Why is it called Deddington?

Rob Forsyth

Buffy Heywood (Deddington Manor) was the person who first alerted the parish in 1997 that we had a namesake in Tasmania. Her son Rob had been touring that area and found himself driving through a very familiarly named outpost!One's thoughts as to who might have named it immediately turned to the firm of Franklins who had carved and built the Pulpit and Rood Screen for Hobart Cathedral in 1916.

But not so: Shirley Gibbs (of this parish) loaned us some extracts from various publications that stated that it was named by John Glover (1767-1849) who was a well known artist who emigrated to (then) Van Diemen's Land aged 64 in 1830. It also stated that he named the parish he settled in as Patterdale after his original home in the Lake District.


The artist John Glover's grave in Deddington, Tasmania


Colin Robinson (co-founder of DoL) subsequently made contact with Terence Talbot of Deddington, Tasmania, who then became our link man and local history adviser. Terence supported the information we had received so far but did say that the Nile Chapel had not been designed by John Glover as also previously thought. His account of the correct history of the chapel as far as it is known can be found HERE.

In March 2001 an article in Deddington News summarised what we knew so far. General opinion doubted the John Glover connection because we could find no local connection by way of relatives or visits or even any paintings of this area of Oxfordshire.

Then, on 13 May 2001,Terence emailed that he had visited the Hobart Land and Titles Office and our doubts were proved to be correct: to quote Terence's email 'I have located early maps which change the ground rules....The Parish of Deddington was in use in the early 1820's....It appears there may have been land grants before the Glover family arrived in V.D.L.' In a later email (6 June 2001) he says 'please check the following names to see if they ring a bell...Alexander Bankier, Andrew Barclay, Donald Cameron, JC Darke, DW Gray, James Hackett, James/Joseph Hazlewood or Alexander McLeod. These are some of the owners of early land grants in the Parish of Deddington.'  None of these names taken from Land Grants could be found in our parish records.Terence then refined the date from the earliest grant as being 1823. John Glover’s grant was actually in the Parish of Uplands, as was the land he purchased.

The next obvious source to research was Transportees from the Parish. The results of a project I carried out into this were fascinating and the details of the charges, sentences and subsequent fate of 22 residents can be found in Part II of my article Transportation. However none of the unfortunate convicts fitted the pre-1823 time slot.

In February 2014 Terence Talbot summarised 'We still do not know who named Deddington in Tasmania. The Nomenclature Board in the early days merely adopted the name in local usage at the time of their survey and they have no record of why the name was in common use.  It was first attached to a Parish area extending over a large district before being adopted for the township.The  local Inn, no longer in existence, was named the Dedington Inn, using two instead of three D's but that may well have been a miss spelling by the sign writer!'

So...despite claims in many Art Books and newspapers# that Deddington was named by John Glover, local research has revealed that this is impossible.  The name Parish of Deddington that covered the Township of Deddington and surrounding areas was in use before John Glover ever left England to settle in the area!

# the Sidney Morning Herald as recently as 2004 incorrectly quoted a 1967 Local History brochure containing  the legend that John Glover named Deddington Tasmania after our parish!

However there is another tantalising possibility to explore ... John Thomas Bigge was born in Northumberland and educated in Oxford*.  He was a judge in England before being sent to Australia to enquire into the penal settlements and free settlers. In 1821 as a Land Commissioner,  he rode around the island visiting various farms on the way. It is entirely possible that Wigge visited our parish and/or met someone from it.If nothing else the stage coach would have stopped on the road to refresh horses and passengers on its way North in the direction that he lived. We don’t know whether he gave name to places, but he is the only person we have so far found with a possible connection to Deddington, Oxfordshire, and who traveled through the area where Deddington, Tasmania, is before it was named on land surveys. Research continues to see if he left behind any notebooks or diaries that might contain clues.

*1797 entered Christ Church, Oxford (B.A., 1801; M.A., 1804).Called to the Bar in 1806