Slade Family History

Collateral Lines of the Lawrences

by David Hume

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George Slade, Home Missionary - Fabian

George Slade, Home Missionary

The Reverend George Slade was the first of our clan to come to Australia, in 1858, and his daughter Edith is the first to be born in Australia. After Edith, they had four children, Arthur, Rotha (who died in infancy), Alfred George Blanchard (known as Blanchard, who became an ironmonger) and Frederick. Several Slade descendants have kept some contact with the Lawrence family.

George & Marianne SladeHanslope

Left: The Reverend George Slade and his wife Marianne Croggon.
Right: The farmhouse at Hanslope, Bucks owned by the Slade family, which Amy and Arthur visited after WW1.

George himself was born in the little village of Hanslope in Bucks in 1825. This is a stone’s throw from the M1 north of Milton Keynes. Their father, Richard Slade, was the son of Richard Smith Slade and Hannah Clark, who married in 1783 in Harlestone, near Northampton. They were Baptists and strongly influenced by the Roade Baptist Church. Richard Slade was born in 1840, in Upton, Northampton, and was an architect. At the age of 63, he retired, and decided to take up farming by taking up a lease on a farm in Hanslope, about 20 miles south of Northampton. The Green End Farm house was part of a large mansion dating from the Tudor period, in the 17th century it had been the home of a famous clockmaker named Joseph Knibb. Richard Slade’s retirement was to be rather extended, as he lived until 1838, dying at the grand old age of 98.

Richard Slade married Catherine Dawson at the tiny village of Whissendine, Rutland, in 1811. The Dawsons came from the neighbouring village of Cosgrove, in Northamptonshire, and three members of the family married the Slade siblings; Dorothy married William Slade in 1810 and Thomas Theophilus married Mary Slade in 1812. The descedents of William and Dorothy also ended up in the antipodes, with descedents in New Zealand. Catherine’s father John Dawson probably moved to Cosgrove, and married Ann Hutt, who was born in Cosgrove in 1756, the daughter of John Hutt and Elizabeth Facer. By the 1841 census, the Slade family at Green End Farm consisted of Richard Slade, his wife Catherine, Aunt Susanna Slade, William (25), John (20) and Charlotte (22), our George (17) and Edward (15). By 1861, only John and Charlotte were still at home. This Richard Slade the younger was described as being of gigantic strength in Pop’s handwritten Slade genealogy, and he also lived a long life dying some time after the 1851 census. In several documents he, like his father, is described as a yeoman.


The Lease below describes a subsequent lease by Richard Slade the elder for his sons.

Lease D-X172/45 12 November 1818

(i) Richard Slade the elder of Hanslope, farmer and grazier
(ii) Richard Slade the younger, and William Slade of Hanslope, farmers and graziers, sons of Richard Slade
Farm with Home, Further and Nether Lye Field, Further and Nether Willow, Hill Park, Neal's Piece, Nore Croft, Six Acre, Spring Closes, new inclosure called the Green and Lane, Richard's Closes (total 100a.) (except parlour, two bedrooms and use of kitchen and yard in farmhouse)
Term: 99 years. Rent: £100

The descendants of William Slade live in New Zealand, and Pop’s genealogy confirms that they are cousins to the Green End Farm family (and double 5th cousins to us through both the Dawson and Slade family lines). The 4th of the children, Susannah Slade, never married. Pop’s family tree records the sad story that she fell from a horse whilst travelling to Northampton with her lover, who was killed. Susannah lived on at Green End farm, “harmlessly cracked”, till her death in 1861.

When Richard Slade the elder died in 1838, he effectively “disinherited” his eldest son by making provision for his daughter. The entire estate, including the farmhouse, was to be disposed of as the executors saw fit, and sufficient sum invested in government security to ensure an income which was to be paid for the maintenance and upkeep of his daughter, Susannah Slade. Upon her death, the monies were to be distributed equally amongst the grandchildren.

Subsequent to the death of his father, Richard Slade the younger took over the lease on the main Green End farm as below.

Assignment D-X172/46 24 December 1838

(i) Joseph Shaw of Hardingstone, co.Northants, yeoman
(ii) James Bishop and Thomas Cleaver of Hanslope, yeomen, devisees in trust for sale, named in will of Richard Slade of Hanslope, yeoman
(iii) Richard Slade of Hanslope, yeoman, son of Richard Slade
(iv) John Parrott of Stony Stratford, gent
Assignment (i) to (iv) of property in D-X172/41 for residue of term of 100 years (including lands allotted by Inclosure Commissioners as compensation for loss of common rights) in trust to attend the inheritance of (iii)

To do so, he raised a mortgage of some £1000. Richard Slade the younger had married Catherine Dawson from the neighbouring village of Cosgrove in Northampton; William Slade married Dorothy Dawson in 1811 and 1810 respectively. To keep things in the family, Mary Slade married Thomas Theodophilus Dawson.


Slade family members, 3 brothers, continued to occupy Green End Farm until 1921, as Slade Brothers (and were visited by Pop and Jo after WW1), but then disaster struck. A brother-inlaw, Arnold Lambert (married to Marian Slade), got involved in selling cattle and fodder illegally, and was bailed out by the brothers. This led to the farm itself becoming non-viable, and in 1923, Slade Brothers was wound-up. The farm was bought by a Lord Hesketh, of Hesketh Estates. One of the brothers, a George, stayed in the house until his death, after which it fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished in the 1950s. George was a local eccentric in Hanslope. Another brother, a younger Richard Slade, moved to another farm in Everdon, Northants, and lived into the 1960s. When he died, his two sons, who never married, lived on the farm without maintaining it, as virtual hermits. So, perhaps the “odd” genes did not come entirely from the Lawrence lineage.

Baptist records attribute the Slade family, particularly our George, with financing the construction of the Longstreet Baptist Church in Hanslope in 1841. The Church is still standing, now a private house, having previously been sold by William Slade to the Church at a notional price. George Slade was struck with religious fervour at an early age, and made the journey back and forth twice a week to Roade, about 15 miles away, to take instruction from the Reverend George Jayne. George went on to study for the ministry at the Baptist College in Bristol and thence served in two parishes in Cornwall, where he met and married Marianne, the daughter of a Wesleyan clergyman, the Reverend Walter Oke Croggon, who was born in Penryn, Cornwall, in 1791. Walter had been the head of the world-wide Wesleyan Mission and some of his writings and doings were recorded for posterity. The Croggon line is a rather remarkable one, extending right back into the early 15th century in Cornwall. Walter's father, Thomas Croggon and mother Ann Polkinghorne, were devout Baptists who married in Falmouth in 1791, and in the 1841 census, there are numerous Croggons all in Cornwall, and mostly in Falmouth. Walter Oke Croggon himself was converted at the age of nineteen by the preaching of the Wesleyan ministers John Woodrow and Anthony Seckerson. After labouring as a local preacher, Croggan entered the itinerancy in 1817 on the recommendation of his native Truro circuit. His testimonial described him as a man of good education and 'engaging manners.' Likewise, Walter Oke’s good wife, Mary Mullis, was of good Cornish stock. The Mullis line extends through several generations in St. Germains in Cornwall, and is a common name in the area extending back into the 16th century.

In the early 19th Century, as we saw with the Becks, there was a good deal of enthusiasm for spreading the word of Methodism, and Walter Croggon had the call and following extracts from Wesleyan Missionary documents refer to his activities.

As early as 1824, the Rev. John Keeling was appointed to Malta, and the Rev. Charles Cook to Palestine, and the following year the Rev. Donald McPherson was appointed to Alexandria, in Egypt. In 1827, the Rev. Walter Oke Croggon was sent to Zante (Zakynthos), and he was afterwards joined by the Rev. James Bartholomew, with the hope of extending the work to different parts of Greece. These interesting stations, with the exception of Palestine, which was never fully entered upon, were occupied for several years with different measures of success, but on the whole, the results were not such as to warrant their continuance, and they were consequently given up. It was not all easy for Walter on Zante. Upon his arrival he was soon enabled to form a small class among the soldiers ; but their removal from the island, and difficulties that followed, for a time prevented his holding public worship. In the meantime, he undertook the instruction of some Greek young men, and in 1829, was appointed professor of the English language in the public government school. In this sphere of labor, Mr. Croggon has been very useful, as also in public religious services, and in the distribution of Bibles, tracts and prayer books.

Some of Walter Oke’s writings exhibit a compelling conviction and piousness. He wrote a quite moving memoir of his wife, Mary Mullis, who died on the Greek island of Zante while he was a Methodist missionary. Mary was only 31, with her young daughter Marianne only 6. To quote some of the obituary in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine of 1833:

"Her infant years were spent with her parents on the farm where she was born, and a merciful providence watched over her life amid many accidents. Her parents transferred the farm to her brother, and with them, she moved to a small cottage. There her earthly prospects were blighted, and rather than be a charge to her parents she learned the business of dress making and obtained her bread by working in the most respectable families in the different parishes; who frequently sent a horse for her; and she often resided for some days together at different houses. The only education she received was at two country schools, where she learned to read, write and sew".

He goes on to describe her conversion to Methodism. They married in 1823, and they proceeded immediately to Charenton in France, where there was a "colony" of some 500 English folk. Their instructions were "to be employed for the spiritual benefit of our countrymen, and, as opportunities presented, among the natives". Their first child, Marianne, was born in 1824, and a second, Henry Martyn in 1825. However, he died after only 4 months. In 1826, they went to the Ionian island of Zante. As a wife "Mrs Croggon was most affectionate. Nothing was left undone to render her husband happy. She was, indeed, the desire of my eyes". "Her talents were capable of improvement, but the imperfection of her early education was a great bar to that progress which might otherwise have been made; yet she learned enough of French, Italian and Greek to transact common concerns of life". "But had she no faults?" he asked rhetorically. "Her greatest defect, over which she mourned with many tears, was warmth of temper...but the sun never went down on her wrath." Mary Croggon became ill in April 1830, and was largely bed-ridden for 4 months. It is not clear what her ailment was, but at the end her doctors proposed an emergency operation, so it sounds rather like cancer. After the operation she said to the doctor "what is this difficulty of breathing I feel", then "lifted her eyes to heaven, and closed them as in the act of prayer". Her burial took place the next morning, and was attended by the whole community. Walter commented; "I had not the most distant apprehension that the retired humble walk of my diffident Mary would have caused such an effect". Her grave lies in the English cemetery in Zakynthos, buried with another lost child.

Walter himself returned to England and spent two years in the Kingswood circuit, before spending 14 years as Superintendent of Irish Missions and Schools (which explains why neither he, nor Marianne, can be found in the 1841 census). In 1851, he was the Wesleyan Minister in Tonbridge Wells in Kent, and he died in 1854.


George Slade was invited to come to Australia by the Baptist missionary society. According to Baptist Mission history records, “Attention having been called by the members of the Revd George Slade for missionary work in India, it was resolved that this gentleman be invited to take the subject into his serious consideration. In 1851, Revd Slade is listed as the minister in Camden Town in London and his wife to be, Marianne Croggon was staying with cousins in Cornwall. By December 15th, 1851 he had sent a letter from Dublin, “expressing a preference for Australia as a future sphere of labour”. He travelled to Australia with his wife Marianne on the Duncan Dunbar ship "Thames" arriving in Port Phillip in November 1858. He started his ministry at the Aberdeen St. Church in Geelong, one with very strong Calvinist leanings. By September 16th, 1858, the Baptist Mission in London had received a letter informing them that “after preaching 6 weeks to the Church they had declined his services, but that a place of worship had been placed at his disposal and that those who approved his ministry had entered upon it with encouraging prospects of success”. This schism amongst the good people of Geelong led to the establishment of another church at Fenwick Street, which the Reverend George served for 19 years. In 1877, at the age of 52, he was called by the Baptist Home Mission to serve in Northern Victoria, and his activities are the material of legend, recorded in the archives of the Baptist Church. He left his family of five children (Arthur Croggon b1858; Rotha Croggon, b1860; Alfred George, b1862; Edith Marianne b1864; Frederick William b1866) in the care of wife Marianne in Geelong, and for three and a half years, he was a wandering preacher serving a community centred on Kerang in NW Victoria; commonly accompanied by his horse called Robin, which was given him on his first visit to Quambatook Station. Sadly, in his absence, son Rotha died at the age of 18 in 1878.

In the history of the Baptist Home Mission in Victoria, The Rev F. Wilkin wrote of George:

‘He determined to visit as many as possible in every part of the district to cheer the lonely toilers, and to preach the Gospel. There were scarcely any made roads in those early days, nor many bridges over the rivers and creeks. Often travelling was difficult and dangerous, but the intrepid missionary faithfully and self-denyingly toiled onward. Nor summers heat, nor winters cold deterred him. He cheerfully plodded on, travelling in all sorts of weather, by night as well as by day, conversing with all sorts and conditions of men, preaching and living the gospel.’

One of the early pioneers of the Boort district, recalling our George wrote:

‘Our spiritual welfare was well-cared for, Mr Slade being our first Baptist Home Missionary. To meet him on the road one would take him for a shearer, his swag strapped across his saddle, the quart pot and horse hobbles at his side. I remember passing him very early one morning, rolled in his blanket at the butt of a tree, his horse hobbled nearby. One admired such a character. When he could have had a charge elsewhere, in ease and comfort, he came to the outback and suffered privation to uphold the Christian banner’

Another of his parishioners wrote:

‘This home loving man gave up his home for the sake of men. He came without any flourish of trumpets, he finally left without any public farewell, but his name is remembered and his work abides’.

His name does, indeed, abide. Camp Slade, the northern district Baptist Associations camp for young people at Lake Meran, was named after him.

George Slade left Kerang to take up a new challenge at Rockhampton in Queensland. However, his health deteriorated and after 3 years or so, he came back to Melbourne to serve the remainder of his days at the Newmarket Church in Melbourne, where he died in 1890. Whilst George wandered the wilds of Victoria looking after the needs of his extended flock, poor Marianne was left back in Melbourne to tend their offspring. A number of the descendants of his son, A.G. Blanchard Slade, who married an Annie Smith, and had 5 children, remained pillars of the Baptist Church and served as missionaries abroad. George and Marianne’s older son, Arthur on the other hand, married a catholic! They had 6 children, Harold, Richard, George, Norman, Ida and Evelyn. When his first wife died, Arthur married her sister.



The Fabian line comes from Hampshire. Mary Fabian’s parents, Alexander Fabian and Sarah Woodford were both born in the small village of Broughton in Hampshire, and both the Woodford and Fabian families can be traced back many generations in the same village. Broughton is a rather lovely village, half way between Salisbury and Winchester in rural Hampshire, with a beautiful 13th century church (St Mary's). It also has a Baptist chapel dating from the 1630, early days for a non-conformist church. Sarah Woodford married Alexander Fabian in Broughton on 8 July 1827. Sarah's father was William Woodford (1752-1833), who was the parish sexton in Broughton for 50 years. He was the son of John and Sarah Woodford. His brother Thomas Woodford (1747-1826) was parish clerk for some years. Since Mary eventually married Christopher George Lawrence in a Baptist chapel, the family may have become Baptists as far back as Broughton. In the parish records in Broughton, we have Alexander Fabian b 1794 (F James, M Ruth Tarrant, m 1.2.1787, both were illiterate and made marks) and James Fabian c 5.5.1749, (F Alexander, M. Mary Rogers, married 1731). The father of James Fabian, Alexander Fabian, was probably born in 1704, again born in Broughton, and died in 1769. His father in turn was probably yet another Alexander Fabian, b around 1680 in Broughton, who was married to a Mary Forest. The oldest Fabian record in the area is an Alexander Fabian born in 1642 in East Tytherley, the next village to Broughton; his father was yet another Alexander.

After their marriage in 1827, Alexander and Sarah Fabian must have joined the migration to the city as their three daughters, Sarah, Mary and Ann, were all recorded born in Wandsworth in Surrey (the south of London). In 1841, the family were at 1 North St, Wandsworth, and Alexander (a gardener) and Sarah had William (12), Elizabeth (10), Sarah (8), Mary (6), Ann (5) and Louisa (1). By the time of the 1851 census, the unfortunate Alexander Fabian had died of consumption, and our Sarah Fabian (recorded as aged 48) was the head of household at 2 Lavender Rd, Battersea, and ran a Grocer Shop. Her daughters Elizabeth (20), Mary (15) and Ann (14) were all dressmakers. In 1861, aged 59, she was at 7 York Rd, still with her daughter Ann, and still employed as a dressmaker. This area of London was probably heavily bombed in the war, and there are only 1960s council dwellings to be seen these days.


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