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The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series

Lendon, afterwards calledCorwar — (Run 116)

Lendon, afterwards calledCorwar
(Run 116)

This run as well as part of Lavington and the whole of Highbank and other country was first taken up by Sir John Hall and his brothers, I think about the end of 1852. The difficulty of getting sheep across the Rakaia, and the general inaccessibility of the place, however, made them decide to buy country on the north side of the river, so they sold or abandoned most of these runs without ever stocking them.

Lendon, of twenty thousand acres, was taken up again by Alexander Lean, better known as the owner of Mt. Hutt, in September, 1853. G. C. Beard seems to have looked after it for him. About 1864 the run was transferred to F. W. Delamain, and from him to William Dunford, a son of Dunford of Lavington, in January, 1867. These transfers are taken from the official run lists published every year by order of the Provincial Council, but when I asked Delamain about Lendon he said he had never had anything to do with the place in his life, and I certainly never heard anyone speak of his owning it. In those days Delamain was a rich man and he may have lent Dunford money on the station. A man might forget what land he had lent money on but could hardly forget that a station had belonged to him, and Delamain had a very good memory. In the old days runs were often held in the names of the mortgagee. When the mortgagor paid off his debt the run was transferred to his name. In 1869 this run stands in the name of G. Gould, another mortgagee.

In April, 1870, John Cathcart Wason bought Lendon from Dunford and changed its name to Corwar page 102after his family property in South Ayrshire, where his father had turned moorland into arable land much as Wason himself did with the tussock land at Lendon. Wason eventually made five or six thousand acres of his run freehold. He also bought the Craig Estate on Cordy's run across the river.

The whole Corwar leasehold had been bought by Wason himself and by settlers by 1878.

Wason was for many years in the House of Representatives here, and about 1901 went home and was elected M.P. for Orkney and Shetland as a Unionist. In 1902 he had a disagreement with his party and resigned his seat and stood again as a Liberal. His constituents elected him again and continued to do so until his death in 1921.

Wason was a very strong man, and, in his younger days, high spirited. Once when a gentleman was making himself a nuisance at one of the old Assembly Balls in Christchurch, Wason picked him up and stood him on his head in an enormous dish of trifle which was on the table.

Wason cut up and sold Corwar in 1900 when the homestead and the greater part of the land was bought by Peter Drummond. Since Drummond's time much of the land has been sold off. The homestead now belongs to R. McLean.