Annie Harriett Chard & cousin Col John Rouse Merriott Chard VC🌹🎖

I came across this fabulous portrait photo when we had a lovely wander around The Vintage Trading Post at Tytherleigh, Devon. It’s not too far from us and it has improved enormously since our last visit! New owners and 50 Traders now, the new lady in charge Sharon is doing a great job with the help of her assistants Rufus (Dog) & Mango the Canary.

The following day we very very carefully took the back off of Annie’s portrait, as the glass badly needed cleaning & it looked dusty under the glass. I knew that her photo was an Opalotype as it says on one of the labels on the back.

I have a few others in my collection, this is a type of portrait where the photo is printed onto ‘milk glass’ but this is my largest. It was not a common type of Photography so I’m lucky to have found another.

We didn’t take the glass out from the frame as we wanted to keep it as intact as possible.

So I lightly cleaned Annie with a soft brush & cleaned the glass showing on both sides. We are going to leave the portrait for a few days just in case the wood may be a bit damp as it’s never been opened since the photo was first taken in Victorian times and we don’t know where it’s been kept in recent years before being for sale. All the old tacks have been taken out, they were rusty and we shall fix the wooden back on with new ones.

Late 1880’s to very early 1890s. Annie’s portrait after careful cleaning.

Could the photo have been taken on or around 19 May 1888 for her 60th Birthday?

Villiers & Quick. Bristol. With Photographers number 73094.
Photographers label on the back. They were at 42 Park Street from 1887.

The other label on the back of Annie’s portrait was exactly what you would wish for and with an extra bonus about her cousin being a VC recipient! Who put these labels on I wonder?

Here’s some of Annie’s family history.

Annie Harriett CHARD was born on 19 May 1828 in Somerton, Somerset, her father, William 1800-1839, was a Solicitor, according to Annie’s marriage certificate and he married her mother, Jane (Taylor 1802-1883) on 11 Sep 1824 at Shepton Mallett, Somerset.

Father William died young and I’d love to know how and why. Leaving Jane a young widow with three children to care for. In the 1841 census, they are living with her elderly father Charles Taylor at Richmond Place, Bedminster, Somerset. Charles died the following year and the 1851 census finds Jane living at 12 Catherine Place, Bristol and working as a Governess. Her two boys have left home (more later) but Annie is living with her mother and interestingly Richard Castle her future husband is at the same address as a lodger, a ‘Hatters Shopman’. Two years later on 30 November 1853 at St Andrews, Montpelier, Bristol Annie and Richard married. In the 1861 census Jane was living with the couple and their first four children at no1 St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, his second Hosier and Hatter shop and also in the 1861 census Richard’s mother Ann was living and taking care of the College Green premises, described as a Housekeeper, likely for the shop staff living in. She had been widowed in 1848. Richard was doing well to be able to look after all his family. This listing below is from 1880 in the Directory of Worcestershire – Bristol area.

By 1871 the family have now moved to Richmond House, Redland Bank. On the census, Richard is described as a Hatter and outfitter. A Hatter and Hosier in 1881. The family remained at Richmond House even after Richard died in 1884. Annie was living there on the census of 1891 with three of her unmarried daughters Jane, Mary and Louisa and her youngest son William aged 21.

Annie’s husband Richard Died on 27 March 1884 aged 59 years.
Richard’s funeral, he was born in 1824, not 1826.

Annie died at Richmond House on 8 June 1898, she was 70 years old, and she was buried at Redland, Bristol. She left just over £780 effects (with will) to her daughter Henrietta, who had married Frank Seymour Bolt in 1885, they had no children, he was a ‘Manchester Warehouseman’ and they had lived next door to Annie at Richmond House after their marriage in Grenville House with Frank’s father a ‘Wholesale Stationer.’ Her other children obviously benefitted from her will as they were described as of ‘independent means’ after her death.

Annie and Richard had nine children in 15 years. I shall briefly run through with a little information about each of them, their birth and death dates are on the group sheet below. Firstly Jane Anne was described in 1881 as an Art Student, 1891 aged 34 no occupation, 1901 living at 27 Clarendon Rd with one servant, independent means. 1911 still at the same address but she has a Boarder Ada aged 51. She was 74 when she died leaving over £1600 to her brother Richard, still living at the same address.

Next is Mary Taylor living in 1911 at 33 Belgrave Terrace, Charlton Roads, Two Mile Hill Road, Kingwood, Nr Bristol. Marital Status Single. Occupation Visiting the sick, was Mary a nurse? When she died aged 77 she left almost £1300 to her sister Rose Annie and husband Rhodes Griffin Cook, a clothing manufacturer, and their son Edward. Henrietta Elizabeth comes next and I’ve already spoken about her a little. In the 1911 census, her husband Frank was now the Managing Director of the Wholesale Drapery Warehouse, they had been married 25 years with no children. I wonder if that’s how they met as her father was an outfitter? The couple still had Frank’s elderly father living with them. Henrietta died at age 68, and her husband Frank died in 1944.

Rose Annie was the next child born and as I’ve already said was married to Rhodes, the couple had seven children and their four daughters were never married and were very independent women, one, Constance was Housing Manager for the L C C (London City Council) and of their three sons, two married and one Richard Lawrence Cook was killed in action in WW1. Died aged just 19 on 25 Oct 1918 in France/Belgium. He was a Private in the 22nd Battalion, Middlesex Fuselier Regiment. Regimental Number G 95777. (Formerly 36276, 4Th Res. Wiltshire Regt). Rose died aged 95 in Bath, Somerset.

Clifton Down Hotel, Bristol.

Next was eldest son Richard who married Ellen Gittins in 1888 and the couple had five children. Ellen’s father Daniel was the manager of the huge Clifton Down Hotel, Bristol, Somerset. In 1891 Richard was also working as a Manchester Warehouseman the same as Henrietta’s husband Frank Seymour Bolt, Richard became a ‘Home And Foreign Commission Agent’ by 1911. By 1939 he was described as a ‘Manufacturer’s Agent For Textile Goods.’ There were lots of connections to the clothing industry in the family. Richard’s eldest son Richard Mordaunt died in Tientsin, China at age 39, he “had died under an operation rendered necessary owing to peritonitis”. He worked for a Tobacco Company. So likely there on business as I found him on passenger lists to China, Canada and America. Now a very strange thing happened when I started to add different records to Richard and Ellen’s family I had the information come up on the census details that I had already saved this record to the ‘Castle Tree’ I had thought it felt familiar and then I remembered! Back in 2019 I had come across a super photo of all the grandchildren of Richard and Nellie (Ellen) and wrote a Blog about them. So you can find lots more there if this is your branch of the family. I was astonished, here I am three years later with another photo from the family. I have now combined the family trees into one. Here’s the link to my first Blog about Richard and Ellen:

Louisa Gunning comes next and in the 1911 census, she was living at 18 Kempsford Gdns, Earls Court S W London, still single and a Nursing Sister. By the time she died in 1942 aged 77 she was back living in Bristol again.

Their next daughter Amy Harriett was just a young baby when she died in 1867.

Maria Isabel the next child married Thomas Aubrey 1900, who was a Doctor and Pharmacist, they had two children a daughter, Frances Mia, born in 1901, she tragically died like so many others aged just 17 in the terrible flu epidemic of 1918/19, then they had a son born in 1906 Thomas Dixon Rodbard Aubrey who also became a Doctor, he and his father worked in practice together living and working in the same large house, both their families lived there as Thomas Junior married Phyllis Edna Tryst (known as Ann) in 1935, it looks possible they had 2 maybe 3 children. Then during WW2 Thomas Jnr was killed. ‘In July, 1943, WW2, the result of an accident on active service overseas, SQUAD. LDR. THOMAS DIXON RODBARD AUBREY, B.A. Oxon., L.M.S.S.A., only and dearly beloved son of th Thomas and Mia Aubrey, Weston House, Bitton, and darling husband of ANN (EDNA, Trist), The Croft, Bitton, Bristol, aged 36 years. Memorial service, Bitton Church‘ (from a public tree on Ancestry, thank you) I was very fortunate that the same person had also shared some wonderful memories of the couple “While reviewing some old photographs with my mother, Jean Elizabeth (Aubrey Beardsmore) Smith, we came across one of her with a bicycle.  She mentioned that the bicycle had been given to her by Uncle Tom Aubrey and Aunt “Mia” Aubrey after their daughter Frances died in the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919. Jean said that she and her brother David would spend two weeks each summer with Aunt Mia and Uncle Tom at their home in Bitten, which is halfway between Bristol and Bath.  Tom was a doctor, as was his son Tom.  They had a very large home, which also contained his medical practice as well as an in-house pharmacy.  Jean remembered that the live-in Pharmacist was named Summer Hayes. Jean said that Frances had died of the flu, and that her father also contracted it, but survived.  Then later, Frances’ brother, Tom Jr was killed in the Air Force during WW 2. Once WW2 ” started, Jean and David were unable to visit due to the shortage of Petrol.” I’m always very grateful for the generous sharing of family photos and memories on the Public Family Trees on Ancestry, they often answer mysteries. Always worth looking through them to see what you can find when you are researching.

The youngest child of Annie and Richard Castle was William born in 1869, he married fairly late in life aged 45 to Laura Matilda Golledge who was 12 years younger. In earlier years he was a ‘Gentleman’ then in later life on the 1939 Register, he is a Hotel Manager, maybe the money ran out? The couple lived at 29 Church Road, Ealing, Middlesex. They had no children. William died aged 70 in 1940.

This is Annie’s family group below.

BROTHERS. Annie had two brothers Charles and William and they have proved rather more difficult to research, it wasn’t until I stretched my net wider to outside the UK that I found some answers.

Charles Wale Chard took to the seas! He was a Mariner. Here a couple of records I found really interesting but also very sad. Firstly he married in Australia “Charles Chard, he’s a Mariner Marriage Date: 9 Jan 1856 Marriage Place: Hobart, Tasmania Registration Date: 1856 Registration Place: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia Spouse: Ann Feeley Registration Number: 177.

Then two baptisms.

1859 a female child not named and no other trace of her, not been able to find a name at all.
1 Jan 1862 the birth of Charles Richard Chard, last line above.
14 days later Charles Richard Chard died. Last lines.

Cause of Death. Inflammation of the umbilicus, penis, and groin from secondary Syphilis. Poor little mite. After this I haven’t found any records that I am able to confirm belong to the couple, some maybe’s but nothing certain. What happened to Charles and Ann?

William Chard also married in 1861 to Isabel Bright in Bristol, Gloucestershire. They had three children William Charles 1863, Kate Isabel 1866 and Minnie Blanches 1867. But what happened next? Well in the census of 1871 Isabel is living with her three children at the home of her widowed mother and it says on the census she was a widow. There is a probable death in 1869 in Bristol of a William Chard aged 36, he would have been 40, but that’s the closest. Then the couple’s 3 children were baptised together in February 1870, had William just died and wouldn’t allow them to be baptised, so after his death, Isabel had them baptised together. Isabel is still living with her mother on the 1881 census. I’m not sure of her death.

The Victoria Cross. It is awarded for valour “in the presence of the enemy” to members of the British Armed Forces and may be awarded posthumously. It is the UK’s highest honour.

John Rouse Merriott Chard VC and as you can see from this chart below that Annie was indeed John’s second cousin.

There has been so much written about John that I shall just share this one account with you. The following information including the photo of John above, I found on the North East Medals of Northumberland website.

(Zulu War 1879) This officer was in command of the Rorke’s Drift Post on January 22, 1879, when, with about a hundred men, mostly of the 24th Regiment, the position was attacked by 4,000 Zulus. Throughout the entire defence, which lasted from 4 p.m. till daybreak the next morning, Colonel Chard directed the operations with the most heroic bravery. The Lieut.-General in command of the troops reported that ” had it not been for the fine example and excellent behaviour of these two officers  under the most trying circumstances, the Defence of Rorke’s Drift Post would not have been conducted with that intelligence and tenacity which so essentially characterized it ” also ” that its success must, in a great degree, be attributable to the two young officers who exercised the chief command on the occasion in question.”
   The Defence of Rorke’s Drift will go down to posterity as one of the finest examples of British heroism, and the names of Chard and Bromhead will hold a prominent position in the annals of the British Army. The late Queen Victoria caused their names to be inscribed on the colour pole of the 24th Regiment, together with those of Lieutenants Melvin and Coghill, who fell so heroically on the banks of the Buffalo River on the same day, while endeavouring to save the colours of the regiment from the enemy after the Massacre of Isandlwana.
    Colonel Chard, son of Mr
W. W. Chard, of Pathe, Somerset, and Mount Tamar, Devon, was born in 1847. Educated at Plymouth. New Grammar School, Cheltenham, and Woolwich, he entered the Royal Engineers in 1868. He was stationed in Bermuda for some time, ultimately going to South Africa at the outbreak of the Zulu War. After the Defence of the Drift, for which, in addition to the Victoria Cross, he was promoted to Captain and Brevet-Major, he became ill with fever, and went to Ladysmith to recruit his health, but recovered sufficiently to take part in the battle of Ulundi. Towards the end of 1879 he was ordered home, and on his arrival at Plymouth was met by a telegram from the late Queen and received by her at Balmoral. He retired from the service in August 1897, and died at Hatch Beauchamp Rectory, near Taunton, Somerset, on November 1, 1897. There is lots more information to be found about the family and John of course, on various websites and of course on various Public Trees on the internet.

Such an interesting family to research and as always I got a bit carried away. Anyone who has a connection or is a descendant of Annie I would love to hear from you either via a comment here or an email

You can find the public family tree here on Ancestry:

Till next time then……..


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