Francis Raymond Cann & Family


Isn’t this just the most beautiful image, it’s large, about 12 x 9 inches, but it really caught my eye. When I turned it over I couldn’t believe my luck, it had writing on it!


UPDATE on this gorgeous old photo… I have been contacted by a descendant of the lady in this photo Norah Frances Hick, he is a descendant of one of Norah’s siblings & the great news is that the photo is on its way back to its family! Also, I have more information regarding the family history of the Hick’s family. Nora was a descendant of the well-known Engineer Benjamin Hick.    Click on this link to see info from Wikipedia:


How brilliant is that! It was an easy task to find the family, Father Francis John Hughtrede Cann, his wife Norah Frances Hick and their only son Francis Raymond Cann.

As usual, I got a bit carried away with the research on their Ancestors, just because I kept finding such interesting information about them! So I thought for a change I would print off the Ancestors information from my Family Tree Maker so that people who are unable to go onto Ancestry can see them all. Family Tree Maker is great because you can print out all sorts of reports, charts, stories etc about the family, add a different background to make it more attractive & even add photos if you have them on the profiles. I will also put the link to the public Ancestry tree for the family at the end.

Firstly we have the Ancestors of the young lad Frances Raymond Cann, who became an Entomologist. Here’s his Pedigree Chart first, with his Parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents.


Now I have printed the following pages below to show the full Ahnentafel Report, this uses an ancestor in order format, starting with one individual, in this case, Francis Raymond Cann & moving backwards in time to that person’s ancestors, this uses a fairly easy to understand numbering system. Every person is listed as a number & there is a mathematical relationship between parents & children. The number of a father is always double that of his child’s. The number of the mother is always double that of her child’s plus one. Males are even numbers & females are odd numbers. The more you look at them they become clearer to read & understand. You find this type of system in the huge Burke’s Peerage & Landed Gentry Books.


One set of Francis Raymond Cann’s Great Grandparents Robert Hughtrede Holt & Elizabeth Mary Douglas (Two images & top of Page 3 image Below) I have found were first married at Gretna Green in Scotland on the 29 April 1837 then later married on 13 June 1837 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. So did they elope because of family objections? He was 26 but she was just 16, so this seems the most likely reason. As their first child wasn’t born till 1839, that wasn’t the reason. Very romantic, would love to know the whole story about them, I wonder where did they meet? He was from Lancashire & she from Devon. At their marriage in Cheltenham in June 1837 there was a Robert Douglas signed as a witness, so maybe her Father or at least a relative of her family, so maybe the family came round to them.

29 April 1837
Gretna Green Marriage 1837
Elizabeth Mary Douglas & Robert Hughtrede Holt
Gretna Green Marriage 1837

Note…Their son Robert William Francis Holt married Louisa Mary Henrietta King in 1865, see Page 3 above…….more on them later..


One of Francis Raymond Cann’s Grandmother was Amy Holt, she was the daughter of Elizabeth Mary Douglas & Robert Hughtrede Holt, the couple who went off to Gretna Green. The Holt’s were a very Military family. HOLT, you can find much about their Military careers online, but I have just added a few notes on their pages below. Amy’s brother Robert William Francis Holt followed the tradition of being in the Military, he also married into the famous KING family….Below here is a newspaper report from Ireland of the Wedding of Robert William Francis Holt and Louisa Mary Henrietta King who married at St George’s, Hanover Square, London, he was a Royal Marine at the time of his marriage.

Wedding report in paper 1865 HOLT KING.JPG

Here’s the amazing Ancestors of Louisa Mary Henrietta King, the males of the family all seemed to be in the Military. The Military history of the King family has been written about in many sources I have found on the internet. I have just added a few notes to some individuals below & was nice to see a minature painting of her Grandfather when a young man (Found on Ancestry public tree) Sir Henry King KCB (Order of the Bath)He was quite a man it seems!

King Family Page 1
King Family Page 2

But also there was scandal!!! A MURDER! Louisa’s Great Grandfather (See notes on Page 2 above) made the headlines too! This is one full account from the website Peers Page    As it’s such a great story I have shared it all here below!!!

A more detailed account of the affair appeared in the Australian monthly magazine “Parade” in its issue for December 1955:-
Though Ireland was aflame with civil war, Dublin society gaily put aside its troubles in May 1798 to enjoy to the full an astounding story of seduction and murder. Robert, Earl of Kingston, head of one of the proudest families, was on trial for his life for slaying the man who betrayed his daughter. Claiming his right to be tried by his peers, Lord Kingston had demanded to be arraigned before the Irish House of Lords. The trial, the last to be heard by the Irish Lords and staged in a blaze of mediaeval pomp, climaxed the greatest scandal of the century.  ‘For a year the affairs of the Earl of Kingston had provided sensational tit-bits for gossips and scandal sheets of England and Ireland. The Earl’s trial was the cause celebre of his generation. Public opinion was overwhelmingly on his side. The House of Lords acquitted him after scarcely a pretence of a hearing. He died a year later from the shock of the scandal.  ‘Robert King, second Earl of Kingston, was born in 1754. Until his father died late in 1797, he was known as Viscount Kingsborough. In 1769, he increased his already vast family estates in County Cork by marrying the heiress of Richard Fitzgerald, of Mount Offaly, County Kildare. The Kingsboroughs had six sons and five daughters of their own. In an evil moment, the Viscount agreed to rear also young Henry Gerard Fitzgerald, an illegitimate son of Lady Kingsborough’s brother, who no doubt thought that but for the stain on his name much of the vast estates would have been his.  ‘In 1797, Henry Fitzgerald was a colonel in the British Army, a handsome, dissolute ne’er-do-well, married but openly unfaithful. He was an inveterate gambler, continually rescued from the threat of a debtor’s prison by his adopted father, Lord Kingsborough. Among the Kingsborough daughters’ Lady Mary Elizabeth King, 19-years-old, was romantically-minded and fascinated by her dashing army cousin. Fitzgerald, with an eye on part of the family estates, paid court to her. Despite the stain on his birth and the fact that he was already married, Mary fell passionately in love with him. Viscount Kingsborough at first suspected nothing. Colonel Fitzgerald, gorgeous in his braided  Hussar uniform, continued to be a welcome guest at the family’s London home near Richmond.  ‘In June 1797, Lady Mary disappeared, leaving a note that she intended to throw herself into the Thames. Her bonnet and shawl, found on the muddy tow-path by the river, suggested she had carried out her threat. Lord Kingsborough, however, was suspicious. He thought it curious that the gallant colonel had also disappeared. His doubts were strengthened when a postboy reported he had seen a young woman resembling Lady Mary King with a military gentleman in a carriage bound for London.  ‘Kingsborough hurried to London, Through the newspapers, he offered a large reward for information about his missing daughter. The offer quickly bore fruit. A servant from a Kennington lodging house called to say she believed Lady Mary was staying under an assumed name at the house, where she was visited frequently by an army officer. In the midst of this recital, Fitzgerald coolly walked into Kingsborough’s house to inquire solicitously about the missing girl. He was immediately recognised by the lodging-house servant and fled without attempting to justify himself.
‘Kingsborough, seething with rage, dashed in his carriage to Kennington to recover his daughter. Despite her tearful protests, she was dragged from the house and packed off hastily to Mitchelstown, the palatial Kingston family mansion in County Cork. The scandal of the fake suicide and elopement was soon buzzing round the clubs, salons and coffee houses of London. Colonel Fitzgerald, dunned by creditors and furious at being baulked of his prey, outraged his fellow-officers by drunken threats and bragging. He talked wildly of plots to rescue Mary from her “prison” in Ireland, and swore vengeance on her “tyrannical” father, Lord Kingsborough. ‘In September 1797, Lady Mary’s brother, Captain Robert King, decided that family pride could stand no more. By his friend, Robert Wood, he sent a challenge to Fitzgerald demanding a duel with pistols near the magazine in Hyde Park, at dawn on October 1. When Robert King and Wood arrived at the park, they found Fitzgerald waiting, without a second. The colonel explained angrily that he had been unable to find a friend to accompany him “because of the odium cast on his
name.” Wood insisted that no duel could take place unless each party had a second. Robert and Fitzgerald wrangled bitterly until the surgeon, Dr. Browne, reluctantly agreed to act for Fitzgerald. ‘By now, the duellists were so excited that, though they stood only 10 paces apart, they each blazed away six shots without hitting the other. Fitzgerald flung his pistol angrily to the ground, declaring he had no more powder and shot. Robert offered to lend him some, but Wood forbade this as a grave breach of duelling etiquette. The opponents agreed to meet again at the same time and place the following morning. Meanwhile, news of the “duel” had reached high quarters. There were reports that the Prince of Wales himself was scandalised. Both Robert and Fitzgerald were warned that they would be arrested the moment they set foot in Hyde Park the next morning. They abandoned the duel temporarily.  ‘With amazing effrontery, Fitzgerald then planned to swoop on Ireland and abduct his disconsolate mistress from her prison in County Cork. He had made a confidant of Lady Mary’s personal maid in London. He wrote to her offering bribes if she would smuggle letters between Mary and himself. Before long, one of Fitzgerald’s letters was intercepted. The maid was dismissed in disgrace. She returned to London, where she told Fitzgerald that Lady Mary was eagerly awaiting her “deliverer.” The love-sick girl would fly to his arms as soon as he arrived in the neighbourhood of Mitchelstown.  ‘Fitzgerald, however, was completely penniless and hardly dared to stir from his lodging for fear of his creditors. Finally, on the pretence of “making a tour of Dorsetshire,” he wheedled 10 guineas from his neglected wife – sufficient to pay for the journey to Ireland. Travelling in mufti under an assumed name, Fitzgerald landed in Dublin early in December 1797. A week later he was lodged in the village inn at Mitchelstown, reconnoitring the outskirts of the great house and trying to bribe the servants to take messages to Lady Mary.  ‘His midnight prowling aroused the suspicions of the innkeeper, who informed Lord Kingsborough, just elevated to the title of Earl of Kingston by the death of his father. The Earl and his son, Robert, convinced that the mysterious stranger was the persistent Fitzgerald, galloped to the inn
to investigate. They found Fitzgerald had already left for Kilworth, 10 miles away. Determined that the seducer should not escape again, Robert King set off in hot pursuit, leaving the Earl to follow in his carriage. Just before midnight on December 11, Robert tethered his foam-flecked horse in the inn courtyard at Kilworth. ‘The landlord confirmed that a horseman had arrived from Mitchelstown earlier in the evening, but had gone to bed with instructions that he was not to be disturbed. Brushing the innkeeper aside, Robert ran up the stairs and pounded on Fitzgerald’s door, shouting he had come to avenge his sister’s honour. Fitzgerald refused to open the door. Contemptuously he told Robert to write what he had to say on a sheet of paper and push it under the door. Infuriated by this, Robert burst the lock with his shoulder, to find Fitzgerald staggering from his bed towards a case of pistols on the dressing-table. Robert seized one of the pistols and challenged Fitzgerald to fight a duel to the death there and then in the bedroom. The more powerful Colonel flung himself on Robert and tried to wrench the weapon from his grasp.  ‘While the innkeeper and his wife crouched trembling on the stairs, listening to the trampling and crash of splintered furniture, the Earl of Kingston’s carriage drew up in the courtyard. He flung open the bedroom door to find his son and Fitzgerald still locked in a desperate grapple.  Snatching the remaining pistol from the case on the dressing-table, the Earl shot Fitzgerald through the head at point-blank range. ‘Next day the landowning gentry of County Cork was stunned to hear that the Earl of Kingston and his son had both been arrested on charges of murder. Kingston made no attempt to deny the shooting. “The villain deserved to die,” he said defiantly, “but I wish it had been by some other hand than mine!”  ‘Robert King was tried at Cork Assizes on April 11, 1798, and acquitted after a hearing that lasted less than an hour. He left the court amid wild cheering from a sympathetic mob. The Earl exercised the ancient right of a nobleman to be tried by his peers. The trial took place before the
Irish House of Lords in Dublin on May 18, 1798. As the Lords’ Chamber in the Dublin Parliament House was too small, the peers gathered in the Commons Chamber to hear the Earl of Kingston stand trial for his life.
‘Resplendent in their crimson and ermine robes, they sat on benches beneath the domed roof, while hundreds of spectators packed the collonaded galleries surrounding the room. The Earl himself, dressed in black, was flanked by a herald bearing his ancestral coat of arms and the Deputy Constable of Dublin Castle bearing a glittering axe with the edge turned away from the prisoner. The result of the trial was almost foregone. No witnesses appeared for the Crown after the Sergeant-at-Arms had summoned them three times. Asked to give their verdict, the peers rose one after another in their seats and, with hands-on hearts, answered: “Not guilty, upon mine honour.”  ‘After the last peer had spoken, the Lord High Steward solemnly broke his white wand, signifying that the proceedings had ended. The Earl was ushered to a waiting carriage through a cheering crowd. The Earl never recovered from the shock of the scandal. He shunned all society and retired to his mansion of Mitchelstown, which he began rebuilding on an even more grandiose scale. It was still unfinished when he died on April 17, 1799.

WOW What a story, it would make a fabulous film don’t you think!

I also found this online about the 2nd Earl of Kingston ”   Robert, the second Earl, who represented County Cork in the Irish House of Commons. He married his kinswoman, the heiress Caroline Fitzgerald (died 1823), daughter of Richard FitzGerald by the Honourable Margaret King, daughter of James King, 4th Baron King. Some detail is known about the lives of the second Earl and his wife, as they hired the pioneer educator and proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft as governess to their daughters. Her books Thoughts on the Education of Daughters and Original Stories from Real Life draw on her experiences under their roof at Mitchelstown Castle. The daughter she influenced the most was Margaret King, who, as Lady Mount Cashell, undertook a Grand Tour on the Continent, accompanied by her friend Catherine Wilmot, whose diaries were eventually published as An Irish Peer on the Continent, 1801–03 This info above I found on Wikipedia

Now we go back to the people in the old photograph the Cann family & due to an article about a will in the newspaper archives, it led me on a path to finding out a bit more about the history of the family, from the super website of Spreyton, Devon Spreyton Village   This is the wonderful history of the family from the local website, link above…

Although the property is often referred to as “Fuidge Manor”, there is no evidence that it was ever a manor on its own; rather, it was part of the Manor of Spreyton. Apart from the 1289 Assize Court reference, the earliest mention of Fuidge is in the Spreyton parish registers, which record that William, son of John Can (an early spelling of Cann) of Fewidge, was baptised in 1592. The Cann family were to remain connected with Fuidge until the 1820s. Indeed, they were probably there for many years or even centuries before that (the 1289 Assize Court record in the National Archives might throw some light on early occupants, but it is in difficult-to-read medieval Latin). Fuidge is the only farm in Spreyton (apart possibly from Barton) to be connected with a single family for such a long period.
On a list of Spreyton tax-payers in 1525, John Canne was recorded as paying tax on goods worth £2, indicating only moderate wealth (it does not mention his place of residence, but it was almost certainly Fuidge). It seems likely that the Canns were at that time standard yeoman farmers, and Fuidge was an unremarkable Devon long-house of cob and thatch, built by an early member of the Cann family. However, the Canns quickly became wealthier. By 1544, John Canne was paying tax on £10 of goods, the biggest amount in the parish apart from two people who were big landowners. The Canns appear also to have owned or rented part of Falkedon, and possibly other nearby farms.
By the early 18th century, the Canns were grand enough to be calling themselves “gentlemen” rather than yeomen. During the 18th century they acquired lime kilns and quarries in Drewsteignton. Burnt lime was at the time the only artificial fertilizer, and the quarries made the Canns very rich indeed.They used their money inter alia to extend and embellish their farmhouse at Fuidge, adding an elegant double-bowed front to the house, and building a fine red-brick serpentine wall in the garden, making it the most imposing residence in the parish. There was even a fish-pond or lake. The Canns by this time were, with the Battishills, the main landowners in Spreyton and also owned farms in Hittisleigh and Drewsteignton. There are a number of memorials to the Cann family in Spreyton church. They always farmed the land attached to Fuidge as their “home farm”, but most of their other farms were let for income.
The eldest son was always traditionally given the name John. The John Cann who inherited the property in 1807 was a man of considerable enterprise and ambition. In 1798, fired with patriotic enthusiasm, he raised a company of volunteers (a sort of Home Guard) to defend the neighbourhood against a possible French invasion. From then on, he was often referred to as Captain Cann.
Captain Cann’s next exploit, in about 1816, was to open a bank in Exeter with two partners, called the ‘Devonshire Bank’. When Captain Cann died in 1819, he left everything to his widow Rebecca, who took his place in the partnership. Unfortunately, there could scarcely have been a worse time for starting a bank, as the boom brought about by the Napoleonic wars was coming to an abrupt end. On 20 December 1820, the bank was forced to suspend payment ‘in consequence of a severe and unexpected run’, and the partners were declared officially bankrupt. Although the partners were jointly and severally liable for all the debts of the bank and Rebecca must have struggled, she managed to retain Fuidge, at any rate for a while, probably because she was responsible only for the debts incurred in the short period when she was a partner. But she no doubt had to mortgage it heavily, and it was finally sold in 1838. Local people could not understand how the Cann fortune could have disappeared so rapidly. Rumour had it that Captain Cann had buried his money under the serpentine wall in the kitchen garden.” I wonder if they found any???

Fuidege Manor at Sreyton taken in the 1950’s
Francis Mark Cann (Grandfather) Mentioned son of late John S Cann(Gt Grandfather) of Fuidge(Fudge) Manor, Spreyton. I wonder what it said in that letter!

This house below is where Francis John Hughtrede Cann (Father) grew up I believe, I can’t be totally sure as there is a discrepancy with the exact number, but there are some wonderful houses very similar to this all along Plantation Terrace, this is no 5. The old photo I found says Sefton House, all I can find now is Sefton Court, an older huge building made into flats. The family were at Plantation Terrace for many years including the 1901 census, I only have mention of Sefton House in the 1911 census. So the date on the photo must be very close.

This is no 5 Plantation Terrace now

Francis Raymond Cann became an Entomologist working for a Government Research centre at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, I believe he had at least three children, so did they follow the medical pathway? His father & Grandfather were both Medical Doctors/Surgeon Apothacary, I found this listing in the Medical register from 1913.


As always I found so much information about this family online it was astoning! Anyone who is a descendant of this family has a real gem of interesting paths to go down in research, here was just a small part, hope you enjoyed.

This is the Public Family Tree I have compiled on Ancestry:  Click on the link, It’s free to register on Ancestry.

If you are a descendant of the family I would love to return it, so please get in touch via Contact Me on my Home Page.

Till next time then…………….


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