George Rex, SV/PROG

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George Rex, SV/PROG

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: City of London, Greater London, UK
Death: April 3, 1839 (73)
Melkhoutkraal, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa
Place of Burial: Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of John Rex and Sarah Creasy
Partner of Johanna Rosina van de Caap, SM and Carolina Margaretha Ungerer
Father of Edward Rex b1; John Rex b2; Elizabeth Caroline Rex b3; Jacob Govert Rex b4; Anne Rex b5 and 8 others
Brother of Sarah Rex; John Rex; Sarah Rex and Elizabeth Rex

Occupation: agriculturalist
Managed by: Dirk Cornelis Streicher, b1c1d14...
Last Updated:

About George Rex, SV/PROG

Death Notice:




Added by Richard John SPARKMAN, OCT 2012



Born 1750, England, died on Wednesday 3 APR 1839 at Melkhout Kraal, Knysna, Cape, South Africa and buried on 5 APR 1839 at Melkhout Kraal, Knysna, Cape, South Africa.

George Rex arrived in South Africa in 1797 and took the position of Marshall of Vice-Admiralty Court in Cape Town.After the 2nd Dutch occupation in the Cape in 1804 he elected to remain in the Colony and bought the farm Melkhout Kraal on the banks of the Knysna Heads.

Here he farmed and established himself as a timber merchant. Due to his unflagging efforts the Port of Knysna was proclaimed in 1817. As local legend will have it he was said to be the son of George 111 of England and Hannah Lightfoot, a beautiful Quaker, He himself never admitted this, nor did he deny it. He had 2 common law wives and 13 children and after his death his estate was divided amongst his descendants. Further information can be obtained from the museum, Millwood House, on the corner of Queen and Clyde street in Knysna, Cape South Africa. With aknowledgement to eGGSA and Simon du Plooy

Children of George REX

1. Edward, 20 JUL 1801 - 13 OCT 1879. Never married.

2. John, 26 OCT 1802 - 12 AUG 1858. Married Susan Margaret MULLER on 12 AUG 1845.

3. Elizabeth Caroline, 22 JUL 1804 - 7 JUL 1877. Never married.

4. Jacob Govert, 16 JUN 1805 - 21 JUN 1882. Married Frances Augusta WENTWORTH.

5. Anne, 8 JUN 1809 - 1 DEC 1839. Married NN.

6. Frederick, 30 AUG 1811 - 8 NOV 1850. Married Johanna Elizabeth BAIN on 2 SEP 1838.

7. Caroline, 7 AUG 1813 - 22 DEC 1877. Married Captain Thomas Henry DUTHIE on 12 FEB 1833.

8. Christina Wilhelmina, 17 SEP 1815 - 22 JUN 1879. Married Coenrad NELSON c. 1835. No children.

9. Louisa Georgiana, 4 MAY 1818 - 23 OCT 1889. Married Reverend Charles BULL, M. A. No children. Adopted three children.

10. George, 4 DEC 1822 - 2 APR 1899. Married Jessie WENTWORTH.

11. Sarah, 29 APR 1824 - 26 SEP 1881. Married Robert Henry Chomondeley ATKINSON.

12. Maria, 9 JUN 1826 - 25 MAY 1899. Married Captain John Fisher SEWELL.

13. Thomas Henry, 24 JUL 1834 - 25 SEP 1874. Never married.

Source: George REX of Knysna, The Authentic Story by Sanni METELERKAMP

Added by Y. DROST, 12 JUL 2012


The eldest of the three children from the alleged marriage between George III and Hannah Lightfoot - see notes on Hannah Lightfoot.

George Rex was given a Royal Warrant, and sailed as a grown man into CapeTown, South Africa in 1797. Some believe he was sent to the colony to save the monarchy from a scandal.

George Rex subsequently set off eastwards toward Knysna, taking with him his beloved companion, a coloured slave he had met and freed in CapeTown.

In his will, he took great pains to emphasise that all his children were illigitimate, he having steadfastly refused to marry their mother. Many believe this supports the theory that the last words of George III to his son as he departed for South Africa were: "You must never marry. There must be no ligitimate heirs."


George Rex

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

'George Rex' redirects here. For ruling monarchs named George, see King George. You may also be looking for George Rex Graham.

George Rex (29 August 1765 - 3 April 1839) was a British-born entrepreneur, who spent most of his adult life in the Cape Colony, South Africa. He founded the town of Knysna in the Western Cape and played a key role in its development. Rex filled a number of positions in the Cape Colony - including Marshal of the Vice-admiralty Court, notary public to the Governor and advocate for the Crown - before settling on the farm Melkhoutkraal, in the Knysna district.

George Rex was the eldest child of John Rex (1726-1792) a prosperous distiller at Whitechapel, Middlesex, who was Master of the Distillers' Company in 1782, by his wife Sarah Creasey. His brothers and sisters were Sarah Rex (1767-1769), John Rex (1768-1821) a wine and brandy merchant who named his 'late brother George Rex of the Cape of Good Hope' in his will, Sarah Rex (1770-1842) who lived at Bath and corresponded with her brother George, and Elizabeth Rex (1772-1773). John Rex named his son George in his will in 1788, saying that he was 'already advanced ... very considerably more than I have my other son and daughter'[1][2].

George Rex was articled for seven years to one of the Procurators General of the Court of Arches in 1780 when aged 14, and admitted a Notary Public by the Faculty Office in 1786 when 21. He was a Supernumerary at Doctors Commons in 1787 and a Proctor there 1789-97. He was appointed Marshal and Sergeant-at-Mace of the newly created Vice-Admiralty Court at the Cape of Good Hope in 1797. He was Registrar of Courts Martial, 1797-1801, and Advocate for the Crown, 1798. He purchased four slaves in 1799. He was Marshal of the Vice-Admiralty Court, 1800-02. He purchased the homestead Schoonder Zigt (now being run as the Flower Street Guest House in Oranjezicht), Table Valley, Cape Town, in 1800, and asked permission to sell gunpowder taken from a prize of war, 1801. The Vice-Admiralty Court closed in December 1802 and he signed the Oath of Submission to the Batavian Republic in 1803. He sold Schoonder Zigt in 1804 and purchased Melkhout Kraal, Knysna. He had 33 slaves there in 1805 and was part-owner of the ship Young Phoenix, 1810-16. He became a timber exporter and trader, having licence for 400 woodcutters in 1811. He was Postmaster of Plettenberg Bay, 1815-20, and held game-shooting licences, 1817-20. He purchased the further loan-farms of Sandkraal, Welbedacht (re-named Eastford), Jackals Kraal, Portland (1817) and Uitzigt (1830), about 24,000 acres. He built the yacht Knysna in 1831. He became a man of some influence at the Cape and regularly entertained at his estate distinguished visitors from overseas such as Lord Charles Somerset, the Earl of Caledon and, later, Sir Lowry Cole[3].

In his will George Rex said that he had not submitted himself to the matrimonial laws of the Colony, but he had four children by a former slave, Johanna Rosina van der Caap, and then nine children by one of her daughters (Carolina Margaretha Ungerer) by a previous master. It is possible that he had married in England before going to South Africa.

Royal descent disproved

It has often been stated, and was firmly believed by many of his descendants, that George Rex was the son of King George III and Hannah Lightfoot. They believed that he had been banished to the Cape, granted large tracts of land there, and forbidden to marry, a story with many later embellishments, that gained ground in the 1860s following contact with Mrs Lavinia Ryves the daughter of the imposter and forger Olivia Serres (Princess Olive)[4][5].

This claim to royalty was thoroughly disproved by Patricia Storrar in "George Rex: Death of a Legend".[6][7]. The lack of royal blood was confirmed by genetic testing in 2004.


1. ^ Anthony Camp, Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction 1714-1936 (London, 2007) pp.59-76.

2. ^, re Sarah Creasey, accessed 2008.

3. ^ Patricia Storrar, George Rex: death of a legend (1974) and David Philip, British Residents at the Cape 1795-1819 (Cape Town, 1981) p.342.

4. ^ John Lindsey, The Lovely Quaker (1939)

5. ^ Sanni Metelerkamp, George Rex of Knysna (1955).

6. ^ Notes and Queries, vol. 220 (1975) 18-23 and 364

7. ^ Patricia Storrar, George Rex: death of a legend (Macmillan South Africa, 1974).


Founder of Knysna, South Africa.

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George Rex, SV/PROG's Timeline

August 29, 1765
City of London, Greater London, UK
July 29, 1801
Age 35
Cape Town, WC, South Africa
October 26, 1802
Age 37
Cape Town, Cape Colony, South Africa
July 22, 1804
Age 38
Cape Town, WC, South Africa
June 16, 1805
Age 39
Knysna, WC, South Africa
June 18, 1809
Age 43
August 30, 1811
Age 46
Knysna, Cape Province, South Africa
August 7, 1813
Age 47
Knysna, Cape Province, South Africa
September 17, 1815
Age 50
Knysna, WC, South Africa
May 4, 1818
Age 52
Knysna, WC, South Africa