The Taieri Allans and Related Famililes


A Page Out of the Early History of Otago


  • James Allan Thomson (author)
  • Chad Oliver (editor)


N.Z. Bible and Book Society



Publication Date


Revision Date


Chapter V: Settlement in the Blue Mountains and Waiwera Districts

In 1855, Agnes, the youngest daughter of John Allan, married Adam Oliver, this being the first marriage in East Taieri celebrated by Rev. W. Will. Adam Oliver was born at Upper Hindhope Farm, Roxburgh, Scotland, on 1st April, 1824, of a family of sheepfarmers in the southern part of the Border adjoining England, and know as the Jad Fair district. His grandfather's farm was and still is called Oxnam Mains, and his father's was called Bellhill. His mother was a Scot of Magdalen Hall. Adam Oliver was brought up on the Tweed, near Kelso, by an uncle, who wished to adopt him. He preferred instead to try his fortune in New Zealand, and, emigrated from London in October, 1850, in the ship “Cresswell,” along with his brother, Thomas Oliver (late Otago Road Engineer) and his wife. He spent his first years previous to his marriage gaining colonial experience with various settlers at Halfway Bush, Taieri, and Tokomairiro, and in 1857 went into partnership with James Allan and his younger brothers in a sheep run in the Blue Mountains.

Early in 1857 John Anderson took a sub-lease of Dalvey Station, in the Tapanui district, from Thomas Martin, who at that time was farming in the Te Haka district of Clutha. The latter had received 1,000 young merino sheep from his father-in-law, Tom Jones, of Waikouaiti (brother to the better-known John or Johnny Jones), and leased the sheep and run to Anderson, who lifted the sheep from Te Haka, and was the first to occupy the run, which extended from the east side of the Pomahaka River to the top of the Blue Mountains.

For the first eighteen months there was some doubt whether it was to be Dalvey Station (Run No. 140) or Booksdale (Run No. 163) that Anderson should occupy. William Pinkerton, sheep inspector for South Otago and Southland, was the first applicant for Dalvey, and Thomas Martin for Brooksdale. Immediately afterwards they agreed to exchange runs, and consequently Anderson took possession of Dalvey and Pinkerton of Brooksdale. The Land Office, however, was slow in acknowledging this exchange. Pinkerton had prevously been an Australian runholder, who was practically ruined by the great grass fires of “Black Wednesday and Thursday,” the smoke of which drifted as far as Otago. He secured sufficient sheep to put the necessary stocking of the run in order, but soon after he sold these sheep Six months without sheep would have made the run liable to forfeiture, and as it was still in Martin's name, Anderson removed his sheep to Brooksdale and camped with them for a month or two at Black Gully. When the family arrived in July, 1858, he was back on Dalvey, but word had just been recieved that that Land Office would not agree to the exchange of runs; consequently the stock was again transferred, and a house errected at Black Gully. After occupying it for three months he learned that the Land Office had reconsidered the exchange and had finally sanctioned it, so the family again removed to Dalvey, taking up Anderson's old quarters at the Bush Side, five miles south-east of the present Tapanui township, which is also on the run.

In 1857 the Allan brothers and Adam Oliver took up Run No. 168, afterwards known as Glenkenich Station, on the west side of the Pomahaka River, opposite Dalvey, Oliver being the resident partner. At the end of 1858 a flaw in the lease was discovered, and they had to leave. It appears that when James Allan originally made inquiry at the Land Office about a sheep station, Mr Proudfoot, Commissioner of the Lands, pointed out run No. 168. He mentioned that it had previously been applied for by a man from Australia, who had paid a deposit of 20 pounds on it, and had then gone back to Australia and had not been heard of since. As it was necessary that a run should be taken possession of and stocked within six months of the application, this run had therefore been forfeited. As it was a good one, Proudfoot recommended it, and accepted James Allan's application and deposit. The firm took up the run and were in undisputed possession for upwards of a year and a half. Captain Mackenzie held Run No. 167, Conical Hill Station, separated from Glenkenich by the Waikoikoi Stream, and was on good terms with Oliver and his partners, having been given a small flat on Glenkenich to build his steading on. Meanwhile, Proudfoot had taken ill and died, and his successor as Land Commissioner, Mr W.H. Cutten, declared that the cancellation of the original application by the Australian had been irregular. He therefore gazetted the forfeiture of the run, and declared it open for application again. Neither the Allans nor the Olivers heard anything of these steps, but Captain Mackenzie was promptly at the office with his application, and Cutten declared him the rightful posessor of the run. This peice of sharp practice probably materially altered the fortunes of Oliver and the young Allan brothers, who would in all likelihood, otherwise have become large run-holders.

On leaving Glenkenich, the Allan brothers and Oliver removed their stock to a portion of Dalvey Station, but shortly after took up the Rankleburn Station, on the east side of the Blue Mountains, a rough piece of country mostly covered with birch forest, manuka, scrub, and fern. They secured a small piece of open country on the banks of the Clutha River from Archbold Brothers, of Lower Clydevale, on which they erected their steading, afterwards known as Upper Clydevale, about one and a half miles below the junction of the Tuapeka River. After holding this for two years, in April, 1863, they sold out the lease of Rankleburn to the New Zealand Company, who had purchased from Archbold Brothers and the Crown the freehold of all land between the Pomehaka and Clutha Rivers, and also the open land on the Rankleburn, without which the rest of the run was not of much use. This brought the partnership of the Allan brothers and Oliver to an end, and Oliver purchased the freehold of land near Palmerston, known as Smiler's Peak.

Joseph Anderson has contributed recollections of a journey from the Taieri to Dalvey in 1855, and several incidents of the time when the various members of the family lived in the Tuapeka district:

My mother and family left the Taieri in July 1855, for the Blue Mountains. Grandmother (Agnes Allan) and a servant maid also went with us, and also Mrs William Oliver and her young daughter going to join her husband, who was on the station with his brother Adam. We travelled with two bullock drays, driven respectively by James Allan, of Hopehill, and Joseph Allan, of the Holmes. Travelling by bullock drays was slow work in those days, as it occupied eight day's travelling to reach Oliver's, a distance of about 100 miles. The Taieri Ferry was crossed in a punt. At Clutha Ferry there was no punt, so boats did the work, while the bullocks swam the river. The smaller rivers and creeks, and the Pomahaka River, were forded. For six of the nights a camp had to be made. The women and children slept in a ten, while I was with my uncles under a tarpaulin thrown over the pole of one of the drays. Fortunately, we had good weather for most of the journey.

My brother John (Anderson), who had gone out a few months earlier with friends, driving cattle to stock the run, had a different experience. They had very wet weather and the streams were in high flood, so they had to swim both cattle and themselves over the Kaihiku, Waiwera, Wairuna, and Waipahi Streams. At Waipahi they found a man sitting on the opposite bank waiting patiently for the going down of the waters. This proved to be Alex McNab, father the of the late Hon. Robert McNab, who was travelling on foot from his run on the Mataura, to Dunedin. After getting the cattle over they put McNab across on one of the stock horses, and he went on his way rejoicing.

A house had to be built at Black Gully, Brooksdale, for the family, and this was accomplished by uncles James and Joseph Allan, with the help of two other men, in eight days. The house was typical of many country houses of the time, and was built of sod walls and thatched roof, with the natural ground for a floor. It consisted of a bedroom and a kitchen, the latter with a bed curtained off for the maid servant, with a loft above as sleeping accommodation. Every station had also a store called a “futter,” built on high piles sheathed with tin to prevent rats from getting in. Rats there were in thousands, living chiefly on the oily roots of the spear grass, which grew in great abundance.

Tapanui at this time consisted of large runs, varying in size from 25,000 to 100,000 acres. Stock had plenty of scope, and did well, but the scourge of the country was the wild dogs, which caused a great deal of harm among the sheep. Every run had a pack of dogs - bull dogs, kangaroo dogs, or foxhounds - for hunting them. When the wild dogs proved troublesome, the sheep were usually gathered together and watched over at night, while, if wood was available, fires were lit at night to scare them away. One night my father took the first watch and during the short time he was absent rousing his assistant to relieve him, the dogs attacked the sheep and killed thirty lambs. Strychnine poisoning was a great help in destroying these pests. A sheep's kidney or other piece of meat was used as bait. This was tied to a piece of flax string and dragged along the ground, and then tied to a tree. It was then opened with a knife and a few grains of strychnine inserted in the cut. If the bait was taken by a dog, the string was usually cut or broken, but if it was taken by a hawk or rat, the meat would be eaten out and the string and knot left intact.

Wild cattle, escapees from Oliver's and Archbold's stations, was also very plentiful on the Blue Mountains, and for many years they were hunted for their skins. Native quail were very plentiful, and proved to be very find for the table. Teh sparrow hawks would follow the shepherds through the run for hours on the watch for the dogs raising a quail. If one was raised, the hawk was after it like an arrow. If the quail secured cover in the grass in time the hawk would again quietly resume his following of the dogs.

Previously to 1853 there were no wild pigs known on the Blue Mountains, but in that year, when Oliver was running his stock on a part of Dalvey, the hut occupied by himself and his shepherd was burnt down. Some pigs in a sty, originally wild pigs, caught on the Otakaima Hills near Pukerau, had to be released, and quickly went wild in the scrub and fern. Within ten years the district was heavily stocked with wild pigs.

When Oliver was living at Rankleburn Station, one evening some hundreds of diggers were observed approaching the river from the Tuapeka side. They made signs to be taken across. The only menfolk on the station at that time were a man and a boy, Oliver being away in Dunedin. The diggers, when the boat came over, soon organised matters. Boat crews were appointed, and from the first batches sent over men were appointed to assist Mrs Oliver in serving out foodstuff, which they must have. Everything, however, was paid for on a liberal basis, and the next morning they wended their way over the mountains to the Tapanui side, only to find that there was no gold there worth working for.

During the autumn of 1862 Oliver took two men across the Molyneux from the Tuapeka side. The men then started up the west side of the river (which was at that time at its lowest on record), and were not heard of for three months, except when they occasionally got a few stores from the adjoining runs. Suddenly great excitement took place when these two men, Hartley and Riley, arrived in Dunedin with eighty-seven pounds weight of gold, and secured a reward of £2,000 for the discovery of a payable goldfield at the Dunstan or Clutha

John Anderson left Dalvey in 1862. Towards the latter end of 1857, Mr W.G. Rees, subsequently of Lake Wakatipu, acting on behalf of friends in the Home Country (Messrs Gammie and Grant), bought from Thomas Martin the Dalvey Station, subject to Anderson's lease, which had still over two years to run. Anderson gave the new purchasers the right to the portion of the run that had previously been lent to graze Allan and Oliver's sheep. In April, 1862, at the expiration of the lease, the new firm took over the whole run. As there were at that time no sheep stations in the vicinity for sale, John Anderson bought from the Crown the freehold of the block XCVII., Clutha Survey, consisting of 630 acres in the Waiwera district. Here he made his finaly home of Kelvingrove. Subsequently, he purchased about 1,000 acres of adjoining hill land, which in after years became part of the Carol property of his sons.

John Anderson died in 1873, at the comparatively young age of fifty-four years; he had been in rather poor health for several years preceding his death. Having left no will, his eldest son, James, became heir (as the law then stood) to all the realty (property in land), with some support allowed to the widow, while the personality went in the proportion of one-third to the widow and two-thirds to the children. As there were eleven in the family, this would have left them very poorly provided for indeed. James Anderson acted very generously; he lifted the mortgage on the Kelvingrove block of 630 acres and conveyed it to his mother free of any encumbrance, and conveyed the hill property to the joint ownership of the three oldest brothers - viz., himself, John, and Joseph. As there was a mortgage on it, there was not a very large margin of value in the hill land. After a few years James Anderson sold out his interest to the two brothers and acquired land on the Otama Flat, on the Mataura River. John and Joseph added to the hill property, which took the nae of Carol, and John Anderson's widow still lives there.

Isabella Anderson continued to farm Kelvingrove with the assistance of her son, William Brown, until her death in 1905, at the age of seventy-nine years. Small and active like her mother, she endured the many hardships of the early days with courage and cheerfulness, and was a worthy type of that noble band of pioneers to whom our country owes so much.

Note by J.A. Anderson on the Blue Mountains

W.H. Valpy, of the Valpy family who came to the Otago in 1849, viewed the Blue Mountain from the hills around Tokomairiro. Believing it to be a fresh discovery, he named the place after his family as “Mount Valpy.” For a number of years it frequently went by that name, and the whole locality as the Blue Mountain or Pomahaka district.

The earlier name “Blue Mountain” probably originaated in 1846 or 1847. Wylie surveyed the Waiwera district at that date. James Allan was on the staff, and for six months they would be daily in view of and at times with ten miles of the base of the hill. After the false gold rush over the hill in November, 1861, the name “Valpy” dropped out, and many people gathered the impression that it was the diggers who called the range after the New South Wales Blue Mountains.

Chapter VI: Goldfield Experiences and the Younger Sons

The discovery of rich alluvial gold by Gabriel Reid, at Gabriel’s Gully, near Lawrence in May 1861, set all Otago in a ferment. Nearly all the men, both citizens and farmers, who could get away, hurried to the goldfields, and the excitement spread to the North Island and Australia. It was estimated that by the end of September, 1861, 10,000 miners had left Victoria for Otago. Gabriel’s Gully itself was pegged out to the last inch, and about 4,000 men were soon at work in that field alone. James Smith on one occasion counted 1,100 men on the road from Dunedin to Tuapeka, all of whom had to pass Bellfield. It was no wonder that the Allan brothers caught the “gold fever”, as it was called.

William Brown Allan, the youngest son, had married Helen Webster Speid in April, 1861, and had settled at Helenslea, on the Main South Road, adjoining the Holmes Farm. John, the third son, was shortly to be married to Mary Jane Blackie, eldest daughter of Captain Blackie, of Glasgow Farm, on the Taieri Plain. Joseph and William Allan left for the goldfields, while John hurried on his marriage, which took place on 23rd July, and a few days after hastened to join his brothers. The young wives were left at Bellfield in the charge of John Allan, sen., Mrs Joseph Allan staying on at the Holmes with her two infant children. At this time Joseph Anderson was under his grandmother’s care at Bellfield for his schooling, and acted as cowboy.

The Allan brothers do not seem to have been very successful in their digging experiences, and soon took up the steadier business of supplying the needs of the miners, starting a store at Waitahuna, and becoming buyers of gold dust. When the Dunstan rush set in in 1862, consequent on Hartley and Reilly’s sensational finds, John Allan soon started a store there (in Clyde), and after establishing it, left it in charge of George Matheson, a former employee at Bellfield.

At that time bullock teams were used for farm work and carting to the diggings, the only horse team in the Taieri belonging to James Cullen, of Owhiro, who was previously a carter in Dunedin. John and one of his brothers, probably Joseph, went to Melbourne and brought back a cargo of draught horses for use on their respective farms, and for occasional carting to the diggings.

One eventful trip was taken with several drays, Joseph Allan being in charge, to see goods at a new rush on the Nokomai, in the upper reaches of the Mataura River. The roads were very bad, with creeks high and snow on the ground. After selling their goods, they fared badly on the return journey. Horse feed ran out, and horse covers, not being then in vogue, one mare (mother of the well-known and favourite Bellfield light harness mare Susie) died of cold and starvation. The Mataura River, at the Long Ford (Gore), being too high to cross, they went on to Mataura Bridge, where John MacGibbon and Sons carried on a hotel and store. No horse feed, however, was procurable, and Joseph Allan had to buy flour from MacGibbon, at 1s a pannikin, to feed the horses.

John Allan, Junior, of Bellfield

After his father's death in August, 1863, John Allan succeeded to Bellfield, where his mother remained till her death in 1891. In 1864 he laid out a township on a section that at that time formed a part of Bellfield. This township, fronting the Main South Road, was named by his mother, Riccarton, after a place in Ayrshire. Immediately after, he built a store, to which he removed, leaving his mother in charge of Bellfield, and lived for a time in the store, until he bought out Mrs Robert Somerville, formerly Mrs William Oliver, who had a small store there for some years. This place he turned into a dwelling house and removed to live in it.

In January, 1866, John, his mother, and his brother William, drove out to Kelvingrove for the purpose of looking at some crown land that was open for sale. The following morning, after inspecting the land, John rode down to catch the early coach from Balclutha to Dunedin, and applied for all the open low land from Kelvingrove to the Waiwera River in the direction of Clinton. The area, including a few subsequent purchases, amounted to about 3,000 acres. A couple of days later, his mother and brother left Kelvingrove for the Taieri, Joseph Anderson, on horseback, accompanying them to Balclutha. Although it was fine weather, when they got in sight of Balclutha, they found it to be under flood water, and families being driven in drays to higher ground. Joseph Anderson rode in on his horse and met a boat being pulled up the main street. William and his mother had to return and stay another week at Weiwera and when leaving the latter said to her daughter, Mrs Anderson: “I am never coming back to see you again until there is a bridge put over that river, and that will never be.” However, two years later, a traffic bridge was errected, which stood for ten years, when the great flood of 1878, that followed after Otago's record snowstorm, swept away every bridge on the river, except for the Inch Clutha one at Stirling, where the river was not confined and instead spread out over many miles of flat country.

In conjunction with Amos McKegg, then a storekeeper at Otokia, John Allan secured, by tender, the mail contrat for 1868, to carry the mails for the south, from Dunedin to Milton. For this work they started a passenger coach in opposition to Cobb and Co., whose coaches ran all over Otago, and who also had a monopoly of the mail contracts. Fo 1869 Cobb and Co. secured the mail contract, and McKegg sold out his interest in the partnership. During the winter months of that year the roads became very bad, and without the mail subsidy, the passenger traffic was barely paying, so John Allan decided to pull off for the winter and start a more efficient service in the spring; consequently, he sent a mob of thirty coach horses to winter on the Waiwera estate. This step gave Cobb and Co. a fright, and they then bought the plant and horses at very full value.

It may be mentioned that the sole partner in Cobb and Co. at that time in the Otago branch was John Chaplin, who ten years before was employed at the wool table rolling up the fleeces at the Allan's sheep shearing on Glenkenich Station, and also of John Anderson's Dalvey Station. The same John Chaplin was a cousin to Lord Chaplin, later on a British Cabinet Minister, a great sport, who won the English Derby with “Hermit,” and by doing so ruined the Marquis of Hastings, who formerly had won for his wife Chaplin's engaged sweetheart.

William Allan having died about ten mouths after the land purchase at Waiwera, his trustees agreed to set aside about 400 acres of the property for his estate, and the remainder, with all liabilities, was placed solely in John's name.

About the middle of the seventies, the Riccarton store was sold to John Williams, a storekeeper then at Adam's Flat.

In 1881 John Allan had the great misfortune to lose his wife somewhat suddenly, at the early age of thirty-eight years, leaving a family of nine children. One daughter, Katie, had died very young. His wife was a bright and cheerful woman, who proved a great assistance in carrying on the store, and was a general favourite of all who knew her. Misfortunes often follow each other, and a few months later his eldest son, John, a youth of eighteen years, employed in a draper's shop in Dunedin, accidentally fell through an open skylight from the upper floor onto some brass rods standing upright on the lower floor, and was killed.

Early in the eighties John Allan again invested in land, this time in Strath Taieri, near to Middlemarch - about 600 acres in all. For the most of the time he held this land his second son, William Blackie Allan, managed and also had it leased for a time. When the latter was at the Boer War, he cut up and sold the property.

Towards the end of the eighties, John Allan became the financial partner in the new firm of Thomson, Bridger, and Co. This firm bought from the Bank of New Zealand the large iron, woodware and furnishing business formerly carried on by Guthrie and Larnach. His third son, James, who entered the business of Guthrie and Larnach when a boy, is now the Managing Director of the Company, and in addition to the Dunedin branch, there is also an Invercargill branch of the business.

In December, 1893, his eldest daughter, Jeannie Blackie, who had charge of the house from the time of her mother's death, also passed away suddenly from heart failure, caused by former rheumatic fever. After an illness of some duration, John himself died in January, 1901, at the age of sixty-nine years.

Joseph Anderson, who was at different periods for many years intimately connected with his Uncle John, first as a schoolboy living at Bellfield, then as a youth assisting in the Riccarton store and with the coaching business, and later as the manager of the Waiwera property, writes the following tribute:

I always admired his deep and thoughtful mind and his broad outlook on business and other matters. He was a good churchman, an office-bearer for forty years in the East Taieri Church, was thoroughly upright in character, and had an utter abhorrence of any underhand work or sharp practice in business. He was very fond of outdoor sports, in his younger days taking an active part in the primitive cricket of the early Taieri, and in his later years being exceedingly fond of a game of bowls.

William Allan, of Helenslea

As his widow and children are all passed away, few recollections of William Brown Allan, who died in 1867, at the age of forty years, can now be recorded. His marriage to Helen Speid, settlement at Helenslea, goldfields experiences, and subsequent interest with his brother John in a property at Waiwera has already been recorded. His widow survived him till 1919, living with her daughter, Mrs Hugh Inglis, for many years in Mosgiel, and for a few years before her death in Balclutha.

Chapter VII: The Sutcliffe Family

Owing to the marriage of James and Joseph Allan to Jane and Henrietta Sutcliffe respectively, more than half of the descendants of John and Agnes Allan are also descended from Richard Sutcliffe. It will not, therefore, be out of place to devote a chapter to the latter's family.

Sutcliffe is a rather localised family name in England, being found mainly in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and especially in and around the upland township of Heptonstall. The name frequently occurs in the early wills of the parish, dating back to 1465, and in the parish registers, which date back to 1593, being spelt Sutcliffe, Sutclyff, or Sutclyffe. Mr Arthur Ogden, the historian of Heptonstall, writes:

Among the first twenty-five burials recorded are Thomas Sutcliffe, of Heptonstall, a Michael Sutcliffe, Thomas Sutcliffe, of Wadsworth, and a Thomas Sutcliffe, of Erringden. The establishment of woollen manufacture at Heptonstall took place at a very early period, and the Sutcliffes of this district are doubtless descended from one Gamel de Zoetcliffe, a (Flemish) clothier, whose two sons, Jan and Peter, erected fulling mills near to Colne, in Lancashre, and Rastrick, in Yorkshire, in 1311. A manuscript in the family Bible of a Thomas Sutcliffe, of Burnley, who lived in the latter part of the sixteenth century, states that Gamaliel de Zoetcliffe married Ann Radcliffe, of Stansfield, and transferred his family and craft to Wadsworth in 1339. The descendants of this enterprising manufacturer, who probably set up the first fulling mills in Wadsworth, in course of time became the most numerous of those who farmed their own land in the district, and of the clothiers who sold their pieces in the old Heptonstall Cloth Hall, which stood on the north side of the Churchyard. In Gamel de Zoetcliffe and Gamaliel de Zoetcliffe we have names which have been repeated in the same family until modern times, the latter name being still represented in the person of Mr Gamaliel Sutcliffe of Stoneshey-gate, a lineal descendant of one great branch of the family. Besides Stoneshey-gate Farm, there are still Sutcliffes farming at Cliff Hill, Lumb Bank, and Warlay Farms, and other families at Sandal House, and in Heptonstall and Halifax.

The following abstracts of old wills relating to the Heptonstall Church are of interest:21

John Sutcliffe, of Heptonstall, August 8th, 1465, willed that his body should be buried in the churchyard of the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, of Heptonstall.

Thomas Sutcliffe, in 1467, left 6s 8d for the fabric of the chapel.

Robert Sutcliffe, of Heptonstall, 1520, left 3s 4d for his burial, and his will also contains bequest to priests for masses to be sung at Heptonstall.

Another will of the same year, that of William Sutcliffe, contains the item:

I bequeath to the buying of an antiphonarium for the said chapel 6s 8d.

Here we have an instance of the bequest of money for a book of anthems. Testator also left 6s 8d for a trental for his soul.

The first page of the oldest Church Register includes the following entries of marriages:

April 3rd, 1594. Christopher Sutclyffe and Joanna P'ter (?).

May 7th, 1594. Robert Sutclyffe and Mary Michael.

June 20th, 1594. Richard Sutclyffe and Isobel Gibson.

The Sutcliffes became much intermarried with the local families, particularly the Greenwoods, Parkers, and Shackeltons, so that the West Riding presents an amazing tangle of family relationships. Elizabeth Slater, whose mother was a Sutcliffe, and who is a cousin of Jane and Henrietta Sutcliffe, married first Sutcliffe Parker and second Sutcliffe Greenwood, neither of whom she knew as relatives, although they most have got their Christian names from Sutcliffe ancestors.

In Richard Sutcliffe's branch of the family, the Christian name Richard had been favoured for many generations, so that Mr Gamaliel Sutcliffe, of Stoneshey-gate, above referred to, remarked to one of the Allans “I come from the Gams and you from the Dickies (Richards).” One of the best-known of the direct ancestors of Richard Sutcliffe was Matthew Sutcliffe, who became Dean of Exeter in the sixteenth century. His brass may still be seen in the new Heptonstall Church, along with that of many others of the family.

In this history we need not go further back than the Richard Sutcliffe who was born in 1772 and died in 1843, leaving quite a large family. One son, William, was Vicar of Bosley for thirty years; Henry was Vicar of Keele for forty years; while James went out to Calcutta, and before his retirement from Indian life, became Director-General of Instruction in Bengal. They were a highly educated family.

The eldest son, also Richard Sutcliffe, was a banker in Cheshire. His first wife's name was Nancy Tomlinson (born 1799, died 1836), and she had four children - Jane, born in 1829, who married James Allan of Hopehill; Emma, 1831, who became Mrs Fred Jenkins, of Christchurch, and ultimately of Sydney, where she died; Richard, born in 1833, who lived and died in Christchurch; and Henrietta, 1834, who married Joseph Allan, of the Holmes.

After his first wife's death Richard Sutcliffe married again, and had six children by his second wife. He emigrated from England in the ship “Ajax”, which arrived in Dunedin in January, 1849, and the eldest son of the second family, James, was born during the voyage out, shortly before their arrival in New Zealand. On the arrival of the immigrants who formed the start of the Canterbury settlement in 1850, Richard Sutcliffe and his family moved up to Christchurch, but his daughters, Jane and Henrietta, remained in Otago and married the brothers Allan. It is of interest to not[e] that Jane Allan's living descendants today (in 1928) number 109, and Henrietta's 125.

Source Notes


The Heptonstall Church Registers. - Paper read by Mr Arthur Ogden before the Halifax Antiquarian Society, June 25th, 1908. Reprinted by Kershaw and Ashworth, printers, Hebden Bridge, 1909. Probably other information about the Sutcliffe family may be found in a series of articles contributed by Mr Ogden's father to the “Halifax Guardian” about 1882, under the nom-de-plume of “Graptolite.” These have not been accessible.




Date Known


Joseph Allan is born to Allan in Derry, Northern Ireland. Sources: 1


Nancy Tomlinson is born. Sources: 1

1 April 1824

Adam Oliver is born to Oliver and Scott at Upper Hindhope Farm, Roxburghshire, Scotland. Sources: 2

7 October 1829

Jane Sutcliffe is born to Richard Sutcliffe and Nancy Tomlinson in Heptonstall, England. Sources: 2


Emma Sutcliffe is born to Richard Sutcliffe and Nancy Tomlinson. Sources: 1

28 November 1840

Helen Webster Speid is born to Agnes Lyall and Alexander Speid at Dunbeath Castle, Dunbeath, Scotland. Sources: 2

January 1849

The Ajax arrives in Dunedin, with Richard, Caroline, Jane, Emma, Richard and Henrietta Sutcliffe aboard. Sources: 1

18 March 1850

James Allan and Jane Sutcliffe marry in Dunedin, New Zealand. Sources: 2

July 1858

John Anderson is joined at Dalvey Station, Otago, New Zealand by his wife, Isabella Allan, and children, James, John, Joseph, Ann, Janet, David and Agnes. Sources: 2

July 1858

John, Isabella, James, John, Joseph, Ann, Janet, David and Agnes Anderson move to Black Gully, Brooksdale Station, Otago, New Zealand while legal problems with their lease are being dealt with. Sources: 1

October 1858

John, Isabella, James, John, Joseph, Ann, Janet, David and Agnes Anderson move back to Dalvey Station, Otago, New Zealand following the successful resolution of legal difficulties with their lease. Sources: 1

April 1861

William Brown Allan and Helen Webster Speid marry. Sources: 2

August 1863

John Allen dies in New Zealand, Oceania. Sources: 2

October 1863

William Allan is born to William Brown Allan and Helen Webster Speid. Sources: 2


John Graham is born to Agnes Tomlinson Allan and John Graham. Sources: 2


Isabella Graham is born to Agnes Tomlinson Allan and John Graham. Sources: 1


Ronald McDonald is born to John McDonald and Jessie Stewart McKay. Sources: 1


Erle McDonald is born to John McDonald and Jessie Stewart McKay. Sources: 1


Joseph Allan is born to George Allan and Mary Ann Smail Stirling. Sources: 3

7 June 1912

Mary Catherine Golder dies. Sources: 2

26 December 1921

Hector Stewart McDonald dies in Otago, New Zealand. Sources: 3

24 July 1923

Jane Sutcliffe dies in Romahapa, New Zealand. Sources: 3

Date Unknown

Date Unknown

John McDonald and Jessie Stewart McKay marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Isabella Allan Anderson and Alexander McDonald marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

John Graham and Margaret Ruth Ritchie marry. Sources: 2

Date Unknown

Mary Catherine Golder and John Graham marry. Sources: 2

Date Unknown

John Alexander Allan and Nellie Brown marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Oliver is born to Oliver. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

James Sutcliffe is born to Caroline Cox and Richard Sutcliffe at Ajax. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

James Allen is born to John Allen and Isabella in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Margaret Allen is born to John Allen and Isabella in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Elizabeth Allan is born to Joseph Allan and Miss Woods. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Janet Allan is born to Joseph Allan and Miss Woods. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Mary Allan is born to Joseph Allan and Miss Woods. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Kate Allan is born to Joseph Allan and Miss Woods. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Isabella Allan is born to Joseph Allan and Miss Woods. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Elizabeth Allan and Henry Neil marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Janet Allan and William Corrance marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Mary Allan and Hill marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Kate Allan and Fulton marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Isabella Allan and Wilson marry. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Andrew Wilson is born to Isabella Allan and Wilson. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Wilson is born to Isabella Allan and Wilson. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

George Corrance is born to Janet Allan and William Corrance. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

Tom Allan is born to Allan in Derry, Northern Ireland. Sources: 1

Date Unknown

John Allen and Isabella marry. Sources: 1