Tag Archives: Fauldhouse

Andrew Pender and the Tinker’s Tent


This is a group of tinkers photographed in Fife early in the 20th Century.

The dictionary tells us that a tinker is

1.  A travelling mender of metal household utensils

2. Chiefly British    A member of any of various traditionally itinerant groups of people living especially in Scotland and Ireland; a traveller

And as itinerant is the key word for this week’s Sepia Sautrday the definition of tinker allows me to segue into a letter written by William Pender to his son Glaud in Australia in 1855.

We met Glaud Pender when he was proposing a toast to the Duke of Edinburgh  But Glaud had been in Australia since 1852.  Many years ago a distant cousin allowed me to transcribe this letter  from Glaud’s father which  at times is  difficult to follow as you will see.

William Pender lived at Knowes Farm near Fauldhouse in Linlithgow  (West Lothian) which is south of the road from Edinburgh to Glascow.  The letter  begins with a description of an accident involving a tinker suffered by Glaud’s younger brother, Andrew.

__________________________________________________________________Knowes  Janry 12th 1855

Dear Glaud,
I Embrace the opertunity of sending A letter with Euphimia Brown in hope of you Receiving it This is the 6 I have  sent    I am Sorry to inform you Andrew has met with an accident
but I am Glad to Say that he is geting better He went away to go to Airdrie on the 6th of Janry and the mare shyed at A tynkers tent west from leadloch Cntry  wheeled round and upset the Cart right on his throat The tinkers had Come and taking him from under it laid him down for dead ran off and left all    They met 2 Engineers and told them there was A man lying on the roadside nearby kiled to run and give the Alarm   They ran East to the den and A great many Came west but he was so disfigured they Could not know him til Wm Greenhorn came up with his Carts put him in one of his Carts and brought him home He lay About an hour in it Cold wet morning before any person Came to his Asistance the mare lying all the while under the Cart He has A Cut in one of his Cheeks 1 of his teeth brock and 2 loosed but had the tinkers not Come direct to his Asistance he could not  have lived 10 minutes.

***  Note :    Leadloch and Airdrie are to the west of Fauldhouse.  Andrew was sixteen years old and apparently still living at home.  Not all tinkers had the covered wagons to live in.  For some their tent was separate to their cart and this may have been the case in Andrew’s accident.   The cart referred to in the letter was Andrew’s cart which fell on him as his horse shied.

The letter then goes on to talk of Glaud’s other brothers and some local people.

David was here and went Away the day before Andw got hirt     he has been working at Muselburgh  this 4 months.      Robt has got married on Jane Forrest    he has got A daughter.  Yur cousin Wm Storry (of) Northfield died of fever in Septr last.   Sir W Bailee is dead .    John Bishops Son (at) halfway house  dropt down dead at his breakfast on Wednesday the 10th Janry       Mr Griffin is very poorly      he is not keeping the School      John Thomson has left him     he is keeping A School at Lesmahagow  he is geting A good School and Mr Griffin has A young man from Harthill  keeping the school for him

***  Note:  David and Robert as well as Andrew are also younger brothers of Glaud. David also migrated to Australia later on.    The letter mentions Sir W. Baillie and John Bishop.  John Bishop was farm overseer to the Baillie family on their nearby  Polkemmet estate     It is of  interest to the Pender family as John Bishop’s daughter Helen was married to Glaud’s cousin James Pender, and Helen’s mother was Elizabeth Burns, the eldest and illegitmate child of the poet Robert Burns.  Burns called Elizabeth his “dear bocht Bess “

 “Lord grant that thou may ay inherit
Thy mither’s looks an’ gracefu’ merit;
An’ thy poor, worthless daddy’s spirit,
Without his failins, “

William continues –

Trade has been very good this some time here and wages pretty high T   he farm has paid well this 2 years but I had the misfortune to lose A good horse last year of lockjaw I have not seen any of your friends in Whitburn this 2 weeks but they are all in good health Robert Bayton has been out of work this some time but he is back to Mrs Smith Again     Whitburn is A sturing place now there is a great deal of work going on About Capers       they have got A  Railway in to it from Bathgate    They have got an Exelint cheam of Ironston  East from Whitburn on Sir Wm’s land at Burnbrae and also plenty of good Coal.   James McCulloch is very poorly he has not wrought any this 10 months     Your mothers neck is A great deal more Swoln Since you left Scotland      We ar all very Anxious to hear from you      I think there has been 6 or 7 letters Sent away Since July last       Dr Mitchell is often Enquiring about you

I Supose you will hear as much about the  war in the East as we do here    T hey ar in A bad State It is reported here that word has Come to Edinburgh on the 11 that Nicoles had given in .   If you have the good fortune to Receive this be Sure and write Soon after I am still in the hope of Seeing you in Scotland yet         I had a letter from Jas lately.   They ar all well     our friends are all in health as far as I know.  Hoping this will find you all Enjoying the Same blessing.  Give our kind love to Grace and Mary Ann

I Remain Dear Glaud
Your Affectionate father
Wm Pender

*** Note :  Crimean War. This is about 6 weeks after the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. He is possibly refering to Nicholas I, emperor of Russia .  Grace is Glaud’s wife and Mary Ann his daughter.    Glaud’s father was to live for another 22 years but he never saw his son again.

William’s writing may lack punctuation and he has a creative way of placing capital letters,  In this transcript I have added a few more capitals for some of the place names.   He certainly manages to  touch on a wide range of topics – – Andrew’s accident, family and local news, economic and international news.  I doubt that I could do as well today even using a laptop in place of  a steel nib pen and a container of ink.  Thank you gggg grandpa William.

Further connections with the word itinerant can be found on Sepia Saturday


The First Day of the Rest of his Life

Journal imageA New Start – With his wife and two small children he stepped on board the Princess Royal in Glascow.  The year was 1852 and  It was the first step into a new life in faraway Australia.  Glaud and Grace Pender had left Fauldhouse in West Lothian with 3 year old Mary Ann and 21 month old William.

Glaud was to keep a journal of the trip.  Here is a transcript of  some of the entries.  Those in italics have been added by Glaud  at some later date.

June 1852
22nd     Aboard  the  Princess Royal.   Clearing  away  from  Old
Scotland while Glascow is only to seen in the  distance.
It  now  seems  to  me as if all  the  former  scenes  ,
Circumstances   and  enjoyments  of  my  life   combined
together rush upon ….. with a force I will not attempt
to describe as I am borne away from my native Land and
from those dear friends Some of whom in all probability
I will never meet again. Hundreds of people assemble on
the banks of the Clyde to witness our departure, while
their hearty cheers are accepted and returned by the
Emigrants in the way of a kind Farewell.
23rd     After  a  rather  unpleasant  passage  we  arrive   at
Liverpool at 2 pm.  A River Steamer takes the  emigrants
across to the Birkenhead.  all is bustle and confusion.
Emigration   scenes  are  certainly  both  curious   and
24th     In  the Depot very uncomfortable  quarters.   Some  are
crying bad meat, others bad beds, and many have occasion
to cry lousy bed.  PS it might not be out of place here
         from experience to Remark as my opinion that the great
         sickness on board the Marco Polo was in great measure to 
         to  be  attributed  to the very bad  treatment  in  that 
         Pandemonium  they  call  the Depot.   This  disease  was 
         planted in the constitutions of the young where (it) lay
         concealed but a few days.  There followed those awful
         scenes aboard our splendid ship which will never be
         erased from my memory.

The Marco Polo which brought them to Australia

The Marco Polo which brought them to Australia

28th     we have slept our first night on board the  Marco  Polo
and feel much more comfortable.  In my opinion she is  a
fine  ship and said to be a very fast sailer.   Some  of
the  Passengers  already begin to dispute how  long  she
will be in making to Australia.  One of the single women
is supposed to have lost her reason.  at night she leapt
out of bed and with one of the lights in her hand began
to dance naked on the deck.  I upon hearing the screams
of the women ran into their appartment and got    after
which the doctors conveyed her to the hospital.  it is
doubtful whether she will be allowed to proseed on her
29th     We move out of the dock and anchor in the River.
30th     A  number of Gentlemen dine on board on the  poop  deck
with a fine Instrumental band in attendance. I observe
there is a good hospital on board.  I hope its use will
not be much required on the passage.
July 1   one of the Passangers gave birth to a child.
2nd      In the evening a dance by the Sailors and a few of the
Passangers on the Top Gallant Forecastle , a number of
Passengers on the rigging looking on.   Some of the
Sailors got up and tied a poor Highlander to the shrouds
amidst roars of laughter from Those on deck.
3rd      One  of  the  Sailors  fell  overboard.   The   Captain
discovering  it  instantly  leapt  into  the  water  and
succeeded in taking him out not much the worse.  In the
evening a farewell service on board.  text in the 16
Chapter of Proverbs.  wisdom is more to be desired than
Gold.   the  speaker addressed us in a  very  impressive
manner entreating as new scenes, new desires and new
hopes  were  before  us  not to  forget  the  one  thing
4        (Sunday) half past six AM  Weighed anchor.   A  Steamer
taking  us in tow we begin to move away  for  Australia.
The Steamer after taking us over the bar left us with a
fine breeze in our favour.  O may God be with us to
Protect and to Prosper us on The voyage.
5.       Beating up the Channel, a steady breeze ahead, …..
little speck
7.       I have seen for the first time what they say is whales
blowing sending the water up a great height.  I think
the hoes (?) of an ordinary fixed engine playing direct
up would much resemble the blowing of a whale.  There is
also a great many porpoises sporting about the ship.
sometimes  they leap 2 feet above the water so  that  we
can see them quite distinctly.  They are ugly brutes.
They  have a snout like a pig which gives them their name
of Sea pigs.
8.       Off the Bay of Biscay.  have been on watch  all  night.
The passengers taking it by rotation.  a child died last
night being the first death on board.  I fear there will
be  many such deaths before we get to Australia.   There
is  such a number of children on board.  O God  –  thank
and praise thee that we are all still in health and free
from  sickness and able to attend to our duties  and  to
our children.  six PM.  Spoke a French vessel bound for
England who will report us.
9.       at  7 AM.  The funeral ceremony of the child  Who  died
yesterday  took place.  A little weight being  put  into
the  box along with the corpse it still floated  on  the
water  untill  it  dissappeared in  the  distance  which
caused  great  dissatisfaction amongst  the  Passengers.
Light Northerly breezes.
10.      Off  Cape  St  Vincent   about  1200  miles  sail  from

The Journal of this voyage with Captain “Bully” Forbes continued until July  25th and then ceased.  His son William died of measles on September 2nd. Measles and Influenza led to the deaths of 51 children and 2 adults on this voyage .

Glaud and  Grace went on to have six more chldren in Australia.

FiveGenerationsThis photo taken lin Apollo Bay  c1908,after his wife Grace had died, shows five generations of his family,  Glaud in the centre, daughter Mary Ann Telford to the right, her son Walter Telford at the back, Walter’s daughter Julia Fricke to the left with her son Charles Fricke at her knee.

2013.09W.19And for more examples of “Starting something new” check out the links on Sepia Saturday