The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
Rokeby — (Run 118)
Rokeby, the next station above Acton on the Rakaia, was taken up in September, 1853, by James B. Wemyss. Wemyss registered his brand in August, 1854, when he had 1500 sheep there on twenty thousand acres. Alfred Porter was his manager. In 1856 Porter took the run and sheep on terms and was still renting it in 1858, but Wemyss must have sold it soon afterwards, as in 1861 Kermode and Co. bought it from Cogle Brothers.
Kermode and Co. were Kermode and Moore of Glenmark, Captain W. McN. Lyttleton, and Quale. Frank Pitt may also have had a small share. Their first manager was Thomas Tayspill Dowling and after him Frank Pitt. For some years Rokeby was worked with Wakanui, another station in which Kermode was the principal partner.
After a time Kermode bought Moore's share of Rokeby, and in 1878 or 1879 Captain Lyttleton bought out Kermode's and all the other interests. At that time the station carried 8000 sheep, about half of them on freehold. When Captain Lyttleton died he left the station to his sons, Dr Lyttleton of Australia, and Westcott Lyttleton. After Westcott's death in 1898 Dr Lyttleton came over to see the station during a drought and sold his share to his brother's heirs. It was looking very bad and he sold it cheap. The freehold remained in the Lyttleton family for many years, the last twelve hundred acres or so being sold with the homestead about 1908. For some years after Westcott Lyttleton's death Louis Wood managed the station for his sister, Mrs Lyttleton.
The homestead is now the property of Gordon Campbell and is a farm carrying 500 or 600 sheep. I learn from an old sheep return that Wemyss called the station Bamstead Down. Wemyss is described under Lake Sumner (the Lakes). The Cogles were Charles page 100and James, one of whom afterwards bought part of Morven Hills from the McLeans, and the other died near Oxford where he was farming. I have written about Moore and Kermode in my note on Glenmark. Captain Lyttleton was a kinsman of Lord Lyttelton who did so much for Canterbury. I do not know why this branch of the family spell their name differently. One of Westcott Lyttleton's daughters writes good stories under the name of G. B. Lancaster, and his eldest son is technical director of a great English glass manufacturing company.