey curacy

In 1869 he was ordained in the Church of England and took up a position as Curate of St Luke's Church, the closest to the family home, which he held for two years.

In 1872 he and Margaret acquired another property in Jersey, La Freminerie, St Saviour, but the following year they sold this, and Longueville Manor, to a Mr Kipling. They were represented in Court by their attorney, Moses Gibaut, so had probably already left Jersey.

There is an unexplained overlap in dates, but church records show that the family had probably left in 1871, because Christian Bateman was Vicar of All Sainds, Childshill, Middlesex, from then until 1875, and Curate of St John's Penymyndd, Hawarden, from 1877 to 1884.

Henry's brother, Edward, described in online family trees as a draftsman was a far more accomplished artist. He was a pre-Raphaelite watercolour painter and garden designer. Henry and Edward's cousin Charles emigrated to Australia and the family name is perpetuated in a suburb of Perth and a town and bay in New South Wales.

  • Family tree
  • Why, and exactly when, Christian Bateman was referred to as W B Bateman is uncertain. Those initials had nothing to do with him, nor any member of his close family. They may first have appeared in the 1930 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise, when the history of Longueville Manor was published for the first time. Bateman's journal was published as an appendix to a number of articles by respected historian Charles Langton, who referred to him as W B Bateman. Since then, virtually every reference to the Reverend gentleman had given him those initials (with the notable exception of [[Longueville Manor revisited|an article in the Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise in 2012]], until research carried out for Jerripedia in 2017 revealed his true identity and full family history.
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