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Among letters for 1822 from Intending Settlers in N.S.W. and Van Dieman’s Land in the Public Records Office, London, No. 352 is from John Earl of Patterdale, Ullswater, Nestmoreland (now Cumbria) dated 10/8/1822. He states he was bred on a farm and wished to farm in N.S.W. has a perfect understanding of the management of sheep and a capital upwards of £500. There were 3 references supplied.
The application was successful and he arrived with his wife and family on the ‘Thalia’ on 18/6/1823. He was allocated Grant No. 80 and Henry Dangar’s Index and Directory, Hunter River records: 5/7/1823, Allotment 20, John Earl, 1500 acres, Parish of Whittingham, County of Northumberland.
Earl named his grant ‘Glenridding’. (Also on Ullswater near Patterdale in the Lakes District of England). In the early Spring he came with his family and some assigned servants to take possession of his grant on the south side of the present town of Singleton. He soon came into conflict with Benjamin Singleton, the District Constable. On 15th November Earl had requested him to take some of his servants before E.C. Close J.P. Nine days passed before Singleton went from his house to Earl’s farm, a distance of one mile. By then the offenders had escaped to the bush.
Earl’s Letter to the Colonial Secretary dated 26th December declared that Singleton was unfitted to be District Constable and two or three others with little land of their own, had charge of large herds of cattle, most of which belonged to others. He claimed these cattle were eating out the country to the door of his house, leaving little grass for his own stock. Although E.C. Close, J.P. commended Singleton as District Constable, John Earl was appointed in his place in 1824.
The 1828 Census lists John Earl 38 years, Ann Earl 40 years, Dorothy Earl 5 years, also Mary Ann Holmes, 18 years, Agnes Holmes, 13 years, Elizabeth Holmes 12 years and James Holmes 14 years, with John Earl as Innkeeper, Patrick’s Plains. It is understood that the Holmes children were the children of Ann Earl, formerly Holmes, nee Mounsey by a previous marriage.
Earl was the first recorded settler of ‘Mooki Springs’ on the Liverpool Plains and appears to have taken it up about 1830. The N.S.W. Government Gazette 18/1/1837 shows John Earl, Licence No.15 in the first official Pastoral Licences of 1836 at a cost of £10 for depasturing stock beyond the boundaries of the Colony.
In the Australian 25/4/1840, Earl announced his intention, as soon as surveys were completed, of “offering to the public all that splendid estates of ‘Glenridding’ adjoining the rapidly rising town of Singleton Patrick’s Plains… Again in The Australian 9/7/1840, “J.H. Atkinson has received instructions from the proprietor, John Earl, Esq., of ‘Glenridding’ preparatory to leaving the colony for England to sell at public auction on his estate, 3 miles from the town of Singleton, his celebrated racing stud, hacks etc. There was a similar advertisement on 14th July.
In a case before the Supreme Court of N.S.W., Richard Fawcett, Plaintiff and John Earle (Sic.) Defendant (Sydney Morning Herald 2/10/1844; 5/11/1844) the defendant had, it appeared before his departure for England, left what he considered sufficient funds for the payment of £100 per annum to his wife, Ann Earle (Sic) during her residence in the Colony and £125 for her passage to England whenever she might be desirous of leaving. The money was apparently derived from the estates for this purpose. The yield had not apparently been sufficient to allow payment of the money to Mrs. Earl, who had obviously decided to remain with her family. The case was probably referred to a court in England as Earl was no longer in the Colony.
Ann Earl remained until her death on 14/7/1875, aged 86 years at the home of her daughter, Mary Ann Sevil at Mc Donald’s Creek.