After the letters

We shall never know whether the Colonel or the last letter arrived first in Wickham, but the family was reunited on or about 21 July 1839. All predictions about English’s next posting, and all concerns about possible prejudice at Horse Guards, proved misplaced. The long-awaited appointment was to be Commanding Royal Engineer in Jersey.

The Channel Islands had been British for centuries, but, due to their proximity to the Continent, they were heavily fortified. Jersey, the biggest island, had successfully repelled a French invasion in 1781, but after a quarter of a century of peace, it must have been welcomed as a good place for the Englishes to enjoy family life. At the 1841 census, they were established at Havre-des-Pas, St Helier. Father, mother and all four daughters appear on the census return, as well as young Fred, for whom a captaincy had been purchased, presumably on leave on the day of the census. Only Augustus, pursuing his business career elsewhere, was absent. Anne Parker and Jane Ross were still in the household.

After a spell in Gibraltar, English became Commanding Royal Engineer at Woolwich in 1846, bringing him to the very heart of the Corps he had served for so long. He is remembered there for his work on designing and building a new school for the 400 children living in the depot. Sadly, he did not live to see the completion of this work; he died from injuries sustained in an artillery accident in June 1849, aged 59.

Catherine English then moved to Cheltenham, where she established herself at Oxford Lodge, Keynsham Bank, off what is now London Road. She was still living there at the census of 1871, after which she moved to the village of Caldicot, near Chepstow, on the south Welsh border. She died there in 1877, aged 88.

Of her four daughters, only Catherine married. Her husband, Charles Le Quesne, was a native of Jersey. They were married in St Helier in 1843 and had five children.

Isabella, the youngest daughter, died in Cheltenham in 1855, aged about 30. Caroline and Annie both outlived their mother and were named as executrices in her will.

Fred junior didn’t marry his Irish sweetheart, but he was twice married and had three children.

Augustus became a bank manager, married and had a daughter, to whom we are indebted for preserving the letters after her grandmother’s death.

I have been unable to trace any living descendant of Frederick and Catherine English.

There is more on the lives of the English family under ‘People’, and a time line of the Colonel’s life under ‘Reference’.