Robert Michelmore Bovey, SV/PROG

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Robert Michelmore Bovey, SV/PROG

Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Peartree, Ashburton, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Death: 1867 (74)
Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of John Bovey and Mary Bovey
Husband of Mary Anne Bovey, b3 SM
Father of John William Bovey; Mary Bovey; Emily Susan Bovey and Robert Berry Bovey

Managed by: Joy Grewar / Joy Smith Cape Town
Last Updated:

About Robert Michelmore Bovey, SV/PROG

1820 Settler - Bailie's Party - 27 Year old Farmer from Devon and arrived on board the Chapman.

Arthur Fisher, The Register of Blundell's School, Part 1, 1770-1882, Exeter, 1904: p 66, 1005. Robert Bovey, 12, son of John Bovey, gent., Badeford (sic), Staverton, Aug 15, 1806-Dec 16, 1812. p 76, 1175, John Russell, 13, son of John Russell, clerk, Sandhill, Callington, Cornwall, Oct 2, 1809-June 29, 1814, elected to an Exhibition.

The Oxford University Calendar for the Year 1814, Oxford, 1814, p 244: Commoner, Wadham College, Robert Bovey

Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900, Volume 2: BOVEY, ROBERT MITCHELL. Adm. pens. at Peterhouse, July 3, 18:4; from Oxford. [Occurs in T. A. Walker, as Robert Michelmore] S. of John, of Buckfastleigh, Devon. Matrlc. (Wadham College, Oxford) June 2, 1812, age 18, as Bovey, Robert. Matric. (Peterhouse) Easter, 1816, as Rob. Mitchell. (Al. Oxon.; T.A. Walker, 393.)

Extract from STANDING IN DOORWAYS: A Memoir of the Heath and Bovey families, by Mary Patricia McKeown (nee Heath), privately published, 2001

The second son, Robert Michelmore, had led a rather wild life - being expelled from Blundells' School and later sent down from Oxford for keeping hounds in college. This former incident is recorded in Parson Jack, an account of the life of John Russell, who was a schoolfellow of Robert's at Blundells'. The two boys acquired nine hounds, which they kept at a blacksmith's linhay on the outskirts of Tiverton:

Those were glorious days so long as they lasted; the farmers to a man, seeing the hounds chiefly managed by Russell, giving them a hearty welcome over their land, and supporting them in various ways calculated to show their cordial interest in the welfare of the pack. One, for instance, would say, "he'd got a hare sitting in fuzzy-park bottom, and ef Maister Rissell wid on'y bring up his cry, he'd turn un out, and they'd have a rare crack o' hunting, sure enow." Another would inform him that "his auld blind maire had mit wi' a mishap, got stogged in a mire, zo he'd a knacked her in th' head, and Maister Rissell was kindly welcome to her vor the dags".

Then, there was no end to the bread-and-cheese and cider, which the hospitable and hound-loving yeomen of that county pressed upon him and his companions, whenever the chase led them within hail of their farm homesteads. Perhaps the happiness of a schoolboy was never more complete. ... he found no difficulty in satisfying Dr Richards' class requirements, and at the same time, whenever a half or a whole holiday occurred, in following the pastime he so keenly loved.

... but dark clouds were now looming in the horizon, portending a short season and disastrous end to this enjoyable life. A shaft from some hidden enemy (and well for him was it that his name was never discovered) did the mischief. Some one, purporting to be "a friend to good discipline", wrote to Dr Richards, and communicated the astounding intelligence that a cry of hounds were kept by his scholars, Bovey and Russell, and that the latter, if he was not sole manager, acted at least as huntsman to the pack.

"Ringleader, in fact, of the hunting gang", exclaimed Richards, indignantly, as an expression of grave import darkened his whole countenance. "What! set my discipline at nought, and bring discredit on the honoured name of Blundell?"

He sent for Bovey, and expelled him on the spot. Russell came next, little doubting that he should share a similar fate; as, like a mouse tortured by a cat, he underwent a preliminary examination before the fatal blow fell.

"You keep hounds, don't you?" demanded the autocrat, in a stern and pitiless tone."

"No, sir."

"Do you dare to tell me a lie? Bovey has just told me you do keep them", said Richards, striking him in his wrath with great violence.

"'Tis no lie, sir," pleaded Russell, pathetically; "for Bovey stole them yesterday, and sent them home to his father at Pear-tree."

"Then that's lucky for you," responded the doctor, "or I'd have expelled you too."

After this narrow escape, Russell, it would appear, was compelled to quench as best he could the latent flame that burned within him, and pay due deference, at least outwardly, to the more than ever strict discipline exacted by Dr Richards.

After this patently biased administration of punishment, Russell went on to become a much-loved country parson in Devon, continuing to hunt at every opportunity, and concentrating on the breeding of a particularly courageous strain of hunt terrier, which became known as the "Jack Russell".

Robert, however, did not remain in Devon. When he was about 27 years old, his exasperated father packed him off to South Africa with the "1820 Settlers" on the S.V. Chapman. The settlers journeyed in ox wagons to Fort Beaufort, in the eastern part of Cape Province - a distance of about 150 miles from Port Elizabeth, where they had landed. They had a tough time at first; besides having to contend with hostile natives, they suffered droughts, and sickness among their flocks. Robert was given land in the Albany, in the Grahamstown district, and settled near Fort Beaufort, where he called his farm "Baddaford". Robert was later instrumental in establishing the Fort Beaufort Racecourse, and he, like his college friend Jack Russell, continued to enjoy his passion for hunting. He frequently entertained the military at Fort Beaufort, and this ran away with his money - his beautiful farm was probably sold to pay his debts, or maybe he lost money when the Fort Beaufort Bank defaulted. He and his wife Mary had four children - two sons and two daughters. One of their descendents, Jon Inggs, contacted me through the Internet. There are many of Robert and Mary Bovey's descendants living in South Africa today.

Mitford-Barberton & White, "Some frontier families", Cape Town, 1968, p 56: Brought a pack of hounds with him on board the Chapman. Originally given a grant of land at Kasouga River mouth but settled in the Kat River valley at Lower Blinkwater and named his farm Baddaford. He and his father-in-law, Dr Parrott, were among the founders and first erf holders in Fort Beaufort. They assisted in establishing St John's Anglican church there.

C.S. Crais, "Gentry and labour in three Eastern Cape districts 1820-1865", SA Historical Journal, 18(1), Nov 1986, pp 125-46: p 129, fn 85, Robert Bovey "an up-and-coming farmer who at the time [1846-47] owned 951 morgen at Blinkwater... In 1850 Bovey became a Justice of the Peace for Fort Beaufort. In 1853, after the war, he was granted a farm in the Kat River Settlement: see Nash, Bailie's Party, 137".

Arthur Fisher, The Register of Blundell's School, Part 1, 1770-1882, Exeter, 1904: p 66, 1005. Robert Bovey, 12, son of John Bovey, gent., Badeford (sic), Staverton, Aug 15, 1806-Dec 16, 1812. p 76, 1175, John Russell, 13, son of John Russell, clerk, Sandhill, Callington, Cornwall, Oct 2, 1809-June 29, 1814, elected to an Exhibition.

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Robert Michelmore Bovey, SV/PROG's Timeline

Ashburton, Devon, England, United Kingdom
September 24, 1837
Age 44
Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Age 53
Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
September 18, 1848
Age 55
Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Age 62
Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Age 74
Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa