will say something about my Mother. Her grandfather, Rev Hopkins Fox, Dean
of York, died, leaving two sons. The eldest inherited 3 estates in
Yorkshire – “Bellwood”, “Littlethorpe” and “Bradfields”,
said to be worth at that time, 4000 pounds a year. The younger son, my
entered the Army as soon as he obtained his diplomas and became
Surgeon-Major, was present at the taking of all the West India Islands
from the French, and in 1809 was appointed to the Staff of Sir George
Provost, commander in chief of forces in North America. He and his staff
with their families were ordered to repair on board the “Hyaena”
frigate, which my father was commanding to be taken to Halifax – the
headquarters. (My mother used to say she was reared in a forest of cocked
course Captain Foxton, aged 32, fell in love with the eldest daughter of
Staff Surgeon Major Fox. She was Wilhemina, and her sister was Priscilla.
They were married at Halifax in 1810. Hence as the nigger said came this
white man on this circular globe. In 1811, I was born at sea, christened
at Port Royal in Jamaica, registered at Deptford, and belong to the Parish
of Stepney, each a few miles from London.
father Captain Foxton, was
badly wounded in the Battle of the Nile, sailed under the flag of Lord
Nelson for 7 years, only missed being in the Battle of Trafalgar by being
sent to Gibraltar in charge of a prize which had been taken shortly before
the French fleet hove in sight. He was at Cadiz and Calir with Nelson and
several times slightly wounded. When Napoleon surrendered to Captain
Maitland on board the Bellerophon, peace was declared. Sir George
Cockburn (a great friend of my father’s) had to take him to St Helena,
and the “Hyaena” went with Sir George’s ship, the
“Northumberland”. There is a beautiful picture in Greenwich Hospital
showing the “Northumberland” with Napoleon on board, and the “Hyaena”
at anchor ready for sail to St. Helena.
remember quite well about 80 years ago, coming home from Mrs. Le Crem’s
preparatory school and finding my mother crying bitterly. I went to her
knee and asked why she was crying. She said “Oh dear Papa has been
killed, we shall never see him again.” Then of course I began to roar.
the estates referred to:-
my grandfather retired from his appointment at Halifax and returned to
England he found his brother had been dead six years and the estates in
possession of one Helen Glew, his brother’s housekeeper, and a village
attorney named Barker, by a will of no value as the estates were entailed
filed a bill on chancery to recover them but it worried him into his
grave. His son, Uncle Gilson, always in affluence, would not attempt to
recover them, and he being lost at sea, 7 years had to elapse before I
could claim them. Then Edward Wilson sent a lawyer into Yorkshire to
investigate my claims. He said it was quite clear, but the Statute of
Limitations was against me. It would be useful to proceed further.
you see what an unfortunate devil I have been all through life. Of course,
my first misfortune was losing my father at 5 years of age, for his death
altered the whole course of my life, as Sir Geo. Cockburn, who became one
of the Lords of the Admiralty had promised him the first vacancy as
superintendent of a dockyard, which meant 1000 pounds a year and a
beautiful house. I should have entered the Navy and perhaps been an
admiral years ago.
I was 10, Sir Geo. Grey, whose daughters used to nurse me when I was a
baby, wrote to my mother offering to educate me in Portsmouth College, of
which he was Governor, and put me in the Navy in due course, but she
declined his offer as she did not want me to go to sea.
came my mother’s disastrous second marriage, her husband embarking the
thousands of pounds my father had fought and bled for, and saved for our
benefit, in the business (brewing) of which he knew about as much as a cow
does of a side pocket, and lost every shilling of it. Then came Uncle
Gilson’s loss at sea. Ship and all hands never heard of after entering
the China Sea.
Notes on the Fox Lineage:
Rev. William Hopkins Fox, Dean of York had two sons, the eldest
(unknown name) who inherited the estates, and William, who became
Surgeon-Major William Hinde Fox.
Hinde Fox had a son, Gilson, who was eventually lost in the China Sea,
and two daughters, Priscilla and Wilhemina.
married Captain John Foxton R.N. , then a Mr. Jones after Foxton's
and John Foxton had four children - John Greenlaw, Ann, George and