Global Battcock Family Tree

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Elizabeth Battcock

In the early 19th century, Elizabeth Battcock made the Dixon’s Antibilious Pills in the Pill House at Storrington for George Dixon.  Dr George Dixon began making antibilious pills for his wife. These were so “efficacious” that he started giving them to his friends, such as the Duke of Norfolk, the Dowager Lady Saye and Sele and Viscountess Bulkeley. Rave reviews followed, and by the 1790s George was manufacturing and selling masses of his little pink “pills to cure all ills”.  By 1798 Ching’s, the pharmacist, at 4 Cheapside, was running ads claiming to be the “only warehouse for Dixon’s Pills, celebrated for removing bilious disorders”.

When George’s brother, the Rev. Joe Dixon, moved to Storrington, Sussex, in 1795, George went with him. In 1800 George began to have cards printed, offering his (expensive) services as a surgeon to local Sussex gentry. But the pills were starting to dominate his life. By 1801 they were all over the United Kingdom, and selling in boxes at 5s 9d, and half boxes at 2s 9d, and five-boxes-in-one at a guinea each. These pill-boxes were not genuine unless stamped with the name “G. Dixon, Storrington” and sealed with the arms of the proprietor.  By the time George died in 1821, his pills were famous all over the world. Every city in the USA carried them.  The Battcock family, who had for years actually done the making of the pills, continued to manufacture them in the Pill House at Storrington for the Dixons.  Elizabeth Battcock lived to well over 90.


August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

William Battcock 1720

The following is from “Storrington in Georgian and Victorian Times”


William Battcock, bricklayer and manor copyholder became the new lord of the manor, for which he paid £7000. Whitebreads (now Smuggler’s Hut) was leased to Rev. Thomas Raddish, Battcock having held it by copy of court roll and subsequently selling it to Mr Raddish for £32.10s. Raddish sold it to the Rev. Edmund Cartnright for £70 in 1805.


In 1803, William Battcock, then described as a builder, was engaged in a bargain and sale with Rev. Roger Clough and two commissioners for Land Tax Redemption, for £200, of 4.73 acres known as Sperrbridge, which John Butler bought from Elizabeth Wheeler in 1752. Henry Postlethwaite leased a tenement and one acre croft from Battcock near the West Common, with seat room in the second box pew on the left of the south aisle in Storrington Church. The property had come to Battcock in 1777 as a forfeited mortgage, held by copy of court roll. The following year he enfranchised to Thomas and Edward Fuller a messuage and land called Bonsiers. Hills and Willshaws, a Cootham barn and land.


In 1801. a long indenture between the Rt. Hon. Thomas Steele (a trustee) and Edward Michell recites interesting manor history from the time of William Wheeler II. Thomas Steele was assigned the remainder of 1000 year lease in trust for the legitimate heirs. A tripartite indenture of 1754 between Abraham Holford, John Butler and Thomas Steele recited that in 1730, Holford paid £200 to William Wheeler, in return for which Wheeler had granted and demised to Hoi ford,


“… his messuage or tenement and garden … in Storrinqton, and also all that piece of meadowland called the Woodpiece 60 acres … and the Taints 6 acres for 1000 years at a yearly rent of a peppercorn to be void on repayment of £200 and interest”.


A deed poll endorsed on this document noticed the death in 1742 of William Wheeler, who devised the premises to his wife Elizabeth, for her to sell and redeem the mortgage. There was £200 + £65 interest due; Elizabeth Wheeler could not pay it| they agreed to make the £65 a capital sum at 5% interest. The document recalled that in 1752, the messuage and premises (with others) ware conveved and assured to Thomas Morgan to the uses in trust. Abraham HoHord, by direction of John Butler, bargained and sold the properties to Thomas Steele for the residue of the 1000 year term. Indentures of lease and release of 1801 between Patty Clough and Edward Michell confirmed to Michell parcels of land all over the parish, including


“All those several closes or parcels of land … heretofore in the tenure possession or occupation of Francis Sandham late of John Ingram but now of Francis Bennett (that is to say) All these three pieces or parcels of land … The Marshes … Underhill field … Brown and Wiltons … Virgoes … West Clays … Taverners … Oat Crofts … Hawkesfield … East Clays … Middle Clays … Champions Butts … Edward Simmonds Butts … The Mood Head … Maiden Acre … Tenants Holt … Holt Copoice … The West Farme otherwise Kithurst Fare … tte Town Fan and Maidens Croft and coppice … to hold the same unto the said Edward Michell, his heirs and assigns for ever.”


An important Iease was drawn up in 1830 between George Battcock of Brighthelmstone, surgeon, eldest son and heir of William Battcock (deceased intestate) and William Battcock of Storrington, gent., his brother. It cites various properties including the messuage near the West Common, a malthouse which had become two cottages. Stable field, Speerbridge field, Back lane field, The Knells. Clay Pit Mead, The Slip and some hill property all of which belonged to William Battcock I and descended to George Battcockin 1828. The transaction transaction was “…in consideration of natural love and affection”.


William Battccck II, unlike his father, made a Mill, leaving his household furniture to his wife Mary Anne and daughter Lydia, together with hit real estate, jointly with trustees. He devised one third to Lydia, one third to his dauqhter Elizabeth Smeaton and her children and the remaining third to his three other grandchildren, his son (their father) being dead. Between 1788 and 1841, William Battcock acquired from Mr Pelham, half-a-dozen fields mentioned in the deed cf 1830 between the two brothers. They stretched from the northernmost, Ryecroft, to the southern Underhill field beside today’s Greyfriars farm.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Joce Batecocke, Exchequer of the Jews, 1256

Joce Batecock


The earliest reference to a “Battcock” is of Joce Batecock, a Jewish merchant in the 13th century.  Being a Jewish merchant in 13th century England was not particularly easy.  There was a steady growth of discrimination and persecution of Jews throughout the 13th century.  In 1217, Pope Innocent III had pass the law enforcing all Jews to wear an oblong white patch and in 1218 Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury brought it into operation in England.  Petitions were sent to the king to remove Jews from Newcastle in 1234, Wycombe in 1235 and Berkhamsted in 1242.  In 1255, there was the revival of the blood libel with a charge of ritual murder in Lincoln. Ninety-one Jews were sent to London to the Tower, eighteen were executed for refusal to plead, and the rest were imprisoned.  With the outbreak of the Baron’s war in 1264, the situation grew steadily worse. The Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Winchester, Cambridge and Lincoln were looted.

In 1267, the “Exchequer of the Jews” has a record of a court case involving a Joce Batecock.  The “Exchequer of the Jews” (Scaccarium Judaeorum) was a division of the Court of the Exchequer at Westminster, which recorded and regulated the taxes and the law-cases of the Jews in England.  It was not long after this court case when all Jews were expelled from England in 1290. 

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Batcocks in Glamorgan

Batcocks in Glamorgan

The earliest reference in Glamorgan is of a “Batcocke” from 1493 at Llangennith. There was an Agnes Batcocke living in Llandyfodwg, Glamorgan in 1561, a Nicolas Battcock in Porteynon in 1607 and a Hugh Batcock in Swansea in 1614.

Many of the Batcocks in Glamorgan were involved in the manufacture of guns.  John Batcock born in 1800, Joseph Batcock born in 1823, William born in 1835, David Batcock born in 1837 and Joseph William born in 1849 were all gunmakers.  Joseph worked at Nordenfeld and Vickers and worked on the Vickers machine gun that was calibrated so that it could shoot through the propellers of a plane.  Batcocks in Glamorgan claim Joseph designed the aircraft gun that brought down the first Zeppelin in WW1 on 3rd September 1916.  For his exploits, the pilot William Leefe Robinson received a Victoria Cross.  

Charles Edward Batcock from Glamorgan born in 1899, joined the RAF and worked as a fitter.  He migrated to the US before the outbreak of WW2 and worked in Detroit for Ford.  He designed the steering column gear shift but as war broke out, he put a patent on it.  After the war, he returned to the UK. He continued to pay for the patent throughout the war years.  The one year he forget to renew the patent was the year Ford Motor Company developed their new gear system.

 There is a strong likelihood that the first Battcock in Newfoundland, Canada was related to the Batcocks from Glamorgan as there were very close links between Newfoundland and the west Coast ports around Devon. The Battcocks in Newfoundland lived in and around Brigus South which was dependant on the trade in cod.  Two Battcocks represented their communities in the Canadian Parliament and a Battcock became a leading catholic clergyman.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


I’m putting together the family tree of the family, and Battcock Henry was the brother of my great-grandmother. According to the information I could gather (copy of marriage license), Henry married Louisa Battcock Hollis of Belotti (widow of 19 years with two children: Alice and Emilia), and had eight children. They lived in Rosario.
Greetings. Juan Wells

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Battcocks in Argentina

Henry Battcock


 Henry Battcock was born in 1820 in Chelsea.  He married Jeannette Gertrude Spence.  He started work as a grocer at 14 Marylebone Street, Regent Street, London.  In 1848 he became a “landed proprietor” of Cold Harbour in Croydon.  They had five children in England: Fanny Gertrude Battcock was born in 1848, Thomas James Battcock in 1850, Jeannette Elizabeth Battcock in 1852, Henry Wellesley Battcock in 1855, Frederick Walter Battcock in 1860 in Southampton and Frank Harper Battcock in 1863.  In 1863 they moved to Southampton and then to Argentina to work on railways. 


 Henry and his family lived in Rosario in Argentina.  Arthur Seymour emigrated to near Rosario at the same time as Henry Battcock.  In his book “Pioneering in the Pampas” he describes Rosario of the 1860s. 

 “The chief highways of the Plate country are the rivers, and we now embarked for Rosario on the Parana, the river that bounds the western side of Entre Rios. The scenery resembles that of the Uruguay, as we were again ascending a stream of about twenty miles in breadth, studded with many islands which interrupt the view from bank to bank, causing it to present the appear­ance of a lake rather than of a river. No great beauty enlivens the scene between Buenos Ayres and Rosario, as the flattish land on either side the Parana is scantily wooded, and no hills occur to vary its monotony. The steamers are fairly comfortable, and ply only for pas­senger traffic; heavy goods coming up and down in sail­ing vessels.

 Rosario stands on the high banks of the river, in the middle of a perfectly flat green plain, but the river makes some variety in the view. It is a rapidly increasing place, at present containing about sixty thousand people, and, being quite a modern town, is much better built than Buenos Ayres, whose narrow streets, from the plan on which that town is built, cannot possibly be widened. The port of Rosario is very good, and quite large ships can come close in. This is a great advantage to settlers in the province of Cordoba, as in this way things can be sent direct by water from Eng­land to Rosario. There are a great many English settlers round Rosario, and a little later than the time of which I am now writing, one was always sure, in coming down to Rosario, to find some English friends, either at the hotel or in the English stores.”

 “Rosario will shortly be lighted with gas, like any town in the old country. Common oil lamps had been introduced for some little time when I was first there; but before that a very primitive sort of light was used in the shape of potro oil, that is to say, oil made from mares’ fat; potro means a colt.”

 The Central Argentine Railways

 Henry went to Argentina to work on the Central Argentine Railway.  In 1863, the Government of Argentina had granted William Wheelwright, a concession to build a railway line between the cities of Rosario (a major port in southern Santa Fe, on the Parana River) and Cordoba (a large city in the  center of Argentina).  Arthur Seymour noted in his book that “the flat nature of the country makes it very suitable for railways, as scarcely anything in the shape of cuttings or embankments are required; tunnels are quite unknown; and the bridges over the rivers are the only part of the railways that need any time to make”.

 The construction started in 1863 with the building of the station in Rosario. The line, a 5 foot 6 inch broad gauge railway, reached Córdoba in 1870, covering a total of 396 km. It was the longest in Argentina at the time, and the first to join two provinces.  Many people from England and Wales emigrated to work on the railways in Argentina.  Arthur Seymour felt that “the railways are made entirely by English contractors, and pay everyone concerned in them extremely well. A new one from Buenos Ayres to Mendoza is talked of, and will in all probability be shortly begun, and if it reaches Mendoza will no doubt be continued through the Andes to Chili.

 e English contractors did bring an English style to the construction of the stations and waiting rooms as Arthur Seymour noticed.  “The railway waiting-room always gave me a much more home-like feeling than anything else in the country; and I used to look quite affectionately at the clerk, dispensing the tickets through the square pigeon­hole, and all the other little things that reminded me of old England”. 


The railways were opening up the whole area for development.  Arthur Seymour was very excited by the opportunities.  “In fact, the River Plate ought to be one of the most flou­rishing countries in the world, from its great natural ad­vantages of every sort; and the settlers there would appear unable to avoid shortly becoming millionaires”.

“The traffic on the line increased daily, as even the natives, slow as they are to adopt any improvements began to discover that their goods accomplished the one hundred and thirty miles between Rosario and Frayle Muerto much more rapidly by rail than in the tortoise-like bullock-carts; and there was a great deal of passenger traffic, the English settlers finding it now much more fre­quently necessary to go down to Rosario on business than when the journey entailed two days’ confinement inside the stuffy diligence.”   

 The Rosario Races

 Much to Arthur Seymour’s delight the Railway Company put on races.  The races were a great success, the weather was beau­tiful, and a special train to Roldan was organised for the day. A good many ladies, both English and Spanish, were to be seen in the grand stand, which was very cleverly erected by the railway company upon trucks. The scene was a very novel and striking one, the gaily-dressed Gauchos galloping wildly about in the sunlight, which flashed upon the silver trappings of their horses, contrasting strongly with the grave black dresses of the gentlemen of the upper classes. Altogether it was a very cheerful and inspiriting sight.  The horses were all of the native breed on this occasion, though a great effort is now being made to introduce some English blood.” 

 “The day after the races a grand dinner was got up by all the English assembled in Rosario, and it was very pleasant to see all one’s old friends again; we drank success to the Rosario Race Club, and to the English estancias in the River Plate”.     


Central Argentine Railway Athletics Club

 It was English railway workers set up the first football clubs in Argentina including the Central Argentine Railway Athletics Club which is still one of the top teams in Argentina.

 In time of Cholera

 Henry and his family would have been in Rosario during the Paraguayan war.  The Paraguayan war involved most of South America. It started when Brazil attacked Uruguay.  Uriguay asked Paraguay for help who declared war on Brazil oand then on Argentina.  Then Uruguay decided to support Brazil and Argentina.

 At the beginning of the war, the military force of the Triple Alliance of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina was smaller than that of Paraguay. During the first phase of the war Paraguay took the initiative and invaded the Mato Grosso.

 Brazil sent an expedition to fight the invaders in the Mato Grosso.  Despite the Brazilian efforts the Mato Grosso remained under the control of the Paraguayans. They finally withdrew in April 1868, moving their troops to the south of Paraguay.  Communications in the south of Paraguay was by river. Whoever controlled the rivers would win the war, so the Paraguayan fortifications had been built on the edges of the lower end of Río Paraguay.

 The naval battle of Riachuelo was fought on June 11, 1865. The Brazilian fleet commanded destroyed the powerful Paraguayan navy and decided the outcome of the war.

 The outcome of the war was the utter defeat of Paraguay. After defeat in conventional warfare, the conflict turned into a drawn-out guerilla-style resistance that devastated the Paraguayan military and civilian population. The guerilla war lasted until 1870. One estimate places total Paraguayan losses, through both war and disease (particulay cholera), as high as 1.2 million people, or 90% of its pre-war population.

 The war brought cholera to Rosario.  Arthur Seymour described the outbreak.  “Cholera had made its appearance, for the first time, as far as I am aware, in the River Plate, and had been very prevalent both in Rosario and Buenos Ayres. It was supposed to have come down the river from the allied forces engaged in the Paraguayan war, who had been suffering very severely from disease, occasioned by bad food and exposure to damp. These constant attacks of cholera and fever had more than decimated the army, and great fears were of course entertained as to the havoc that such an epidemic as cholera might make in the towns. The natives, and especially the lower class of them, who live in small filthy ranches on the outskirts of Rosario, had been the chief sufferers, and hardly any cases of cholera had appeared among the foreigners and better-fed natives”.

 “Our well-known and popular consul, Mr. Hutchinson, exerted himself in the most devoted and praiseworthy manner to afford relief to the sick; and owing to his exertions a temporary hospital was erected, which was soon crowded with patients.”

 “At Villa Nueva a great number of the foreigners employed on the railway had died of it.  It appeared to have assumed the form of the worst kind of Asiatic cholera, and was some­thing beyond all belief. In Cordoba more than eight hundred a day were dying, out of a population of a few thousands, and in a monastic college there thirty-two out of the forty inmates had died.    It was at this moment very bad in Frayle Muerto, and there was little else for anyone to speak of but the terrible state of things through­out the country.    At a few leagues’ distance from Frayle Muerto the railway conductor pointed out to us a dead body lying not far from the tramway, which he told us was that of a tropero (a man traveling with mules), who having been attacked by the disease, was stripped and left to die by his heartless companions.    We heard many melancholy instances of this sort of desertion, cowardly relations and friends leaving the person attacked to perish without any effort for his recovery or relief, beyond a jug of water placed at his side; and the guard related one curious case of this description, in particular.    A few days before, he had seen, when passing near Villa Nueva, a man lying by the side of the railway, apparently dead, with a large demajuana of water placed near him; on the second day, however, the man had disappeared, and the guard found on enquiry that he had recovered from his deathlike state almost miraculously, and without any care or attention from his friends, beyond the jug of cold water which they had put near him when first he fell down there”.


Revolution and gunboat diplomacy

“On reaching Rosario I found the town in a very dis­orderly state, as, notwithstanding the cholera, the Federal party had taken this opportunity of getting up a revolution, and the place was in their hands.

 Two English gunboats had been summoned by our consul, from Buenos Ayres, to protect the British interests, as one of the Argentine gunboats having been fired into by the rebels, they had begun bombarding the town, and the shots had entered several houses, and greatly alarmed the peaceable inhabitants. I had only been a few hours in Rosario when I heard that one of the Las Rosas partners, who had been for a short time in England, had just re­turned, and while walking from the station to the town I met the whole party, just landed from the river steamer, and on their way to the station, accompanied by the com­mander of the Doterel (one of the gunboats), and escorted by a guard of marines.”

 The descendants of Henry and Gertrude

 Henry and Gertrude’s son Thomas James Battcock married Beatrice Mary.  They had one son Leonard Stanley Battcock born in 1906, who emigrated to New York.  Their second son Henry Wellesley married Louisa and had five children: Alberto Francisco born in 1898, Victoria Gertrude born in 1899, Thomas William in 1900, Henry Juan in 1902 and Rosie Clara.  Frederick Walter married Juan-Maria and had two children Miguel Federico born in 1899 and Janet Gertrude in 1891.  Frank Harper Battcock married Amilia Castelli and had one child Amilia Beatrice in 1900. There are now 20 or 30 Battcocks in Argentina.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment