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Brian Picton Swann

JAMES PICTON, bapt. 18 March 1786 at Jeffreyston. He was the son of Edward Picton of Middle Moor, Freystrop, formerly of Martletwy and Jeffreyston (see Picton of Freystrop - I). He married Mary Thomas of Steynton (born there ca 1780/1) on 5 November 1808 at Steynton. He entered the Royal Dockyard in October 1813, aged 25, although it is unclear at this time if this was the Dockyard at Milford or Pembroke.

It was Sir William Hamilton, who inherited the properties of Hubberston and Pill in 1782, who came up with the idea of building a harbour and a town at Milford. As Hamilton was tied to commitments in Naples, he appointed his nephew and heir, Charles Greville, as his agent to promote the project at Milford, who was at the time an MP in England. Before that time Milford was a small hamlet in the parish of Steynton. Hamilton obtained an Act of Parliament in 1790 to establish the port on his land at Hubberston and Pill. Greville attracted Quaker whalers from Nantucket to settle in Milford in 1793, an example of reverse-migration as a result of the American revolution and a process which tends to be ignored by many historians. Hamilton had inherited the property from his wife, whose family seat was at Lawrenny farther up the River Cleddau. She had originally been the mistress of Charles Greville, but had been ‘passed on' by him to his uncle

It is relevant here to give a little of the history of the Dockyards at Milford and Pembroke, as this bears on why James Picton was taken on at the Dockyard in 1813 and also where his children were baptised. This account is constructed principally from the recent book by Richard Rose [Pembroke People, Otterquill Books, London, 2000, 512 pp]. Pages 90 to 190 contain a mass of detail about the Pembroke Dockyard and the lives of the people who worked there. Rose attempts a survey to reconstruct the ordinary families of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock between 1800 and 1837, and to record what could be discovered about them. It is not a local history, but an attempt to classify, clarify and make accessible to local historians a mass of information about the life of the area between those dates.

Rose begins his preface to the book with a short description of what the town of Pembroke would have looked like two hundred years ago to a visitor. He then goes on to say "After inspecting the town and the Castle (if the key could be found) he might have turned his back on the picturesque view of Pembroke, taken a brisk walk across the Mill Bridge, through the Green and up Bush Hill, gone left at the cross roads and continued for a mile or so to a spot where he could contemplate Milford Haven and the surrounding scenery. In 1800 he would have seen an old fort to the west; before him the ruins of Pater Church and the fields occupied by farmer White. The landscape then was entirely rural. Twenty or thirty years later the same expedition would have brought a startling change into view.

Imposed on the shore of the Haven there then lay the vast enclosure of the Dockyard, the colossal sheds that covered the shipbuilding slips, the storehouses, smithies, sawpits and workshops, the severe grey buildings in which the Master Shipwright and his officers worked and the rectangular pattern of Pembroke Dock's streets, where very house was occupied by a family connected with the town's one over-riding business – of building ships for the Royal Navy. The purpose for which Pembroke Dock was created was destroyed when the Dockyard closed in 1926. By that time the crafts and techniques of the men who had built the Navy's great wooden ships were scarcely a memory. The surviving buildings in which those ancestors lived can be mapped and surveyed. The former inhabitants are long gone, but it is still possible, with some effort, to take a survey of their lives and to allocate the people to their proper positions in the society which once surrounded them. The inhabitants of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock today, in common with those of most towns, lead lives far different from those of their predecessors, in a society whose structure and values would seem totally alien to their nineteenth century ancestors" [Rose, Pembroke People, pp. 11-12].

The work of building warships in the six principal Dockyards in the United Kingdom was controlled at that time by the Navy Board. The Navy Board were responsible for the running of the Dockyards, under the general instructions of the Admiralty, until it was abolished in 1832, when its functions were merged within the Admiralty. Their capacity was supplemented in times of war or emergency by the construction of vessels in private shipyards. In December 1796 the Admiralty directed the Navy Board to contact the contractors Harry and Joseph Jacob, based at Milford, to construct a frigate and a sloop. Their Yard came under the control of the Navy Board in 1800 when they became insolvent. The Yard did not officially become a Royal Dockyard until 1809, and before then the Navy Board rented the site from year to year from Sir William Hamilton's trustees. Sir William Hamilton, of course, was the husband of Emma Hamilton, whose liaison with Lord Nelson is famous. Milford's rapid success as a port was evident in August 1802, when public celebrations were organised and Milford Haven was proclaimed by Lord Nelson as one of the finest harbours ever seen.1 Sir William Hamilton died the following year, in April 1803. In 1810 the Quaker whalers returned to America and by 1813 the Navy Board had begun the transfer of the Royal Dockyard to Paterchurch, which was renamed Pembroke Dock.

Shipbuilding at Milford came under the direction of Jean Louis Barrallier, a French royalist who had been evacuated with the British forces after the occupation of Toulon in 1793. Barrallier had been an engineer in the arsenal at Toulon and was appointed as Second Assistant to the Surveyors of the Navy in 1796. This appointment was resented by the British members of the official Dockyard establishment, and for this reason he was sent to the distant post of Milford. When the yard there became a Royal Dockyard in 1809 Barrallier was prevented from becoming Master Shipwright, with his son, Louis-Charles-Antoine, as his assistant, on the grounds both were foreigners and Roman Catholics, and that his son had not served an apprenticeship as a shipwright [J. F. Rees, The Story of Milford, University of Wales Press, 1954, pp. 121-122; Roger Morriss, The Royal Dockyards During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Leicester University Press, 1983, p. 145].2 The death of Charles Francis Grenville on 23 April 1809, the promoter of the town of Milford, led within four years to the establishment of a new Dockyard on the other side of Milford Haven at Pater [later Pembroke Dock]. Before his death Grenville had agreed to sell the Milford Yard to the Navy Board for £4,455, subject to an Act of Parliament being procured to enable the freehold to be conveyed with a good title, he being only a life tenant. However, after his death, his younger brother, Robert Fulke Grenville, the new life tenant, wished to renegotiate the price. The Navy Board, always conscious of expenditure, looked around in consequence for an alternative site for its shipbuilding operations. The Admiralty directed the Navy Board to suspend the improvements then going on at Milford on 3 August 1810 and on 26 October 1812 ordered that possession of the Yard at Milford was to cease from Midsummer 1814. The new Royal Dockyard at Pembroke was formally established by an order of 31 October 1815.

Shipbuilding for the Royal Navy ceased at Milford with the completion and launch of the 80-gun HMS Rochfort in 1814. There is always a considerable gap between the launch of a ship and when she is fully fitted out and ready to put to sea. In the case of HMS Rochfort the Captain's Log does not begin until 3 August 1815, probably over a year after her launch [ADM 51/2774]. Work began in the brand new Dockyard at Paterchurch with the construction of HMS Valorous, HMS Ariadne, HMS Thetis and HMS Arethusa. HMS Valorous and HMS Ariadne were laid down on open slips, but all subsequent vessels were built under cover.3 The first of the great shipbuilding sheds can be seen in Charles Norris's view of the Dockyard, painted in 1817, when it was probably covering the construction of HMS Belleisle. It is not certain at this time whether ship repair work continued on afterwards at the Milford Yard, or what became of the shipyard there. Did it continue to operate, under private management, for the building and repair of local trading vessels, for example, although it would have been difficult for local employers to compete with the work and potential job security on offer across the river in the new Royal Dockyard.4

Surveying the ground for this new Royal Dockyard began in earnest in 1810. Borings were taken and its was reported to the Navy Board that "Should it be deemed expedient by the Government to form a Royal Arsenal and establish a port in this harbour, the surrounding situation is capable of being made remarkably accommodating for such a purpose, to whatever extent may be considered proper" [ADM 106/1966; Class ADM 106 at the TNA are the principal Class of records relating to the transactions of the Navy Board].5 The site of the old fort, controlled by the Board of Ordnance, was supplemented by the purchase of over 20 acres of adjoining land from John Francis Meyrick. A further 39 acres was conveyed by the Board of Ordnance in January 1814 and another 20 acres from Mr. Meyrick in April 1814. In July 1813, HMS Lapwing, a 28-gun frigate had arrived at Milford from Cork "to be fitted temporarily with offices, etc., according to the propositions of the Master Shipwright, to facilitate the removal of the Yard Establishment". At some time in the first half of 1814 the work at Pater of "excavating the shore to form a dock to receive her bows and bilge, heaving her in and passing guys (guy ropes) from each quarter to anchors or bollards fixed in the beach" was completed [Milford Yard to Navy Board, 29 June 1814 and 8 July 1814]. Thus James Picton would have been taken on as a labourer in October 1813 to help on this massive local project, beginning with the construction of this initial berth. It begs the question, of course, of the nature of the work he was doing at Steynton before his involvement at the Dockyard. Did he have any position in the Dockyard at Milford, for example?

George Mason, in his Historical Sketches of Pembroke Dock [HSPD], 1905, quotes the following passage concerning the start of the Dockyard from a diary kept by a Dockyard carpenter named John Narbeth or Narberth. It does contain a couple of errors, compared to what can be ascertained from other sources (see Footnote). "In the year of our Lord 1 January 1813 began the enclosing of the new Dockyard, Pater, and the fitting up of workshops for the men, and sheds for all sorts of materials. There was a temporary dock dug out to take in a 74 [sic] old gun ship for a storehouse, and the upper decks for offices for the Builder and Storekeeper; the Yard enclosed with wooden pailings. By the 1st January 1814, the whole of the workmen were able to come there to commence their shipbuilding, with Mr. Roberts as their builder, and not so much as one house on the spot, only Paterchurch farm, so poor old Pembroke was well filled with both officers and men for a few years".6

Three principal elements can be identified in the new workforce at Pater. Firstly there were the skilled workers who came from Milford on the closure of the Dockyard there. Secondly there were the labourers, mostly local, who were taken on by the hundred when required [The Carmarthen Journal of 24 June 1818 has an advert for 100 able-bodied labourers required at the Dockyard]. Thirdly there were the skilled shipwrights and other artificers, who came predominantly from the Royal Dockyard at Plymouth. It would have been unlike the Navy Board to offer any financial inducement to them to move to Pembroke, and perhaps just the security of continuing their employment in this new Naval Dockyard was inducement enough for many. They came in the Nay's transport vessels, the married men either bringing their wives and children with them, or sending for them later. This influx was concentrated on Pembroke – and wherever lodgings could be obtained within walking or rowing distance of the Dockyard. The overall number of such men was not especially large; a check of the wages list for 1820 suggests perhaps not more than 100 such men arrived in the early years of the Dockyard. They were, to some extent, an elite, and for a generation at least they and their dependants must have been a distinct element amongst the people of the district.

George Mason remarked in his book that "The strengthening of the Dockyard in 1816 and later, caused the overflow of the little town with shipwrights and a few other trades, and also tradesmen with their families from Portsmouth and Plymouth, chiefly the latter. The place was already taxed to the uttermost to find accommodation for the contractor's men employed building walls, dock and slipways, and the consequence was that house rents went up at an abnormal price. The old town of Pembroke had golden times, and people were so sorely pressed for lodgings that, in the young town, cases occurred of rooms being occupied before the floors were laid" [HSPD, p. 63].

Not only the workers were affected by these early difficulties. Thomas Roberts, the Master Shipwright, was "Constrained to live in extremely incommodious lodgings, through which there was a thoroughfare to a public billiard table". When Mr. Burke, the Surgeon at the Dockyard, was wanting accommodation at the beginning of 1817 he stated that "The only house in the town of Pembroke that can be procured is Mr. Lord's, which he will not let unfurnished at a less rent than £100 per annum. There is also a cottage in the vicinity of the town for which the proprietor demands sixty guineas a year, including rates and taxes, a rent which every reasonable person must allow to be exorbitant" [J. D. Burke to the Navy Board, 10 December 1816 and 18 January 1817].

Perhaps, under these circumstances, it makes perfect sense for James Picton to have carried on living at Steynton, in his established house with his wife and family, and to become an early forerunner of the commuter to work, with his regular journeys across the Cleddau River. He already had two young daughters by 1813 and a third was born in 1815. This new town was perhaps not the place for a wife with young children or babies, and all his friends and relations of himself and his wife would be on the north bank of the Cleddau. The distance from the haven at Milford to Pembroke Dock would have been close to four miles. On the other hand a crossing from the neighbouring parish of Llanstadwell, which was almost opposite the new Yard, would have been less than a mile. Ware Point has a road running down to it, and a ferry is marked on the 1839 OS Map at this point to Pembroke Dock. It will be worth examining the parish locations of the other Dockyard labourers in 1820, listed so thoroughly in Rose's book that such an analysis is possible, to see how many other labourers lived on the north side of the Cleddau River at this time [Pembroke People, pp. 107-113].

The Dockyard enclave on the south shore, the influx of workers by sea from Plymouth and the building of the new town, all have a colonial flavour to them. Certainly Thomas Roberts, the Master Shipwright, must have felt like both the Governor of a new Colonial settlement, and the Manager of a vast building site, as he corresponded with the Navy Board about the development of the Dockyard and the town, whilst getting on with his primary duty of building ships. The natives, as represented by the Mayor and Corporation of Pembroke, jealous of their ancient privileges, seem initially to have regarded the establishment of the Dockyard as if a very large cuckoo had appeared in their nest, and the Master Shipwright, who took his orders from the Navy Board in London, was not a man to soothe them by diplomacy.

Space does not permit a full discussion here, but Roberts appears to have been a hasty-tempered martinet, and his principal officers had in some measure the arrogance characteristic of Regency gentlemen. Trouble naturally ensued. In July 1815 James McKain arrived from Lisbon to take up his post as Clerk of the Cheque, followed by Roberts as Master Shipwright in November. They found Richard Blake, who had been working for a couple of years at Milford and Pater as the Timber Master. This trio, McKain responsible for finance, Roberts in overall charge of shipbuilding operations, and Blake dealing with timber and materials, were a disastrous combination. Whatever strains were imposed upon them by conditions at the Yard, and on board the Lapwing, they seem to have loathed one another instantly. Rose goes on to detail, over a whole page and a half, some of the disputes which arose between these parties, and these were only the ones that reached as far as the Navy Board [Pembroke People, p. 91-92]. Roberts and McKain seem eventually to reach some form of modus vivendi, but their dissentions were as nothing to the hate that developed between Roberts and McKain. Eventually McKain must have had enough; he married Kate Dobbin, the daughter of Captain Dobbin of the Diligence Revenue Cutter and in January 1821 accepted a new appointment at the Sheerness Yard in Kent.7

Finally peace seems to have been restored when Edward Laws arrived from Canada as McKain's successor, and the administration of the Yard seems to have proceeded far more smoothly from then on. This dispute must have had the tongues of the Dockyard workers wagging, and seems to have dragged on during most of the time James Picton was employed in the Dockyard.

The panoramic view of the area, included as an endplate in Rose's book, which although painted probably about 1835, gives some idea of the look of the establishment in its early years. What is immediately striking is the openness of the site when compared with photographs taken a generation later. If the town is ignored on this panorama, and a fence is substituted for the Dockyard wall, one gets an impression of how isolated and rural was the chosen spot in 1813.

James Picton's name occurs in the wages list for Christmas 1815, when he was paid £8:3s:2d for a Quarter's work. His name does not appear in a large list of labourers, who having been hired early in 1815, were discharged in October of that year [Rose, p. 107, lists the names of 63 men]. A similar dismissal of labourers occurred on 9 September 1816. In December 1818 there were 29 salaried staff, and the total salary bill for the Quarter was £1398:10s:7d. Important Dockyard Staff included the Master Shipwright, the Clerk of the Cheque, the Timber Master, the Master Measurer, the Foreman of the Yard and the Boatswain. All except the Boatswain had clerks underneath them, and the Clerk of the Cheque had a Chief Clerk. The Clerk of the Cheque had overall responsibility for the records of expenditure at the Yard, and this usually extended to approval of the accounts of the ships based at the Yard, and submitted by their Captains on their return from service. James Picton is recorded in the 1820 Dockyard List of Labourers (3rd Gang) for Midsummer 1820 when he was paid £7:7s:3d for a Quarter's work [Rose, Pembroke People, p. 181]. James Picton was also recorded as absent for half a day without leave and was sick for 3 days. Doubtless he had his pay stopped for these absences. This entry almost certainly relates to Pembroke Dockyard, or it would not have been included in Rose's book on Pembroke People. The book lists all 29 labourers who made up this labouring gang, along with much personal detail of their lives. There were at least six of such gangs of labourers employed in the Dockyard in 1820, all comprising around 30 men. James Picton was living at Castle Hall, Mount Pleasant, Steynton, in 1815; and at Castlepill Mill from 1818-1821. He was superannuated from the Dockyard on 28 October 1822, with a pension of £10 a year [Rose, Pembroke People, p. 181].8

Details of dockyard wages and salaries are to be found for the Pembroke Yard Books in Classes ADM 42/667 (1815-1817), ADM 42/668 (1818-1819), ADM 42/669 (1820-1821), ADM 42/670 (1822-1823) and ADM 42/671 (1824). Classes ADM 42/677 and ADM 42/678 cover various pay lists for the Pembroke Yard from 1810 to 1830. Class ADM 42/680 covers pension lists, 1817 to 1835. The Navy Board In-Letters in Class ADM 106/1966 onwards provide much detail about the workers in the Pembroke Dockyard [ADM 106/1966, 1810-1815; ADM 106/1967, 1816-1822; ADM 106/1968, 1822-1823; ADM 106/1969, 1824-1826]. Lands and works at Milford, 1800 to 1810, is covered in Class ADM 106/3186 and for Pembroke, 1813 to 1822, in ADM 106/3187. There are hospital muster books for Pembroke, 1789 to 1807, in Class ADM 102/596 and 597. There is a chart of Milford Haven for 1821 in Class ADM 140/491.

Pilfering from the yard began with the Dockyard's earliest days. On 23 January 1814 four lightermen were convicted before Henry Leach of "Having stolen at His Majesty's Dockyard at Patterchurch in Milford Haven certain pitch pine or fir slabs, being stores belonging to His Majesty". Each was fined 40 shillings. One of the watchmen, near where the slabs were deposited, absconded and another, who was absent from his post, was dismissed. The number of night watchmen was increased to five. Their names were George Bevan, William Morris and John Stephens of Carew and John Cannifor of Cosheston [Quarter Sessions, Easter 1814; Pembroke Yard to Navy Board, 25 January 1814]. This shows that workers in the Dockyard were already travelling in from the surrounding parishes.

James Picton was living at Vineyard, Steynton, in 1832; at Castle Hall, Steynton, in the 1841 Census; and at Blackbridge, Steynton, in the 1851 and 1861 Census returns. At the time of the marriage of his son, James Picton, in 1840, he was described as a pensioner. This must relate to his employment in the Royal Dockyard at Pembroke Dock. He became parish clerk of Steynton, and both he and his wife were living at the time of the 1861 Census. He is not recorded in the 1871 Census. BMD Index. James and Mary Picton were the parents of:

1. MARY PICTON, bapt. 5 March 1809 at Steynton.

2. MARTHA PICTON, bapt. 19 April 1812 at Steynton. She married James Howells of Steynton on 18 October 1834 at Steynton (Witnesses: Mary Hughes and James Picton). James and Martha Howells were the parents of:

    • a. MARY ANN HOWELLS, born 1834/5 at Steynton. She was living with her Picton grandparents in the 1841 and 1851 Census returns.

3. JANE PICTON, bapt. 9 April 1815 at Steynton. She was living at Steynton in the 1841 Census, aged '20'.

4. JAMES PICTON, bapt. 4 October 1818 at Steynton. He became a shipwright. He was of Blackbridge, labourer, in 1840; of Waterston, 1842; of Hasbeach, 1844 and of 9 South Brewer Street, Pembroke Dock, in the 1851 Census. He seems to have moved from Llanstadwell to Pembroke Dock between 1844 and 1846, based on the places of baptism of his children. He was aged 32 on his second marriage in 1851. He married, firstly, Maria Llewellin by banns on 29 August 1840 at Hubberston [Witnesses: James Picton and Richard Harries]. Maria Picton died on 14 July 1850 at Lanryth, Pembroke Dock, aged 31. James and Maria Picton were the parents of:

    • a. ALFRED EDWARD PICTON, bapt. 23 January 1842 at Llanstadwell. The Tithe Schedule for Llanstadwell is in the TNA under Class IR 29/54/69 and IR 29/54/70. The Tithe Maps are in Classes IR 30/54/69 and IR 30/54/70. He was living with his parents at South Brewer Street, Pembroke Dock, in the 1851 Census and later moved to Woolwich, probably to the Royal Dockyard there. There was the marriage of an Alfred Edwin Picton in 1862, which looks suspiciously like the correct entry [Lewisham, March 1862, Volume 1d 828]. There is no record of the family in the 1871 Census, but Woolwich needs to be checked. Alfred Picton was a shipwright, aged 39, in 1881. He married Caroline Susannah Capon [born 1845 at Woolwich] and they were living at Kidd Street, Lee Terrace, Woolwich, in the 1881 Census. This is a similar address to that in which his younger brother and sister were living in the 1871 Census. The bride's mother, Harriet Capon, was living with them. There is no record of Alfred Picton in the 1891 Census. Caroline Picton died on 4 June 1900 at (?). Alfred and Caroline Picton were the parents of:

      • i. ALFRED JAMES JOHN PICTON, born 1862 at Woolwich [Greenwich, December 1862, Volume 1d 649].

      • ii. EDWIN PICTON, born ca 1865 at Woolwich.

      • iii. JAMES PICTON, born ca 1867 at Woolwich.

      • iv. CAROLINE LOUISE MARY PICTON, born 25 November 1870 at North Woolwich. She married Frederick George Coppin [also known as George Frederick Coppin] (1860-1947) in September 1889. He worked at the Royal Arsenal, and had been married before to Florence Alexandra Silverwood, who had died in 1884 just a few months after giving birth to a son who supposedly ended up in Australia. Frederick George and Caroline Copper later moved to St. Helens, Lancashire, before emigrating to Canada, where they arrived either on 6 June 1906 or 1 July 1907 [the family account varies as to dates].9 Caroline Coppin died on 18 May 1945 at Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. They had a daughter, Gladys Coppin, who married Orly Cory and had a son, Jack Emerson Cory. He was the father of Lina Marie Cory, who was living at in 2004.

      • v. ARTHUR PICTON, born ca 1869 at Woolwich.

      • vi. HARRIET MARIA S. PICTON, born ca 1873 at Woolwich. She married in 1898 [Woolwich, December 1898, Check BMD entry].

      • vii. WILLIAM PICTON, born ca 1875 at Woolwich. He married Elizabeth Wisdom (1877-1947) at St. Nicholas Church, Plumstead, on 5 September 1904. He worked for British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC) and was also a part-time fireman. He was also a plumber by trade, and set up later in life doing this work based at home. The family lived at 20 Abery Street, Plumstead. William and Elizabeth Picton were the parents of:


        • b. LILIAN ELEANOR PICTON, born 1908. She married Robert Edward Driver from Slade Green, Erith at St. Pauls Church, Plumstead on 2 August 1937. She died in January 2003, aged 94. Her daughter was Betty Holmes, living in Kent (2004).


        • d. ETHEL PICTON

        • e. SOPHIE PICTON

      • viii. EMILY PICTON, born ca 1877 at Woolwich. She married Walter Neve in September 1897 [check for BMD reference].

      • ix. MAUD PICTON, born ca 1879 at Woolwich. She married in 1901 [Woolwich, September 1901, Check BMD entry]

    • b. JOHN LLEWELLYN PICTON, bapt. 26 May 1844 at Llanstadwell. He was living at the time of the 1851 Census. 1871 Census.

    • c. THOMAS MARTIN PICTON, bapt. 26 April 1846 at Pembroke Dock Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, aged 5 weeks. He died in 1847.

    • d. SARAH MARIA PICTON, died in 1849.

JAMES PICTON married, as his second wife, Ann Morgan (born Whitchurch 1820/1), daughter of Titus Morgan, a tailor, on 23 February 1851 at Bethany Chapel, Pembroke Dock. He was a shipwright, aged 32, and she was aged 30 (Witnesses: John Beylion and Mary Beylion). James Picton must have died by 1871, and his wife remarried to William Lane, as her children Catherine and Thomas Picton were described as step-children in the 1871 Census [RG 10/779/28]. The family was living at 4 Kidd Street, Woolwich. William Lane was aged 44, a puddler in the royal gun factory, and Ann Lane (formerly Picton) was aged 44, born at Pembroke Dock. This implies that perhaps James Picton moved to work in the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich. There is a marriage of an Ann Picton at Woolwich in 1868 [Woolwich, September 1868, Volume 1d 1125], which could be worth acquiring. James and Ann Picton were the parents of:

    • e. CATHERINE JANE PICTON, twin, born 5 September 1851 at Pembroke Dock. She was living at 4 Kidd Street, Woolwich, with her mother and step- father in the 1871 Census, aged 19 [RG 10/779/28]. She married Henry Benjamin Cufley, a gas fitter (born 16 July 1845 at Enfield), on 16 August 1874 at Bethnal Green, London. Henry Benjamin Cufley died on 11 February 1901 at Charlton, and his wife, Catherine Cufley, died on 18 May 1903 at Plumstead. They were the parents of:

      • i. CATHERINE ELIZABETH CUFLEY, born 5 May 1875. She died in 1881.

      • ii. MARY ANN CUFLEY, born 19 September 1876 and died in 1878 at Woolwich.

      • iii. HENRY JOHN CUFLEY, born 26 June 1878. He married Rebecca Cufley on 24 July 1904.

      • iv. MARY ANN CUFLEY, born 27 November 1879 at Woolwich. She died in the 1880's.

      • v. ALICE MARY CUFLEY, born 10 January 1881. She married sometime between 1901 and 1903 ----- Lowe. She died on 28 February 1982.

      • vi. JAMES PICTON CUFLEY, born 22 September 1885. He was buried on 19 November 1931 at Charlton.

      • vii. WILLIAM CUFLEY, born 8 February 1890. He married Sarah Morrell (born 6 November 1887, St. Saviour, London) on 27 March 1915. He died on 24 September 1925. His wife, Sarah Cufley, died on 9 October 1968 at Woolwich.

    • f. THOMAS MARTIN PICTON, twin, born 5 September 1851 at Pembroke Dock. He was living at 4 Kidd Street, Woolwich, in the 1871 Census with his mother and step-father, aged 19, an apprentice coachbuilder [RG 10/779/28]. Thomas Martin Picton was married to Jane ---- in 1880 [Bromley, December 1880, Volume 2a 612]. He was a coachbuilder at Plumstead, London, in the 1881 Census. Thomas Picton was living at 8 Deans Terrace, Greenwich, in the 1891 Census, a coachbuilder and wheelwright aged 39, born at Pembroke Dock [RG 12/513/7]. His wife, Jane Picton, was aged 38, born at Sevenoaks, Kent. In the 1901 Census Thomas Picton was a lodger, living at 10 Rope Yard Rails, Woolwich, a wheelwright aged 50, born at Pembroke [RG 13/565/28]. Thomas Picton married Jane ----- (born Sevenoaks, Kent) and they were the parents of:

      • i. WILLIAM (SEANEY) PICTON, born 1879 at Hayes. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, a scholar aged 12 [RG 12/513/7].

      • ii. MINNIE PICTON, born 1881/2 at Plumstead. She was living with her parents in the 1891 Census, a scholar aged 9 [RG 12/513/7].

      • iii. GLADYS PICTON, born 1884/5 at Charlton. She was living with her parents in the 1891 Census, a scholar aged 6 [RG 12/513/7].

    • g. WILLIAM TITUS PICTON, born 1853 at Pembroke Dock [Pembroke, June 1853, Volume 11a 588]. He lived at High Street, Pembroke Dock and afterwards at Portsmouth. In the 1871 Census he was living at the High Street, Pater, St. Marys Pembroke, aged with Griffith Morgans and his family, an apprentice shipwright aged 17 [RG 10/5518/7]. Griffith Morgans was aged 57 and his uncle, and his wife was Margaret Morgans, aged 50, born at Longridge. Perhaps he was an uncle by marriage, as Margaret Morgans could be a sister to Sarah Morgans, who married William Picton.

    • William Titus Picton married Melita Hancock of Upper Lewis Street, Pembroke Dock, on 8 August 1874 at Tabernacle Congregational Chapel, Pembroke Dock (Witnesses: Thomas George Hancock and Harriet Hancock). He was living at 32 Drummond Road, Portsea, in the 1891 Census, a shipwright aged 37, born at Pembroke Dock [RG 12/866/56]. His wife, Melita Picton, was aged 38. Melita Picton died on 27 December 1921, aged 69 and William Titus Picton died on 22 May 1928, aged 75. William and Melita Picton were the parents of:

      • i. JAMES WILLIAM PICTON, born 6 October 1874 at Pembroke Dock. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, an apprentice engine fitter, aged 16 [RG 12/866/56]. He lived most of his life at Portsmouth. He married Alice Evans, daughter of William Evans (born 16 June 1879), on 6 April 1901. Alice Picton died on 13 March 1945 as was buried at Manorbier. James William Picton died on 21 July 1956 and likewise was buried at Manorbier. James and Alice Picton were the parents of:

        • a. ELIZABETH MELITA PICTON, born 11 January 1902. She married, firstly, on 5 September 1925, Charles George Tribe (1890-1958) by whom she had two daughters:

          • i. ELVA ELIZABETH MARY TRIBE, born 15 June 1926. She married Douglas Whyte of Forfar, solicitor, on 23 August 1949 and has two children: Nicholas Douglas Whyte and Susan Whyte.

          • ii. MAVIS ALICE MELITA TRIBE, born 28 March 1930. She married Dr. Philip Tattersall of Leeds, Yorkshire, on 17 September 1955 and has three children: Andrew Tattersall, Mark Tattersall and Jane Tattersall.

        • Elizabeth Tribe remarried to Professor William James John (born 31 July 1891) in 1965 and she died on 10 April 1971. He was still living in 1979.

          • ii. THOMAS HENRY PICTON, born 1878 at Pembroke Dock. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, a scholar aged 12 [RG 12/866/56]. He died at Ottawa, Canada. He was the father of:

            • a. THOMAS PICTON

            • b. MELITA PICTON

            • c. LOUISA PICTON

          • iii. GEORGE EDWARD PICTON, born 1880 at Pembroke Dock. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, a scholar aged 10 [RG 12/866/56]. He died in January 1929 and is buried at Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth. He was the father of:

            • a. WINIFRED LEILA PICTON, born 1905. She married John Daye on 21 September 1929.

            • b. PHYLLIS PICTON, born November 1920. She married Lieut. Commander Victor Crompton, RN, on 5 October 1941.

          • iv. ALFRED LLEWELLYN PICTON, born 1882 at Portsmouth. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, a scholar aged 8 [RG 12/866/56]. He died on 4 November 1944 and was the father of:

            • a. HILDA MAY PICTON

            • b. DORIS PICTON

          • v. VALENTINE ROBERT PICTON, born 1887/8 at Portsmouth. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, aged 3 [RG 12/866/56]. He married Ella Muriel Voller and they were the parents of:


            • b. ROY PICTON

            • c. PANSY PICTON

            • d. MARGARET PICTON

          • vi. ARTHUR E. PICTON, born 1889/90 at Portsmouth. He was living with his parents in the 1891 Census, aged 1 [RG 12/866/56]. He married ---- - and they were the parents of:

            • a. HARRY PICTON

            • b. TITUS PICTON

            • c. ANDREW PICTON

            • d. MELITA PICTON

            • e. ZENA PICTON

            • f. LILIAN PICTON

          • vii. EDGAR EWART PICTON, born 5 October 1894. He settled in Canada and died there, leaving issue 3 children.

          • viii. IDA PICTON, born 1892/3. She died on 16 June 1903, aged 11, and is buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth.

        • h. MARY ANN PICTON, born ca. 1857 at Pembroke Dock. She was a servant to James Hutchins at Pembroke St. Mary in the 1881 Census, aged 23 [RG 11/5411/137]. She married Alfred Charles Cufley, a gas stoker and general labourer (bapt. 3 May 1857 at St. Andrews Church, Enfield), on 13 January 1889 at St. Nicholas Church, Plumstead. Mary Ann Cufley died on 3 April 1926 at Portsmouth and Alfred Charles Cufley died on 5 August 1930 at Southsea. They were the parents of:

          • i. EVELYN MARY CUFLEY, born 2 April 1890 at Greenwich. She married Harry Jeffrey, by whom she had four children. She died around 1950.

          • ii. THOMAS ALFRED CUFLEY, born 2 February 1891 at Woolwich Road, Greenwich. He married Kathleen Nellie Pearson (born 13 March 1888) on 26 February 1927 at Portsmouth. He died on 24 October 1966 at Southsea. His wife, Kathleen Cufley, died on 4 January 1979. They had children.

          • iii. JOSEPH HENRY CUFLEY, born 23 September 1893 at West Ham. He died in 1920, aged 26, at Portsmouth.

          • iv. MARY ALYS CUFLEY, born 18 January 1899 (?). She married Charles Freeman (died ca. 1948) and died around 1961.

5. WILLIAM PICTON, bapt. 10 January 1821 at Steynton. He was a shipwright at Steynton in the 1841 Census. He married Sarah Morgans (born Dale) on 5 April 1845 at Steynton. William Picton was buried on 1 October 1846 at Steynton, aged 26. Sarah Picton was a widow in the 1851 Census, working as a housemaid at the Nelson Hotel, Steynton. She may have been the sister of Griffith Morgans, with whom William Titus Picton was living in the 1871 Census. 1871 Census. William and Sarah Picton were the parents of:

    • a. WILLIAM EDMUND PICTON, bapt. 18 January 1846 at Hubberston. 1871 Census.

6. JOHN PICTON, born 2 November 1826 at Steynton. He was bapt. on 19 November 1826 at the Milford Tabernacle. He was also bapt. on 22 January 1832 at Steynton Church. He was living at the time of the 1861 Census as a shipwright at Pembroke Dock. 1871 Census. He married Margaret ---- (born Lawrenny, 1827/8). They were the parents of:

    • a. EMILY MATILDA PICTON, born 2 July 1854 at Cardiff.

    • b. AMELIA J. PICTON, born 1 July 1857 at Pembroke St. Mary.

The Steynton parish registers record the baptisms of two children of James and Martha Picton, both baptised as James, on 4 October 1818 and 10 January 1821 respectively. Since James Picton of South Brewer Street gave his age as 32 in the 1851 Census, he would appear to be the eldest of these entries. There is no burial entry for a James Picton in the Steynton registers between 1818 and 1821.

It therefore seems likely that the name of the child baptised in the 1821 entry is incorrectly recorded, and is to be identified with William, son of James and Mary Picton, who died in 1846, aged 26. Note, however, that William Picton's age is given as 18 in the 1841 Census but as 'full age' on his marriage certificate of 1845.

1871 Census, St. Margaret, Westminster [RG 10/126/91]

Elizabeth Picton 8 South Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales Daughter St Margaret London

Joseph Picton 2 Westminster Son St Margaret London

Martha Picton 33 South Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales Wife St Margaret London

Mary Picton 2 months Westminster Daughter St Margaret London

Sidney Picton 4 South Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales Son St Margaret London

William Picton 32 South Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales Head, a mason, 2 Parker Street, St

Margaret, Westminster, London

1901 Census, Hammersmith [RG 13/40/59], 91 Uxbridge Road

Frederick Picton 5 Fulham, London, England Son Hammersmith London

Margaret Picton 43 South Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales Wife Hammersmith London

William Picton 62 South Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales Head, stone mason, Hammersmith London


1. During the brief interlude of peace which followed the signing of the Treaty of Amiens in April 1802, Nelson made a tour with the Hamiltons, in the course of which they visited Milford. There, at a dinner given in his honour on the anniversary of the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1802 in the (now) Lord Nelson Hotel, he made the speech which has been so often quoted by his biographers and local historians. He is reputed to have pronounced the Haven "one of the finest possible stations for the British Fleet, with command of a safe and capacious anchorage, for the entire Navy". The choice of words in the latter phrase suggests that they were borrowed from the 1758 report by Nelson, or his biographers.

2. Another of his enterprising sons was Francis Barrallier, who was appointed an Ensign in the New South Wales Corps from 18 February 1801. He was appointed to sit as a member of the Courts Martial and Criminal Court on 23 August 1801 and was appointed Acting Engineer and Artillery Officer on the resignation of Abbott. In 1801 Barrallier was sent on an expedition to find a passage over the Blue Mountains into the interior of New South Wales. He was unsuccessful, but was rated highly by his superiors e.g. Captain James Colnett of HMS Glatton [Captain's Letters, 1803, ADM 1/1632/432].

3. The keels for HMS Valorous and HMS Ariadne were laid down in March 1815 and the ships were launched by Lord Cawdor at a ceremony held on 10 February 1816. Lord Cawdor wrote to his son, John Campbell, on 16 December 1816 "On the 10th [February] I rode with George to see the first launch from the new dock yard at Pater church of two 20 gun ships, the Valorousand Ariadne, both fine ships of their Class, after the model of the Bonne Citoyenne. They were both built upon the same slip. The launch was a very fine one, and conducted in a most quiet, masterly manner" [see Lawrence Phillips, Mariners Mirror, Vol. 68, 445 H.M. Ships Built on the Lines of the Bonne Citoyenne, and also David Brown's article on the same subject, Mariners Mirror, Vol. 69, 314]. HMS Valorous was broken up in 1829. Another account says "His Majesty's ships Medusa and Majestichave arrived at Milford, having brought stores, rigging, etc. necessary for equipping the Valorous and Ariadne, two beautiful ships of 20 guns each, now on the stocks at Pater Dock Yard, and intended to be launched on Saturday the 10th inst., about three in the afternoon" [Rose, Pembroke People, pp. 188-189].

Rose's book also has two black and white plates of a model of HMS Ariadne in the Horniman Museum [Plates 22 and 23, opposite p. 257]. HMS Ariadne was commanded from 9 February 1826 to 26 July 1827 by Adolphus Fitzclarence, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV (1830-1837) and Mrs Jordan. Her next commander, from 1828 to 1830, was Captain Frederick Marryat [later the well-known author, Children of the New Forest, etc. - see Dictionary of National Biography]. The model was possibly made for Captain Marryat and is apparently accurate, apart from a number of carronades on the upper deck, which do not seem to have been part of the original ship's armament. She was later a floating coal depot at Alexandria, and was broken up in 1841.

The largest ship launched in the early years of the Dockyard was HMS Belleisle, a 74-gun 2nd Rate ship-of-the-line. Her keel was laid in February 1816 and she was launched on 26 April 1819 by Matthew Campbell, Collector of Customs, in place of Lady Owen of Orielton. Robert Seppings, the naval architect, came with his daughter to see the launch. Rose has a picture of her on p. 189 of his book, taken from the Illustrated London News of 18 August 1855, when she was a floating hospital ship at Nargen in the Baltic, during the Crimean War. There was a ball at the Golden Lion, Pembroke, in the evening. Another interesting ship built in the Dockyard was the bomb-vessel HMS Erebus. Her keel was laid in October 1824, just after James Picton had left employment in the Yard. She was launched on 7 June 1826, and is best remembered for two expeditions. The first was to the Antarctic in 1839-1841 under Sir James Clark Ross along with HMS Terror and her name survives in the only volcano on that land mass, Mount Erebus. Later when she was refitted with an auxiliary steam engine, and took part in the ill- fated expedition under Sir John Franklin to the Arctic to try and discover a north-west passage. She was last seen in Melville Bay, Greenland, on 30 July 1845; although the expedition certainly reached the Gulf of Boothia in what is now the far north of Canada. The ships and most of the expedition were never seen again, although some graves of the members have been rediscovered over the years, preserved in the permafrost.

4. Richard Rose was uncertain himself of the fate of the Dockyard at Milford (private conversation, May 2004). There was some confusion in the early days of the Pembroke Dockyard, as the Navy Board had not decided amongst themselves what to call the new Yard, and continued to refer to it as the Dockyard at Milford, when they clearly meant the new Dockyard on the other side of the Cleddau estuary.

5. The fortifications at Pater were first planned in 1757 and the site for the proposed fort was conveyed to the Crown by the Rev. David Lewis, then the incumbent of St. Marys, Pembroke. The works were carried out between 1761 and 1764 at a total cost of £24,212:9s:8d. By the end of the 18th century the fortifications had fallen into decay. The fort would have been under the overall control of the Board of Ordnance at this time [see also Mariners Mirror, Vol. 26, 293-301, Pembroke, The First Fortification Scheme].

6. Some of John Narbeth's recollections were at fault here, as Thomas Roberts, the Master Shipwright, did not arrive at Pater until November 1815 and HMS Lapwing, the old gun ship, was a 28-gun frigate and not a 74-gun 2nd Rate ship of the line. Two common fates for the large warships were to be broken up and some key timbers recycled if possible, or from the 1790s onwards there was a steadily increasing demand for prison hulks. HMS Lapwing was finally broken up in 1828.

It would be interesting to know where the Dockyard timber was sourced for the new vessels under construction at Pater. Did any come down the Cleddau River from the forests further upstream? The supply of certain types of ships' timber was always a problem, the "great timbers" for ships' knees being a major problem as the oak forests were cut down by contractors. Mast timbers were also a problem, and it was not until the British conquest of Canada this was ever satisfactorily resolved. The resin content was higher in the pine trees grown in cold climates, and this determined whether the masts would bend or break when caught in a full gale [R. G. Albion, Forests and Sea Power. The Timber Problem of the Royal Navy, 1652-1862, Harvard University Press, 1926; Joseph J. Malone, Pine Trees and Politics, Longmans, London, 1964].

7. Even McKain's departure was a source of controversy. He sent off his furniture by transport ship to Sheerness, and took temporary lodgings in Milford until the day of his departure. Whilst there he asked for a boat to be provided to carry him to and from the Yard. At this point, when he was about to get rid of his enemy, Roberts overplayed his hand and refused. McKain complained to the Navy Board and Roberts was asked for an explanation. Again Roberts miscalculated, saying that "He did not feel himself justified in agreeing to order a boat's crew of labourers without the directions of the Honourable Board". The Navy Board's reply came as close to fury as was possible in official correspondence "The Board is by no means satisfied with his explanation, and it hopes that this will be the last time it will hear of private feelings being allowed to stand in the way of Public Service, and the Board recommends that in future the Officers [of the Yard] will endeavour to carry out the Public Service with cordiality" [ADM 106/1967].

8. During his employment at the Dockyard, James Picton would have seen the keels of 22 warships of different sizes laid down, varying from revenue cutters, such as the Racer, 6 guns, launched on 4 April 1817, to two 2nd Rate 74-gun ships, HMS Belleisle(q.v.) and HMS Vengeance. The latter had her keel laid down in July 1819 and was launched on 9 October 1824.

9. The most likely port for the Coppins to have emigrated from England to Canada is Liverpool. The ships' records relating to emigration from Liverpool for these dates are BT 27/ [April, May 1906] or BT 27/ [June 1907].


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