Jun 2, 2009

The Ravages of Time 1907-2004


This poignant image is an almagamation of two photographs recently published on the Early Canterbury Photographers web site (the link to the original photographs opens in a new tab or window).

It depicts the tombstone of Caroline Hay in Addington Cemetery. The estranged wife of William Hay, the former Caroline McClelland died on Wednesday, the 19th June 1907 at her home in nearby Lincoln Road. The monument was erected by her eldest son Leonard Hamilton Hay.

The earlier photograph was taken before August 1908, when the mortal remains of Mary Ann Prideaux were interred within the grave. Caroline's friend, Mary had arrived at Lyttelton as a 23 year-old domestic servant aboard the sailing vessel Accrington in 1863.

The second photograph was taken in 2004, by which time the Granite pillar of the monument had fallen into the foreground, with its cornice just visible to the Left. The fall of the monument is probably attributable to the inevitable decay and eventual collapse of the coffins beneath it.


The daughter of Anne and Robert McClelland of Carlow, Ireland, Caroline Hay (above) was born on the 24th of April 1847. Aged nineteen, she arrived at Lyttelton aboard the Wiltshire on the 17th of February 1877.

Five years later Caroline married the widowed William Hay at the Methodist Church in Selwyn Street, Addington. William farmed at Rolleston and then South Canterbury, but by 1898 the couple had separated and Caroline returned to Christchurch, taking her three children with her.

By the end of 1898 Caroline Hay is recorded as a storekeeper, buying a property on Accommodation Road, Richmond, Christchurch for £350. Now known as London Street, her home at number 29 survives, but has been much altered since the time when Caroline named it “Moira,” an allusion to both an Irish Shire, and from classical Greek mythology, a person's fate or destiny.

The three children of William and Caroline Hay were:

Mary Prideaux (Mamie) Jenkin (nee Hay), (elder of twins) 15 December 1883 - 28 September 1949 (born and died at Christchurch).
William Hay (younger of twins), born 15 December 1883 at Christchurch.
Leonard Hamilton Hay, born 11 January 1887 Lincoln Road, Christchurch.
Caroline's brother Paul McClelland, subsequently of Mendecino, California, is noted as having been a soldier in the American Civil War.


A great great grandson of William Hay writes:


William Hay (above) came to New Zealand from Northern Ireland about 1863-64 leaving his pregnant wife and two children behind in Ireland. They finally arrived at Lyttelton aboard the Charlotte Gladstone in 1871, and it was the first time that he had seen his daughter Sarah Ann Hay then aged 7 years.

Mary died at Rolleston in 1874 and William remarried in 1882, moving to South Canterbury in about 1890, with his second wife Caroline. However, she wasn't happy living in a remote rural area, and moved back to Christchurch with the three children of the marriage. Leaving an estate of about £3,000, or $302,000 in the values of 2009, William died at Albury in 1918 and is buried there.

Although both wives were surnamed McClelland there is not any close family ties between them. Mary was Northern Irish Protestant, Caroline Southern Irish Catholic.

15 comments:

Jayne said...

Surprisingly many of the stonemason skills that created these fabulous headstones and monuments have been lost (well, in Oz at any rate).

That is a great marriage of the two photos!

Canterbury Heritage said...

Thanks Jayne, there's still a stonemason in suburban Sydenham who undertakes this kind of work, but something on this scale would probably be prohibitively expensive now. Sad to say that the foundation under the monument was possibly not adequate for the weight that it had to bear.

James said...

I think that fallen, overgrown, delapidated, forgotten headstones and monuments is what makes for an interesting cemetary. If every cemetary was just row after row of perfectly maintained plot, it would be quite dull.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Dating from 1858 and open to all persons, this was the first public graveyard in Christchurch. Here lie the domestic servants among the magnates and as their simple grave stones and grandiose monuments fall into decay an equality finally descends upon them. And although we've long ceased to honour these pioneers, there's something fitting in the hauntingly romantic decay of a graveyard - if only as a trenchant reminder that what seems important to us now is no more than straws in the wind.

Sarndra said...

Fabulous melding of the two photos indeed.... it is very sad that there are no family members who care [or indeed maybe even know of] graves and wish to care for them. I visited Addington once again in December and put some photos on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/porkynz/sets/72157611821690720/

This article impresses on me once again how important it is that we photo document crumbling monuments.

Cheers

Sarndra said...

Fabulous melding of the two photos indeed.... it is very sad that there are no family members who care [or indeed maybe even know of] graves and wish to care for them. I visited Addington once again in December and put some photos on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/porkynz/sets/72157611821690720/

This article impresses on me once again how important it is that we photo document crumbling monuments.

Cheers

Canterbury Heritage said...

Thanks Sarndra, that's a most interesting set of photographs of Addington Cemetery at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/porkynz/sets/72157611821690720/.

We really should photo document these crumbling monuments and it's to be hoped that here in Christchurch we will soon follow the fine example set by the Timaru District in photographing, for the on-line database, of every tomb stone in their cemeteries.

Sarndra said...

That's so sad re William Hay! These stories are so important to retain. What fortitude our settlers had.

kuaka said...

Yes, Timaru is to be highly commended for the fine work on creating their photographic cemetery - tombstone database. By being able to view the tombstone of a distant relative (when I'm 8,500 miles away), I was able to get useful info and suggest a correction to their records. Timaru staff were very obliging and nice in incorporating correction & update. So, three cheers for Timaru!

Canterbury Heritage said...

The example of the Timaru staff's courtesy and dedication to its cultural heritage might well be emulated in the provincial capital.

Amazing how a story grows; more information about, and photographs of Caroline Hay have now been added to the article. It's turning into a good example of what could be done to commemorate our early settlers.

Sarndra said...

It's fabulous Mr CH and thank you for adding our bits and pieces to your blog and enabling it to become that good example!

Canterbury Photography said...

Some poems by Caroline's daughter are located here:
http://maryprideauxjenkin.blogspot.com/

Canterbury Heritage said...

Poetry of such rich, but no longer fashionable sentiment http://maryprideauxjenkin.blogspot.com by Mary Prideaux Jenkin (nee Hay).

I've taken the liberty of adding a doctored version of your photo of her to the article.

Anonymous said...

Great article on my Great Great Grandfather (William Hay). Presume it came from Tony!

Did you ever find out what happened to Leonard Hamilton Hay?

Regards
Lynne

Canterbury Heritage said...

Thanks Lynne, yes, Tony provided the original pics and the inspiration. No evidence yet as to where Leonard Hamilton Hay ended up, but best guess would be California (no leads in Australia).