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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 1, Issue 2, November 1982



On a part of section 1 Wairau Valley (Budge's Survey) on the south-east side of Highway 63. an attempt was made in the middle of last century to establish a village, to be known as Tewkesbury. George Freeman Esquire of Cheltenham in Gloustershire, England, bought land in the New Zealand Company Nelson settlement. As he was a fairly wealthy man, he used this as financial speculation and never came to New Zealand, but appointed Hugh Martin of Stoke, Nelson, as agent with power of attorney. Amongst the land allocated to him were two sections 1 and 2. Wairau Valley, of a total area of 400 acres.

After the Crown took over the assets and liabilities of the New Zealand Company in 1851 there was some delay in granting a clear title to these two sections, and not until 1856 was a Crown Grant issued. Freeman had by then given instructions to his agent whereby a part of section 1 was cut into ten acre sections for sale to establish a twonship to be called Tewkesbury.

In 1865 two allotments A and B, of ten acres each were sold to George Macdonald of Wairau Valley, farmer, for 40 pounds. Thirteen years later Gideon Scott of Kekerengu signed a sale and purchase agreement of Lots A and B for the sum of 300 pounds, payment to be made over a period of years and balance owing to be secured by a mortgage. The whole transaction to be completed by June 1883. However, upon the death of George Macdonald in August 1894, the sum of 100 pounds was still owing.

Under the will of George Macdonald, all his real and personal estate went to Mrs Eliza Brydon, wife of John Brydon of Renwick, and whereas Gideon Scott died without having completed the agreement. Mrs Brydon sold her interest in the property to Henry Fleetwood Bonnington, a neighbouring farmer for 100 pounds in April 1901. Four years later in 1905 Bonnington sold the two allotments to Robert Scott of Benopai station, overseer, for 100 pounds, who in turn sold in 1908 to George Fowell Watts for 200 pounds. Henceforth, the land became a part of Erina, and brought to an end the last vestige of what started out to be the township of Tewkesbury.

After the death of George Freeman in 1869, his executors sold section 2 and the remainder of section 1 to Hugh Martin, and after the latter's death in March 1892, the land was sold by public tender for 750 pounds to George Fowell Watts, and also became part of Erina.