At The Beginning – Richard John Loveday Snr.

Richard John Loveday (Snr.)1789 – 1867


St.Pancras Old Church 1815

Richard John Loveday, senior was a carpenter/cabinet-maker, born about 1789 in the district of London identified as ‘Strand’. In 1814 he married a girl called Ann, two years his junior, who, it is believed, had been born in Hertford, but no record of their marriage, is found in the registers of St Mary-le-Bone, St Pancras or Hertford over the period 1806.-1826.

Occasional marriages of Loveday’s can be seen in the St Mary-le-Bone registers through the late 17th and the 18th centuries. In the period 1821-1826 appear three other Loveday marriages in St Pancras, and four other Loveday baptisms in St Mary-Le-Bone.

Loveday is a given name, thought to derive from the Old English Leofdaeg or alternatively Lief Tag. Leofdaeg is composed of the words leof meaning dear/beloved or precious and daeg meaning day. Lief Tag literally translates to Love Day, and is thought to have existed in eastern Britain from around the 7th century.
Loveday was a common English medieval Christian name, which has now become confined to Cornwall, where it still survives in occasional use. The name was originally bestowed on boys or girls on a Love Day, a day appointed for a meeting between enemies and litigants with a view to an amicable settlement. The name is now only given to girls.
The name Loveday arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Loveday comes from the Old English given name Loveday and the Old English given name Leofdoeg, which is composed of the elements leof, which means dear or beloved, and doeg, which means day. This name was also a nickname for a person who had an association with a Love Day which, according to medieval custom, a Love Day was a day set aside for reconciliation and settlement of disputes or feuds.
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents.  The name has been spelled Loveday, Loveden, Lovedon and others.

It is believed that Richard Loveday senior, had two brothers, Robert and William, but this has not been confirmed. The father of three of these baptisms, Robert, is recorded as a servant living in Russell Square, while William, the other father, was a labourer of St Mary-le-Bone.

The 1829 map shows Marylebone and St John’s Wood were then at the very edge where expanding London met the receding countryside allowing the space for Thomas Lord to relocate his cricket ground nearby, and the Household Cavalry to have set up their new barracks on the other side of Regents Park in Albany street.
Richard John Loveday, the elder, and his wife Ann had at six children born in or around
Ann 1815 –

George James 1827-1831
Elizabeth 1817 –

Emma Maria 1829 –
Richard John 1818- 1883

Caroline 1833- 1896
Mary 1825 –

Richard John Loveday was born on 19th’ December 1818, when his father Richard John Loveday senior, was resident in the old London parish of St Pancras. At the time the boy was baptised in the church of the adjoining parish of St Mary-le-Bone on 14th September 1823, his father was recorded as living in St Mary-le-Bone and his occupation was listed as “mechanic” (today the term ‘tradesman” would be used).

London 1820

Sadly, George James died at the age of four, leaving his brother Richard John as the only son. Richard John Loveday junior left home to join the British Army early in 1837. In the June 1841 census Mary, Emma and Caroline were living with their parents at 132 Edgeware Road, but Elizabeth (who married earlier in the year) and Ann had moved out.

Today the above address is part of a multi-storied apartment block and no trace of the old houses remain.

 Family folklore had said that Richard John Loveday, the father, was a member of the Royal Horse Guards. However examination of that units Pay and Muster Rolls between 1793 and 1853 at the Public Records Office, Kew, and personnel records held in the Household Cavalry Archives at the Combermere Barracks, has unearthed nothing to confirm this.

It is likely that the theory was based on Catherine Shea having written to the Horse Guards in 1856 seeking information about Private John Loveday, her son-in-law, and her daughter, Bridget. In those times, correspondence on all military matters was addressed to”Horse Guards”, a locality in London. In much the same way today people refer in general terms to Whitehall, Westminster or ‘Canberra’ as being the place to ask such questions

Previously the Royal Engineers had preferred to use civilian tradesmen, particularly in peacetime, rather than recruit their own. Living within walking distance of the Horse Guards Barracks, Richard John Loveday senior may well have done carpentry work for them on a contract basis. He would have seen a new opportunity for his son to do the same, but on a permanent basis – by actually joining the army and being trained in a trade.

The family saw their only son, Richard John, now a Lance Corporal and wife Bridget and their three grandchildren, Ann, Richard and Thomas, prior to them leaving England, from London in 1846. It is assumed that Richard and Bridget never returned to England. Richard’s marriage to Bridget was of concern to his parents due to the mix of religions. Bridget was Roman Catholic and Richard had been bought up Church of England, but all indications point to a happy marriage.

By April 1851, the aging parents were living at 20 Princess St, Marylebone with Emma (22) who would marry later in 1851, Caroline (17) and three male lodgers in their early 20s -.
William Turner, Lodger, 21, Bricklayer, Middlesex London
Frederick Taverner, Lodger, 22, Carpenter, Middlesex London
Thomas Fuller, Lodger, 22, Tailor, Cams, Wickham

It is assumed that this William Turner, was Emma’s future husband and they were said to have immigrated to Australia. Caroline had married John Stevens and they too immigrated to Australia in 1876. They had 5 children and both Caroline and John are believed to have died in the same year, 1896.

Their mother, Ann appears to have died late in 1852 aged 61.

In 1861 Richard John senior (71) was living at the same address, 20 Princess St, Marylebone with his unmarried daughter Ann (45) who had been working elsewhere as a cook, but had returned to look after her father.

Richard John Loveday, senior, died there in 1867 at the age of 78.



Grateful thanks go to my late father, George William Loveday, for the work and dedication that he and my mother, Louisa Loveday, put into the original manuscript from which much of this work has been drawn.

Thanks must also go to Julie Skarstrom for her contributions on the initial history of Richard John Loveday. Mention must also be made of the help provided by Anita Loveday in London for her work and resources.

The research provided by Ron Roberts on Richard John Loveday has been extremely valuable in supplying a clear picture of Richard John Loveday and his earlier years and thanks must go to him for his thorough work.

Acknowledgement must also be given to the South Australian State Library for the use of the reproduction of pictures of early South Australia.


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