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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

38.8.1.a Elias and Martha - Their friend Stillingfleet Durnford - His family's influence on Andrew Durnford

As has happened so often in the stories of our ancestors, some additional information is required, in order to present the facts and stories in a chronological manner, and sometimes also to add to the research that others have done, or intend doing.

Stillingfleet Durnford

He was the son of Reverend Thomas Durnford and his wife Susanna Stillingfleet.  He was born in 1718 in Dorset, the second eldest of the family

  1. Thomas Durnford          1716  -   1792   m Elizabeth Cowley
  2. Stillingflet Durnford      1718   -  1773  m  Mary Desmaretz
  3. George Durnford           1720   -  1790  m   Eleanor Henslow
  4. Mary Durnford              1721
  5. Elizabeth Durnford        1722
  6. James Ernie Durnford    1724 -   1770   m  Amelia Roche
  7. Charlotte Durnford        1725                 m  Robert  Rayner
  8. Peter Durnford               1726  -  1729
  9. Catherine                       1729
  10. Gertrude Durnford         1731  -  1801   m  Roland Alston
  11. Augustus Durnford        1734  -  1761
  12. Susannah Durnford        1738                m  James Plowden

Stillingfleet and Mary Durnford had two children

  1. Charlotte Durnford        1747  -  1824    m   Lt Colonel Andrew Frazer  1725  -  1792          
  2. Desmartz Durnford        1752  -  1782

The lives of both impacted upon Andrew Durnford.

1.  Firstly Lt Col Andrew Frazer husband of Charlotte Durnford.

Andrew Frazer was a military engineer whose life marks an interesting family progression from the purely civil career of his father George 1701 - 1774 

George was the Deputy Auditor of Exercise in Scotland who produced an unbuilt design for the North Bridge over North Loch Edinburgh and Augustus who commanded Wellingtons field artillery in the Peninsula and at Waterloo.  

Andrew interested himself in canals harbours land drainage as well as ecclesiastical and military architecture  was born 1746

He was trained in the drawing office in the Tower of London before becoming a practitioner engineer in 1759 worked in Portugal and Liverpool and became John Peter Desmaretz's assistant in Dunkirk in 1763 taking over as Chief commissioner when he died in 1768

1773 married Charlotte Durnford

Also drew up plans and reports on the town and harbour of Dunkirk and on 3 canals at Mardyke
Left Dunkirk 1778 when French allied itself with American colonies, sent to Scotland as Chief Engineer.

Next task was to modernise the northernmost fort in Britain at Lerwick in 1781.

These were huge works called Fort Charlotte and is still the same today.

Father, George  had designed the High Church in Inverness.    

He based  the plans of St Andrews on some of that work.
1783 built a battery and stables in Leith  Burgess of Edinbourgh
1785 sent to West Indies.  Provided a plan of the town Roseau

1788 became a Colonel and worked on the fortification of Barbados, Grenada and Antigua.

 However he had no written orders for those works and was summonsed back to England to be tried in 1791
He was cashiered in 1792

Left the country immediately 1792 went to Geneva, (where is wife was)  buried at Chalons.

The Barbados Garrison, largest in the British Colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries, is of great historic interest and offers many features, other than military, for those so inclined.  It was established in 1780 as the military headquarters for the Imperial Forces stationed here until 1905/6.  However, it began with St. Ann’s Fort, on its present site, in 1705.

From The National Biography Lt Colonel Andrew Frazer

Andrew Frazer FRSE (sometimes spelt Fraser; died 1792), was a Scottish soldier and engineer. He served as lieutenant-colonel of engineers, designing and superintending the construction of Fort George. He was the architect of St Andrew's Church, on George Street, Edinburgh.

Frazer was the son of George Frazer, a deputy surveyor of excise in Scotland, was probably employed on the works at Fort George after the Scottish rebellion of 1745–6. He was appointed practitioner engineer, with rank of ensign in the train, on 17 March 1759, and sub-engineer, with rank of lieutenant, in 1761. In 1763 he was ordered to Dunkirk, and served as assistant to Colonel Desmaretz, the British commissary appointed to watch the demolition of the works of that port in accordance with treaty obligations.

On 18 October 1767 he succeeded Desmaretz in that office, and retained it until the rupture with France in 1778. In the British Museum MSS are two reports from Frazer: ‘A Description of Dunkirk,’ 1769, and ‘Report and Plans of Dunkirk,’ 1772. A letter from Frazer to Lord Stormont, British ambassador at Paris in 1777, indicates that he discharged consular functions at Dunkirk.

He became engineer in ordinary and captain in 1772, brevet-major in 1782, and regimental lieutenant-colonel in 1788. He designed St. Andrew's parochial church, Edinburgh, built in 1785.

Frazer, who had not long retired from the service, died on his way to Geneva in the summer of 1792. He married in 1773 Charlotte, daughter of Stillingfleet Durnford, of the engineer department, and granddaughter of Colonel Desmaretz; by her he was father of Sir Augustus Simon Frazer. A portrait of Major Andrew Fraser is catalogued in Evans's ‘Engraved Portraits’, vol. ii., in which the date of death is wrongly given as 1795.

Fort George (Gaelic: Dùn Deòrsa or An Gearastan, meaning literally "the garrison"), is a large 18th century fortress near Ardersier, to the north-east of Inverness in the Highland council area of Scotland. It was built to pacify the Scottish Highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745, replacing a Fort George in Inverness constructed after the 1715 Jacobite rising to control the area.

The current fortress has never been attacked and has remained in continuous use as a garrison.
The fortification is based on a Star design, it remains virtually unaltered and nowadays is open to visitors with exhibits and recreations showing use at different periods, while still serving as army barracks.

Originally the depot of the Seaforth Highlanders and later the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons), it was more recently home to the Royal Irish Regiment, and as of 2007, the new garrison of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland.

2.  Desmaretz Durnford

Desmaretz Durnford was born in 1752, and like our Durnfords, attended the Office of Ordinance.  He was commissioned in Royal Engineers in December 1770.

During his military career, he was one of only three engineers to work on projects under John Montrsor, Engineer US.*

He saw service in the American War in Bennington in 1777.  He drew maps of the battle Burgoyne Expdition.

According to previous resources : "Durnford, Andrew, engineer lieutenant in Burgoyne's staff, was captured at the Battle of Bennington and exchanged on October 24, 1777

Engineer Andrew Durnford was nowhere near the Bennington Battlefield in 1777, and the entry actually refers to Desmaretz.

Around 1780 he was sent to Fishguard in the South West of Wales to assess the building of a Fort.

In 1781, he was on the expedition to South Africa, and again saw battle.
He was at the fighting in St Jago, against the French atached to 73 Regiment 1781.   

In the 19th century it was called St. Jago
Santiago (Portuguese for “Saint James”), or Santiagu in Cape Verdean Creole, is the largest island of Cape Verde, its most important agricultural centre and home to half the nation’s population.
Santiago is located between the islands of Maio (40 km west) and Fogo (50 km east) and is one of the Sotavento. It was the first of the islands to be settled, the town of Cidade Velha being founded as Riberia Grande in 1462.

The Battle of Porto Praya was a naval battle which took place during the American Revolutionary War on 16 April 1781 between a British squadron under Commodore George Johnstone and a French squadron under the Bailli de Suffren.

Both squadrons were en route to the Cape of Good Hope, the British to take it from the Dutch, the French aiming to help defend it and French possessions in the Indian Ocean. The British convoy and its escorting squadron had anchored at Porto Praya (now Praia) in the Cape Verde Islands to take on water, when the French squadron arrived and attacked them at anchor.

Due to the unexpected nature of the encounter, neither fleet was prepared to do battle, and an inconclusive battle was fought in which the French fleet sustained more damage than the British. No ships were lost. Johnstone tried to pursue the French, but was forced to call it off in order to repair the damage his ships had taken.

The French gained a strategic victory, because Suffren beat Johnstone to the Cape and reinforced the Dutch garrison before continuing on his journey to the Ile de France (now Mauritius).
Combat de la baie de la Praia dans l'île de Santiago au Cap Vert, le 16 avril 1781, by Pierre-Julien Gilbert (1783–1860)
and in fact in 1781, his cousin Charles Durnford was Arguing a Case for Detrmination in the Court of the King's Bench in a case Sutton against Johnstone.

He died aged 30 of typhoid, or putrid fever, perhaps on his way to Mauritius, as his uncle George Durnford Lord Mayor of Winchester, wrote and was published in the Winchester newspapers.

With three Engineers all called Lieut Durnford working in the same place at the same time, there was probably going to be confusion.  By now there were a significant number of Durnfords working at the Office of Ordinance.

Research indicates that a map of the area of Bennington was drawn by Lieut A Durnford, meaning Andrew.  Later reports in the newspapers of the day, report that this information is in fact incorrect and the map was the work of Lt D. Durnford.

From 62 Regiment

William Cumberland Wilkinson was one very talented officer. In less than three years he was able to advance to the rank of lieutenant, and soon after found himself in the position of junior subaltern in Captain Erle Hawker's light infantry company. Before the Northern Campaign of 1777 commenced, however, both Hawker and Wilkinson were reassigned to a regular battalion company. 

For Wilkinson, this change may have been made due to his relative inexperience and lack of training, as he had only served with the regiment's elite light company since 1775. Whatever the reason, Wilkinson's special talent had more to do with the pen rather than the sword. Wilkinson's service with his new battalion company was probably limited following a General Order dated 30 August 1777, in which he was “appointed to act as an Assistant Engineer under the Order of Mr. Twiss the Commanding Engineer.” Originally, when Burgoyne's Army from Canada set out on its invasion of Northern New York in June 1777, there were five officers from the British Corps of Engineers present:

Sub Engineer/Lieutenant William Twiss (commanding)
Sub Engineer/Lieutenant Henry Rudyard
Sub Engineer/Lieutenant Desmaretz Durnford
Practitioner Engineer/2nd Lieutenant John James Robertson
Practitioner Engineer/2nd Lieutenant Richard Hockings

Practitioner Engineer/2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Slack

Rudyard and Hockings were left behind to oversee engineering efforts at Fort Ticonderoga, and after the 16 August 1777 Battle of Bennington, in which Durnford was captured, a substantial gap in Burgoyne's engineering corps developed further: apparently, Durnford was the only one who could competently draw maps (or he was the only one who otherwise had time for it). Therefore, a new artist was required who could support the engineers with his talents. Enter Wilkinson. The United States Library of Congress houses the Wilkinson map collection, which consists of various maps signed by or attributed to Wilkinson. 

In 1976, Philip Lord discovered the true identity of the engineer responsible for drawing the map to be Desmaretz Durnford, not Andrew Durnford, and from that time, he was on a mission to discover and present the story of Lieut. Desmartez Dunford.

Research is about getting the facts correct, and my belief is that it is done to provide assistance for others.  Something that seems to ring true also with Philip Lord.

For the story of Desmaretz Durnford, a great deal of research has been done by Philip Lord,

I am an archeologist, geographer, researcher, and writer, but mostly I am an explorer. In my more than half century of explorations (written in 1993) I have come to enjoy and appreciate a great many things. This webpage is a place to collect some of those things that interest me. It is a place to leave fragments behind for others to consider and perhaps to also find of interest.

*John Montresor Engineer US

The years between 1755-1783 saw extensive surveying of New York by British military engineers due to the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. His work focused on militarily important areas, such as coastal harbors and fortifications.

 At the start of the war Captain John Montresor was the only engineer on duty in all of North America. He was joined by three others during 1775 and a further 21 in 1776. There was always a shortage of engineers and there were never more than 24 (in 1776). From this peak to the end of the war, their numbers dwindled to the point where in New York in 1782 there were only four engineers, but 13 "Assistant Engineers." These were junior officers from other branches of service, or even civilians who showed aptitude for engineering work and were placed "on command" to do this duty. They were also paid an extra 5s. a day, an incentive for subalterns.
Lieutenant Andrew Durnford ( -1783)
Lieutenant Desmaretz Durnford (1776-78)
Lieutenant Elias Durnford

Unique Project ID
Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers now under Orders to embark on an Expedition for Foreign Service
Parish, County
Portsmouth , Hampshire
Parish Name
County, or Country
Date Proven
18 November 1782
TNA Item and Image ID

Was he related to Elias?

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