My Family

Robert Winkfield
Born 1832 West Acre, Norfolk
Died 1903, Burnside, New Zealand

Robert Winkfield was the eldest son of James Winkfield and Ruth Harrison.  Though baptised at West Acre, Robert grew up in Pentney.

In 1841 the Census shows him with his parents on Falgate Hill.  By 1851 he was living nearby, with an Aunt of his father, Susannah Dawes, connected like James Winkfield with a butchery business.
No one will ever know what caused the friction between Robert and his father. However, later in 1851 Robert decided to leave home altogether, and set off on his travels.  He left England on the "Windermere" in mid 1852 and by December he reached Victoria, Australia.

Robert was to spend the next few years of his life in Australia, as a miner, but in 1861, he moved on and came to Port Chalmers, New Zealand, aboard the "King of Italy".  Here he was to stay for the rest of his life.
In  1862 he married Eliza Strode Townsend and they had one daughter, Harriet.
Robert now seems to have decided to follow his own trade as a cattle dealer, and in the Trade Directory of 1886, this is given as his occupation, living in Walter Street, Mornington.

A Drawing of the Windermere, dated
17th Dec 1852, the very time when
Robert was on board.

Sadly, in 1890, a dreadful accident occurred, when Eliza, returning home late one evening   with Robert from an Exhibition, was run down by a horse and cart.  She died that night. 

"Pentney Aug 23 78.
Dear Son Rob't,
I hope this letter will find you in good health as it leaves me at present, only an old man with my hair as wite as wool.  But my Dear Rob't I hope when you rec've this letter, I hope you will not forget that 5th Commandment.  Honour your farther thou your dear and beloved Mother have been dead so meny years. And I have not rec'vd no letter from you, never since the year 56 Sep 19.  O my dear Rob't I think that you don't treat me with that due respect and love which is becoming A son to A farther.  Think not, dear Rob't that I would in any way wish to make you uncomfortable as I would in every way curb my temper, but still not shrink from what it is my intention to write to you and asking you a few and straight froward questions, which I hope you will answer back to me as early as possible.  1st, Will you inform me what it is that presses so much upon you time that you have no chance to write a few lines to me.  2nd, Do you think it acting to me like a kind and only son in not writing to me since the Death of your dear and beloved Mother, which was on the 23rd of March.  But my dear and beloved son, I have no dought that you will  -------[agree?]--------------that such ought not to be the case, but I sopose it must be attributed to your forgetfulness, and not to enything else.  I would not for one moment soppose that you had no love for me   --[or that?]------------my name was erased from your memory.  No, far be such thoughts from me, but my dear Rob't, I soppose I must follow my old maxim, that is, Wait with patience -------------------------------"
[Letter ends here, probably being continued on another page which is missing.  The dashes represent places where the letter has been folded so long that the words are unreadable.]

Possibly because of this terrible happening, Robert lost interest in things and his business foundered.  He died in 1905.

This Letter was the beginning of my research into Robert's Story.  It was written by his father, James, in 1878, but for some reason, was never posted. Found a few years ago, in the back of the Pay Book of his younger half-brother, also named Robert Winkfield, it gave us a few puzzles, as, we had not known James Winkfield had been married twice, or had another son. 

Note - Though Harriet Winkfield, Robert's daughter, was  married to George Robertson MacGregor, they did not have any children, so Robert's line died out in New Zealand.

Rita Sheridan, Warwickshire, England

Email: rasheridan@lineone.net