Hester Hapgood (nee Hanney) 1817-1862

Hester Hanney was my great great great grandmother. She was born in Marksbury Somerset in 1817 and baptised at the Church of St Peter in Marksbury on 18th May 1817.

Hester Hanney was baptised at the Church of St. Peter in Marksbury on the 18th May 1817. Source: Marksbury parish records via Ancestry.

Her father Charles Hanney 1784-1864 was a labourer in the district, born close by in Compton Dando Somerset. He married Hannah Branch 1788-1827 in 1812 when he was 27 and she was 24 years old. They had 6 children altogether: James b1813, Mary b1815, Samuel b1816, Charles b1819 and Hannah b1821. Hester was their 4th child and 2nd daughter.

Hester married Thomas Hapgood b1817 in 1839 at Walcott Somerset. Early in their marriage they lived in Bath and had 5 kids- Mary b1840 (died aged 6), William b1841, Richard b1844, Thomas b1846 and Sarah b1848. Some details of their early married life in Marksbury and Bath are in this post.

The Hapgood and Hanney families were intertwined in Marksbury – Hesters oldest brother James Hanney b1813 married Thomas Hapgoods sister Hannah Hapgood b1816. James Hanney was musical and started the Hanney Band, which was mostly Hanney family members and was famous in its day (and will be featured in a future post).

Hester and her family all emigrated to Australia in 1854 on the Lady Ann (see this earlier post) and arrived in the Ulladulla Milton area on New South Wales where they were early settlers and farmers. See this post for a summary of the early days of the Milton Ulladulla settlements and their early life as farmers.

Hester would have looked after the family and managed the household once they arrived, which no doubt also included a lot of manual labour associated with farming, which would have been normal at the time. She presumably attended the wedding of her eldest son, Wiliam Hapgood, to his new wife Margaret Nugent in October 1861 but almost exactly a year later she died on 26th October 1862. Her death certificate says she died suddenly of apolexy (basically a stroke). The death certificate is fairly terse – it doesn’t list her parents names or her children etc. She was buried 2 days later at Milton Ulladulla.

Death Certificate of Hester (Esther) Hanney, 26 October 1862.

I dont know where Hester’s grave is – the Milton Church of England cemetery listed on the death certificate was neglected after the church was sold many years later, and is now private property. Only a few headstones have survived, as most families would not have been able to afford a stone headstone at the time – but in 1996 the owners erected a plaque to honour the pioneers buried there. The cemetery is also a part of the Milton Ulladulla Historical Society walking tour. Hester does not appear on the listing for this cemetery, so its also possible she was buried somewhere else, including possible in a private grave on a farm somewhere.


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