The Barcham Family


Schools are important because the years we spend in them influence the course of the rest of our lives. A number of our forebears were sent to boarding schools, among them were three ‘Barchams’ who were educated at Christ’s Hospital School, which was then on Newgate Street, in the City of London.

Henry Barcham (1833–1910), the fourth child of Ann (Edwards) and William Ayres Barcham was at the Royal Mathematical College when he was 8 to 16 years of age. During this time Henry wrote a book titled Elements of Navigation, a leather-bound copy of this hand-written work is now in the Archives Centre at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. When Henry left school he was presented with a silver medal. The following entries are from the school’s Admissions and Discharge register:

15 March 1842 Henry Barcham, son of William [Ayres] Barcham, decd., born April 1833, admitted from St. Dunstans, Stepney, Middlesex; [candidate presented by] Richard Thornton, Esq. [Thornton and West were the owners of the West on which Henry commenced his apprenticeship under Captain John John Bauer.]

August 26, 1849 Henry Barcham this day discharged from this Hospital for ever by Robert Lloyd Jones of Union Street, Deptford, Commander of the barque West of 409 tons burthen, bound to Batavia, with whom he is to serve seven years unless Her Majesty [Queen Victoria] should require his last years’ service.

Robert William Barcham (1859–1913), son of Ellen (Sandford) and Robert Barcham, was born in Hong Kong and returned to England with his mother in about 1860. He attended a boarding school in Surbiton; then after his father died in 1872, he became a scholar at Christ’s Hospital School. After leaving school, he worked as a stockbroker’s clerk and lived with his uncle George Webb Sandford. In 1886, he married Constance Eliza de la Mare (1866–1956), daughter of Lucy Sophia (Browning) and James Edward de la Mare (1814–1877), and two years later they emigrated to New Zealand.

James Herbert de la Mare (b. 1870), Constance’s elder brother, was a pupil at Christ’s Hospital School. His father died in 1878, leaving his widow to support a large family. James Herbert was enumerated at Christ’s Hospital School in the 1881 Census, which lists the headmaster Richard Lee, matrons, domestic staff, beadles [porters] and 699 scholars from all parts of Great Britain and the British Empire.

Three generations later, two of Henry Barcham’s great-grand-nephews, Alexander McBride Williams and his brother Gavin, were scholars at Chetham’s Hospital (Bluecoat) School in Manchester, which is the northern England counterpart of Christ’s Hospital School. They also had to wear the traditional Tudor style school uniform. [now Chetham’s Music School].