Hannah Laycock

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Portrait of Hannah Laycock.

Hannah Laycock (née Pearson, 1758–1831) was an early land grant recipient in the Canterbury area. She first came to Australia in September 1791. In September 1810 Hannah Laycock returned to settle at a 500-acre grant she had received in August 1804 and named "King's Grove" after Governor Philip Gidley King. This is the current site of Kingsgrove NSW. The Laycocks had six children.

On the 10th December 1810, we have a record from Governor Macquarie's journal, his notes on a visit he paid to the district of Canterbury. On his way he stopped at Hannah Laycock's farm. He wrote, "We found Mrs Laycock and her two daughters at home in a very neat, comfortable, well built farm house and well furnished, the good lady's farm being also in a forward state of improvement in other respects. After resting half an hour at Mrs Laycock's, we pursued our journey to Canterbury".

Governor Macquarie must have been really impressed with Hannah Laycock's farm, because two years later in August 1812, she received another 120 acres adjoining her grant to the north between King's Grove and Northumberland Farm and another 100 acres at Putty. Both of her sons received 100 acres each. These grants gave the family considerable property in the district, which now embraces much the suburbs of Bexley, Kingsgrove, Clemton Park and Campsie. Overall, her family eventually held an area of 820 acres from South Campsie to Stoney Creek Road

Hannah was the wife of Thomas Laycock, Quartermaster of the NSW Corps[1]. It is not known whether the grant was a way of rewarding Thomas (who already had many grants) for his part in putting down the Castle Hill Rebellion or a sympathy grant to support Hannah because of the improper behaviour of her husband, who died in 1809 after losing the office of Quartermaster the previous year[2]. Hannah's farmhouse was located near the corner of Homer Street and Rosemeath Avenue. Canterbury Council erected a Heritage Panel on this corner to commemorate the site.

About 1808, Hannah Laycock returned to England where she was when her husband died in 1809. She later returned to the colony to reside at her Kingsgrove Farm for another six years. Hannah moved into Sydney in 1828 where she was living with her son, William, in her own house in Pitt street. She died at Sydney Hospital, on 12th May 1831, aged 73 and, a service was held in St James Church, Sydney.[3]

HANNAH'S FAMILY

Hannah's son Thomas, later blazed the trail from Launceston to Hobart. All her daughters married into pioneer families of the time and in 1930, one of her descendants, Miss Marie Fearn, was still living at Stanmore.

Meanwhile, the property seems to have changed hands several times and in 1841, owned by the trustees of Simeon Lord's estate, it was subdivided and put up for sale. Certain sections were small lots and the remainder, larger holdings.

At the time of the sale, there was much valuable her on the land. Oak, ironbark, stringy bark, blue gum and mahogany, the last timber being very much in demand at the time for cabinet making.

So passed into oblivion the original holdings of the family who opened up so much of our district. Not completely though, as the name of Hannah's farm lives on in the name of suburb, "KINGSGROVE".


References

  1. LARCOMBE, Frederick A. Change and challenge: a history of the municipality of Canterbury. [Canterbury, NSW]: Canterbury Municipal Council, 1979. p. 25-26
  2. LARCOMBE, Frederick A. Change and challenge: a history of the municipality of Canterbury. [Canterbury, NSW]: Canterbury Municipal Council, 1979. p. 26
  3. http://webspace.webring.com/people/ic/chrisdaley/Bibliography-Hannah-Pearson-1758-1831

Canterbury and District Historical Society Journal, Series 2, No. 2: pp 5-6.