Lydia Barber: A Real Tess of the d’Urbervilles

By Michaela Ann Cameron

This biography was originally published on The Old Parramattan.

Michaela Ann Cameron, director of The St. John’s Cemetery Project, tells the life story of her own five-times-great grandmother, the oldest of her “Old Parramattans,” a convict named “Lydia.”

This real life Tess of the d’Urbervilles was a Dorset native, wife, mother, widow turned fallen woman, silk throwster, thief, and convict transported beyond the seas on the Earl Cornwallis (1801).[1] After arriving in the colony of New South Wales, however, Lydia married a member of the New South Wales Corps and became the matriarch of nineteenth-century Parramatta’s affluent Barber family.

In the telling of a biography with such disparate phases[2] three distinct Lydias emerge. Conveniently, these three Lydias align with the different names by which she was known over the course of her life.

The Maiden: Lydia Childs of Melbury Osmond

Lydia was the first of ten children born to parents David and Mary Childs around 1765. Lydia’s mother, born Mary Wellman, was a spinner[3] who prior to her marriage had lived in the small estate parish Melbury Sampford – once known as Melbury Turbeville in reference to the medieval noble family the Turbevilles of Dorset[4] – located between the villages of Melbury Osmond and Evershot in the Beaminster district, Dorset, England.[5] Lydia’s father David was a labourer in husbandry[6] who lived in the picturesque village and parish of Melbury Osmond and it was in St Osmonds, the church of this parish, that David and Mary were wed on 5 July 1763.

From the marriage record we learn that Lydia’s parents were somewhat literate, as both signed their names instead of using the frequently seen ‘X.’ Indeed, four out of the six marriages recorded on the St Osmonds church parish record page containing the Childs’ marriage were between men and women who were illiterate. These statistics gathered from this small cross-section of the community roughly indicate that by being able to sign their names both Lydia’s parents were comparatively more educated than many other members of their parish who were of marriageable age in this period.

Lydia Childs may have had more in common with famed Victorian poet and Tess of the d’Urbervilles novelist Thomas Hardy than a Dorset birthplace and a passing similarity to his heroine. Not only was Hardy’s own mother Jemima Hardy (née Hand) raised in Melbury Osmond,[7] some family history researchers have hypothesised that Lydia Childs and Thomas Hardy were first cousins twice removed through the Childs line.[8] However, the scarcity of records for the Melbury Osmond parish prior to 1731 makes it difficult to determine precisely how all the members of the large and well-established Childs family of Melbury Osmond were connected.[9]

In any case, Hardy had a propensity for using his family history as raw material for his novels,[10] particularly stories of female relations who were punished for defying the conventions of the passionless Victorian era and society generally;[11] he also habitually mined the minutiae of local rural life in Dorset and surrounds.[12] Given the semi-fictional nature of Hardy’s work, it is possible that a cautionary tale of a wayward Melbury Osmond girl named Lydia Childs was part of the fabric of his mother’s childhood community and that the ever-resourceful Hardy heard and drew upon her story whether he was related to her or not.

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Inside St Osmonds, where Lydia was baptised in 1765. Photo: © Copyright Eugene Birchall CC BY SA 2.0

As far as can be ascertained purely from the scant concrete evidence, though, Lydia’s early life was unremarkable inasmuch as it provided no indication of the fall from grace and hardship that was to follow. Indeed, the fact that Lydia’s name appears in the historical record only to mark her baptism at Melbury Osmond on 14 May 1765[13] and later her marriage reflects that the name of ‘Lydia Childs,’ at least, was not sullied by criminal activities.

Maiden No More: Lydia Parker of Sherborne

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St Osmond’s, Melbury Osmond. Photo: Unknown photographer.

On 23 October 1785 at the Melbury Osmond parish church St Osmonds, twenty-year-old Lydia Childs became Lydia Parker. The parish record of the marriage yields little information aside from the fact that at the time of the marriage Lydia’s new husband, William Parker, belonged to the parish of Crewkerne, Somerset and one other surprising detail – though Lydia’s parents were both literate, Lydia and the bridegroom William were not.[14]

What the parish record alone does not reveal is that Lydia Childs was already ‘with child’ during her wedding ceremony. The Parkers’ firstborn, named after Lydia’s mother Mary, was baptised on 11 February 1786 – less than five months after the Parkers’ wedding day – in the market town of Sherborne, Dorset.[15]

Sherborne was located on the periphery of the White Hart Forest and was also, conveniently, far enough away from the prying eyes of Lydia’s fellow parishioners.[16] Baptisms were not typically carried out on the child’s birthdate but sometime afterwards, so based on the baptismal date alone Lydia was at least halfway through her pregnancy at the time of her marriage and could have been much further along. While the Parkers’ marriage in late October 1785 ensured Mary was not ‘base born,’ her conception out of wedlock is the first piece of surviving evidence that Lydia struggled to conduct herself in accordance with the conventions of her day.

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“Sherborne Abbey – 2639488” by Mike Searle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Parkers welcomed their second daughter, Elizabeth, baptised at Sherborne on 7 December 1787, and then a son, William, also baptised at Sherborne on 28 November 1789.[17] However, less than four months after baby William’s baptism, Lydia appeared before a criminal court for what appears to have been the first time on 14 March 1790.[18] In this instance, the mother of three was tried for stealing goods from a Sherborne cabinetmaker named William Hyatt.[19] The outcome of this trial is unknown, but the next time she was caught stealing from this particular individual, years later, the consequences proved fateful.

The following year the Parkers baptised their second son, George, on 18 October 1791 at Sherborne.[20] The responsibility of being a mother to four young children did not deter Lydia from her criminal activities; in fact, it seems likely that motherhood was the impetus for such behaviour, because on Tuesday 17 April 1792 Lydia was again indicted and convicted of stealing. On this occasion, Lydia was found guilty of stealing wheat and barley meal belonging to miller Samuel Scott who, unfortunately, was also a member of the jury! For her felonious act, the court ordered

‘Lydia wife of William Parker…[to] be immediately privately and severely whipt and then to be discharged.’[21]

That Lydia took the risk of stealing wheat and barley meal strongly indicates her husband’s occupation, whatever it may have been, was inadequate to support his growing family.

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Sherborne Abbey vaulting. Photo by David Ross, Britain Express Image Gallery

Nevertheless Lydia gave birth to her fifth child, a son, baptised Solomon[22] at Sherborne on 29 March 1794.[23] Two weeks later, on 16 April 1794, her husband William was dead and buried; his death was followed a fortnight later by the death of baby Solomon, who was buried on the thirtieth day of the same month. A little over one month later, Lydia’s three-year-old son George died and the following month, on 11 July 1794, seven-year-old Elizabeth also passed away.[24]

Soon after Elizabeth’s death Lydia, who was without a male provider and needing to support her two surviving children, began an illicit relationship with and became pregnant to William Lucas, a yeoman of Sherborne. Lucas’s failure to marry Lydia and legitimise their child and the fact that he married another woman the next year[25] sheds light on the harsh reality of their relationship.

The year 1794 had still more grief in store. The day after Christmas Lydia’s eldest child, eight-year-old Mary, also lost her life.[26] Only five-year-old William remained, although even his survival is uncertain, as no further trace of him has been confirmed to date. Nor do we know what caused so many deaths close together in the one family[27]– perhaps an infectious disease or the cumulative effects of extreme poverty. What is certain, however, is that in the space of nine months thirty-year-old Lydia had given birth then buried her husband and four of her five children. Now there was another child on the way and this child, a girl, was destined to bear the stigma of being ‘base born’ and, worse, to spend her childhood in the parish workhouse so her single mother was free to work and financially contribute to her maintenance.[28]

Lydia gave birth to her base born child on 14 April 1795 and had her baptised Maria Lucas Parker on 26 May 1795 at Sherborne.[29] Within the week a hearing took place in which Lydia confirmed the identity of the child’s father. In the course of the hearing Lucas failed to show ‘sufficient cause why he…shall not be the reputed Father of the…Bastard Child’[30] and was ordered by two of the county’s Justices of the Peace to pay the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of Sherborne parish ‘the sum of Eight Shillings for and towards the Lying-in of…Lydia Parker and the Maintenance of the…Bastard Child’ up to the time of the hearing.[31] Lucas was also required to pay ‘the Sum of one shilling and three pence weekly and every Week from this present Time, for and towards the Keeping, Sustentation, and Maintenance of the…Bastard Child for and during so long Time as the said Bastard Child shall be chargeable to the…parish.’[32] Likewise, Lydia was ordered to pay ‘the Sum of one Shilling weekly and every Week so long as the said Bastard Child shall be chargeable to the…Parish…in Case she shall not nurse and take Care of the Said Child herself.’[33]

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The silkworm. Image: Hollins Rayner, Silk Throwing and Waste Silk Spinning, [1903]

We know that Lydia did find employment in Sherborne as a silk throwster. Silk throwing was the operation of converting raw silk into ‘a weavable state for warp or weft,’[34] thus Lydia had been employed twisting and winding multiple fibres of raw silk and doubling fine and coarse threads together to produce yarn of specific sizes and counts.[35] The reason we have this piece of information about Lydia’s occupation in 1796, though, is because it appeared on a prison register. A warrant for her arrest had been issued on 25 June 1796 and she was brought into custody the following day.[36] Lydia was then tried at the court’s Midsummer Session for stealing three yards of ribbon along with other articles belonging to watchmaker Samuel Elford[37] as well as one brass skillet, the property of John Bracher, a weaver from Silton.[38] The court found Lydia guilty and sentenced her to ‘be imprisoned in the House of Correction of this County to hard Labor for the space of Two years and then to be Discharged.’[39] During her imprisonment Lydia performed the tasks of washing and baking and conducted herself in an orderly manner until her release on 13 July 1798.[40] But by this stage Lydia was on a downward spiral.

A mere seven months after her release, Lydia targeted one of her previous victims again: cabinetmaker William Hyatt and his associate Richard Down. Lydia was arrested on 28 February 1799 and charged with stealing from Hyatt and Down ‘a piece of Mahogany and a piece of Oak Board’ as well as ‘divers[e] Wearing Apparel’ belonging to Hyatt.[41] The two cabinetmakers gave evidence in Lydia’s trial on 2 April 1799 as did Hyatt’s wife, Rachel, another woman named Mary Masters of Sherborne, constable William Hodges who probably apprehended Lydia, and Lydia’s twenty-eight year old sister Anne Childs.[42] All witnesses were paid by the Western Treasurer to reimburse them for ‘their Expenses Trouble and Attendance therein.’[43] Though the five shillings Anne received for her ‘trouble’ was a handsome sum in this period,[44] it is doubtful that it would have been any consolation for having to witness her eldest sibling convicted and sentenced,

‘to be transported beyond the seas for The Term of Seven Years.’[45]

Transportation was not immediate. In the interim, Lydia was imprisoned at Dorchester Gaol where she worked as a washerwoman until 26 July 1800. With her sentence of transportation hanging over her, however, the records state that Lydia did not bother to conduct herself in an orderly manner.[46]

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Dorchester Gaol, “whose mass is seen from the meads on approaching the town. It has been much altered, but the heavy stone gateway, together with the flanking walls of red brick, is very much as of old,” wrote Charles G. Harper in 1904. The image is also from Harper’s The Hardy Country, [1904]

 Lydia was transferred from Dorchester Gaol on 4 August 1800, bound for the Thames River where the Earl Cornwallis – the ship that was to transport her beyond the seas – was moored.[47] She was one of 95 female and 193 male convicts who spent the next three and a half months on board waiting for their ship to sail.[48] When it did finally set sail on 18 November 1800, Lydia left behind all her relations including as many as two children; William, who would have been eleven at the time if he was still alive, and five year old Maria.[49] She never saw them again.

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The Earl Cornwallis, c.1786-94 Oil on canvas, by English landscape painter Thomas Daniell; Yale Centre for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Of the 288 Earl Cornwallis convicts, only 253 survived the 206-day voyage. Dysentery was primarily responsible for these fatalities.[50] Though Lydia was not one of the 35 convicts to have succumbed to this particular illness, Governor King reported that those who disembarked from the ship on 12 June 1801 were ‘extremely weak and feeble’ being ‘very much affected with the scurvy.’[51]

Another convict who survived transportation on this ship was William Innes; a London-based thief who had originally been given a death sentence before it was converted to life.[52] William Innes’s daughter, Mary Innes, would later become the bride of Lydia’s own colonial son, Samuel.

Also on board the Earl Cornwallis was Thomas Barber. Thomas had been a ‘velvet dresser’ by trade[53] in Manchester and was now serving as a member of the New South Wales Corps. Upon arrival, Thomas was appointed to Captain John Macarthur’s company[54] and lived with Lydia in Sydney until his transfer to what would fast become the colony’s major town: Parramatta.[55] Fortunately for Lydia, Thomas Barber was more like her honourable husband William Parker than her base-born child’s father William Lucas.

The Rally and Fulfilment: Lydia Barber of Parramatta

It was at St John’s Church, Parramatta on 9 January 1802 that the convict Lydia Parker became Lydia Barber: army wife.[56] Reverend Samuel Marsden officiated the wedding ceremony while Corporal John Townsend and convict Elizabeth Thomas were witnesses.[57]

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St John’s Cathedral, Parramatta. Photo: Michaela Ann Cameron [April 2014]

Just over eight months later, on 25 August 1802, Lydia gave birth to a boy she named David Childs Barber in honour of her father who was still tending to his animals in distant Melbury Osmond.[58] Lydia and Thomas had three more children together; Lydia, born 13 October 1803, Samuel, born 21 May 1805 – a month after Lydia was officially ‘free by servitude’ – and the youngest, Ruth, born 24 December 1809, presumably named after Lydia’s younger sister Ruth Childs.[59] All of the children were baptised at St John’s, Parramatta.

January 1810 marked the beginning of Lachlan Macquarie’s governorship and a lot of changes for the colony and the Barber family. The New South Wales Corps was being replaced with Macquarie’s 73rd Regiment of Highlanders and, rather than join the latter, Lydia’s husband Thomas decided to bring his seventeen years of army service to a close; he was formally discharged from service on 24 April 1810.[60]

Less than a year later, Lydia’s husband was a full-fledged settler in possession of 100 acres of Parramatta land; another 54 acres was added in 1813 and by the time of the 1828 census, Thomas had been granted thousands of acres in various locations.[61] From 1816 Thomas Barber was also licensee of a public house in Parramatta, until his license was revoked in 1819 because he was convicted of ‘keeping a disorderly house.’[62] Lydia herself was active in the buying and selling of livestock for their Parramatta property. In one instance she was paid £71 for three cows and on another occasion paid £100 for a mare,[63] indicating how considerable her change in fortune was since her days of stealing wheat and barley meal, ribbon, and a brass skillet. Receiving her Ticket of Emancipation on 30 May 1810 and the public announcement of her emancipation in The Gazette confirmed that the convict ‘Lydia Parker’ belonged to the past.[64]

Public Notice of Emancipation - Lydia Parker

Public announcement of Lydia’s emancipation, “Public Notice,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 9 June 1810. Her name is misspelt “Lidia.”

Despite the many positive developments in Lydia Barber’s life, not all her sorrows were behind her. One May morning in 1812, ‘A fine boy, son of Mr. Barber of Parramatta, was…unfortunately killed by a load from a cart that was unexpectedly tilted, falling directly upon him.’[65] Nine-year-old David Childs Barber was the seventh child Lydia had been forced to farewell and was not the last.

Death of David Childs Barber

Newspaper report of the death of Lydia’s 9-year-old son, David. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 2 May 1812, p.2

Though Lydia’s daughter and namesake grew to adulthood, became the wife of emancipated convict and saddler Richard Hunt, and bore six children, she did not live to see her 32nd birthday.[66] Ruth, Thomas and Lydia’s youngest daughter, married James Byrnes who became a successful carpenter and builder, manufacturer, and politician; however, despite her husband’s prominence, Ruth’s fate is a mystery as there is no record of her death. The uncertainty of Ruth’s fate gains significance in light of statements in court that ‘insanity was in the family’[67] and the more specific implication that Ruth, along with her siblings Lydia and Samuel, suffered from bouts of mental illness.[68] In Samuel’s case, such disturbances of the mind reportedly manifested as ‘eccentricity,’ tangential speech, over-excitability,[69] and at least one suicide attempt following the death of his much-loved first wife Mary (née Innes).[70]

Yet, for all of Samuel Barber’s rumoured failings – aired during a nasty trial[71] between family members who needed (and failed) to prove he was of unsound mind to successfully contest his will – Lydia’s youngest son, a saddler by trade, was one of her greatest success stories. This son of an illiterate convict proved to be highly literate in his personal correspondence[72] and had even worked as a Castle Hill schoolmaster[73] whose opinions on ‘Bush Education’ were published in the Sydney Morning Herald.[74] First granted 60 acres of land at the age of 15,[75] Samuel also owned multiple lucrative businesses and properties in Parramatta, Guildford,[76] and Yass, the success of which ensured his descendants had a fortune to fight over when he passed away in 1890 at the grand old age of 85.

Lydia Barber passed away at age 73 on 27 November 1838, five months after the death of her 78-year-old husband Thomas on 22 June 1838.[77] In the words of Lydia’s son Samuel, ‘her poor frame’ was ‘deposited under the cold clay’[78] alongside Thomas in the Barber family tomb at historic St John’s Cemetery, Parramatta where the name ‘LYDIA’ can still be deciphered on the lichen-covered stone today.[79]

Lydia's name on Barber headstone

Lydia’s name on her grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. Photo: Michaela Ann Cameron (February 2013)

It was a name a number of her descendants bore in honour of their beloved Australian matriarch whose story began in Melbury Osmond. And whether or not that story contributed to the formation of Hardy’s most famous character Tess, what is clear is that many of the same social forces that made the narrative arc for Hardy’s fictional fallen woman of Wessex possible were also in play in this story, ‘faithfully presented,’[80] of the lesser-known woman of Dorset named Lydia.

The Barber Family Vault

The Barber Family Vault at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. Photo: Michaela Ann Cameron [2015]

CITE THIS

Michaela Ann Cameron, “Lydia Barber: A Real Tess of the d’Urbervilles,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2016) https://stjohnscemeteryparramatta.org/bio/lydia-barber/, accessed [insert current date]

Michaela Ann Cameron, “Lydia of Melbury Osmond,” The Old Parramattan, (2015) https://theoldparramattan.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/lydia-of-melbury-osmond/, accessed [insert current date]

References

Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996)

Dorset History Centre

Dorset OPC: Online Parish Clerks

Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St John’s, (Parramatta: Parramatta District Historical Society, 1991)

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, (Amersham: Transatlantic Press, 2012)

Notes

[1] Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO10, Pieces 1-4, 6-18, 28-30); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

[2] I have directly quoted the titles of some of the “phases”/chapters in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles to form the subtitles for this entry as the events in Hardy’s phases align well with the events in Lydia’s life. Lydia, however, had a much happier ending than Hardy’s beloved character Tess. The original chapter titles used are, “Phase the First: The Maiden,” “Phase the Second: Maiden No More,” “Phase the Third: The Rally,” and Phase the Seventh: Fulfilment,” in Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (Amersham: Transatlantic Press, 2012), pp.11, 101, 135, 469.

[3] The occupation of spinner involved spinning yarn to make cloth. Keith Searson [transcriber], “Melbury Osmond 1801 Census” Melbury Osmond: Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC]  viewed 16 April 2015

[4] Hardy’s fictional d’Urbervilles are based on this family. There are many alternate spellings of the name, including Turberville, Turbeyfield, Turberfield, Turbevill, Turbyfyll, Troublefield, Turleyfill Tollerfield and Tollyfield etc.

[5] ‘Melbury’ is believed to be a conjunction of the Old English words maele and burh, meaning ‘multi-coloured fortified place’ while ‘Turbeville’ referenced the medieval noble family the Turbevilles or d’Urbervilles of Bere Regis. It is this family that Tess Durbeyfield’s father Jack, a peasant, believes he is descended from in Hardy’s novel. Melbury Turbeville was renamed Melbury Sampford to honour the Saunford family who were lords of the manor since the late thirteenth century. “Melbury Sampford,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC], viewed 12 April 2015

[6] Keith Searson [transcriber], “Melbury Osmond 1801 Census” Melbury Osmond: Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 16 April 2015

[7] Paul Turner, The Life of Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998) p.113

[8] The theory is that Lydia’s father, David Childs, was the son of Hardy’s twice-great grandfather Joseph Childs. Though I have not definitively ruled this out, upon close examination I have concluded that this is unlikely for a number of reasons, including the fact that Joseph Childs referred in his will to his ‘two sons’ neither of whom was called David (unless David was disinherited for some reason). However, this does not discount the high likelihood that Thomas Hardy and Lydia were related through the Childs line in some other way.

[9] Lydia’s descendants, the author of this entry included, must exercise caution when studying possible links to a literary great, lest we begin to resemble Hardy’s character Jack Durbeyfield (Tess’s father in the novel) who was too easily convinced he was descended from nobility. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (Amersham: Transatlantic Press, 2012), pp.12-17

[10] Paul Turner, The Life of Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998) p.94

[11] For example, Hardy’s grandmother Betty Hand (née Swetman) was disowned by her family for marrying “beneath her” and disinherited. Hardy’s mother Jemima subsequently experienced great poverty during her childhood in Melbury Osmond. Paul Turner, The Life of Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998) pp.102-3; Michael Millgate, Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) p.14. For “passionlessness” in the Victorian era, see Nancy F. Cott, “Passionlessness: An Interpretation of Victorian Sexual Ideology, 1790-1850,” Signs, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Winter, 1978): 219-236

[12] The location in which Hardy’s novels were set is the semi-fictional locality of Wessex, including Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Hampshire. Wessex was the actual name for this region prior to the Norman conquest in the middle ages when it was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

[13] Note that Lydia’s surname appears in the baptism record as “Chiles” but this is a transcription error. Ralph Kent [transcriber], “Melbury Osmond Baptisms, 1731 – 1880,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC]  viewed 11 April 2015; “Lydia Chiles,” Ancestry.com, England & Wales Christening Records, 1530 – 1906, (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2008).

[14] Marriage of Lydia Childs and William Parker, 23 October 1785, Dorset History Centre, Dorset Parish Registers, PE/MBO: RE1/4. Both Lydia and William marked their names with an X on the parish record for their marriage. Lydia’s brother George Childs, however, was literate (according to his marriage record 24 June 1793) as was her younger sister Elizabeth Childs (according to her marriage record 5 December 1803). Another of Lydia’s sisters, Ruth Childs, was a spinner by trade and had up to two illegitimate children but, since she did not marry, it is unknown whether she was literate. To date, the author has not been able to locate images of the parish records for the marriages of Lydia’s other siblings to determine their literacy.

[15] Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Baptisms, 1780 – 1789,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 17 April 2015

[16] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.37

[17] Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Baptisms, 1780 – 1789,Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 17 April 2015

[18] This is only the earliest evidence we have of Lydia appearing before the court. There could have been other, earlier offences that have not survived in the historical record.

[19] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.40

[20] Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Baptisms, 1790-1799,Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 17 April 2015

[21] Dorset Quarter Sessions, Order and Plea Books, 1625–1905. Quarter Sessions Minutes, sub-fonds Q/S/M/1 and Q/S/M/2, Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, England.

[22] Solomon was also the name of Lydia’s younger brother.

[23] Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Baptisms, 1790-1799,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 17 April 2015

[24] “William Parker, Burial,” “Solomon Parker, Burial,” “George Parker, Burial,” “Elizabeth Parker, Burial,” Dorset Parish Registers. Dorchester, England: Dorset History Centre; Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Baptisms, 1790-1799,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 17 April 2015; Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.38.

[25] William Lucas married Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Viney on 23 May 1796 at Sherborne, Dorset; Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Marriages, 1780 – 1799,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] http://www.opcdorset.org/SherborneFiles/SherborneMars1780-1799.htm viewed 17 April 2015

[26] “Mary Parker, Burial,”Dorset Parish Registers. Dorchester, England: Dorset History Centre; Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.38.

[27] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.38.

[28] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.38

[29] Sheila Carr [transcriber], “Sherborne Baptisms, 1790-1799,” Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 17 April 2015; “Maria Lucas, Baptism” Dorset Parish Registers. Dorchester, England: Dorset History Centre; Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.38

[30] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.39

[31] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.39

[32] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.39

[33] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.39-40

[34] Hollins Rayner, Silk Throwing and Waste Silk Spinning, (London: Scott, Greenwood & Son, 1903), p.22

[35] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.37-8; Hollins Rayner, Silk Throwing and Waste Silk Spinning, (London: Scott, Greenwood & Son, 1903), p.24

[36] Dorchester Prison. NG/PR 1. Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom: Dorset History Centre.

[37] Samuel Elford later became the innholder of the White Hart Inn, Sherborne. See “The Will of Ann Elford,” Probate records of the court of the Dean of Salisbury, viewed 17 April 2015

[38] This may have been the same John Bracher who appeared on a militia list for Silton. If this is the same Bracher, then he was a weaver at the time Lydia stole his skillet. Dorset Quarter Sessions, Order and Plea Books, 1625–1905. Quarter Sessions Minutes, sub-fonds Q/S/M/1 and Q/S/M/2. Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, England. “PROSECUTING IN FELONY: It is ordered at the prayer of Samuel Elford the Prosecutor of Lydia Parker tried and convicted before this Court of Felony that the Western Treasurer of the Country Stock of this County do pay – unto the said Samuel Elford the sum of five shillings and sixpence and also to Ann Elford and Benjamin Corp the sum of ten shillings – each his witnesses which to this Court doth seem reasonable for their expenses trouble and attendance therein according to the statute in that behalf made and provided –THE LIKE: It is ordered at the prayer of Esau Gent the prosecutor of Lydia Parker tried and convicted before this Court of Felony that the Western Treasurer of the County Stock of this County do pay unto the said Esau Gent the sum of six shillings and also to Phillis Gent, Mary Hewlett and Benjamin Corp the sum of ten shillings each his witnesses which to this Court doth seem reasonable for their expenses trouble and attendance therein …THE LIKE: It is ordered at the prayer of John Bracher the prosecutor of Lydia Parker tried and convicted before this Court of Felony, that the Western Treasurer of the County Stock of this County, do pay unto the said John Bracher the sum of five shillings and sixpence and also to Elizabeth Bracher and Benjamin Corp the sum of ten shillings each his witnesses which to this Court doth seem reasonable for their expenses trouble and attendance therein – according to the statute in that behalf made and provided.”

[39] Dorset Quarter Sessions, Order and Plea Books, 1625–1905. Quarter Sessions Minutes, sub-fonds Q/S/M/1 and Q/S/M/2. Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, England.

[40] Dorchester Prison. NG/PR 1. Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom: Dorset History Centre; Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.40.

[41] Dorset Quarter Sessions, Order and Plea Books, 1625–1905. Quarter Sessions Minutes, sub-fonds Q/S/M/1 and Q/S/M/2. Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, England.

[42] a.k.a Ann Childs. Dorset Quarter Sessions, Order and Plea Books, 1625–1905. Quarter Sessions Minutes, sub-fonds Q/S/M/1 and Q/S/M/2. Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, England.

[43] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.41

[44] Soldiers, for example, were paid one shilling a day and, similarly, farm laborers earnt roughly the same. See Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.16, 40

[45] Dorset Quarter Sessions, Order and Plea Books, 1625–1905. Quarter Sessions Minutes, sub-fonds Q/S/M/1 and Q/S/M/2. Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, England.

[46] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.43

[47] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.43

[48] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.43

[49] Maria Lucas Parker is difficult to trace, but she may have been the ‘Maria Parker’ who appears in the Bridport, Dorset censuses for 1841 and 1851 as a ‘spinner’ and, unfortunately, in the 1861 census as a ‘pauper.’

[50] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.43

[51] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.43

[52] Old Bailey Proceedings Online http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, Trial of WILLIAM INNES, 19 February 1800, (t18000219-35), and the record of his original sentence of death:  viewed 17 April 2015. Innes’s sentence was again changed when, on 31 January 1814, he received an “absolute pardon.” Unfortunately, Innes appears to have passed away only 7 months later in August. He was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground where the Sydney Town Hall was later built. His remains may have been among those moved to the Rookwood Necropolis when construction of the Sydney Town Hall commenced in 1869, although only those graves that interfered with the construction were moved so he may still be buried beneath the Town Hall.

[53] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.14

[54] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.23

[55] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.43

[56] Marriage of “Lidia Parker” and Thomas Barber, Parramatta 1802, Volume Number: V A, Ancestry.com, Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950, (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010).

[57] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.37

[58] David Childs Barber was baptised at St. John’s Church, Parramatta 26 December 1802. Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996), p.46. Lydia’s father David Childs’ occupation is included on the 1801 Census. “Melbury Osmond 1801 Census” Melbury Osmond: Dorset Online Parish Clerks [Dorset OPC] viewed 16 April 2015

[59] Lydia Barber baptised at St. John’s Church Parramatta on Christmas Day, 1803; Samuel Barber baptised at St. John’s Church Parramatta 24 June 1805; Ruth Barber, baptised at St. John’s Church, Parramatta on 1 April 1810. Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.46

[60] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.51

[61] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.51-2, 58, 63, 65-75.

[62] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.53, 57-8.

[63] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.52

[64] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.44; “Public Notice,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Saturday 9 June 1810, p.1

[65] “Sydney,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Saturday 2 May 1812, p.2

[66] Lydia Hunt (née Barber) passed away on 11 October 1835. Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, A Hunt into History: Richard Hunt’s Story, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1993), p.29

[67] “A Big Parramatta Will Case: Barber v. Barber. Some Strange Evidence,” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW: 1888 – 1950), Saturday 6 June 1891, p.6

[68] “George W. Barber deposed he was [Samuel Barber’s] oldest son…; remembered his father’s illness some 40 years ago;…Drs Gwyn and Rutter attended [Samuel Barber] for insanity about 40 years ago; it was necessary then to keep [Samuel] locked up in a room and to engage a keeper to look after him; [George] knew [his father Samuel] once attempted to commit suicide; insanity was in the family.”

Mr Simpson: “Do you know that two of your father’s sisters” —

Mr Pilcher objected.

Witness [George W. Barber] said he knew nothing of his father’s sisters [Ruth and Lydia] of his own knowledge and His Honor disallowed the question.” “A Big Parramatta Will Case: Barber v. Barber. Some Strange Evidence,” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW: 1888 – 1950), Saturday 6 June 1891, p.6. Of course, ‘insanity’ by nineteenth century standards was defined very differently than it is today. Particularly in the case of the Barber sisters what was deemed ‘insanity’ might have been something like post-partum depression, for just one example.

[69] For example, “Frank Beames, Mayor of Parramatta…had always considered [Samuel Barber]…peculiar in his ways; had seen him behave in a most extraordinary manner during an election; he interfered with the speakers and worked himself up into such a state that he seemed almost a lunatic…Feeling did not run very high over the election, but [Samuel Barber] got unduly excited.” “A Big Parramatta Will Case: Barber v. Barber. Some Strange Evidence,” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW: 1888 – 1950), Saturday 6 June 1891, p.6

[70] “A Big Parramatta Will Case: Barber v. Barber. Some Strange Evidence,” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW: 1888 – 1950), Saturday 6 June 1891, p.6

[71] “A Big Parramatta Will Case: Barber v. Barber. Some Strange Evidence,” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW: 1888 – 1950), Saturday 6 June 1891, p.6

[72] See for example letters written by Samuel in Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, A Hunt into History: Richard Hunt’s Story, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1993), p.72 and Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.67, 87

[73] Ancestry.com, The New South Wales Calendar and General Post Office Directory, 1832, (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007); Godden Mackay Logan, “Castle Hill Heritage Park Conservation Management Plan,” (July, 2007) viewed 17 April 2015.

[74] “To the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald,” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842 – 1954), Friday 26 October 1860, p.6

[75] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.62

[76] The Barber estate in Guildford was on the old Dog Trap Road (now known as Woodville Road) on land near Chester Hill High School. “Barbers Road” is the only reminder of the land’s former tenants.

[77] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.87

[78] Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) p.87

[79] Other members of the family interred in the Barber tomb with Thomas and Lydia include David Childs Barber (son of Thomas and Lydia, died 1812); Thomas Barber (grandson of Thomas and Lydia, died 1838); Thomas John Cook (grandson of Thomas and Lydia, died 1861); Samuel Barber (son of Thomas and Lydia, died 1890); Mary Barber née Innes (first wife of Samuel Barber, died 1869); Eliza Matilda Maxwell née Barber (daughter of Samuel and Mary Barber, died 1864); Sophia Floyd Barber née Hosford (second wife of Samuel Barber, died 1872). The exact location of the tomb is No.8, Row 1, Section 1. Other plots in this cemetery pertaining to the extended Barber family include; Grave No.5 Row H. Section 1 and Grave No.6, Row F, Section 1. Annette Burns and Lynda Reid, The Barbers: A Parramatta Family, (Victoria: Aristoc Press, 1996) pp.82-3; Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St John’s, (Parramatta: Parramatta District Historical Society, 1991), p.60

[80] Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, viewed 17 April 2015

© Copyright 2016 Michaela Ann Cameron