Richard Pheney

Richard Pheney[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Male Abt 1803 - 1881  (~ 78 years)

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  • Name Richard Pheney 
    Born Abt 1803  London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9
    Gender Male 
    Died 4 Mar 1881  New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
    Address:
    New Plymouth Hospital 
    Obituary 5 Mar 1881  New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [20, 21, 22
    _UID 7D58DE221ADC466FA361F4C507B8F0B29E4B 
    Buried 5 Mar 1881  Henui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [11, 23, 24
    Address:
    Henui Cemetery 
    Person ID I1520  Treefive
    Last Modified 2 Apr 2017 

    Father Richard Pheney,   b. 1750,   d. 20 Feb 1830, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Mother [Unknown] [Unknown],   b. Abt 1780,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F463  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Frances Maria Cripps,   b. 1 Sep 1807, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Apr 1835, Clapham, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 27 years) 
    Married 1 Jun 1830  London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
    Address:
    St James, Paddington 
    Children 
     1. Richard Cliff Francis Pheney,   b. 13 May 1831, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Oct 1869, New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 38 years)
     2. Margaret Jane Pheney,   b. 25 Sep 1832, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Oct 1835, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 3 years)
     3. Francis Pheney,   b. Abt 1834, Wandsworth, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Apr 1865, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years)
    Last Modified 3 Mar 2018 
    Family ID F461  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    00149 Richard Pheney
    00149 Richard Pheney
    Portrait by Miss Millington, London 1828
    00047 Richard Pheney  1828
    00047 Richard Pheney 1828
    Portrait by Miss Millington
    01039 Richard Pheney
    01039 Richard Pheney

  • Notes 


    • Richard Pheney was born in 1803, the son of Richard Pheney of London (1750-1830). The name Pheney is very rare in England (practically non-existent in Scotland) but with a significant number of the variant Phene surname having French-type first names. Richard is said to have a Scottish connection (to the Hogarths, Kate being the wife of Charles Dickens) and a possible French origin.

      Richard's father (Richard sen.)

      Richard sen.'s origins are uncertain. He was about 53 years old when his son Richard born in 1803, so it is likely that he was much older than his wife (Richard's mother).

      A James Pheney died on 1 Mar 1795 aged 7 months and was buried 5 Mar 1795 at St Pancras Old Church - it is possible that he was another child of Richard sen.

      Richard sen. was a prosperous law stationer in Chancery Lane, his son Richard succeeded to his business. His business was variously described as being at Inner Temple Lane 1790-1826, or Middle Temple Lane 1791 - 1797, or 17, Fleet Street (corner Inner Temple Lane) 1827-1830. Copies of some of his publications are still available on the internet. A search on www.worldcat.org in March 2014 showed that Richard started publishing in earnest in the 1790s, with the earliest titles in 1790. For one book in 1792 ('The Law's Disposal of a Person's Estate who Dies Without Will or Testament'), he was described as "R. Pheney successor to P. Uriel". The book "The Common Law of Kent, or the Customs of Gavelkind, with an appendix concerning Borough English" by Thomas Robinson of Lincoln's Inn, Esq, 2nd Edition, London, was printed by His Majesty's Law Printers for P. Uriel, Inner Temple Lane. The second-edition date on the title page was 1788. According to the British Museum, the address of Pearce Uriel (publisher/printer; British; Male; 1742 - 1789; fl. c.) was Temple Lane, over against Chancery Lane (1742) Temple Lane, Whitefriars (1789) . The Gentleman's Magazine reported in 'Obituaries of considerable Persons' in June 1789: "at Bath, aged 73, Mr. Pearce Uriel, of Islington, for many years a well-known law bookseller in Temple-lane." This may mean that Richard Pheney succeeded Pearce Uriel in 1789.

      The Times on Wed 24 February 1830 reported:
      "Died: on Saturday evening last, at six, at his residence in Fleet-Street, at the advanced age of 80, Mr Pheney, upwards of 52 years law-bookseller in Inner Temple-Lane, universally regarded as an upright and charitable man."
      He was buried on 2 March 1830 at St Pancras Church.
      The Times was probably generous with Richarad sen.'s years as a bookseller - the evidence in newspaper advertisements of his publications for sale goes back only to about 1790.

      Richard Pheney (1803-1881)

      There are few details of Richard's early life in England. He Pheney was a law stationer in London, then settler, farmer, clerk of the Taranaki Provincial Parliament, and newspaper editor in Taranaki, New Zealand. His was a life of contrasts, from the sophisticated literary circles of London, to pioneering struggles and adventures in colonial New Zealand, to a central place in the political intrigues of early New Plymouth. Personal tragedy was never far from Richard in adulthood, and played a major part in his decision to emigrate from England to New Zealand.

      It is perhaps surprising that more is known of Richard than most of his children and grandchildren - possibly an indication of his stature, or maybe just a reflection of his literary bent, which left considerable material for future researchers to use. Whatever the reason, his life is an interesting study of a complex man coping with nineteenth century life in England and New Zealand.

      London, England

      In 1830 Richard succeeded to his father's successful law stationer business at 89 Chancery Lane (near the Old Bailey) in London, to which he drove from a villa residence in the suburbs.

      He was said to be an associate of Shelley, Keats and Leigh Hunt, to be connected with the late Charles Dickens through the Hogarths, and an intimate friend of Forster, the biographer of Dickens.

      But he had trouble with his business affairs. A partnership between Richard, his late father and John Richards (law bookseller of Fleet St) was dissolved on 22 March 1830, only a month after Richard snr died. Then in 1833 Richard was the subject of a "fiat in bankruptcy". There were various bankruptcy proceedings between 1833 and 1836 with a final dividend of his estate not made until 15 July 1842. It seems that he continued publishing during these troubling times, at least until 1842.

      Richard married Frances Maria Cripps in 1830, they had two sons Richard and Frank and a daughter Margaret. Frances Maria died in April 1835 after a short illness, and Margaret died six months later. Richard was badly affected by these personal tragedies.

      The Law Directory of the London Post Office Directory for 1842 has no entry for Richard under "Law Booksellers, Publishers and Stationers". It seems that he had ceased publishing by then, at least in London.

      Richard allowed his life to drift and his business suffered. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1850, leaving Richard and Frank in the care of his half-sister, Miss Neale. In the 1851 census son Richard was in Stanhope Street, Marylebone with his great uncle William Pople, and described as a lithographer’s apprentice.

      New Plymouth, New Zealand

      Richard emigrated to New Zealand on the ship 'Eden' in 1850, the first port of call being New Plymouth, then Nelson, and finally arriving in Wellington on 30 Nov 1850. He then walked from Wellington to New Plymouth, a three week epic journey, to save the 3 pounds ship fare. He took up land, a small farm, at Omata 7 kilometres from New Plymouth.

      Richard sent letters from New Zealand to the family in England between 20 June 1850 on board the “Eden” in the Bay of Biscay and 6 Jan 1851 in New Plymouth, and also kept a diary of his walk. The letters include references to family and friends in England (the relationships are often not clear) – Aunt Betsy, his sons’ uncle and aunts, Miss Neal and Charlotte, Mr and Mrs Suzelback, Mr Clift, Miss Hindson. The letters also cover various topics the journey to New Plymouth and Nelson, musings on farming (sheep, crops), business ventures including importing items in short supply.

      The puriri timber used to build Omata stockade was obtained from Pheney’s farm. The timber may have come from the Sealy Rd end (which, it is believed, was at that time formed to Pheney Rd, but is now not) or down Hurford which was then connected directly to Waireka Rd - a lot longer route than the ‘newer’ main road formed in 1900’s. It is unlikely that Sealy Road was used to transport the timber, as the route from the corner of Pheney and Hurford is much flatter. At the lower side of Pheney Road (the probable location of Richard's farm) there was until recently (2014) a motley collection of rough piggeries. There is also a nice area of flat land before dropping into a gully.

      Early ‘‘minutes” of Okato & Districts Historical Society meetings have brief references to early churches in the Omata district. One, St.Brides, was on the corner of Pheney and Hurford roads, but no date is given. There was also an unnamed Methodist Church next to the old headstones alongside Omata School, again no date, but the school celebrated its centenary in 2003.

      On 8 Nov 1854 Richard Pheney signed a petition to form a Rifle Corps. On 29 Nov 1856 R. Pheney was proposed as a candidate to contest an election to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of the Superintendent for the Grey and Bell district. He was defeated by J. Lewthwaite by 44 votes to 31.

      On March 15 1856, Feb 20 1858 and Feb 18 1860 R. Pheney appeared on a roll of persons qualified to serve as jurors and was listed 'Settler, New Plymouth'. On 16 Apr 1859 – Richard Pheney of Carrington Road (freehold house and land) was listed as one of the “Persons with a claim to vote at the Election of Members of the House of Representatives for the town of New Plymouth, Grey & Bell District”.

      Even after emigrating to New Zealand and taking on the farm, Richard could not escape the limelight totally. After Richard was found to be the author of some well-written letters published in the Taranaki Herald, he was induced to come out of obscurity, and assist in constitutional matters as clerk of the Taranaki Provincial Parliament. As a law bookseller he had compiled and published many legal reports and other works. This gave him a varied and useful knowledge of law and constitutional questions, which was often of use to the Taranaki Parliament in working out their legislative problems.

      He was appointed editor of the Taranaki Herald in 1852 and was dismissed on 29 Nov, 1856, owing to a disagreement with the policy of the newspaper. The Taranaki News started in May 1857, and Richard was appointed editor.

      The Taranaki News did well under Richard’s guidance, until his son Frank died in England in 1865 and his remaining son Richard died in New Plymouth in 1869, having emigrated to New Zealand with his family just two years earlier. After this, Richard lost the will to continue and, like his first great grief many years earlier, he allowed his life to drift, without aim.

      Richard Pheney died intestate on 4th March 1881, with his estate valued at less than 5 pounds. He was buried at Te Henui Cemetery in New Plymouth, where his son Richard had been buried in 1869. The locations of their graves are unknown.

      Extracts relating to Taranaki newspapers

      From "The History of Taranaki" (B. Wells, pub. Edmondson & Avery, New Plymouth, 1878) p. 168:
      "The year 1857 commenced with the excitement consequent on an election. Mr Charles Brown's term of office having expired, the election of a Superintendent of the Province took place on the 13th January, when Mr George Cutler was returned. Just prior to the election, the Taranaki "Herald" in one week changed from the advocacy of the return of Mr Brown to that of Mr Cutfield, and Mr Pheney failing to concur in the change was dismissed by the proprietor, in consequence of which the friends of Mr Brown started the Taranaki "News", the editorship of which was given to Mr Pheney."

      From "The Industrious Heart: A history of New Plymouth" (J.S. Tullett, pub. New Plymouth City Council, 1981):
      pages 174 175:
      "Woon, after a brief absence in Wanganui, acquired full control of the paper in 1854, following two years of production problems and editorial differences as a result of which Crompton withdrew in favour of Richard Pheney. Crompton had an abrasive pen and his resignation followed an offending leading article in which he repudiated the New Zealand Company's claim on the unsold land in the settlement and objected to the 'imperial legislation', proposing that the New Zealand settlers make good the 'Land Company's' loss.

      “Pheney's style, though not as abrasive as Crompton's, soon aroused hostility with criticism of the central government's policy on the land problem and its tardiness in 'defending' New Plymouth, and in November 1856 another editorial change occurred. The triennial elections for provincial government, the second in the settlement's history, were approaching, and the 'Herald" changed from the advocacy of the sitting superintendent, Charles Brown, to that of George Cutfield. Pheney, opposing the change ordered by Woon, resigned, and friends of Brown started the ’Taranaki News’ on May 14, 1857, appointing Pheney its first editor."

      page 177:
      “The 'Taranaki Daily News' was born on May 14, 1857, 'to prevent a monopoly in the presentation of news and views.' The two men behind its establishment were Charles Brown and Richard Pheney. When the Herald decided to support George Cutfield instead of Brown as superintendent of the province Pheney, editor of the 'Herald', resigned.

      Following Brown's defeat a meeting of 'interested parties' was called to a large room in the Masonic Hall (now the site of the Bank of New Zealand). It was attended by a few friends of Brown and a smaller number of those who, as in any community, were willing to have a go at any new proposal. Brown, 'a pushful energetic trader smarting under political defeat, and Pheney, an ex Cockney trader who preferred the pen to the billhook, smarting under the loss of the editorship he felt he should have retained only by the sacrifice of principle', both addressed the meeting with the result that the 'News' was established with Brown as 'conductor', Pheney as editor and W. Collins as printer."

      Obituaries:

      New Zealand Mail, 12 March 1881, page 9

      DEATH OF A JOURNALIST

      UNITED PRESS ASSOCIATION
      NEW PLYMOUTH, March 4

      Mr Richard Pheney, for many years editor and proprietor of the Taranaki News, died at 5 o’clock this morning aged 70 years. He was one of the early settlers of this place, and in his younger days was an associate of Shelley, Keats and Leigh Hunt.

      Taranaki News, 5 March 1881, page 10b

      THE LATE RICHARD PHENEY

      MR RICHARD PHENEY, a notice of whose death during the week appears in our obituary columns, was born in 1803, and succeeded early in life to his father, a Law stationer and bookseller in Chancery Lane, London, who had a private residence in the suburbs. The sorrow which wrecked his life was the death of his wife, to whom he was fondly attached. She was in the prime of life at her death, and was not ill for many days. She left him with two boys, who were educated as lithographic artists. After this he allowed his life to drift without caring about business, the result being the winding up of his affairs, and his sailing for this Colony, in the Eden, in 1850. He landed in Wellington, but shortly afterwards came up overland to Taranaki. Having obtained land at Omata, he resided in that district until the attention of Mr Hulke had been drawn to some able letters signed X.Y.Z., published in the Taranaki Herald, and he had been discovered to be the author of them, when he was induced to come out of obscurity, and join in the working of the Constitution Act in this Province, which Sir G. Grey had started at the wrong end by constituting the Provincial legislatures before he constituted the General Assembly.

      Mr Pheney then became editor of the Taranaki Herald, a position which he held until the Provincial election of January, 1857, when the proprietor suddenly determined to support the outgoing superintendent no longer. Mr Pheney was asked as editor to support Mr Cutfield, or to give up his post, and he chose the latter alternative with the result of his friends starting him in the TARANAKI NEWS. This new undertaking prospered under his hands until the death of one of his sons in England, and subsequently the death of the other in New Zealand, leaving him without relatives except grandchildren, which so prostrated him that he never recovered his equanimity. As a law bookseller he compiled and published many legal reports, and other works. This gave him a varied and useful knowledge of law and constitutional questions, which was often of use to our local law givers in working out their legislative problems. He was at home with all the most eminent British authors, and he was gifted with such an excellent memory as enabled him generally to be able to name the author of a quotation, and frequently also to quote the context. Genial, good and true hearted, he made many friends, and we believe not one enemy. He was connected with the late Charles Dickens through the Hogarths, and was an intimate friend of Forster, the biographer of Dickens.

      Taranaki Herald, 5 March 1881

      THE LATE MR RICHARD PHENEY

      The late Mr Richard Pheney was born in 1803, and succeeded his father as a prosperous law stationer and bookseller in Chancery Lane, London, to which he drove in from a villa residence in the suburbs. The death of his wife, whom he loved better than himself, wrecked his life. He neglected his business, and it soon departed from him. His two boys were cared for by his half-sister, Miss Neale, and eventually were brought up – one as a lithographic artist, and the other as a printer. The portrait of Mrs Pheney was that of a beautiful and refined woman in the early prime of life, and was taken not long before the short illness from which she died. He then determined to leave everything which reminded him of his grief, and sailed for New Zealand in 1850 on the ship Eden. He arrived in New Plymouth during that year, and settled on some land which he acquired at Omata. Some letters of his which appeared in the TARANAKI HERALD about 1852, when the Constitution Act had been proclaimed, attracted the attention of Mr Hulke, who ferreted Mr Pheney out, and induced him to join other settlers in introducing Provincial Institutions. This shortly after led to his becoming the editor of the HERALD, a position which he held until about 1857, when a partial change in its proprietary caused a change of views in the paper, which Mr Pheney could not agree with, and he accordingly resigned his position. The result was that his friends assisted him to start the Taranaki News, a speculation that he did very well by, until his energies collapsed through the death of one of his sons in London; and, subsequently, the death of the surviving son here in 1869. After this he could never be roused again to make an effort, and like his first great grief, it caused him to allow his life to drift, without aim, to its close. He died peacefully on Friday morning, of a painful throat infection, from which he had suffered for sometime past.

      His experience as a Law publisher had given him a varied and extensive knowledge of Judicial and Constitutional Law; and no one here probably had such a memory, and so well stored with reading that it was rarely he could not give the name of the author of a quotation; and often the preceding and following lines. Of a retiring disposition, kind and true hearted, he was not a man to press himself forward in the race of life unless he had a motive outside himself in the well-being of someone dear to him, as were his wife, and then his sons. When they passed away from him, he felt no motive in life, and allowed it to drift with him to the end.

      Portraits by Miss Millington in 1828 of Richard and his wife Frances Maria were donated on 2 Nov 2016 by Rex Sinnott to the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.
      At the same time, two shipboard diaries were donated: Richard's journey from England to New Zealand in 1850 on the 'Eden', and Richard and Frances Maria's granddaughter Frances Pople Pheney's emigration on the 'Dallam Tower' in 1877/1878.
      These items had been preserved by family members, and handed down for several generations.

  • Sources 
    1. [S374] BOK005 Book - The World of Charles Dickens, BOK005., pages (held by Rex Sinnott) possibly relevant to Richard Pheney: 60, 104, 105, 124, 221, 302.

    2. [S375] BOK006 Book - Dickens A Life, BOk006., Pages (held by Rex Sinnott) possibly relevant to Richard Pheney: 31-33, 39, 53, 58, 59 .

    3. [S379] BOK025 Book - The History of Taranaki, BOK025., page 168 - reference to dismissal from "Taranaki Herald" and becoming editor of the "Taranaki News" (1857).

    4. [S380] BOK026 Book - The Industrious Heart, BOK026., pages 174-176, references to Pheney's involvement with Taranaki newspapers.

    5. [S548] Biography Pheney, Richard (copy by LIVING PERSON).

    6. [S599] Biography Pheney, Richard and R.C.F - sources (Ann Evans).

    7. [S778] TRE001 Family tree - Pheney, Richard and Cripps, Frances Maria (Janeen Nolan, Christchurch), TRE001.

    8. [S3309] DTH Death Index New Zealand, Richard Pheney; 1097; 1881.

    9. [S4127] Census England 1841, St Clement Danes, Strand, Middlesex: Richard Pheney.

    10. [S221] DTH006 Death Pheney, Richard jnr - certified copy of register entry, DTH006.

    11. [S252] DTH046 Death Pheney, Richard jnr - register entry, DTH046.

    12. [S276] DTH076 Death Pheney, Richard jnr - transcript, DTH076.

    13. [S2792] DTH169 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH169., Richard Pheney; 4 March 1881; page 2.

    14. [S2794] DTH170 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH170., Richard Pheney; 5 March 1881; page 2.

    15. [S2795] DTH171 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH171., Richard Pheney; 4 March 1881; page 3.

    16. [S2796] DTH172 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH172., Richard Pheney; 4 March 1881; page 2.

    17. [S2797] DTH173 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH173., Richard Pheney; 4 March 1881; page 2.

    18. [S2798] DTH174 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH174., Richard Pheney; 5 March 1881; page 2.

    19. [S2799] DTH177 Death Pheney, Richard, DTH177., Richard Pheney; 3 March 1881; page 2.

    20. [S624] Obituary Pheney, Richard (1881), Obituary for Richard Pheney; 5 March 1881; Source - National Library newspaper collection on microfiche.

    21. [S625] Obituary Pheney, Richard (1881), Obituary for Richard Pheney; 12 March 1881; page 9; Source - National Library newspaper collection on microfilm.

    22. [S626] Obituary Pheney, Richard (1881), Obituary for Richard Pheney; 5 March 1881; page 10b; Source - National Library newspaper collection on microfilm.

    23. [S206] BUR011 Burial Pheney, Richard jnr, BUR011.

    24. [S4551] ancestry.com New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007, BUR193., Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth.

    25. [S289] MAR010 Marriage Pheney, Richard jnr and Cripps, Frances Maria, MAR010.

    26. [S332] MAR067 Marriage Pheney, Richard and Cripps, Frances Maria - transcript, MAR067.

    27. [S3015] MAR183 Marriage Pheney, Richd and Cripps, Frances, MAR183.

    28. [S3018] MAR185 Marriage Frances Cripps and Richd Pheney, MAR185.

    29. [S3071] MAR255 Marriage Pheney, Richard and Cripps, Frances Maria, MAR255.

    30. [S4121] ancestry.com England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, 1 Jun 1830: Richard Pheney and Frances Maria Cripps.

    31. [S5190] ancestry.com London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921, 1 Jun 1830: Richard Pheney and Frances Maria Cripps.