Edward Gibbon WAKEFIELD 
- Born: 20 Mar 1796, London
- Marriage: Eliza Ann Frances PATTLE 
- Died: 16 May 1862, Wellington NZ aged 66
- Buried: Bolton St Cemetery Wellington
Edward came from a old Quaker family, he was released from Newgate in 1830 after being imprisoned in The Turner Case. He wrote "Punishment by Death" a critique of the death sentence, and evolved the Wakefield theory on free colonies. He played a significant role in the settlement of the cities of Adelaide, Christchurch, Wellington and Nelson, by the N.Z Coy.
His Biography is by Dr Richard Garnett.
There are countless infamous scandals associated with Gretna Green. Perhaps the best known was the Turner-Wakefield scandal which involved the abduction of a wealthy mill-owner's daughter by a double-crossing rogue named Edward Gibbon Wakefield.
Ellen was the daughter of William Turner, a wealthy mill-owner and Sheriff of Cheshire. In March 1826 Ellen received a letter stating that her mother was ill and that she must return home.
On her way she was introduced to her "father's friend" Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Having made a favourable impression on the youngster, Wakefield claimed that her father's bank in Macclesfield had failed and the business ruined. He said that all Mr Turner's property was to be given to Ellen. As she was still under age, she would have to marry to save her father, to ensure the estate would be given back to him by her husband: Mr Wakefield.
She agreed to marriage and they proceeded to Gretna Green. After the ceremony, the newly-weds left for France. But in Calais, Ellen's uncles caught up with the couple and told her the truth - her father's business was in good order and Wakefield was a liar. Distraught, she returned to England.
Wakefield was tried in March 1827 and found guilty of felonious abduction and unlawful marriage. After a trial that captivated the nation, Wakefield was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in Newgate. For Ellen, the problem of deciding whether she was married was solved by a special act of parliament, which annulled the marriage. After his release Wakefield turned his attention to the colonies and helped found South Australia.
Edward and Ellen's story is told in more detail in a new book, The Shrigley Abduction, published by Sutton Publishing.
Ref: Family History Monthly March 2004 No 102.
The Shrigley Abduction:
A Tale of Anguish, Deceit and Violation of the Domestic Hearth
ABBY ASHBY & AUDREY JONES
(Sutton, ISBN 0-7509-3280-5, L,15.99, www.sutton publisbing.co. uk)
This intriguing story was uncovered by the authors for an evening class. In 1826, Edward Wakefield, together with his stepmother and his brother William, kidnapped the heiress Ellen Turner from her ladies' seminary in Liverpool. Edward Wakefield was what can only be described as a serial eloper; he had run away with his first wife in 1816,
The pair had not met before, but Edward proved so persuasive that he convinced the 15 year old that her father was in debt and they should marry immediately in order to save him. The two were married in Gretna Green and it was only when her family interceded that Ellen realised she had been tricked. And see our feature on p29.
The authors follow the events of the abduction and the subsequent trial. Surprisingly, perhaps, they seem to side with Edward, painting him as a daring adventurer; they believe that Ellen must have secretly wished to stay married to him. While this may seem odd at first, the more sympathetic portrait of Edward is borne out by his conduct. In later life he became one of the major advocates of the colonisation of New Zealand and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a bust of him celebrating his statesman-like qualities.
The book reveals a lot about morality and marriage in the 19th century and is an interesting portrait of two families in turmoil. The fate of William Wakefield was particularly harsh. Like his brother he was tried and imprisoned for his part in the abduction. While he was in prison his young wife died (of a broken heart, according to the newspapers).
Ellen Turner married Thomas Legh, one of the magistrates involved in the case, but tragically died aged only 19.
Ref: Family History Monthly March 2004 No 102.
The following letters are from a transcription done in the 19thC a copy of which is held at the Nelson Archive.
Ham Place Mua
May 12th 1837
My dear Charles,
I have set foot on a new measure of colonisation on principles similar to those which have worked so well for South Australia.The country is New Zealand one of the finest countries in the world, if not the finest, for British settlement. A New Zealand Association is now in the course of formation it will comprise a more influential body than that which founded South Australia.
The colony, that is, the body of capitalists who will first emigrate, is already considerable, and comprises persons qualified for every occupation but one. We have no clergyman. The New Zealanders are not savage properly speaking, but a people capable of civilization. A main object will be to do all that can be done for inducing them to embrace the language,
customs, religion, and social ties of the superior race. The missionaries have already done something towards this object, more than could have been expected, considering that they have always been thwarted by English settlers and visitors not under the restraint of any authority. We want a missionary at heart, to be placed at the head of a system for operating
on the minds of the natives, a man of high feelings, great zeal, superior talents, a sort of Mr. Nottidge, but young and strong. Arthur fancies that Mr. Moreby would not dislike such an undertaking, and I know that his wife could enter into such views. We should raise funds here so as to insure the clergyman a becoming income, and should build here a church
large enough for the whole body of first settlers, in which we should wish the clergyman to preach upon the subject of the colony. Will you mention the subject to Mr. Moreby, or to any other person whom you may think well qualified for such an undertaking? If you should meet with one, let him come to town, and enquire for himself into the whole matter. But
he must be superior man; and if he should have a wife, she must be superior too.
Captain Arthur thinks of commanding the first expedition, and my own thoughts are turned in that direction. For me, all will depend upon the manner in which the foundation shall be laid, if it be very good, superior to any other thing of the sort, then I become one of the builders of the superstructure.
With best love to Catherine,
Yours ever affly.,
E. G. W.
Taken to be a letter to the Rev Charles M Torlesse
N. Z. House,
My dear Catherine,
I don't know that your objection to me as a teacher in quite valid, since I have brought up
more than one person in more than commonly decided religious sentiments.However, that is a point which will hardly bear discussion. I am in no desperate hurry about a child, but with Priscilla and Loui to keep a look out for me I would not confine them to infancy or the youngest childhood if they should chance to meet with one who had been really well brought up so far, and had a very good natural disposition and talent.There are many in the world who should be glad (I say it with vanity) to get so good a berth. Tell Charles that Governor Hobson's proclamations set us all right in New Zealand, and that we have forced the Government to consent to a Bishopric.The inclosed is for him, as I suppose you won't read-it. Tell him that if he will buy you a strong donkey, I will add a Bologne sheep-skin saddle on which you may sit as on a sofa.
With love to all,
Yours ever affly.,
E. G. W.
Taken to be to Catherine G Torlesse his sister
23rd March Query 1841 (Year thought to be wrong)
My dear Catherine,
I have to thank you for your letter of birth-day good wishes, and will not let a post pass
without telling you and Charlie in confidence that the recent debates about New Zealand have had the desired effect; the Government -- not Lord Stanley alone, but his principal colleagues, with his consent -- having made us an overture of reconciliation. We have said "Yes, on the understanding that we are not to patch up the old arrangement which is too vague and makes us too dependent on the good will of Government -- but have a new one, which, subject to certain well-defined checks, shall render us independent".Vie require, in short, security for the future as well as indemnity for the past: and the reply has been "Very well; it is best to make an effectual and lasting arrangement whilst we are about it".The negotiation is now in full swing. It has struck me that as you are going to see Pris soon, you might as well come to me first; so as to be with me whilst at the worst of your waiting for Charley. Ask Charlie to bring you on Monday the 31st which I propose in order to see him as well: but if he can't come, I will meet you in London and bring you down.
There will be a room for Sonisa, or whomsoever you may be taking with you on the visit to Pris, and I shall be very glad of her company. I think this plan would be good for us both; and the longer you may stay the better I shall be pleased -- being very dull when I manage to resist the temptation to go to London during this crisis.
You said that having a governess would set you, more free for such occasions.
I am glad the boots fit.Aglionby has been going and going to write to you about mesmerism, and I cannot tell why he has not done it. I think it is because after great success he has met with some reverses. I showed him your last which he says has somewhat consoled
him for the rowing I gave him for intemperate language in the House.
Yours ever affly.,
Note on No.10 Query 1841
Note 1.Mesmerism E.G.W. was himself given to practise mesmerism. Early in 1841, or perhaps it might be 1840, he tried to operate on me one evening at Broad Street Buildings, in presence of my mother and father but with only partial success.His little Belgian page, a boy of about 15. was very susceptible. When outside the door (as I was told) by a pass from E. G. W. invisible to the page, the latter would become rigid in a moment.I recollect a story he told me, about this date, of his being at an evening party in London, where he had mesmerised a young lady, but was struck with horror on finding he could not revive her. He jumped into a cab and went in search of a celebrated man, Dr. Elliotson, his friend.After some hours search he was found and they returned in company and Dr. Elliotson succeeded in reviving the lady, where he had failed.
Ref: Albert J. Allom, February, 1898. AUCKLAND
B. S. B.
Friday 30th April 1841.
My dear Catherine,
The Expedition took steam-tug from below Gravesend;the wind has been fair ever since; and we presume that they are now almost out of the channel. We have not yet recollected to have forgotten anything, which speaks volumes for Arthur's management.
I hope that your feelings are, as your reason must be, reconciled to parting with Charley.
The probable end is that you will all go to N.Z. together but of that hereafter.
I am to start on Monday for America, and intend to be here again in July. If my boy should
arrive meanwhile, he will no doubt go to see you.
I forgot to beg a favour of Charles -- which is that you will take Emily in for the Midsummer holidays.Mrs. Bowler will go with her to Stoke, and I should be back before her return to school.
I think that you ought to rejoice, when you reflect, in the opportunity which Charley now has of making his own way in the world. He cannot be in better hands than those of our excellent brother.
With love to all your circle, ever yours
E. G. WAKEFIELD.
I wish it might suit you to let Mrs. Bowler get a week of fresh air on your hill when she goes with Emily.
Notes on letter No. 11. 1841
Note 1.The "expedition" refers to the departure of the "Nelrop' expedition under Capt. Wakefield 28 April 1841.I went down with my mother and father, and E.G.W., to Gravesend to see them off. There were three vessels, viz. The "Arrow ", the "Wise Watch" and the "Whitby". in which last mentioned vessel Capt. Wakefield and Charles Torlesse were passengers.
Note 2 "Charley" refers to her son Charles Torlesse
Note 3. "My boy" refers to Edward Jermingham W. who it was thought might be on his way home, having gone out with the pioneer expedition under Col. Wakefield in 1839.
Note 4. "Charles" refers to her husband, the Rev. Charles Torlesse.
Note 5 "Emily" was Col. Wakefield's daughter , then at school at Richmond, Surrey. I think it was in the previous year (1840) that E. G. W. took me to Richmond to see her. We drove post in those days. We called at the school, and Emily was permitted to accompany her uncle to the principal Hotel, where we had dinner. E. G. W. then took us into Richmond Park, where he made us play Blind Man's Bluff as much for his amusement as our own. That game of B.M.B. was very disasterous for me, for I fell desperately in love. I was then about 15.She was perhaps a year younger, but I had many uncomfortable reflections on the subject in Wellington, N.Z., before she married Mr. Stafford at Wellington, about six years
after -- I recollect meeting them both at dinner at Col. Wakefield's, some weeks before the marriage.
Note 6. Mrs. Bowler, E. G. W. was ever thoughtful for others, and particularly for those dependent upon him. Both Mr, and Mrs. Bowler and their antecedents are referred to in the later correspondence.
Note 7. Emily's return to "school".This referred to the School at Richmond.Before another year had elapsed, I was "Clifford".
Note 8. Mr. Bowler See Note 6.
Albert J. Allom, February, 1898. AUCKLAND
Papers Past NZ.
At the conversazione for the completion of the Cathedral, held at the Art Gallery last night, Bishop Julius read an unpublished letter from the late Mr Edward Gibbon Wakefield to the mother of Sister Francis. The letter ran as follows: "I am still bent on New Zealand, and think I shall surely go. Tell Charles (Torlesse) that we have reason to hope that a Bishop will be appointed. We project, therefore, not a wooden church merely, but a cathedral of stone, fitted as the chief religious edifice of the Polynesian Archipelago. He may smile, but I am in earnest
Star , Issue 6495, 26 May 1899, Page 4
Wikipedia have an indepth article on this complex man - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Gibbon_Wakefield
He is buried in a family plot in Wellington.
View of the grave of Edward Gibbon Wakefield in the Bolton Street Memorial Park, Wellington, New Zealand, looking east over the grave (E.G. Wakefield's grave is on the bottom left). The grave is one of four in a family plot, with others for his brothers William and Daniel Wakefield, and Daniel's daughter, Selina Elizabeth Wakefield.
The inscription reads: EDWARD GIBBON WAKEFIELD DIED MAY 16TH 1862 AGED 66 YEARS / A FOUNDER OF THE COLONIES OF NEW ZEALAND AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA / AUTHOR OF THE SYSTEM OF COLONISATION WHICH BEARS HIS NAME / PERSONAL ADVISOR TO LORD DURHAM, GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF CANADA, 1838. / ELECTED TO THE CANADIAN LOWER HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY IN 1842. / FOUNDED NEW ZEALAND ASSOCIATION AND NEW ZEALAND LAND COMPANY. / ORGANIZED PRELIMINARY EXPEDITION TO ESTABLISH SETTLEMENTS. / ARRIVED IN NEW ZEALAND IN 1853 AND ELECTED MEMBER / OF PROVINCIAL COUNCIL OF WELLINGTON AND OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. / THE UTMOST HAPPINESS GOD VOUCHSAFES TO MAN ON EARTH - THE REALIZATION OF HIS OWN IDEA"
Courtesy of Sth Australian Library
COPIES OF LETTERS OF WAKEFIELD FAMILY
Wakefield family letters (with MY private notes therein) were sent to Dr. Garnett, British Museum, London, by 'Frisco Mail, 27 November, 1897.
Albert J. Allom.
Arthur Wakefield to Miss Wakefield 26 Sep. 1815*
Edward Gibbon Wakefield to his sister Mrs. Torlesse 11 Dec. 1835
Edward Jermingham Wakefield to same 11 Dec. 1835
E. G. Wakefield to Rev. Chas. Torlesse 12 May 1835 *
Captain Arthur Wakefield to the same 12 May 1837*
E. G. Wakefield to Mrs. Torlesse 12 Oct 1837
Col. William Wakefield to Mrs Torlesse. 25 Mar 1840*
E. G. Wakefield to Mrs. Torlesse 6 Oct 1840*
Captain Arthur Wakefield to same 15 Feb 1841*
The original of these letters belong to Frances Torlesse of ChristChurch, Canterbury. They have been lent to me, and are now copied by me and forwarded to Dr. Garnett, who is now engaged in writing a biography
of E. G. Wakefield for a new Series to be published by
the Colonial Office.
Albert J. Allom,
Auckland, November 1897.
* Indicates letter transcribed into this record - 2012.
List of letters copied and sent to Dr. Garnett, British Museum, by 'Frisco Mail of December 1897, Nos. 29 to 35 inclusive.
Period: After E. G. Wakefield's arrival in New Zealand.
No. 29 E.G.W. to his sister 8 Feb. 1853
30 ditto 24 Mar. 1853
31 ditto 17 Apr. 1853
32 E.G.W. to Robert Rintoul (extr.) 17 Apr. 1853
33 E.G.W. to his sister 29 Apr 1853
34 Ditto 13 July 1853
35 Ditto 14 Jun 1853
Albert J. Allom,
Auckland, December 14 1897.
Notes on Letters No's 10 to 28 inclusive copies of which were forwarded to Dr. Garnett by Suez Mail from Auckland. 28 February, 1898.
No. 13 1841
Note 1.At this date (22 Oct. 1841) I was wind bound at Cowes, on my passage in the Barque "Brougham" carrying the Company's Surveying Staff to Wellington. We had sailed
from Gravesend on 2nd Oct., and had had weather in the Channel,compelling us to put in to Cowes. Something in one of my letters to my mother convinced her that we, ten
cadets, were not properly cared for. She at once posted off the Broad Street Buildings (N.Z. House) and through E. G.W's influence the Director gave her carte ,blanche to go to Cowes and put matters right. I was much astonished and pleased to see her. The result was much to our benefit. Carpenters were employed to improve our sleeping accommodation, a second servant was engaged to attend upon us in the cabin, sheep and pigs and poultry were added to our live stock, and crates containing additional supplies, with medical comforts were sent on board.I need not say how my ship-mates blessed my mother. While this was going on E.G.W. came down to have a look at us and carried me off to Southampton for a couple of days. We slept there in a double - bedded room, my corner of which in the mornings
contained what had been thrown at me during the night (in the shape of boot-jacks, etc.,etc.,) to stop my snoring. I went on board at Cowes, richer by a box of excellent Manilla Cheroots, given to me by E. G.W. which of course did not last many days with my brother cadets to help me get rid of them.
Note 2. E. G. W. was a master in the art of "persuading". He seldom failed if he could get the victim into conversation.
Note 3.E. Jermingham W. We went away with Col. Wakefield, but his father could not get him to come home. (This is not in its proper order)
No. 16 1842
Note 1. Emily Wakefield's arrival at Wellington, 3rd May. I had preceded her by three months, having arrived on 9th February, 1842.
Note 2.The "Clifford" carried my mother's hive of bees for Nelson in charge of Miss Wakefield. See E.J.Wakefield's "Adventures in New Zealand" Vol.2, page 197, published by
J. Murray, 1845. The hive of bees, therein stated to have been brought out by Mr. Wills in the "London" (1st May), and which died on the voyage, were sent in her charge by my mother for me.
Note 3. The loss of his clothes. It is curious that the
same mishap occurred to me in precisely the same manner, in
No. 17, 1843
Note 1. William C Young. A brother of our mutual friend Sir Frederick Young, of the Royal Colonial Institute.
No. 19, 1843
Note 1.Col. Wakefield's account of the Wairau Massacre and of the death of his brother Capt. Wakefield. See also Edward J. Wakefield's account of this sad affair in his "Adventures
in New Zealand" Vol. 2, pp. 380 to 397. At page 396, mention is made of Mr. Bellairs, one of the Surveyors who escaped. That gentleman is personally known to me and is now living here opposite to my own house at Parnell, Auckland.He is a cousin of one whom I knew well in London,.Captain Bellairs, an of the Guard, the eldest son of a Norfolk Squire, Sir William Bellairs, of Mulbarton, Norwich.Sir. W. Bellairs was offered a Baronet if he would go out to Canterbury, with his family, in 1849 or 1850, as leader.But the matter fell through
because the old gentleman wanted the thing done before he emigrated.As to this, See "The Founder of Canterbury", edited by Edward Jermingham Wakefield - published at Ch.Ch.,
Canterbury, 1868 - preface p. xi, and pp. 180-278 &:c., &c.,
This book I send you herewith, but want. it returned; as it was given to me a little while ago, by Miss Torlesse of Ch. Ch. to whom you are indebted for these letters.
No. 20, 1843
Note 1.Mr. TucketThis was the Company's Chief Surveyor at Nelson.I first made his acquaintance at Otago when ordered there by Col. Wakefield with a brother cadet in 1844. Singularly enough, I took the same dislike to him that Charles Torlesse did, which was, I suppose, mainly owing to his abrupt manner, here referred to.
Note 2. Charles Torlesse's engagement with the Company would expire about October, 1844.
Note 3. "Tampered" It was this tampering with the natives that was the cause of this disaster at Wairau and of all subsequent troubles with the Maoris, far more than the alleged unfairness of Col. Wakefield's land purchases -- about which many unjust statements have been made.
Note 4. Capt. Fitzroy.The Governor who succeeded Captain Hobson.
No 27, 1847
Note 1.The "Inflexible".I think this was the first of H.M. ships of war that showed in N.Z, waters under steam.I recollect her well.
Note 2.Capt. Grey The Governor who succeeded Capt. Fitzroy. I rather fancy Grey must have been what is vulgarly termed "poking borax", in his conversation with the Col.He would not have known much personally of the Wakefield family. At that date he was only 35 years of age, and had been something like ten years more or less in Australia.He was one of the cleverest men at 'pumping' for information, and giving nothing in return, except perhaps something ambiguous, or purposely intended to be incorrect.
Note 3.Emily Stafford. She had been married about six months to E. Stafford, afterwards Prime Minister of N. Z. , and Sir Edward.
Note 4.E. G. W's illness.This refers to his serious attack in August, 1846.During a portion of' the time he was carefully nursed to convalesence by my mother, at our house in Hart Street, Bloomsbury.
Note 5.Col. Wakefield speaks of not having been before blessed with "calm nerves", and yet we know that in the War he used to go into action coolly smoking his cigar.
Note 6.By "Dodo", I presume is meant his brother Daniel, the barrister.
No 28 Qv 1847
Note 1. B. S. B. You have probably, before this, discovered that these letters mean New Zealand House, Broad Street Building London.
Note 2.The "project".This letter is an interesting one as first shadowing forth the coming Canterbury Settlement. In the "Founders of Canterbury", in which E. G. W's first published letter on the subject is dated 27 November, 1847.
Note 3.The Farewell Breakfast at Black-wall on 20th July, 1850, to the Canterbury Colonists leaving in the first four ships (at which I was present with my mother) may be said to be the date at which the project was "matured".
Albert J. Allom,
Copy of transcriptions of some of the above held at the Nelson Museum 2012
1. Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Publicist and promoter of the New Zealand Company's colonisation plan for New Zealand, made his final home in Wellington, the first of the New Zealand Company settlements to be established. His tombstone, in the Bolton Street Cemetery, Wellington, reads:
"A founder of the colonies of New Zealand
and South Australia
author of the system of colonisation
which bears his name personal advisor to Lord Durham,
Governor-general of Canada 1838
elected to the Canadian lower house of assembly in 1842
Founded New Zealand Association
and New Zealand Land Company
Organized preliminary expedition
to establish settlements
Arrived in New Zealand in 1853
and elected member of provincial council
of Wellington and of general assembly.
The utmost happiness God vouchsafes to man
on earth, the realization of his own idea."
2. Edward Gibbon Wakefield: title to parcel of land, 6 Oct 1853, Lot 466 City of Wellington.
3. Edward Gibbon Wakefield: administration of his estate, 1862.
4. Edward Gibbon Wakefield: title to parcels of land, 5 Apr-18 Jul 1872, Lot 572 & 576 Wellington. Regret the poor quality image. This title available NZ Archives Wellington
5. Speech's by Walter Nash PM New Zealand: In Memory of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Photo 1945, 18 May 1959.
Edward married Eliza Ann Frances PATTLE  [MRIN: 544], daughter of Thomas Charles PATTLE  and Eliza MIDDLETON . (Eliza Ann Frances PATTLE  died on 2 Jul 1820 in London.). The cause of her death was complications from the birth of her son.