.: "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors."

Genealogy is rewarding because it yields immediate results no matter what level you choose to become involved from the filling out of a single family pedigree chart to the writing of family history. It is guaranteed to draw you closer to your relatives, give you greater appreciation for the history of our country and the part your ancestors played in it, and provide you a sense of belonging this often hectic and rootless society we live in today.

Genealogy also teaches us that while wars , fashions , customs and even governments change, some things our eternal- love, pride in our children, devotion in our country, sadness in the death of a loved one, and joy of the success of a ones crop or job. Through genealogy  we are all connected very powerfully to the past and and also the future


.: My Quest Is To Let It Be Known The Petre Family of Westwick Do have Descendants Alive and Living.

My Thoughts, when I started my quest on finding out about my grandmother's family  I wanted to know if the story had some fact to it, which I now believe the whole story is fact and is not stretched by any means. I have not yet found a marriage certificate for John Berney Petre & Susannah Childs (aka Julia Doughty) and doubt I will. The facts are there, a trust was setup for Julia and her children to care for them their life time. Julia�s tombstone reads (Julia Doughty Petre) Berney Seymour Petre did attend private school while growing up paid for by his father John Berney Petre. There is account documents showing purchases for clothes , living etc. paid by  John Berney Petre. The trust fund gave the family 210 pounds yearly in 1873.There is also DNA which can be tested if this is not prove enough to prove the clam. We are the only living  direct decedents of John Berney Petre , my great grandfather was the only 1 out the 4 children to have a family with children. To further state we are closer decedents than the Duff family which took the Petre name in 1882. Mary Laura Duff was a niece to John Berney Petre only.

My gg grandfather John Berney Petre stated he had no issue when he died. I�m not sure why this was stated when he knew he did have children and he supported them. In closing, my quest is to make a wrong a right and if you are not telling the truth it will always come out  some day somehow like this did. Let it be known John Berney Petre does have living dependents over here in Canada alive and well

SEYMOUR-PETRE PUZZLE     If you have any answers to our quest please email


My great grand parents and there 9 siblings are ,Arthur, Gertrude, John, Herbert, Albert, Alfred, Laura, Alexander and a half sister Florence.  These were all children of  Berney Seymour and Eliza Kett.  When Berney Seymor was born (1852), his birth certificate reports his mother as being Susannah Childs and his father as John Berney Petre whose occupation was listed as a Gentleman.  In  various    Census, Records at time, he is listed as Berney Seymour Petre, but in other Census records he is listed as Berney Seymour. As an adult, Berney Seymour lived in Aylsham, Norfolk where he set up a Photography business. Why did Berney Seymour not always use the surname Petre?  Berney Seymour Petre had 3 siblings by the same parents John Berney Petre and Susannah Child.  The siblings were Julia, Arthur Vaughan and William Frederick .

Information re: these siblings was challenging to find since they also involved many surname changes.  Berney Seymour was the only one of the  Petre-Childs family to have children. In 1887, he married Eliza Kett in the district of Norwich.  He died 1904 in the district of Blofield.

Arthur Seymour, was the first son of Berney�s and Eliza to come to Canada in 1905 after being in the Barnardo Homes.  However, he was not the only Seymour boy to be sent to Canada in the early 1900�s.   In 1907 Frederick Sydney, a brother, arrived in Canada from the Bernardo Home.  I have a letter from the Bernardo Homes confirming that his passage was paid by Mary Laura Duff Petre of Westwick Hall. Now why would she, the niece of John Berney Petre of Westwick, contribute to the passage of a son of Berney Seymour (Petre)?  Did Lady Duff Petre know about the hidden family of her uncle John Berney Petre?  Alfred Seymour, another brother, also a resident of Bernardos followed in 1910.  The last Seymour brother  in the Bernardo Residence was Albert who was shipped to Canada in 1914.


Eliza Seymour emigrated from Aylsham with her youngest son Alexander, and daughters, Laura and Florence in  1912.  Later on two older children, John and Gertrude came to Canada to be with the rest of the Seymour family. They were instrumental in reuniting the Seymour

Family in Canada.


Why did Eliza feel that she and the rest of the family needed to get out of Norfolk?  Reportedly, she was somewhat destitute. Where did Eliza, a poor widow, get the funds to travel across the pond to Canada?  In our searching for answers to these questions we discovered that the Norfolk Record Office has various papers related to the Petres of Westwick.  Among these, there is a copy of a deed showing a Trust Fund that J.B.Petre set up between himself and Julia Doughty aka Susanna Childs.  Their children, Berney Seymour, Julia, Arthur and Frederick William are all named in that settlement and their last name appears as PETRE! Apparently, Julia Doughty received money from J.B.Petre for her own upkeep and that of her children. It was an annual allowance of 210 pounds.  Who was Julia Doughty aka Susanna Childs?  We don�t know much about her.  She was born to  John and Harriet Childs in 1823 in Norwich Norfolk.   She is listed as an annuitant in the 1851census.  Julia Doughty aka Susannah Childs died in Yarmouth in 1906.  She  is buried under the name of Julia Doughty Petre in the Old Yarmouth  Cemetery at Gorleston as are two of her and John Berney Petre�s  sons, Arthur and Frederick.  The inscription on her gravestone reads �In memory of Julia Doughty Petre �.�.  Were Julia and John Berney Petre ever married?  Family Lore heard by myself and other cousins at separate times from at least 4 members of the Seymour family, is that they were married at Gretna Green, but the marriage was annulled. Why would the marriage be annulled?  Would being involved with a commoner perhaps even married to one be an embarrassment to this noteworthy Petre Family? My cousin, Sylvia has the original painting of Julia Doughty aka Susannah Childs.  It was given to Sylvia�s grandmother, Gertrude (Berney Seymour�s oldest daughter), following the death of Julia�s son, Frederick William, who died shortly after his mother in 1906. He shares the same grave in the Old Yarmouth Cemetery. In the painting Susannah Childs aka Julia Doughty is wearing two rings�one appears to be a wedding band; the other has a birthstone. Was she indeed married to J.B. Petre?  Who knows? There is a marriage record of John Berney Petre to Caroline Susan MacKenzie  in 1844.  Caroline died at the early age of 33 and they had no children together. But John Berney Petre did have his �hidden family� that he and Julia Doughty aka Susannah Childs shared together down the road.


Why were the Seymour boys placed in such a home in the first place? Why were they sent out of England at such a young age?  Why did Eliza, the mother and her 3 children, Alexander, Laura and Florence also come to Canada?  Gertrude and John, the eldest of the children, followed.

Was Eliza destitute and desperate to make ends meet or was it imperative that she absent herself and the rest of the Seymour family from  Aylsham � Westwick(home of the Petre family) ,  also the Seymour-Petre connection?  On various occasions Eliza told the children in Canada that she had sold their birth right.  Why would she do such a thing?


As mentioned earlier, we  know through documentation from the Norfolk Record Office that there was a continuing financial arrangement between J.B. Petre and Julia Doughty.  Was there also a continuing love affair between Julia and John?

Why did J. B. Petre make no mention of his little family in the Norwich area in his final will, but rather bequeathed  his estate, with the exception of some small gifts, to Lady Mary Duff, his sister�s daughter who took the name of Petre? Lady Duff was married to Major James Duff who also changed his name to Petre.  Together they had 6 children�.Their oldest son, Captain Bernard James Petre married Ruby Alexandria Elizabeth Thelluson in��..


They had two  children,  Juliana Egidia Petre (b.June 9, 1910 d. June 1995) and John Frederick Berney Petre (b. July 19, 1913, d. Feb. 20, 1990).  John Frederick Berney Petre  never married. He lived with his mother Ruby Alexandria Elizabeth at Westwick.


John Frederick Berney Petre and a refugee from Czechlosvakia, Sandor Alexander became friends.  Sandor ended up managing the Westwick Business for JFB Petre and his mother. When John Frederick Berney Petre died, the major beneficiaries were various members of the Alexander family.  There was no mention of John�s sister, Juliana Petre .  Why was she left out of his estate? And of course once again the descendents of the hidden family of his great uncle, John Berney Petre were not acknowledged. There are so many missing pieces to the  Seymour-Petre-Westwick Puzzle.  Several cousins have worked long and hard trying to find the answers.  Many questions have been answered, but many still remain unanswered.


In John Berney Petre�s will of 1882, he made it quite clear that family heirlooms were to remain in the family?  That did not happen.  There is an inventory of these heirlooms at the NRO in Aylsham.  Some of these we have discovered on auction sites and in museums.  If you know of the whereabouts of any of these Petre heirlooms, please don�t hesitate to contact us.


We have been unable to find any paintings of John Berney Petre�s mother, Catherine of Harbord Harbord.  Where would these be today?

Life in Victorian times was very difficult for many people especially the poor, .not so much for those who were rich.  Thus it has always been.

I have submitted the above information with the assistance of two cousins who have so generously shared with me the information in their keeping  The source of much of the family information was their grandmothers.  Sylvia�s grandmother was Gertrude Seymour who was instrumental in getting the Seymour Family together in London, Ontario, Canada.  Laura Seymour was Stewart Addley�s grandmother who repeated much of the same story about her father, Berney Seymour  receiving funds on a regular basis and telling his family they would never be without financial resources.  Laura herself is believed to have received money from England, but was reluctant to share all of the facts with her family.  Was this money that she received from the Trust Fund established by John Berney Petre with Julia Doughty, her grandparents or was it hush money from another source?


There is no doubt in my mind and the mind of my cousins that  John Berney Petre of Westwick  did indeed have children with Julia Doughty aka Susanna Childs.  Several descendents of their oldest son, Berney Seymour live today in Canada and England..


Through genealogical research we have put together much of the Seymour-Petre Puzzle,  The Norfolk Record Office, newspaper clippings, and sites such as Ancestry and Genes Reunited have been of assistance.  Some of the pieces of the puzzle are still missing.  We would be most grateful for any assistance that anyone reading this article can share with us.  Please feel free to contact any one of us.

Writen  by Susan MacGregor with the consent of Sylvia Gozzard and Stewart Addley.


.: How The Petre Family Came Into The Estate Of Westwick House


At the commencement of the fourteenth century, Thomas Berney, Esq., second son of John Berney, Esq., of Witchingham, had large possessions in his own right as heir to the Reedhams, Castons, and others, including the lordship of Reedham, in Norfolk. He married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir William de Reedham, of that place. His will is dated on Thursday next after the feast of All Saints in 1383, and he was buried at Reedham. He was the ancestor of the ancient family of the Berneys who still live at Reedham.

Thomas Berney, Esq., made his will in 1441, and was buried in the church at Reedham. John Berney, Esq., married Elizabeth, daughter of Osbert Mundeford, and died in the thirteenth of Edward IV. In 1475 Richard Southwell was guardian of tho next John Berney, a minor. Another John Berney died in the twenty-eighth of Henry VIH. He left a son, Henry, and several daughters. Henry Berney, Esq., married Alice, daughter of Roger Appleton, of Dartford, in Kent, and died in 1584, leaving several sons and daughters. His son Sir Thomas Berney married Juliana, daughter of Sir Thomas Gandy, of Redenhall, and left four sons, two of whom died without issue. The third son who succeeded was Sir Richard Berney, created baronet in the eighteenth of James I. and died in 1668. Sir Thomas was his eldest son, but he left to Richard Berney, his second son, his estate at Reedham, with about £7000 per annum. Richard married a daughter of Sir Jacob Gerard, Bart., of Langford, by whom he had Richard, who made away with the greater part of the estate; his manors at Reedham and other places were sold to pay his debts. The third son of Richard was John Berney of Westwick, who married Susan, daughter of John Staines, and left two sons, John and Richard. His second wife was a daughter of Maurice Kendal, of North Walsham, by whom he had no issue. The second son of John was Richard Berney, Recorder of Norwich and M.P. for the city in the reign of Queen Anne.

Sir Thomas Berney, Bart., to whom his father Sir Richard left a slender fortune, married Sarah, daughter of Captain Thomas Tyrell of Essex, by whom he had sons and daughters. Sir Richard Berney, Bart., his eldest son, by his wife had six sons and five daughters. He died in May 1706. His eldest son, Sir Richard Berney, Bart., died single, and was succeeded by his brother Sir Thomas, who by his wife had two sons, Sir Thomas Berney, Bart., and Richard, rector of Stokesby in Norfolk. Sir Hanson married in April, 1756, Catherine, daughter and heiress of William Woolball, of Walthamstow, Essex. Sir Hanson died in 1778, and was succeeded by his son Sir John Berney.

Sir Richard Berney, Bart., at Reedham, purchased the lordship of Broomholme and Westwick, and left them to a younger son, John Berney, Esq., who married Susan, daughter of John Staines of Weston, by whom he had John, his son and heir. John Berney was lord in 1690, and married Bridget, daughter of William Branthwayt, Esq., of Hethel; and to his second wife in 1720, a daughter of Maurice Kendal, Esq., of New Buckenham. Mrs. Berney, widow, possessed the estate in 1762, and John Berney Petre, Esq., was lord and patron in 1780 of Westwick in Norfolk.

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