Edward Symonds and Family

UPDATE. 31 Jan 2020. This beautiful photo is now on its way back to family in New South Wales, Australia.

Bridport is a lovely market town not far from us, and about a mile from West Bay in Dorset. They have markets there in the streets on a Wednesday and Saturday, and apart from selling new stuff and a variety of foods, they have a few vintage, antique stalls. One chap has a large amount of Postcards for sale, I have bought from him twice now since we moved here, and I have found some gems, this one, in particular, is wonderful because it has names !!

111111aWhen I looked at the names written, and combined the postage mark, Walton, Felixstowe, Suffolk..I hit the jackpot immediately on Ancestry. I put in Monica Symonds, Suffolk and the first record to come up was 1911 census for this family living at the Vicarage in Walton, Felixstowe, Suffolk. (St Mary’s Church, Walton..image below)                 So lucky to have all the information before me.BIG-300dpi-91021-1024x620Father and Clerk of Holy Orders..Edward Symonds (b 25 Aug 1859-d 17 Sept 1950 aged 91) aged 51, mother Ellen Mary Symonds (Callis)( b 9 July 1868-d 22 June 1942 aged 73) aged 42, then six children Edward Noel Callis 14 yrs, Mary Theodora 12 yrs, John Walton Callis 9 yrs, Christopher Henry Callis 7 yrs, Edith Monica 3 yrs and David George Callis 11 months. They had a visitor Arthur Edward Callis (Farmer in Canada) a relative of Ellen Mary. Then 3 servants. That’s got to be one of my fastest family finds!

I’ll start with father Edward Symonds, he was born in 1859 (baptized on the 4th October in that year) in Martinstown (also known as Winterborne St Martin) not far from Dorchester. In the 1861 census his parents Daniel and Mary Ann Symonds, fairly newly married, had moved from his father (John’s) farm where he was brought up at Broadwinsor (Honeycombe Farm) to Ashton Farm (600 acres) and was employing 20 men and 5 boys. Edward was the second of five sons born to Daniel and Mary Ann (Pope) They had married on 23rd October 1855. (1) Daniel John b 1861 became a Farm/Land agent and valuer. (2) Edward (Photo) (3) William Pope b1860 became a Solicitor (4) Arthur b1862  He was first a Farmer, the same as his father, then he became a Butcher, first living in Teddington, Middlesex, then in Reading, Berkshire (5) Septimus Became a Clergyman, the same as Edward, I found him in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire.         When Daniel Snr died in 1892 he left over £88,000 in his will, equivalent to about 10 million pounds today, he was extremely smart it seems, he invested in the Great Western Railway.DanielSymondsWill

GtWesternRailSharesEdward Symonds married Ellen Mary Callis on 19th August 1895.                                            Ellen Mary was born summer 1868 in Ipswich, Suffolk, and had previously lived at the Rectory at South Heigham, Norwich with her parents John Callis (b 1838-d 7 Mar 1927 ) and Sarah (Wells) (b 1838-d 4 Nov 1905) her father John was a Rector. John left everything to Ellen Mary and husband Edward Symonds, when he died in 1927.                   Ellen Mary had six siblings that I can find.

1) Margaret Wells b 1867-d 1889(aged 22) 2) John Samuel b 1870-d 24 Apr 1897 (aged 27) He died in East Africa, and as you can see on his will below, he was also a clergyman like his father.John Sam Callis WILL3) Herbert Edward b 1872-d 1932 Northampton (59) He was still living with parents aged 29 in the 1901 census, then in the 1911 census was in a mental hospital in Northampton. No marriage found for him. 4) Adela Frances b 1873-d 1884 (10 yrs) 5) Katherine Angesta b 4 Apr 1875-d 1957 (aged 82 Never married, left all in her will to nephew.  6) Monica Evelyn b 1880-d 1896 (aged 16 yrs)…………My goodness me, what a terribly tragic family the Callis’s were, it seems that Katherine Angesta lived to a good age (mentioned as a mission nurse in 1939 register, image below) but only Ellen Mary married and had children……….

Edward and Ellen Mary had six children (All in the picture)

1) Edward Noel Callis Symonds (Noel standing at back in photo) b late 1896-d 18 July 1927 (aged 30) Was a Military man, who had been awarded the MC in his career and died in a terrible tragic accident, see below..records from Ancestry, Find My Past, Find A Grave and Newspaper Archives… (Edward Noel in photo in full dress uniform, from public tree on Ancestry)…….


2) Mary Theodora b late 1898-d June 1989 Unmarried. I found a couple of interesting records that mention her (family moved now to Woking, Surrey) one is a passenger list (image 1) from 1952, where she is going to Kenya, and the other (image 2) is on the 1939 Register, for those of you that haven’t seen a page of the register before from Find My Past, it has some great information on it, including birth dates, and is wonderful for filling in or confirming information that you already have about your family..see below….Mary T 1952 ship

TNA_R39_1928_1928E_0043) John Walton Callis (Jack in photo) b 13 March 1902-July 1993 aged 91.  It seems he had aspirations to become a farmer, his father paid for him to emigrate to Canada to farm in January 1922 at age 19, but when he was married to Marion Sonia Hatfield (b 1911-d 24 July 2009 aged 98) on the 13 March 1935 in Wimbledon, he was now a medical practitioner (His father Edward conducted the marriage) See images below…… John was still a Doctor-Medical Practitioner when his father died in 1950…JohnWalton Farmer

John Walton married4) Christopher Henry Callis b 16 Feb 1904-d 1984 aged 80. (on the right of pic standing behind his sister Edith Monica) I have found several mentions of him on passenger lists between Singapore and also Mombasa, Kenya. As a Planter and a Farmer, and on one trip back to UK in 1936, at aged 32, he has a wife Aileen Mary aged 29 (full name Aileen Mary Felicia Thompson b 12 Apr 1907-d Dec 1989 aged 82)several mentions of Aileen also on passenger lists too, from and to Mombasa, Kenya…and a son Noel Edward who was born on 20 Jan 1935 (also found that Noel himself as an adult, also visited Mombasa, Kenya as a ‘Buyer’) I have found several possible marriages for Christopher in later years too, so was there a divorce between him and Aileen?  Note: Due to a comments below from a descendant Shaun I can confirm that Christopher’s first marriage was in Singapore (date unknown) and his wife died 2 years later, he then returned to the UK and then went out to Kenya and met Aileen & they were married in Nakuru Church, Nakura, Kenya in 1933. Also, they didn’t divorce, which is great to know! Many thanks to Shaun……I believe Aileen was from Ireland, Ancestry sent me to a link via the National Archives Ireland that lists her family in the  1911 census there…see below….irish census AILEEN5) Edith Monica b 3 Feb 1908-d Mar 2004 aged 96. Edith married Ronald Montague Haigh Sowden in 1928. There are several mentions of them on the passenger lists from and to Australia, and also I have found them on the electoral roles there, I’m not sure how long they lived there for, they had a daughter Annie born in 1931. Ronald was a naval officer and was tragically reported missing in H.M.S. Dunedin in 1941..                                      Information found “Dunedin was still steaming in the Central Atlantic Ocean, just east of the St. Paul’s Rocks, northeast of Recife, Brazil, when on 24 November 1941, at 1526 hours, two torpedoes from the German Submarine U-124 sank her. Only four officers and 63 men survived out of Dunedins crew of 486 officers and men”…..see images below..

sowden deathsowdenFor those interested in Naval research, there is more information here about Lieutenant Commander Ronald Montague Haigh Sowden and also a photo of him……It’s an excellent website for Navy History       Historical RFA

6) David George Callis b 2 June 1910-d 10 July 1993 aged 83. Once again I have found reference to him on passenger lists, one in 1951 coming back to England from Mombasa, Kenya, with his wife Eula Elizabeth (Carr) b 1913-d 2004…and their three children George 10, Rachel 8, Micheal 6..David was a Missionary…See image below….

David George MissionaryThere are public trees on Ancestry relating to the Symonds family, with more information and photographs if you are interested or have links with this family…                                   Here is a wonderful charming footnote to my research..see below..It proves that it always pays to look at the actual record if you can, and not just the transcribed information..      ………….Edward went with his son David to see his actual baptism record from Winterborne St Martin (Martinstown) Dorchester, Dorset…read in margin..also confirms David’s missionary work….How lovely to find that, a little gem….

Edward BaptiseNOTEGoing back to the beginning of this blog, where Edwards Grandfather John owned Ashton Farm………It is now a very successful Wedding venue Ashton Farm Weddings

Also this may be of interest to others researching in the area of Dorchester, Dorset here …..(RootsWeb) with some pictures & Family History…… Dorchester History 

As I was just coming to the end of researching for this blog..following up leads and researching on Google, I came across this Blog !! Wow ! The Symonds family…Symonds Family Pedigree  so brilliant and well worth a read if you have the time or a particular interest in this family…..Richard Symonds also has a public tree on Ancestry if you are a member. I shall message him with a link to this blog, hoping that he will want this old photo for the family…….Pic below is Ashton Farm now..AshtonFarmNow

Till next time then……………….


  1. HI Lynne – I stumbled across this and it is my family, I am the son of Noel (Christopher’s son) – just some clarification on Chris’s marriages – as I understand his first wife died (I don’t know the details – names and dates etc.) Then he married Aileen. There was no divorce. Noel’s (currently in Bowral Australia) has a brother Bryan (currently in West Wellow – Hampshire – (I don’t have his birth details at hand.)
    I do like the photo of the family – I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before.
    Best regards
    Shaun Symonds – Australia

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was wrong – Chris’s first marriage was in Singapore (date unknown) and she died 2 years later, he then returned to Uk and then went out to Kenya and met Aileen & they were married in Nakuru Church in 1933 I believe.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Shaun was able to correct a few bits on the family tree for me ‘Chris’s first marriage was in Singapore (date unknown) and she died 2 years later, he then returned to UK and then went out to Kenya and met Aileen & they were married in Nakuru Church, Kenya in 1933‘ I have updated the original Blog now, direct link here:Edward Symonds and Family […]


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