Personal contacts with family members have produced over the past decade a fascinating and eclectic mix of items. Photographs, descriptions and names of donors are shown in this section of the website. We hope this section will provide greater insights into the personal lives of the early Williams family and also inspire more family members to entrust their historic items to the Museum Trust.
Given the Trust’s limited resources and problems in holding and displaying items, the trustees have set an acquisitions policy of confined scope, namely:
to acquire items relating directly to Henry and William Williams and their wives, Marianne and Jane, such as objects which used to belong to or were used by them.
to consider also items that fall outside the above criteria but have a close relationship with them or are important in telling the story of their lives.
We are aware that there are some items which would fall under the terms of our acquisition policy but the owners are reluctant to part with them. This is fully understood, and we are developing a pictorial section covering relevant items still held by family members. So please send us your photos. This section will include in due course some interesting Williams items that have been gifted to New Zealand museums, especially in Auckland, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. We are unable to accept items on loan.
BOOKS & PAPERS
Common Place Book 1. Leather binding. Inscribed JW. Originally belonged to Jane Williams. Donated by Sheila and Priscilla Williams.
Baby’s Dress. Cotton. From a box of baby clothes originally belonging to Marianne Williams. Donated by Peggie Bannister and Margot Goodin.
A black lace over silk parasol owned by Jane Williams, wife of Henry's eldest son Edward. Donated by Peggie Bannister who recalls her mother remembering her grandmother using it to sheild herself from the sun when in a horse-drawn carriage. The parasol has a plain handle but the lace and ruffles are surprisingly frivolous for the daughter and daughter-in-law of CMS missionaries. Jane's father was missionary Richard Davis. Edward, a brilliant Maori linguist, was a Resident Magistrate and subs
A hoeroa (fighting staff) donated by Pat and Janet Williams. Hoeroa are comparatively rare and were owned by chiefs of high rank. They were made from the lower jawbone of sperm whales and were carved at the head. This hoeroa belonged to Archdeacon Samuel Williams of Te Aute and would have been gifted to him by Maori. It is a particularly fine example, being very long (1755mm) and in good condition.
These four pieces of china were part of a Coalport set belonging to Henry and Marianne Williams and passed down through several generations, including Carl Williams, to Tim and Penny Bunny who donated them. During the Victorian more..
HENRY WILLIAMS' TOMBSTONE
Henry Williams' original tombstone. As the sandstone has deteriorated badly, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage has replaced it with an exact copy. The parish of Waimate North has gifted this tombstone to the Williams family for display at The Retreat. Marianne's original tombstone is still in their joint grave in Holy Trinity churchyard, Pakaraka.
THREE MEMORIAL PLAQUES
One of four memorial plaques from a memorial to Henry Williams in St Paul's churchyard gifted by the Maori clergy after Henry's death. Three of these sandstone plaques have deteriorated and been replaced. The damaged plaques, in Maori and English, have been donated by the parish to the Williams Trust.
Circular Side Table. Painted black. Three upper supports, elaborately turned. Three plain lower supports. Possibly owned by Henry Williams. Purchased by the trust - in very poor condition.
A reed organ dated around 1870 donated by Peggie Bannister and her daughter Margot Goodin. Made in Boston it is believed to have been originally in St Paul's church Paihia. The organ company which restored it at the request of the Trust notes it is a rare and well made instrument. The first organ to come to New Zealand was a barrel organ sent to Henry and William in 1830 by their uncle Reverend E G Marsh. It went to Pakaraka with Henry in 1850 and is now a treasured item at the Whanganui Region
SHIP’S BELL HERALD
19th Century ship's bell of bronze believed to be from Henry's ship the Herald which he built 1824-26. Construction of this ship was a remarkable achievement and though it had a short working life it played a crucial part in obtaining supplies and people for the pioneer mission station. The Herald was wrecked in Hokianga harbour in 1828 and there is no record of the bell being saved. However the family members who donated it, Peggie Bannister and her daughter Margot Goodin, state that it was e
This beautiful sterling silver goblet with silver gilt inside was made in London in 1799. The family who donated it, Peggie Bannister and Margot Goodin, say it was used by Henry Williams as a communion chalice. But that was not its original use as the initials CG are engraved on it so it may have been a drinking goblet or a christening gift. Perhaps the original owners donated it to Henry for church use when he became a missionary.
HEXAGONAL BOOK TABLE
A small hexagonal book-table with three shelves on the second tier for books. Donated by Peggie Bannister and Margot Goodin, it is believed to have belonged to Henry Williams.
Two kauri cabinets of the same period as the Retreat and believed to have once been in the house. These cabinets, purchased by the Trust, need some restoration.
Victorian cast-iron boot-scraper donated by Gerald Williams and his daughter Anna Williams. This was used by William Willliams and also by his son Bishop Leonard Williams. William undertook long journeys by foot, often in very muddy conditions. Leonard inherited his father's interest in exploration and was a keen botanist, riding or walking around his large diocese.
PAIHIA CHURCH WATERCOLOUR
Watercolour. “Pahia Church, March 1860” by Thomas Biddulph Hutton, married to Sarah Williams, daughter of Henry Williams. Donated by William Athol (Bill) Williams.
Two water colours painted by Thomas Biddulph Hutton in 1860 and donated by William Athol (Bill) Williams. Hutton was an accomplished artist whose work is held in museums in England and New Zealand. He married Sarah Williams, Henry's seventh child, in 1849 and shortly thereafter was ordained as a priest working in the Wellington
Donated by Gillian Gourlay, this mantelpiece clock originally belonged to Bishop W Leonard Williams, the eldest son of William Williams. Leonard has inscribed his name inside the clock. Made by Henry Marc of Paris, a well-known clock maker, it has a wooden case faced with gold, blue and pink cloisonné. It dates from around mid-19th Century and it possibly may have been a wedding present given its Parisian origins and ornate appearance. Leonard married Sarah Wanklyn in 1853 after graduating f
SKETCH OF MARIANNE