William Flower Blatchford (pictured on the right)arrived in Canterbury on the 1st March 1851 aboard the ‘Isabella Hercus’, the Canterbury Association’s 6th emigrant ship. From all accounts and from where he put down his roots, he seemed very fond of Lyttelton Harbour.
The bay of Te Rapu – named after a stream that flows through Maori Gully, now Gebbies Pass, particularly struck a chord with him. He told those in his company that the salt mudflats reminded him of the Teddington-on-the-Thames where he had grown up back in London. He quickly became acquainted with two families that farmed in Te Rapu, the Gebbies and the Mansons. They employed him to become a tutor to their children and by March the following year, William had opened the Gebbies Station School which was open to other children in the bay.
There was another reason that made William build his life around the end of the harbour – Agnes Manson. The eldest daughter of Samuel (pictured) and Jean Manson was 20 years old when she married William.
She had just been a toddler when the family moved to New Zealand from Riccarton, Scotland. Samuel had secured a work contract with John Deans as a carpenter and immigrated with him to the Wakefield Settlement of Nelson in 1842. When John made the move to join his older brother William down on the Port Cooper Plains (Canterbury), the Manson’s secured their place in history by building the first house and parenting the first European child born – Jeanie Manson – on the plains. Little Agnes had spend her childhood playing on the Deans’ farm of Riccarton, in the years before the city of Christchurch was established!
In 1845, the Manson’s left the employment of the Deans and moved out to Te Rapu. They left with 14 cows to help make their own start. Samuel, once he had his family settled, took on work at Purau with the Greenwood brothers. His own farm, which he called Kains Hill, produced fine cheeses and after the arrival of the first four ships in 1850, Samuel would walk to Lyttelton around the beaches to do some selling. In doing so, he became an excellent judge of the tides.
William and Agnes would go on to have 3 sons and 6 daughters. After 6 years of teaching the children of Te Rapu, the Blatchford’s made the change to farming – naming their property Teddington, now the name of the area. This is believed to have been the main reason of the naming but other reports states it’s to do with an earlier term of being Tidingturn or Tide-end-turn.
William died in 1897 and Agnes died in 1918.
*image of William Flower Blatchford courtesy of Linda MacFarlane*
*image of Samuel Manson courtesy of the http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/*