Blundens in England
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by Alice Reeves nee Blunden

Dr John Blunden’s father, George Blunden was a farmer in County Sussex, England (the Blunden family tree traces the Blundens back to 1716).

George married Anne Cortis, the daughter of George Cortis, who was a gentleman farmer in Angering.

John was their eldest son and founded our family branch in Australia. Before his father died in 1845, John had been over to Australia, possibly to check out the situation regarding land. 

John returned and married Harriet Jelleff in 1837. Harriet died in childbirth at the age of 25. 

John was a very wealthy farmer and Harriet seemed to have come into a lot of money soon after her marriage to John Blunden.

It appears that that was the money he used to buy land in Australia.

John married Elizabeth Nance in 1844 (pronounced Nonce) and gave, as his profession on the marriage document, "gentleman". 

Incidentally, two years after their marriage, one of his sisters married Elizabeth Nance’s brother.

John Blunden            Elizabeth Blunden, nee Nance

        John Blunden                                        Elizabeth Nance

Elizabeth's father was Andrew Nance, and the Nance family was a very prosperous one. 

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Andrew Nance

Andrew Nance owned large amounts of land and was a beer and wine merchant. He had two of the best hotels in the district – The Blue Posts and The Fountain. They were already well known coaching inns with a long history when he bought them. He brought the actual coaches up to a very high standard and they were said to "fly" between Golden Cross, Charing Cross and the Blue Posts to Portsmouth in nine and one half hours. Very fast!!! They were later driven by Andrew Nance’s son. The Rocket was the speediest coach on the road and very well known!

Imagine our ancestors driving their coaches on rough roads, in all weathers, day and night, their fast horses galloping through the night, hooves clattering and manes flying. They were often held up by highwaymen and it was literally your-money-or-your-life in those days. Very wealthy people travelled in the coaches and there were no banks in which to secure money. Thrilling times, for sure. 

The hotels that Andrew Nance owned are photographed and have detailed descriptions of them. Very palatial!!!

Andrew Nance was an extremely shrewd businessman and eminently successful. He was a director of many companies and eventually became the Mayor of Portsmouth. He was the ‘beau ideal’ of a hearty English gentleman. 

His obituary reads:

" Died at his residence, Oaklands, Kingston Cross, 1877. His death occasioned a deep feeling of regret in the borough. Portsmouth has been deprived of one of her leading citizens. Andrew Nance was of an unostentatious and retiring disposition. Many years as a member of the Town Council, he deservedly gained a high reputation in business, his judgement being particularly sound, his perception most acute and his enterprises unbounded. He was, more over, always willing to lend a leading hand to others".

As well as Elizabeth getting a yearly income from her family, she was left a very large sum of money when her father died. However, she still had to rough it in those early days in primitive Australia and she did so with courage.

She and Dr John Blunden had a very happy life together through all their ups and downs and were very highly thought of throughout the district.

Reginald Blunden, their son, came to New Zealand in 1875 and bought up land and prospered. Harold  (father of Brian, Joyce, Leo, John, Godfrey, Derrick, William, Peg and Alice) was one of Reginald's four sons.

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Elizabeth Blunden nee Nance

Dr John Blunden's wife, Elizabeth, and her sisters were, when old enough, sent from England to Caen in France, to be educated in a convent there.

At the convent they were instructed in all branches of learning in the arts and graces of the day, music, dancing, painting, deportment etc. and of course they spoke and read French fluently.

The Nance sons went into the Navy and at least one became a distinguished officer.

Elizabeth, the third daughter, was evidently a very attractive jeune fille, for she had many admirers at an early age, while she was still at school. Among them, a handsome young drawing master, to whom she became engaged when only sixteen years old, until her parents intervened and she went home to England.

This young man wrote her many ardent and beautifully expressed letters, which she kept and treasured all her life and when she died, she left them, with her other French papers and books, to her grandson, Mervyn, of whom she was very fond and who she always hoped  would become a classical scholar.

No one knows what became of those precious letters, all tied up with the customary blue ribbon and steeped in romance. Her grandchildren often saw her reading French novels and she always kept her French Bible by her bedside, for she was a religious woman.

In Portsmouth, on 16 August 1844, Elizabeth married Dr. John Blunden, a widower with one young son, George. This charming and accomplished young girl with her husband, decided to go and live in Australia, a country which seemed to offer more opportunities.

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Nance Family Tree

John Blunden married Harriet Jellef, and had 3 children, George, Frederick and Fanny, before Harriet died on March 9 1842. 

John then married Elizabeth NANCE in 1844 before setting sail for Australia in the brig "William Wise" which arrived in Adelaide on January 5, 1845.

John and Elizabeth had 6 children, Ada, Ralph, Reginald, Godfrey, and twins Florence and Blanche.

The following shows the line of descent (taken from Evan Best’s family tree) in the Nance family from Nicholas de Nans (c. 1241) to Elizabeth Nance (1818- 1895). 

Nicholas de Nans 

1241  married Orengia  
Lucas de Nans of Lelant, Cornwall.  1327    
William de Nans of St. Clement, Cornwall.  1327    
John de Nans in Menage 1385    
Robert Nans of Nans in Meneage 1451    
Lawerence Nans of Meneage  Alive in 1506 married Agnes Trudell of Truthall
Sir Alexander Nans of Trengrove in Illogan Knighted in  Bosworth    1485 married Constance Gylette of Clowance inSt. Just in Penwith
Henry Nans Trengrove    married Chesten Nanspyan of Powlsack

John Nance of Nans in Illogan

1557 married Margery Arundell of "Terice" (now National Trust House)
Richard Nance of Trewynnard Bapt. 1558 at Illogan, Buried 1582 at St. Erth  1558 -1582 married Alice Harry of Illogan
John Nance, Yeoman, of Illogen, Inherited the manor at Rosecarnon    1603  married Jane
John Nance   1606 – 1658 married Johan Profit
John Nance of Padstow   1720 married Jane Norman
John Nance of Padstow   1672 - 1736 married Dorothy Hosgood
Richard Nance of Padstow  1712 – 1800  married Susanna Dorman
(1) Andrew Nance   1751 – 1800 married Martha (Raebold?) married in France? (Caen)
(2) Andrew Nance   1777 – 1853 married Ann Norris
ELIZABETH  NANCE  1818 – 1895 married Married  Dr JOHN BLUNDEN, who emigrated to Adelaide in 1844 

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