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Frances Barkley

Beth Hill

This recording is part of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society Collection and comprises and address to the members of the Society, entitled Frances Barkley.
Mrs. Hill talks about her research for the book she wrote about youthful Frances Barkley, who travelled around the world and to the Pacific Coast in the eighteenth century, with her husband, Charles Barkley.
Mrs. Hill was a resident of Salt Spring Island.

Accession Number 989.031.047 Interviewer SSI Historical Society meeting address
Date October 13, 1987 Location Cassette tapes box File #24 to File #
Media Audio CD
ID 42 Topic




Unknown Speaker 0:00
Well, I think it's peculiarly appropriate that I should be my greatest fan has just entered. I think I'm talking about the Barclays, because of his enthusiasm for this book. It is appropriate that I am talking to you today, because this is in fact, my last week on Saltspring. Island, after almost 30 years, it seems, subject that I'm almost ready to weed this out. And it's like it terribly homesick, I come back, and we're only going to Victoria. So it wasn't like a long way away. But it does feel terribly. And I mean, I feel very emotional and sentimental about this event today. So you'll forgive me. I also think it's appropriate because most of you may not remember, I'm, in fact, one of the founders of this organization. I guess it's probably because of the community arts project that we did many years ago when we decided to have an exhibition of houses built before 1900. And when I came in the Community Arts Council, since I don't do the inner painting any of those things and looked about for my role, like nurses ideally. And so I could, of course, my interest is History and Archaeology. And there was no historical society here. I was, I think, the only Saltspring member of the Gulf Island Historical Society, and I used to go to great pains to get my theory over to their meetings and Galliano Pendolino works aterna. And of course, we didn't have anything like that. And so I thought it's time we did, and how would I start it? Well, I thought having a project would start people thinking about their history, and it did work out of that project came both the Historical Society. And then, because of course, in same at the same moment, we acquired the digital courthouse, the museum society. And it worries me that for so long, the poor museum society didn't have your direct support. I know that you support it, in principle, but it was a poor founder and hard working group saddled with the immense problems of a building to keep up and exhibits to raise and so on. So you can imagine how delighted I am that now this very strong group has taken the museum society under its wing. And I'm sure that you will presently achieve your aim to have a fireproof Museum and Archives, somewhere in guarantees. I'm really with you on winning, and I am so appreciative of the work of Historical and Museum societies in British Columbia. I am in and out of them all the time doing research of one kind, or another, or wherever I am, I immediately post because they're making out. And of course, for years, I was the regional advisor for the heritage conservation branch first, in having to do with archaeology only. And then when the rules were changed, and the heritage branch took in history, as well as archaeology or whatever you say. The I suddenly found that I was in a sense responsible for the communication, when I didn't like the way that was set up. And I think I told you so on different occasions, that I didn't feel that that was the right way to do it. There were about 40 of us in British Columbia, who were responsible for sure to possibly deal with I mean, I, I couldn't deal with things in this gray area. And the same with having one person for all of Northwest British Columbia. So I advocated for many years, that in fact, they abolish the system of retail advisors, and instead replace it but with some structure by which the heritage conservation branch had a closer there and sold directly with your organization's and all the others in British Columbia. So that that would be direct communication and not to me and not just having a small group of people. I thought that was a foolish arrangement. And I'm glad to say that a month ago, they carried it. I hope you'll hear something from them. I intend to continue what I'm doing and Victoria would like to see that network of connections strengthen between the government branch responsible for heritage and for the disbursement of monies and all of the groups Okay. On with talk about transit Berkeley, I almost didn't say though, that today, I really would like to acknowledge that it was Saltspring island that made me that made me a writer. But in fact, when I came to the island, I came as a librarian almost 30 years ago, when I came, I am tended to be one of the island's most enthusiastic gardeners. But my husband liked this rocky point without any water, that he insisted that we should purchase. And I was in favor of purchasing something in land that was hot and warm with good soil and lots of water. And so in this case, he won. And we, my enthusiasm for gardening died in the first year. On this property was a middle. And so I began reading about British Columbia archaeology and asking questions, and, of course, ended up studying archaeology at Cambridge and then finally, publishing the book about the petroglyphs. Well, that's a surprise to me. I mean, I still am amazed at the way life in fact makes choices for you or in fact, how things happen that way before that book came together. I really felt that fate had a hand in it. I feel to be free. That way about the other books that I've done. Each one coming out of my life, each one coming out of the one before I noticed my life and experience, but they appear like unexpected to me, that they are. But all the things I've done, I think the one that is closest to my heart is this book about Francis partly, perhaps identified this kind of conflict. She was just for those of you who haven't had a chance to read the book, and I will say enough about the book. Now the printer was at issue of 5000, we were down to about the last 500 And they're all owned by towners in Sydney, they bought what was left of the stock. So that's why they're selling at $6. It's out of print, and not available very widely. So that's I carry cartons along with me. Because Marlin horse, my publisher is very concerned that I also do publicity for the books she has published on my behalf. I didn't bring along copies of up customers and the staffers. And those are $10. And I don't sell these myself are actually these books that I have, are owned by etc. This is very complicated, but I don't sell books. And so I just brought them along because it's more convenient if people want. Okay, back to Trump's historically. She was, in fact, an important woman in her way. She was the first woman to go around the world. She was accompany her husband, Captain Charles Barkley, and she arrived here about 200 years ago, and are close to some stunning woman. courageous, very beautiful, married Captain Barkley in a poor way. courtship, I think it lasted three weeks, and went off to sea with him at the age of 17. She had long, beautiful red gold hair very long. The hater pictures, it in all of the legends about her. She had four children. So when it came time to research the book in England, I had to discover the descendants of those four children. Well, it's trust me that in 200 years, the descendants of each line did not know each other. Ultimately, I knew far more about the backlinks than any Barclay, and they assumed I want to park. By the time I've done all the work, I felt like a boxer. So this woman, not only was an example of bravery and courage, she had vulnerable children was born at sea in a storm. One of her children died at sea. But also her story connects for us. It tells exactly why British Columbia became a center of interest in the world's traders. At that particular point, it makes the discovery of British Columbia of some sense, what were they doing here then what was happening in the world? And since she went round the world and round and round, she said happened to her. It's our history into world history. And I think the book has advisors in that regard. But above all,

Unknown Speaker 9:58
she wrote what are published opponents. And I wrote the book because I understood that this was a very angry old woman who wrote reminiscences because, in fact, Charles Barkley's discoveries had been stolen by the unscrupulous Captain John Mears, mirror is published, that Barkley discovered, as if he that is John Mears, had made the discoveries. All of this must have been very hard on her, she was very fond of her husband, as you can tell from reading the reminiscences. And he died long before her. So in her old age, she brought up a small notebook, which now rests on a shelf in the archives of Victoria. And she starting on a blank page, and begins to write the story of their journeys. And their blanks, in fact, that should be placed and put some brackets to be filled in later, the Catherine and, and then she takes into an oil chest, and discovers, to her surprise that she had not thrown out a small diary to keep written at the time of the explorations. And from that point on, she says in her account that she made me with reference to some papers I have found, or something like that, so that she talks a small, scrappy little paper pool. After that, her account takes on a different quality, she's referring continually, she's also editing. We don't know what we've lost with the last of that guy. Because he makes reference into things that one would love to know more about. Captain Barkley was extremely ill. And the first passage across the Atlantic almost died of a fever. And she speaks to the unwelcome attention to the first me who should have had more honor. And when there was nothing more about this at all, when I questioned people at the descending end of these four lines, they all had a story about their being captured at sea. And in every story, it was her glorious hair that was released and killed. And they worshipped as a goddess, whoever had captured them. But interestingly enough, in the four stories, they all had a different geographical location. What happened in the China Sea, what happens in the South Pacific is another example of the way in which stories change over time. But always it's the same story. And obviously, it really must have happened, but where we don't know, because she didn't transfer that incident to the reminiscences. Now, this precious only document did come to British Columbia. Her grandson, Edward Barclay, settled at West home and Vancouver Island, and the relatives in England who had sent it to me. And it was used as the basis for an account of the travels that was published in the Victorian newspaper. And it was also used in the place called slicks name for Canada and wall brands refer to this document, so that this information in world brands account and in this Victoria paper account, which is not in the reminiscences again, it's glimpses of some of the things that were left out. Well, it was partly the grandson died in the fire. He was an old man, and he was alone in the house except for the servant. And the two men rushed out in the middle of the night. And then this old man back into the house, came out again carrying a leather piece containing papers. He left out on the porch, went back in and never returned and his charred body was found the next day. And unfortunately, the leather case was also not completely burned. They found it was charred and inside of just the ashes of the papers, and historians that published account saying that that's where the sea Journal of Francis Barclay was stored. That occurred in 1909. So when I went to England to be research, I have I have to tell you that this event right now because it fits with what I told you earlier about the way I feel somehow support was meant to be done and that it came out of a kind of faith. That is one of my appointments was at Westminster house in the West Country. And they're the present owners, with whom my correspondent said anytime I told them the general time I would be in England to do the research and they said anytime just give them a phone call when I got to England and we can arrange a time for an appointment, or ran I decided to walk the Cotswolds way on this holiday. So it isn't your typical researcher. But we arrived in England with backpacks, all the camera gear. And away we went by bus as comfortable rock as 100 miles long and very useful. When you come to straw, you're only a few miles from where it needs to have. So when we got to Straub, one Saturday morning, I phoned across because it needs to have success. I'm here at Stroud, and we're walking on so to bear. But I can take a bus over anytime in the next week or so whenever it's convenient, and busy challenge excited that segments to have to come straight away we've been waiting for you come to lunch and told me where and when to get a boat bus in the corner and stroke and come across from that. Well, I arrived, minster house with that much warning two hours. And when we knock at the door of the great house should see a picture of it in the moment. With my house greeted me with the announcement that an old friend had arrived, a very old lady who was a friend of the air from whom they had inherited the house. It's clear she would be with us for lunch. We wouldn't mind this intrusion. And of course, now we were ushered into this magnificent drawing room. Beautiful old furniture. And we were introduced when she heard what our errors was, she said, Oh, I know all about Francis Barclay. I read her procedure in retirement. And I said, Well, you what you said was her reminiscences written much later because that document was destroyed in 1909. And she was very angry with me and said, I'm doing like this, and insisted she had read this C journal in 1909. And we argued about it as politely as we could for a while. And I find in despair, she said, I'm sitting in this chair, it lay on this table. It had been sent to this friend, Miss Barkley. It had been sent from Durham, and I already knew that they were had been descendants living in Durham. So I was shocked with that. It's because I mean, I was really surprised. And then I suppose if you read through the, you know, a brachial that I don't know, tell me what you remember. And she immediately began telling me things which are not on the marvels that of all the people in anything, she would be the only person alive who would know this that have not been destroyed in 1909, and that she chosen to have lunch at Westminster house on that day when she hadn't been there for 10 years. It struck me as something of a way that fate says this book is to be. And perhaps it's not. I mean, I don't know whether someone else would have done another growth a better book. But in fact, I was fated to be the one that says if Francis Barkley in some way was determined that her message to world shouldn't rest on the shelf from the archives, in British Columbia, unread so that when I turn about focus brighter, you will understand that I'm speaking of an experience to use in my life was devoted to the research and the writing of travel, making this book very few years for which I am most grateful. I must talk to No, because I want to describe the product I want to say.

Unknown Speaker 19:24
Crisis, Barkley was almost certainly descended from Lord Hampton. That's the family from which Cromwell was also a member of her father, John Trevor was an Anglican priest, very mysterious man. And it was astounding to me that in the research I discovered so much about him. The rest of the family is delighted to know all this about John Trevor. He was in fact to ignoble descent but he was mysteriously married in prison. As he his first wife Frances back his mother had four daughters. Francis was one of twins and her mother died very shortly after she was born. He married again and had four sons. She lives as a priest, medical priests in Germany first and then in austerity. And Francis, his second wife left him taking the sons back to England. And the two other daughters had grown up and there was just a little process. So her father put her in a French convent. So she spoke French, extremely well, she spoke English with a French accent. And she was very well educated for her time, women's education. She made it. She didn't learn very much Greek or Latin. But I think the boys were taught that she had an extremely good education, especially for women. And she was a great help to her husband on the travels, especially during the period when they were prisoners of war of the French, the island of Mauritius. Alright, there was one other thing I might say before I begin, and that was that the that when this was when I found this book, I couldn't tell you how, after I finished the petroglyphs, I was writing an article about the public ships on the shore at close Vancouver Island. And I was this is for Westworld. I didn't bring a copy of that particular number of Petrichor ships and I thought I would be able to identify them by their manner of rigging and say this was this was Barclays this was Mears and so on. But in fact that truth not be so rigging changed when they have to begin to use much more four and a half rigging instead of square six when they came up around the horn in that period. And it's very, there are no illustrations of how they ship to me, with the exception of cooks. So in it my endeavours to find out how the other ships were rigged. I came across Francis Barkley's reminiscences in the archives, and was simply taken with him and went to talk to the archivist and said, there should have been published, that's what France is partly wanted, why everything's been published. So nobody's wanted to publish them. But anyway, we don't own them. They belong to the Berkeley family. Well, I have to discover where they were, it was my first bit of research. And it turned out that they belonged to Commander George Barclay Barnes at the Royal Navy, who was living at Trump. And it seemed all rather beautiful, who commanded Barnes and I became great friends. And he was simply delighted with my quest for more information. Now, his he's dead now and they belong to the, the ownership of that important document is in the hands of his daughter, Heather, Richard, two kids in Victoria. So this is in many ways, a British Columbian store. These people are still here. When I came to do the the further research I began, with the obvious thing, I put an ad in the London Times and asked for information. I had the letter sent to a friend of mine in Cambridge, because postage is so atrocious, so that a lot of the research was done with the help of my friend Margaret Novocaine, which is wonderful. And she suggested that the name of the spelling of the name was unique. That is, there are phosphates at the Barclays banks and that's spelt var CL a why clay, but my Barclays, seven NBA RKLDY I know when they named sweets after Barkley, they misspell it. But she went and looked because in Cambridge, in the university library there, they have all the telephone books in England. So she checked it out. And it was within the realm of principle to send letters to all of them. So we drafted a form letter and actually wrote to all the Barclays in England. And that was a very funny business because there were a lot of letters returned, everybody wanting to be descended. Everybody wants to be connected. But what was rather embarrassing is that all the illegitimate Barclays appeared in this, and I had a lot of difficulty writing letters to explain their connection. As I reconstructed the family tree, it became a little embarrassing because they weren't directly connected. And of course, I did songs who held Barclay objects at the end of the ascending line. So I will be showing you those people in that suit. This was these people were upper class and their lines have to start by reporting to him. So they had records but he was different in the different lines so that it was a great detective task. To put it all together. Each piece of the Steve saw appearing. And of course, there are great gaps. And I must tell you that the our method of research was quite unique, I realized that we would be looking at documents in homes and there wouldn't be Xerox machines. So we bought very good lenses for the camera and took a tripod. And Ray was set up to camera and tripod wherever we were working and photographed all the documents. And that means that there are copies of all these documents in the archives now. So it's all our research where they are. And who's when I got home, and had time to study all this paper, I was amazed to discover I can trace convincement of that loss. I knew he had it by what they knew what they said to somebody else, because I traced it down till I knew where it was. And then I wrote to the general, somebody who I really hadn't, and wrote, he said, you've got it was with your mother's paper, gold block. It's in her box, as I said, and as soon as she finds it, let me know because I'm coming from England Magana. She was excited about it. And he went up to a place where all of his mother's things were stored. And it was not there. And he wrote to me, it was so sad letter because what he did was confessed that he hadn't passed a paper that he has given the task to somebody else, who would have said that it would have looked like nothing, and would carelessly burn his check that the person who had packed with papers, and that person's consent to things, a lot of junk. So I'm afraid that we will never know, reflect in that diary that in fact, much remains so not to read. All right, now let's turn off the lights and look at slides.

Unknown Speaker 27:20
This is not a good slide, and I won't detail it but that actually shows for boys

Unknown Speaker 27:33
on the map for the child he was very well traveled.

Unknown Speaker 27:44
This is where the story begins at close on the West Coast. This is the site where the petroglyphs sit back. Those are chopped, and you see there is one of the steamer paper there to the very face. They're almost worn away. I'm assuming that that one could well have been the imperial eagle, the Barclay ship, or it may not be I can't be sure. And this is a picture of the books that rest in the archives. Now remember that

Unknown Speaker 28:29
there are other papers there. This is a closing list for one of her voyages. Top it says for myself and she leaves the Cosima pack and for the cat unboxing. And for the for the black girls in the lower right hand corner. And for little William, we've seen this with William. I'm very fond of little William who has such adventures his mother took him to visit. A person who was like the King of Siam wasn't the king on sand, but it was a ruler in Southeast Asia on official visits. And Little Women went along and was much larger. But I was devastated when I got to the place where the bathrooms were buried in North London to discover this little William did grow up he only lived to the age of 14. So he had more things taken for him than anyone else. Now, this is an odd story. When we got to England, we walked away from the plane because we had backpacks. And so we just stopped descended from the plane and walked away across the grass of the airport and went to the nearest village. We could see the spires. It was a beautiful spring day sunshine. It was wonderful and we were very happy. And when we got to this village, we took a bed and breakfast. I had a bath and I got into bed and I reached down and lifted up the magazine and looked Have a pile this side the bed it was two years out of date, and I opened it to a double page spread of the castle of the Barclays tower in Scotland you'll see the castle in the lower left. Now this is the castle from which Charles Barkley family comes. The Barclays come from the Barclays of Barclay castle on the West Coast. They come over at the time and within the Conquer. But one younger son in that family went north with Margaret who went up to marry the King of Scotland. And he was given these lamps of power. So the Tony Barclays are very old family and Scotland and Captain Charles Barkley descends from well, I was astounded because I, I was told that that tele council was intact to ruin. But you see, by this odd synchronicity, I was informed upon my arrival that that Tony Castle was in good order. And in fact, I went to see him, which I would not have done. It's another, it's just another synchronicity. So these are glimpses of walking on the customer where I couldn't resist putting this client's up all those hills that down there is Ray striding ahead of me with his backpack. And we're up on a hill for Iron Age, Hill force in southwest England, which is also a golf course. These are just glimpses of the one. There it goes across the field, and lave climbing over with his camera dangling. It's one of the most wonderful rocks in the world. And you can step off anywhere, and it goes past villages so you can find lots of bed and breakfast for overnight and just wandered off to England, and be quite away from any room

Unknown Speaker 31:58
that my backpack with me consulting the guidebook to make sure we're not off the trail because there is a small guidebook that keeps you from getting lost. This is the first block we descend that I met. And these are the, to the east of the trail. So West with the house of east to see this gentleman, and his mother had been a personal trainer, friend of Queen Victoria's. So the room where I worked there was dominated by this colossal bust of the queen, I wish I'd taken the rest of the room so that you have some idea how big it was, it was quite ridiculous. Now, this is a chair purchased by the Barclays in China, which that gentleman gave to the museum convention. I thought that was a wonderful thing for him to do. It has been ever since it was given to me as far as I know, it's still in the fumigation cupboard it has never been exhibited. And I write to them occasionally. And say that one of these days they should do a Barclays exhibit and produces amazing chair, in some free interesting system to this chair, I notify museums in London, that this exists this character is because all furniture made in China, it was made copying English to suit English taste. So it's a very special chair. And let's I'm delighted to know that it does exist and it didn't Vancouver and one of these days it may be available for cheap. Now here's what minster house. And the reasons that this picture is such an odd perspective is that when we arrived, we were a bit early for lunch. And I didn't want to arrive early. So we investigated the church next door and the man arrived to repair the clock. So Ray and I climbed up to the top of the tower. And you may imagine when I got down, I was not really in a state to go to lunch. So I was covered with cobwebs. Through Chip, I was in a mess. So I had to go into the best tree and do my cat and she is here. And this is a house in which the old lady came who told me about the day. We went on down to look at the places where Francis was born. This is our half my view of the church. And I was able to find in the otter Hamilton, a painting of the street in the 1860s I was delighted with that it gives me a picture of the place at the time when she was there. So 200 years ago, sorry. Thinking of staffers to talk about a lot. So while I was doing research in the process, I was also looking at illustrations for the book. And if you look at the book, you'll discover quite a few illustrations from the period which I was able to find. And that is the part where she was baptized in the church, and with the matching of her father and mother, two older sisters, and there, she and her twin sisters, the two babies were sent back home. We went on to the place where her father had his church, and discovered there by looking in the records that her mother was buried under the floor of this church. We went to Ghana, to look at the house where she lived after they returned from there for ages, and it would be this house on the corner, which now the lower floors been converted into a store. But it's quite exciting to find actual rooms where she had live and streets where she had walked in the church at Bath, also was this very important piece of information. Andrew Barkley was telling sparklies alcohol, and when he died, his widow was Elizabeth Willis. And Charles Barkley, brother Andrew, then married his aunt. And so we have all three of them on here. Andrew Barkley, Elizabeth Willis, and at the bottom, Andrew Barkley now, Andrew broccoli. Oh, sorry, am I got that straight? yet? No. John Bachman, sorry. So John Barclay was an important person in their life. And it was because of these marriages, that in fact, Francis and Charles Barkley went very well to do in their old age. And, of course, the marriage, John Barclay probably married his ass in order to keep this wealth in the family. And John Barclay had no children. So the money finally came after child's death to practice and then to her children. And what I brought with me as an exhibit today in this role that I want you to look at afterwards is her will, it's the most astounding documents and you will then realize how extremely well we see that she was able to do