The Belgrave Children

One gravestone at Kirwee (St George’s) simply notes the names of four of the children of John Walter and Elizabeth BELGRAVE. I decided to see if I could find out more about the family.

John Walter Belgrave was born in 1861. NZETC has a small bio on him which reads:

Black-smith and Music Teacher, Kirwee. Mr. Belgrave was born in 1861, in Lyttelton, where his father, the late Mr. Robert Belgrave, was for many years a hotelkeeper. He was educated at private and public schools in Lyttelton, and afterwards apprenticed to the blacksmithing trade in Christchurch, where he continued to work for about ten years. In 1884 he established a blacksmith’s business, which he still conducts at Kirwee, and has since resided within a few yards of the railway station in that district. Early in life Mr. Belgrave gave evidence of considerable musical talent, and was accordingly placed under capable tutors. Whilst working at his trade in Christcurch he took lessons from Mr. Corrick, and was for two years a member of the band organised and conducted by that gentleman. Mr. Belgrave plays a number of instruments, of some of which he has acquired his knowledge without instruction. He has considerable number of pupils, and was for seven years choirmaster at the local Baptist church. Mr. Belgrave is a member of the Kirwee school committee and of the Courtenay Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and the Orange Lodge; of the latter he is a Past Master.

John married Elizabeth Clarke, daughter of William Clarke of Christchurch, on 30 April 1884 at St Michael’s Church in Christchurch, as reported on page 2 of The Star dated 2 May, 1884.

St Michael's Church, Christchurch, built in 1872

New Zealand BMD online records show John and Elizabeth had many children – the records suggest 12 in total although the full version of the bio above cites 10. Sadly, as the gravestone in the cemetery of St George’s Church in Kirwee shows, at least four did not survive early child and adulthood.

John died, aged 70, on 1st March, 1931. His wife Elizabeth died a couple of years later in 1933. Both are buried in the cemetery at St George’s in Kirwee.

My interest in the Belgrave children was piqued by the scant detail on the group gravestone.

So how many children did the Belgraves really have?

I have found 12.

First those named on the above gravestone:


Lucilla Alice.  Died aged 12 and half years on Christmas Eve, 1906.

(via Papers Past)


Evelyn Mary. Eva, as she was obviously known, was born in 1892 according NZ birth records. Her death is recorded as 1908.

(via New Zealand Births, Deaths, and Marriages)


Mildred was born in 1890, according to NZ birth records. Her father’s given name is mispelt ‘Watter” instead of Walter on the records. Her death is recorded as 1910, making her just 20 years old when she died.

(via New Zealand Births, Deaths, and Marriages)


I have identified Jack as being John Fleming Belgrave, born 1893. He died aged 18 in 1911.

(via New Zealand Births, Deaths, and Marriages)


Mabel Annie – b. 29 January, 1885
Died in 1885, aged 5 months.

Star , Issue 5223, 31 January 1885, Page 3

Star , Issue 5354, 6 July 1885, Page 2

Elsie May – b. 1 March, 1886
Died in 1898, aged 12.

Muriel Emily – b. 1887.
Muriel married Richard Wright in 1904. According to John Harper, President of the Waipara District Historical Society, the couple farmed at The Peaks near Hawarden for some years.

Ethel Maude – b. 1889
Ethel married Albert Edward Henry Moffatt in 1909.

Lucilla Alice – b. 1894
Died in 1907, aged 17. Unmarried.
I believe the death info listed on BMD Online has listed age at death incorrectly and that this is the Lucilla Alice who died age 12, listed on the above headstone.

Elizabeth Martha – b. 1895
Elizabeth married Gordon Hardy in 1918.

Freda Charlotte – b. 1897
Freda married Frederick Edgar Wilson in 1920.

Robert Edwin – b. 1898
Robert married Emily Adeline Bedford in 1925.

Phyllis Amy – b. 25 April 1900 d. 1937
Married Thomas David Jarman 11 November, 1920


If so, I’d love to find out more so drop me a line:   moorfnz@gmail.com


3 thoughts on “The Belgrave Children

  1. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=CHP19310304.2.75&srpos=2&e=——-100–1-byDA-on–0%22oak+leaf%22+obituary–
    Press, Volume LXVII, Issue 20177, 4 March 1931, Page 13
    MR JOHN W. BELGRAVE. The death of Mr John Walter Belgrave, of Kirwee, occurred on Sunday evening. He was born at Lyttelton on January 6th, 1861, and was educated at public and private schools in Lyttelton and Ohristchurch. He was apprenticed to the blacksmithing trade in Christchurch, where he worked for ten years. In 1884 he established a business at Kirwee, where he has resided ever since. Early in life Mr Belgrave showed promise of musical ability, and later developing it. On taking up residence in Kirwee Mr Belgrave organised and i conducted a brass band. For thirty years he engaged in teaching music. He also conducted a glee club, church choirs, and two- brass bands. He also helped vocally and instrumentally at concerts and dances for many.years. He was a member of the local school committee for seventeen years, being chairman for ten years. He was also a member of the Canterbury A. and P. Association for many years, and was elected an honorary life member. He was president for two years, and was treasurer up till the time of his death. .He was president of the Band of Hope for many years. Mr Belgrave took a keen interest in Freemasonry and was a Past Master in the Masonic Lodge, also secretary of the local Foresters’ Lodge, and C.R. of the A.O.F, Canterbury District, and a prominent Orangeman. He was auditor for the Courtenay Agricultural and Pastoral Association for 25 years, and for the Saleyards Company for 29 years. He was also chairman of directors for the latter company for several years.. He took an active part in cricket in the early days, and was a member of the old “Hagley Oak Leaf” Cricket Club, Christchurch. Mr Belgrave was created a. Justice of the Peace in 1916, and .was president of the Canterbury Blacksmithing and Engineering .Executive Council in 1918-19-20. Shortly after coming to .Kirwee in 1884, he married Miss Elizabeth Clarke, of Upper Riccarton, who survives him. There are also Mr B. E. Belgrave, who carries on the business at Kirwee, Mrs R. Wright (The Peaks); Mrs E. Moffat (Kirwee), Mrs Hardy (Auckland), Mrs. Wilson (Christchurch), and Mrs T, D. Jarman (Hororata); 14 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren;

    Posted by Peter | April 25, 2015, 12:12 pm
  2. Hello Peter,

    I am fascinated to learn of the Belgrave family history as I am a direct descendant of Robert Belgrave who was my great, great grandfather and John my great grandfather. My grandmother was Freda Belgrave and Ewen her youngest son was my father.

    I only know a very small amount about the family as Ewen moved to Auckland in 1954-55 the year I was born. He didn’t tell me much about either of his parents I am sure I have quite a few relatives I’ve never met or heard about. My mother Josie Wilson went to Christchurch in 1983 for the Belgrave family reunion and really enjoyed it.
    I live in South Auckland and have a lifestyle block with horses and other farm animals.I have 3 children all in their thirties 2 sons and a daughter. I am also lucky enough to have 3 grandchildren. I have worked as a registered nurse for the last 25 years.

    My email adress is jacquie265@slingshot.co.nz or my home phone is ( 09 )235-0555

    Kind regards
    Jacqueline Raynes

    Posted by Jacqueline Raynes | October 16, 2015, 10:33 am

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