William Guise Brittan (1807 – 1876)

William Guise Brittan arrived in Christchurch on the Sir George Seymour, one of the first four ships.  William’s main occupation before his journey was as a surgeon, serving as the doctor on board the Sir George Seymour! But once in Christchurch, he never practised medicine again. He became the Commissioner of Crown Land and was in charge of the Land Office.

He owned 100 acres of Papanui Bush but also had 50 acres in town, on Fitzgerald Ave, where he built ‘Englefield’.  He gifted Papanui with land for its first church, St Paul’s Anglican Church where he is buried.

Englefield was built in 1852.  His neighbour was his brother Dr. Joseph Brittan who also built a fine home he named Linwood – now the suburb.  The two Brittan brothers had married the Chandler sisters before leaving England.  Joseph would go on to become the father-in-law of William Rolleston. Sadly, Linwood’s Homestead did not survive the 22nd February earthquake and was demolished.

Brittan sold Englefield to John Aikman in 1864 for £2000.  Pictured here is the third owner – William Travers and his daughters. Travers enlarged Englefield during his time there. In more recent times, it had been used by the Salvation Army and was known as Englefield Lodge.

Englefield as of 17.11.2011.  As you see, the quakes weren’t kind. Spray painted on the wooden covers on the windows is a desperate promise of “WE WILL TRY AND SAVE THIS HOUSE” As Englefield is almost next door to Avonside Drive, its sits in the middle of the Red Zone which only means one thing…

Just a few metres away from Englefield, on the corner of Fitzgerald Ave and Avonside Drive is the William Guise Brittan Historical Gardens, opened in November 1994. The garden is immaculate, so nice to see a historical site as it should be 🙂

*Photos of Englefield before the earthquakes courtesy of http://canterburyheritage.blogspot.co.nz/ *
*Photos of Englefield and Grave taken by Annette Bulovic*

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