Courtenay – St Matthew’s Church and Cemetery


St Matthew’s Church, situated in the rural area of Courtenay near West Melton on the Canterbury Plains, is a small set-up on a quiet back road – Halkett Road.

Courtenay was one of the earliest settlements in Canterbury.

The Waimakariri River was once called the Courtenay River.

In 1861 a ferry was opened across the Waimakariri at Courtenay, and was known as the “Dagnum” ferry. It consisted of a double punt with decking between. It was abandoned after a big flood in 1868.

Among the first residents of Courtenay were Colonel Brett, Mr W. J. Jenkins, James Robertson, A. McNae, G. Bedford, G. Seaton, W. Pitt, James Preston, and H. Cowan.

While it was once a popular rest-stop along the Cobb & Co. coach route to the West Coast from Christchurch, the Courtenay hotel and store went out of business when the new railroad line was located south of the settlement, through nearby Kirwee.

Courtenay is now a cluster of rural homes and farms, devoid of shops or hotels, situated on the Old West Coast Road, formerly known as the “Coal Track”.

Cemeteries close to Courtenay include Darfield, West Melton, Kimberley, Waddington and Springfield.


High-resolution photographs of the grave are available, plus one or two of the cemetery/church if applicable. This includes a full transcription, particularly for those stones that are hard to read or eroded.

Email me for gravestone images: moorfnz@gmail.com


ANDERTON, Thomas (d. 8th September, 1896)

ANSON, Catherine (d. 11th June, 1880). Born and married in India. Death notice in The Times, 6 August 1880, p. 1, reads: On the 11th June, at The Desert, Courtenay, New Zealand, CATHERINE, widow of the late MAJOR FREDERICK WALPOLE ANSON, of the Bengal Army.

ANSON, Frederick (d. 1911)

ANSON, Henrietta (d. 1929)

ANSON, Lorna Brooke (d. 21st October, 1965)

ANSON, Thomas Hamilton (d. 14 June 1894). Son of Francis William Anson and Catherine. One of Canterbury’s early settlers – arrived on the Cressy.  His obituary in The Star (New Zealand), issue 4977, 15 June 1894, reads (in part): By the death of Mr. T. H. Anson, which took place last evening, Canterbury has lost another of the early settlers, one who for many years was intimately connected with a number of local bodies in the province. About three weeks ago some stacks of oat sheaves on Mr Anson’s farm at Courtenay were found to be on fire about eleven o’clock at night, and he at once went to the spot … and remained working at the fire all night while wet through. It is surmised that he then caught a chill, which resulted in his death. On Thursday last he left his home to attend a meeting of the Board of Education, and, feeling unwell, did not come into town, but stayed for the night at Halswell. He, however, came on to the meeting of the Board the next morning. During the meeting he was taken seriously ill, and was moved to the house of Mr. James Brett, Fendalton. In spite of unremitting attention, Mr Anson passed away at a quarter past eight last evening. Mr Anson was the son of an officer in the Imperial army and was born in India, and with his parents lived there through the exciting times of the Sepoy Mutiny. His father died shortly afterwards. He proceeded to England with his mother, and was educated at Eton. Upon leaving that school he came out to Canterbury in the ship Cressy about 1860, and was engaged as a cadet on Mr C. J. Harper’s Lake Coleridge station. About 1863 he entered into partnership with the late Mr J. K. Karslake and purchased the Waireka run in the Malvern district, as well as a block of country on the Broken River from Mr C. J. Harper. After occupying the property for about two years, they disposed of it…. In 1868, Messrs Karslake and Anson purchased the Mount Torlesse run and occupied it for several years. On the death of Mr Karslake, the property was sold Mr Anson then went to reside at Courtenay, on the property which he occupied up to the time of his death. In 1871 he married a daughter of the late Captain Gorle. This lady, with eight children, survives him. The eldest son, who is twenty-one years of age, has been managing the farm for some time.”

ANSON, Thomas Henry Karslake (d. 11th November, 1956)

BEDFORD, Alice (d. 11th June, 1947)

BEDFORD, Fanny (d. 7th July, 1916)

BEDFORD, George (d. 17th May, 1931)

BEDFORD, John and Annie (d. 1940)

BEDFORD, Walter Fred (d. 9th June, 1934)

BONNOR, John (d. 26th September, 1880)

BOULTON, Sarah Ann (d. 6th April, 1879)

BOULTON, Thomas (d. 13th December, 1912)

BROWN, Henry (d. 11th November, 1876)

BUSH, Henrietta Sarah (d. 16th December, 1904)

CHRISTIAN, George W (d. 25th March, 1942)

COOK, Elizabeth (d. 30th September, 1878)

CRUMP, George (d. 10th July, 1914)

CRYSELL, Agnes (d. 12th January, 1909)

CRYSELL, Samuel (d. 29th May, 1955)

CUNNION, William (d. 13th January, 1874)

DAVIS, Amelia (d. 18th June, 1921)

DAVIS, Arthur Ephraim (d. 16th April, 1913)

DAVIS, Charles Blackwell (d. 24th January, 1955)

DAVIS, Frank (d. 16th June, 1915)

DAVIS, Leonard George (d. 4th August, 1962)

DAVIS, Matilda A. (d. 9th February, 1923)

FOSTER, Fred Nathaniel (d. 25th April, 1886). Formerly of the Indian Navy.

Star , Issue 5607, 1 May 1886, Page 3

It was reported that Fred took ill while on a shooting expedition at Lake Ellesmere and died on the spot of heart disease. The complete story can be read here.

FOWLER, Eileen Mary (d. 10th December, 1973)

FOWLER, Ernest Clarence (d. 21st December, 1928)

FOWLER, Louisa Maria (d. 17th November, 1918)

FOWLER, Una Ellen (d. 18th May, 1958)

FRANCIS, Herbert John (d. 14th September, 1879)

HAYES, Benjamin (d. 14th April, 1923)

HAYES, Benjamin (d. 12th August, 1964)

HAYES, Charlotte Abenia (d. 11th December, 1941)

HENDERSON, James Seaton (d. 1927)

HENDERSON, Mary A W (d. 2nd August, 1931)

HENDERSON, Winifred (d. 20th June, 1925). Lived 8 days.

HUNT, John W H (d. 18th November, 1882)

HUTCHINGS, George (d. 7th July, 1892)

JENKINS, Florence F E (d. 18th March, 1936)

JENKINS, W J (d. 27th February, 1907)

JONES, Lorraine Winifred (d. 1988)

KINGDON, Giffard Thomas (d. 1st May, 1875)

LANGDALE-HUNT, Emma Jane (d. 1881 – 1940)

LORIMER, George (d. 24th August, 1879)

MARLEY, Elizabeth (d. 24th April, 1879)

PRESTIDGE, Louisa Catherine (d. 17th November, 1931)

ROPER, Beatrice Evaloina (d. 12th December, 1912)

ROPER, Evaloina (d. 29th July, 1953)

ROPER, Francis Malcolm (d. 27th July, 1913)

ROPER, Frederick (d. 12th August, 1926)

SAWLE, Emma (d. 25th December, 1874)

SEATON, George (d. 3rd October, 1948)

SEATON, Margaret (d. 23rd October, 1926)

SEATON, Vera Charlotte (d. 24th October, 1950)

SERRA, Paul Giobatta (d. 15th April, 1984). And his wife Joan Dorreen.

SHEPHERD, Henry Thorne (d. 18th November, 1874)

STEWART, John Henry (d. 30th May, 1948)

TAYLOR, Shirley Janet (d. 1930)

TURNER, Inez Thora Ruth (d. 14th December, 1960)

TURNER, Letitia (d. 19th November, 1928)

TURNER, William (d. 24th March, 1892)

VICK, John (d. 20th November, 1899)

WATSON, Eliza Jane (d. 27th December, 1914)

WATSON, John (d. 20th December, 1906)

WATSON, John (d. 13th July, 1923)

WATSON, Robert James (1881 – 1930)

Please consider a small donation to keep the site and the work going


12 thoughts on “Courtenay – St Matthew’s Church and Cemetery

  1. Have you got a physical, street address? I am wary of donating money over the internet.

    Posted by Lynn Suckling | September 11, 2012, 12:32 am
  2. Thanks for that.

    Posted by Lynn Suckling | September 11, 2012, 4:41 am
  3. I will be visiting this area in December, do you have a service on Christmas Day 2012?

    Posted by Allison Bairstow | December 2, 2012, 12:47 am
  4. I’m led to believe that Charles White jnr, Selina White, George Frederick White & Rose Stott are buried at St Mathews

    Posted by Russell Crawford | January 28, 2014, 10:24 pm
  5. Thankyou

    Posted by Rusell | March 2, 2014, 10:58 pm
  6. I have just come upon this site. I am a great great granddaughter of Charles White senior and Maryann White. I am wondering if Russell might be a relative? I can confirm that there is at least one Charles White buried at St Matthews as I have seen the grave.

    Posted by Cath Cameron | November 5, 2016, 7:12 am
  7. Hi Cath, I’m also a great,great grandchild of Charles & Maryann White snr and they are buried in St Peters anglican grave yard in Christchurch. The Charles White buried in St Mathews is my Great grandfather and beside him was his brother George Frederick White and brother in law John Bonner. Russell

    Posted by Russell Crawford | April 4, 2017, 7:51 pm
    • Great to hear from you Russell – cousin! (3rd I think) I have only just received your comment so not sure when you posted it. I wasn’t even sure my post had been successful but clearly it was.

      My grandmother, on my father’s side was the daughter of one of the White daughters (Maryann jnr) . My grandmother was one of five daughters and her father was Ward Robinson. The family lived at Springfield, a few kms from Whites Hotel before moving to Blackball on the West Coast. My father recalled his mother talking about going and playing at “Whites” as a child. My grandmother married a coaster and they continued to live in Blackball which is where my father was born. There was nine children in my father’s family but they are all deceased now having, in the main lived to good ages. My father died nine and a half years ago at the age of 96.

      I have been to the graves of the White snrs and the St Matthews cemetery. I lived for many years in Darfield and used to drive past the Hotel every work day. It always gave me a good feeling.

      If you would like to make direct contact my email is cathsteve@clear.net.nz

      Best regards,

      Cath Cameron

      Posted by Cath and Steve | April 5, 2017, 7:57 am
  8. Hi there, my father-in-law was buried at At Matthews, Courtenay (and my hubby and I were married there – family church). I don’t see mention of him here – Lewis Campen… We believe Granny Sadler to be buried there too – would there be a chance their headstones have been missed?

    Posted by Tania Campen | June 22, 2018, 2:49 am

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