Brief history of the Ravenscroft Family arrival in South Africa
George Ravenscroft - The First Ravenscroft to settle in Southern Africa
George Ravenscroft was born in Reading in the very early 1800’s. Probably around 1804/1805. He married Marian Weller (called Anne) whose date of birth, death and marriage are unknown. George must have married in his early twenties as his first child Anne must have been born before 1830 as this is the birth year of her eldest brother Thomas.
Two books ~The Family of Ravenscroft~and ~Some Ravenscroft’s~ state that George Ravenscroft came to South Africa in 1824 and that he had a daughter and four sons. This is not correct on two counts. Firstly because his first two sons’ where both baptised on St. Helena in 1830 and 1832 respectively while the last two sons the book mentions were born in South Africa in the years 1838 and 1842 and secondly because I have found proof of a fifth son born in 1835 and buried in Grahamstown. This date (1824) was probably the date that George left England. After thirty five years of research I was able to confirm that George Ravenscroft was in the Military and that he did come to South Africa from Saint Helena. I have been told that he arrived with his family on a ship called the 'Duke of Buccleugh' but I have been unable to confirm this or the date of arrival.
The known facts are that George and Anne (Marian) Ravenscroft had six Children, a daughter and then five boys. Their eldest child and only daughter, Mary Anne, married a John Smith of Reading dates unknown and no more is known of her. George and Annie then produced five sons. In 2011 after 40 years of research I came across a Burial notice for a John Ravenscroft. Up to this time Johns existance had never appeared in any genealogy of the family and to all intents and purposes he was person forgotten to us but not I am sure, to his parents. I have a copy of his burial notice but this stage I have not been able to find his birth details or documents.
It's from Georges remaining four sons that most of the Ravenscroft’s in South Africa are descended. George Ravenscroft finally moved to and settled in Swellendam in the Western part of the Cape Colony with his family. Thomas and James stayed in Swellendam and information that I have indicates that William and Charles later moved over the mountains to Montague. The Grandchildren of this George Ravenscroft spread out all over the then fast growing settlements in Southern Africa and became integrated into the fabric of their communities. So much so that when Second War of Independence (Boer War) of 1898 to 1902, took place there were Ravenscroft’s fighting for both sides. Some fought on the side of The Orange Free State and Transvaal Republics while some fought for the English Colonists, by serving in colonial regiments.
Herewith the documentation of the birth dates & places of George's five sons.
Thomas - Born & Baptised in1830 on St Helena Island.
William - Born & Baptised in 1832 on St Helena Island.
John - Born 1835 - Buried in Grahamstown Cape Colony 18th December 1836.
James - Born in 1838 in Grahamstown Cape Colony.
Charles - Born 1842 in Wynberg cape Colony.
The Reverend Samuel Hough Ravenscroft Branch.
The Reverend Samuel Hough Ravenscroft is not a descendant or close relation of George Ravenscroft who arrived in Southern Africa between 1832 and 1838. As stated else where it does not matter as we are all family and we carry the same Ravenscroft DNA and genes and that make us family.
In the "Lyst van Stem Gerechtigde van OFS Burgers" dated 1895 and also in "Die Geskiedenis van Harrismith" written by FA Steytler it is recorded that the Reverend SH Ravenscroft was a minister of the Wesleyan Church of Harrismith.
At the Methodist Church on Kloof Nek Road Cape Town the notice board inside records that the Rev SH Ravenscroft was the minister there in 1902.
His parents were Samuel Ellen Hough Ravenscroft. He was born in Runcorn Chester in 1855 . He married an Elizabeth, born James, in Wynberg Cape Town and they had six children. The only information I have stems from his Death Notice.
Attached find the family tree that relates to this family.