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Letters 1    Letters 2  Letters from HV Foxton  Letters from Dick Foxton                        

Letters to.......

Edith Marley Harold Vernon Foxton Edith Marley                  
London, 1894 London, 1893,94,97 1890's                                


Letter from John Greenlaw Foxton to daughter Edith Marley, in Stanthorpe, Qld.

London 1894

This climate has changed immensely for the better since I went to school at Greenwich 75 years ago. I remember quite well the bitter winters we used to have of frost and snow for nearly six months. 

And when I was in Canada in 1831 a fearful snowstorm occurred on the 1st October just as I had taken charge of a ship of 500 tons to navigate her to England and I only 20 years and ¾ old.

Does Miles show any predilection yet for any particular profession? I hope he will never wish to go to sea.

Please remember me to Fred Byerley and Mrs. Byerley. Tell him I will remember the 1st January 1842 on the Sandridge Beach. And say I hope he is in as good health as I am, because I never was in better health in my life – very rarely use spectacles at all and have not the slightest symptom of deafness, although on 7th January next I shall be 84. People here take me for about 70 and very active at that.

The same year Aunt Marian Marley wrote to Mother and said “I am hoping to go to London in the summer and to see Mr and Mrs Foxton again. When I last saw them two years ago, I thought your Father the most wonderful person I had ever met – so active and bright – more like 50 than 80 years of age”.


  • "Mother" is Isabel Elizabeth Foxton (nee Potts)

  • Miles Marley - son of Edith Marley


Extract from John Greenlaw Foxton's letters to grandson, Harold Vernon Foxton?



Darwin was at the Falkland Islands when I was there, hoisting the British Flag in 1833.

What a grand man Dr. Mawson is, he is being lionised here by all the scientific societies. Some months ago, I sent to Aunt Milly an account of my voyage towards the South Pole, which was read at a meeting of the Geographical Society in Melbourne.

The Antarctic Sea is very different to the Arctic, we had to contend not with flow of ice, but ice islands 200 and 300 feet high from five to fifteen miles long. I have not seen a motor car yet but we are to have an omnibus on the road soon, for driving. Give me a fine pair of horses far before electricity.

JG Foxton



We have not heard from any of the Rev. Geo. Foxton’s family for several weeks, and the Indian Judge William Foxton is still in America among the Rev. Geo’s family, settled there viz. four sons, two of them married, of my four maiden cousins (the Misses Foxtons) living at Cheltenham – one died the other day.

JG Foxton


  • Rev. George Frederick Hardman Foxton's sons migrated to Wyoming

  • The Misses Foxton were possibly Frances, Amelia, Mary Anne, Esther, or Caroline Foxton, sisters of the Rev. GFH Foxton   See here for details

  • William Foxton (b about 1834, married Ellen) brother of Captain John Foxton and Rev. George Foxton

March 1897

I have seen one motor car on Sunday morning flying along the road at 15 miles an hour but they are not at all popular or common as they are in France. The English minds run in a groove, what was good enough for their grandmothers is good enough for them. They still believe Jack and the Beanstalk and the story of Adam and Eve, and that this planet was made in six days by an imaginary and authromosphous God who was so tired he had to rest for a day.

JG Foxton


Extract from a note from JG Foxton, possibly to his daughter, Edith Marley

I 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 grandfather, 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 hats.)


Of 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.


My 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.


I 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.


Re the estates referred to:-

When 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 for ever.


He 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. 


So 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.


When 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.


Then 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.


JGFoxton,  Esquire


Notes on the Fox Lineage:

  • The 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. 

  • William Hinde Fox had a son, Gilson, who was eventually lost in the China Sea, and two daughters, Priscilla and Wilhemina. 

  • Wilhemina married Captain John Foxton R.N. , then a Mr. Jones after Foxton's death. 

  • Wilhemina and John Foxton had four children - John Greenlaw, Ann, George and William Hinde.