Thomas Richard Roydhouse (part 1)

My great, great uncle Thomas Richard Roydhouse was born in Llantwit Fadre, Wales on the 7th September, 1862, and baptized 16th March, 1865 at the Holy Trinity, in Canning Town, Essex.

He was six years old on arrival in Wellington on board the Ästerope”

He married Charlotte Vivienne Green in either Napier or Wanganui in 1882.

He worked in newspapers most of his life, in Napier he was in the Hawkes Bay Herald newspaper office

On March 22nd, 1883 he participated in the Annual Cricket match between the Herald and Telegraph Offices at Taradale.


The first three of his children were recorded as being born in NZ, starting with Ruby Louisa, Napier 1883; Beryl Charlotte born 1885 and Thomas Garnet Hugh born 1887.

In 1888 the family shifted to Australia, settling in Melbourne where Thomas owned a paper at Woodend briefly [1889-1890.]

Next the family went to Sydney where Thomas gained experience at the Sydney Daily Times for 4 years before joining the Sunday Times and becoming Editor. During this time two more sons and a daughter were born;-

John Sidney Hope,1890; Norah Constance,1892;and Bernard Richard William, 1897.

In November 1891 the Sydney Echo chronicled:

A gallant act on the part of T R Roydhouse journalist, formerly of Wellington. It appears that a little child three years of age accidently fell in the harbour at McMahons Point, when Mr. Roydhouse who was hard by awaiting the arrival of a steamer heard the screams of the child’s sister and at once realising the situation plunged into the water with all his clothes on and rescued the youngster who had drifted into deep water from certain drowning. The deed was all the more unselfish and courageous because Mr. Roydhouse who is a leading member of the Sydney Daily Telegraph staff, was only just recovering from a serious bout of bronchitis, the wetting brought on a relapse so that he practically doubly risked his life for that of the child.


Thomas wrote many books , including one that he co-authored in 1892-The Labour Party in New South Wales : a history of its formation and legislative career : together with biographies of the members, and the complete text of the Trade Disputes Conciliation and Arbitration Act, 1892 / by Thos. R. Roydhouse and H.J. Taperell …

It is said that he lived on the streets with no money to experience life for the destitute as background to an article he wrote in 1893.[ The land and the people : a scheme of settlement how to put the destitute unemployed on the land by the state yet without cost to the state and without pauperising those so assisted, the key to the problem / by Rata.[a pen name]

In 1894 he attended a séance being held by a Myra Mellon, to assist in exposing her as a fake, and succeeded in grabbing the false beard which was waiting to be used as a disguise by Myra.

The Sands Directory of 1896 listed Thomas R Roydhouse as living in Railway Parade Burwood Sydney.

Thomas visited his family in NZ several times,1894,1896, 1898 and 1899 as recorded by shipping records or news articles. These journeys took about 5  days each way by boat between Sydney and Wellington.

The trip in 1896 included a stay at Ngaipu, Wairarapa, where Reverend Gunn took this family photograph.


back: Thomas

left:Beryl, Norah, Ivy, Charlotte, Jesse, Ruby

* Jesse is Thomas’sister, Ivy her daughter

front: John, Thomas (Bernard born the following year)

26 Feb 1898 We had a visit from Thomas R Roydhouse, editor of the Sydney Sunday times, Referee and The Arrow. Mr Roydhouse, who is an old NZ boy, learnt his profession as a journo in the Wairarpara and subsequently took a position on in Wellington, went to Melbourne ten years ago,then joined the Sydney Telegraph, and by exercise of his talents, gradually advanced to his present position. He is now at the very fore-front of his profession and everyone who knows him is ready to admit that Tom Roydhouse has won his colours by indomitable pluck and a considerable share of native merit. Mr Roydhouse has been enjoying a well earned  holiday and is now returning to Sydney to resume his editorial duties.

 In 1900 he published Cornwall Park, Maungekiekie : a princely gift to the people of New Zealand  by Sir John Logan Campbell : a retrospect and glimpse into the future

In 1901, T.R.Roydhouse had organised a public subscription which funded the purchase of a sword and saddle for Baden-Powell in appreciation for his Boer War exploits. Baden-Powell sent Roydhouse a copy of ‘Scouting for Boys’ in 1907, who then used his paper to publicise the scouting movement and facilitate its development, resulting in Australia being the first country to adopt Scouting.

In 1904, under the pen of “Rata” he published The Coloured Conquest. Prominent in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Australia were what were known as “Novels of Racial Invasion.” (The Coloured Conquest now sells second-hand for $2,000. )

He continued to travel overseas, as noted by the two shipping records:

Mr. T R Roydhouse departed Auckland and arrived Sydney 17 Feb 1905

Mr T Roydhouse departed Hobart and arrived in Sydney 30 Jan 1913.


Last Friday night there was a pleasant little gathering of journalists to bid bon voyage to Mr. T. R. Roydhouse. editor of the ”Sunday Times, who is taking a six months’ trip to Europe. The journalists had a dinner at Miss Mills’, in Castlereagh St., and in spite of the fact of it being a Friday night, the worst night in the week for the Press, there was a good representative gathering. The chair was taken by

the Hon. H. Gillett, MLC, one of the most highlv-respected journalists in New South Wales, and the remarks made by the different guests were of the sort that were exceedingly comforting to the guest of the evening. Mr. Roydhouse has been editing the Sunday Times’ for 20 years, and the verdict was that he had ‘played the game,’ and though we had nearly all differed from him at times, we still all entertained the highest respect for him.Mr. Roydhouse responded to the kind words and the presentation of a greenstone pendant, with an interesting sketch of his life, which was new to most us — if not to all! It was one of the happiest, friendliest gatherings ever held in any place and everybody felt that it was a notable occasion, and all hoped that Mr. Roydhouse will come back to work strengthened and refreshed by his trip.

It had long been a desire of Thomas to settle back in New Zealand and farm, and in late 1913  the family moved to Warkworth NZ ,during which time Thomas kept his journalist skills fresh by running the Rodney Times .

Despite professing a need for a quiet life, Thomas continued to travel overseas, and write.

Records show Mr. T Roydhouse departed Vancouver on the NIAGRA, and arriving back in Sydney on 6 May 1915, to publish another paperback,A new system of government : every elector in the House / by Thos. R. Roydhouse and again in Jan 1918 he was homeward bound from Vancouver.


In 1917 a letter was sent from Thomas in Warkworth to his older brother William Francis:

Warkworth Dec.1917

Dear Will,

Following up on your enquiries of me in respect of my search into family history, I went to the Auckland Library on Sunday afternoon and evening last, and did a bit more fossicking. I will now give you all the information I have.

There is no mention of Roydhouse in the Doomsday Book, published in the Middle Ages and setting forth the names of all landholders and tenants of landholders. But as the names of that period were nothing like those of today it is possible that we may have been there all right but hidden under something that looks as much like Maori or Japanese as Saxon, Danish, Norse or Norman.

There is a copy of the Doomsday Book names in the Auckland Library(Heraldry section) and no doubt Wellington has another copy. There is no Roydhouse in “British Family Names”{Henry Barber: Elliott Stock, Peternoster Row, London}; but that is because Barber was an ass. When he compiled his little list—-and centuries before—we were walking the wealds of Yorkshire. Yes sir! Listen,most noble William, runner-up in the Family Bowls Championship, whilst I further unfold my tale;-in the Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet,in Yorkshire,there is a register which gives the name of Roydhouse in 1601.There is not the slightest doubt about this because the register has been printed.(There are societies in England for printing, and thus preserving, early church records.)Chas.A.Bernan,of Walton-on Thames compiled a book of registers, under the title of “An Index of Surnames in the registers of English parishes in 1601.”Knight and Forster of Leeds published this book; it is probable that there is a copy of this in the Wellington Library.

Now for the derivation of the name. When the wooded wealds of Yorkshire were “ridded” of their timber(in sections) it was customary to speak of these clearings as “Rouths”,”Rodds” or Royds.(Words were a good deal twisted in those days when there was no printing).”Royd” therefore, meant a clearing; this is beyond doubt.”House” meant a large dwelling(a mansion or a castle).Our forbears were the people who lived in the big place in a clearing in a weald of Yorkshire. That was the way they were first identified, just as smiths were so called because that was their trade. Some of the investigators are not sure whether ”How”, ”Howse” and “House” do not all mean hill; but the bulk of the testimony favours the derivation I have given. One author says(in regard to the first part of our name)–”Our Royds,or “Rodds” or “Rodes” all hail from some spot ridded of wood.(Huntroyd-the clearing for the chase; Holroyd.the folly clearing;and so on).

In regard to the registers, I would like to put it on record(I have no doubt that you will keep what I am writing now) that Somerset House London has records of all Births,Deaths and marriages since 1837;searches requiring information of an earlier date must go to Church registers.

In regard to the Roydhouse Arms. The right(the grant to bear arms) was made in 1714.There may or may not have been a motto.I think there was not. People not up in Heraldry–ahem–imagine that if there are arms there must be a motto. Permit me to say, most noble and grumpy William, that the idea is utterly erroneous–unless one is Scotch. The Scotch always get the most for their money; consequently all Scottish arms carried a motto also.

Not so in regard to English arms. The person to whom arms were granted could select any motto he jolly well pleased, and the Heralds would paint it on for him under the arms(could be also under the crest);but only at his request. The motto is not in the grant of English arms, but is in the Scottish. Families take their own mottoes, and seemingly their own crests.F orty three English families have a dead tree sprouting again as their crest; and scores of others have exactly similar crests. Many have the same motto.

Well, now, most cheerful William(if I said anything else I withdraw and apologise),let us get to the arms. There are grapes in our arms William–and not sour  ones;rich red ones, full of the juice of human kindness. Light your pipe and lean back. Here she goes—

ARMS OF ROYDHOUSE—Az. on a band engraved ar. between two     talbots,pass.or,three bunches of grapes ppr.

This is blue on a band engraved White.the talbots are large dogs(named from the Talbot family).Whether or not this implies that we have some connection with the Talbots I know not.Three or four families have bunches of grapes in their coat of arms.

The College of Heralds,London will do you the arms in colours for ten shillings.Burke publishes details I have given.

So much for that….

In 1913 I visited the hamlet of Royd House in the parish of Kirkburton,was.of Agbrigg,and Manor of Wakefield;7 1/2 miles southeast of Huddersfield,W.Riding,Yorkshire.There is an old farmhouse,also a few cottages and a small inn. I was told by an English lady of the name of Roydhouse that she believed the original Roydhouse estate was at Caister, just outside Hull,Yorkshire.I had not time to go there, but will enquire thoroughly next time.

The Roydhouses were evidently going strong in the eighteenth century(1714 on). About 1750 Mrs.Ann Roydhouse had her portrait painted by Gainsborough,Romney or Sir Joshua Reynolds.It was etched by John Raphael Smith,a very famous engraver,and copies sold.The price in London in 1913 was four guineas,but no copy was obtainable, though one had recently been seen in an art dealer’s shop in High Holborn. I enquired there, and at other art shops in the Strand,and left an order with the principal one of the latter, but without result.I visited the Print Room at the British Museum, and saw the print. Ann was all right. Her second husband? was Lord Morton,or Lord?Morgan. But it is her first husband who concerns us, and it was he who made Ann a social leader.

About a quarter of a century ago,a Harry Roydhouse went to Russia to take charge of the Royal Stud.About the same time the Rev.Father Roydhouse(Oh!!,Momme!)entered the Russian Royal Service as a teacher. He previously resided at Farm Street,Mayfair,London.

If I get to England for six months I’ll complete the chain.I know just how.

Something about the Jordan side later-when I am in the mood.

Yrs.Affec. Thos.R.Roydhouse



Author: gorcat28

writing up my ancestors one week at a time

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