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The Tathams of County Durham
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Frederick Spence  Tatham

Frederick Spence Tatham

Male 1865 - 1934  (69 years)


  • Name Frederick Spence Tatham  [1, 2, 3
    Birth 15 Apr 1865  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 4
    Baptism 17 May 1865  St Peter, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [5
    • Sponsors: Frederick J Thoume, A H Noon [uncle], Maria E Thoume. Minister: James Green [Dean of Pietermaritzburg].
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    Baptism register
    Education - 1879  St Charles Grammar School, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [4
    • Educated at Smith's School on the Berea in Durban, then Bishop's College, Maritzburg and then at St. Charles Grammar School.[TFSA]
      - Smith's School not identified; possibly = later Durban High School, founded 1866 in Smith St (but not on the Berea);
      - Bishop's College, Maritzburg, opened abt 1871 by Bishop William Macrorie (Bishop of Maritzburg, C of E, non-Colenso) in Loop Street in a house opposite his own; closed in 1880;
      - St Charles Grammar School, founded Jul 1875 by Bishop Charles Jolivet (Roman Catholic) in Loop St; now St Charles College.
    Occupation 1879  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; in office of Henwood & Roseveare, Drapers  [4
    Occupation May 1880  Newcastle, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Office boy with Albert Button, Solicitor  [2, 4
    Military Service 1881  Trooper, Willoughby's Horse (Basuto War)  [4
    Occupation 1886 -  Ladysmith, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Attorney  [2, 4
    Marriage 20 Apr 1887  St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 6
    Ada Susan Molyneux,   b. Jan 1865, Burton-on-Trent Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Nov 1950, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation abt 1889 -  7 Timber St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Solicitor  [7, 8, 9, 10, 11
    Residence abt 1889 -  47 Loop St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [7, 8, 9, 10, 11
    Post/Rank/Title 1893 - 1907  Member, Natal Legislative Assembly  [3
    • Deputy Speaker for ten years, and Chairman of Committees, 1897-1907. [Curtis]
    • representing Pietermaritzburg City. [Natal Almanac, Directory and Yearly Register, 1897]
    Post/Rank/Title 1899 - 1901  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Chairman, Board of Governors, Michaelhouse  [12
    • before the school moved to Balgowan in 1901
    Military Service abt 1899 - 1900  Ladysmith, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; GOC Staff (mentioned in despatches)  [4
    • Listed as Captain (seniority 23 May 1891), Natal Carbineers, as at 16 Oct 1896. [Natal Almanac, Directory and Yearly Register, 1897]
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    In 1900 during Anglo-Boer War
    Occupation abt 1900 - 1918  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Senior Partner - Tatham, Wilkes & Co  [2, 4
    Residence 1913  200 Pine St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [13
    Military Service abt 1914 - 1915  Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Chief Intelligence Officer  [4
    Military Service abt 1915 - 1916  Egypt Find all individuals with events at this location ; Staff Officer  [3, 4, 14
    Military Service abt 1916 - 1917  France Find all individuals with events at this location ; Lt-Col, R of O, South African Defence Force  [3, 4, 14, 15
    Decoration Jun 1917  DSO  [3, 4, 15
    Occupation 1918 -  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location ; Judge of Supreme Court  [1, 3
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    In 1927
    Residence abt 1920 -  Parkside, Alexandra Rd, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [16
    Post/Rank/Title Mar 1927  Honorary Colonel, 2nd Citizen Battery, Natal Field Artillery  [3
    Death 26 Nov 1934  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    Burial 28 Nov 1934  Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [17
    Probate 01 Feb 1935  London Find all individuals with events at this location ; £85 16s. 3d.  [18
    • Tatham Frederick Spence of Pietermaritzburg South Africa died 26 November 1934 Administration (with Will) (limited) London 1 February to John Watling Balmer solicitor attorney of Ada Susan Tatham widow. Effects £85 16s. 3d. in England. [NPC 1935]
    Notes 
    • Colonel the Hon. Frederick Spence Tatham, D.S.O., 1917; V.D.; K.C.,1902; one of His Majesty's Judges of the Supreme Court of South Africa, 1918; South African Defence Force; served on the Staff in France; b. 15 April, 1865, at Pietermaritzburg, Natal; educ. at Bishop's College, Natal; called to the Bar, Natal,1886; for nine years was President of the Natal Law Society; Member of the Natal Legislative Assembly, 1893-1907; Deputy Speaker for ten years, and Chairman of Committees, 1897-1907; moved and carried resolution in Parliament resulting in Natal being the first Colony to make a direct financial contribution to the British Navy; Member of many Royal Commissions, notably that on Shipping questions.
      With such brilliant legal, Parliamentary and Political records, the Hon. Mr. Justice Tatham's distinguished military career, briefly summed up on his retirement, in the Natal Witness, August, 1925, is all the more remarkable. Let the reader, recalling especially the terrific heat in South Africa during the Summer months, exercise his imagination, and try to realize merely what a vast amount of time and energy must have been expended in the case of each of these two aspects of a life so entirely, so nobly and so patriotically devoted to the service of South Africa and to the British Empire.
      It will be seen from the brief summary of his military career, that the Hon. Mr. Justice Tatham served not only in the Basuto and Boer Wars, but from the outset of the Great European War, in positions of the highest responsibility, first in South Africa, then, 1915-16, in Egypt, and, 1916-17, in France, and for his services there was mentioned in despatches twice, and created Companion of the D.S.O., "for distinguished service in the Field", as appears in the List of Army Honours, Decorations and Promotions; in the "Times", London, 4 June, 1917. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Battery of the Natal Field Artillery, which he had himself raised and commanded at the close of the Boer War, now designated the 2nd Citizen Battery, (N.F.A.), under the new Defence Scheme; see the Natal Mercury, 16 March, 1927.
      Though offered the appointment as one of H. M. Judges about a year previously, he deferred its acceptance for patriotic reasons, and, then only under great pressure, sailed from Devonport, on Saturday, 22 Decr., 1917, to assume his Judicial position in the Supreme Court, Pietermaritzburg, being in command of the Troops aboard, en route for South Africa. [Curtis]
    • Frederick Spence Tatham was born in 1865. He was the second son of Robert Bristow Tatham. He was a very great man and has been called "The Caesar of Natal". When he was a child the family trekked to the diamond fields at Kimberley, where at the age of 7 he and his brother, Charlie were employed sorting diamonds. He was educated at Smith's School on the Berea in Durban, then Bishop's College, Maritzburg and then at St. Charles Grammar School. At the age of 14 he found employment in the office of Kenwood and Roseveare, Drapers of Maritzburg. When he was 16 years old he served as a trooper in Willoughby's Horse in the Basuto War. At this stage his father died and he and Charlie helped to support the rest of the family. He got a job as clerk to Albert Button, Solicitor, and went with him to Newcastle, but returned to Maritzburg. In 1886 a share which he had in the newly discovered goldmines brought him a profit of £1000, and this with his savings, enabled him to marry Ada Susan Molyneux, and to buy a piece of land in Ladysmith, where he started his practice. He was called to the Bar in 1886. While living in Ladysmith he raised the Ladysmith troop of the Natal Carbineers in 1887, and was Secretary of the Ladysmith Gold Mining Company. He finally settled in Maritzburg, founded the firm Tatham, Wilkes & Co., and became Judge President of Natal. During the Siege of Ladysmith he served on Sir George White's Staff and was mentioned in despatches. In World War 1 he was Chief Intelligence Officer in Natal and proceeded to England on the invitation of Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton. He served in Egypt and took part in the Battles of the Somme, Messines and Ypres. He was awarded the D.S.O. Natal owes a debt of gratitude to his wife, Ada Tatham, for the foundation of the Pietermaritzburg Art Gallery. Their family consisted of four sons and three daughters. Their eldest son died at two years old, and two sons were tragically killed, within three days of each other in the First World War. He died in 1934. [TFSA]
    • Frederic Spence Tatham was the original 'Tatham' of Tatham Wilkes and began his career in May 1880, at the age of 15, in the illustrious position of 'office boy with Mr Albert Button a lawyer'. He was admitted as an attorney in 1886 and took charge of Baker & Laughton's Ladysmith branch ...
      In 1889, he took George Robinson into partnership to look after the Ladysmith office and they practised for a short while as Tatham & Robinson. ...
      F S Tatham was admitted as an advocate in August 1898 and in 1900, the firm changed its name to 'F S Tatham & Wilkes'. After several other name changes as partners came and went, ... the firm became known in February 1912 as Tatham Wilkes & Co. ...
      From 1889 until 1918, when he was appointed to the Bench, the firm was dominated by Frederic Spence Tatham. Dual practice prevailed in Natal at the time and he was first and foremost an advocate. At the same time he was a member of the Natal Legislative Assembly and a senior military officer. ... F S Tatham's two sons, Arthur Tyrone Tatham and Errol Victor Tatham both qualified as advocates and attorneys. The latter lost his life in Delville Wood in 1916, but the former survived World War 1 and steered the firm through the depression of the 1930's and through World War II when many of the younger attorneys and advocates and potential clerks were away on active service.
      Such a one was Frederic St George Tatham, A T Tatham's elder son, who qualified in 1939 and spent the next six years on active service in North Africa as a "Tobruk" prisoner-of-war.
      All three, FST, ATT and FStGT served as Presidents of the Natal Law Society.
      A T Tatham continued to practise until his death in 1965, as did F StG Tatham until his death in 1988. A T Tatham's younger son, Errol Inglis Tatham, was a partner in the firm from 1953 until he retired in 2006, 53 years later.
      [From Tatham Wilkes, Attorneys, accessed 25 Aug 2009]
    • Encouraged Henry Curtis to prepare "Notes for a Pedigree of the Tathams of Co. Durham"
    • 1897: President, Etcetera Football Club (PMB). [Natal Almanac]
    • Wrote strong letter to The Times 04 Nov 1895, arguing against enfranchisement of Indians in Natal.
    • INDIANS IN NATAL. LONDON, Dec. 13.
      Mr. Tatham, Labour member for Durban County, moved for leave to introduce in the Natal Legislative Assembly a bill to prevent the issue of a trader's or merchant's license to anybody not registered as a Parliamentary voter. The bill, which has the prospect of a favourable reception, it being intended to deal a death-blow to coolie and alien competition.
      The resolution was rejected. [Sydney Morning Herald , 15 Dec 1906]
    • Frederick Spence Tatham, as viewed by Mahatma Ghandi:
      1894: June 28, Thursday
      Abdoolla, Rustomji, two coolies and myself went to Maritzburg. Saw there Labistour who congratulated me on the petition but could not help in any way although the [prayer] was very just. Saw Escombe & Hitchins who also admitted the justice but could not help. Attended the 3rd reading which was postponed. There were many Indians in the gallery. A man named Neal saw me. Saw Tatham who said he could not do [anyth]ing & that he was [...] Indians come voting.
      July 2, Monday
      Bill was read a 3rd time... Drafted... and sent a letter to [Tatham that] the Indians protested against his attitude towards the Indians.
      July 5, Thursday
      Received a letter from Campbell as to how petition was ruled out of order. Also a letter from Tatham. Drafted another long petition to Council. Sent it with a letter to Campbell. Drafted a letter in reply to Tatham, and sent it.
      [M K Ghandi, Diaries]
    • One of the founders in 1912, and first governors, of Cordwalles Preparatory School in Pietermaritzburg.
      Bequeathed his house and gardens to the City of Pietermaritzburg; in use in 2011 as an official residence of KZN Premier. [19]
    • Tatham, Lieut.-Col. Frederic Spence, K.C., M.L.A., of Pine Street, Pietermaritzburg, Natal, was born in the capital of the Garden Colony in 1865; is son of the late R. Tatham, and was educated at Bishop's Coll. He saw his first active service in the Basuto War of 1851 (medal and clasp) and again served in the Boer War during the years 1899-1902, when he won the Queen's medal and five clasps and was mentioned in despatches. But Col. Tatham's record has not been confined to soldiering. Since 1893 he has sat in the Natal Legislative Assembly and has been Chairman of Ways and Means since 1897. He was appointed K.C. in 1902; is a member of the Port Advisory Board; member of the Board of Examiners for Bar Appointments; is President of the South African Expansion League [not identified]; and founded the S.A. League in Natal. In the crisis of 1899 he took an active part in shaping the policy of Natal, and raised and commanded the Natal Royal Regiment, consisting of Artillery, Infantry, and Mounted Infantry. He brought the great railway strike in Natal to a close in 1901 on intervening between the stikers and the Government at the latter's request. He was also largely responsible for the South African action against the objectionable shipping ring, takes great interest in educational matters, and is a member of the Board of Governors of Michaelhouse Diocesan Coll. He married, in 1887, Ada, third dau. of the late William Molyneux. [The Anglo-African Who's Who and Biographical Sketchbook, 1907; edited by Walter H Wills.]
    Person ID I0806  Tatham | Heathcote branch | Descendant - male line
    Last Modified 01 Mar 2015 

    Father Robert Bristow Tatham,   b. 30 May 1824, Alpha Rd, Regents Park Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 06 Apr 1881, 25 Berg St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Mother Susan Noon,   b. 1840, Middlesex Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 May 1927, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Marriage 09 Feb 1861  Isipingo, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 4
    • Then I fell in love with my dear wife who I met at a Ball. She was very pretty and the sister in law of a Sugar Planter here (her brothers were also planters) - The family objected for which I cared nothing. I had her consent, and as I did not want anything more, I obtained a licence, took out to their farm a led horse with a ladies saddle, put my dear girl on the horse, mounted my own, took off my hat to the brothers etc. and rode off to the nearest church (where by the bye I had taken the clergyman) and was married! - This I have found was the one bright, amongst the many foolish things I have been guilty of. [Robert Bristow Tatham, letter 20 Oct 1879]
    • Witnesses: Adolphus Noon, C A Noon, Clara Jane King (her brothers and her sister?)
    Robert Bristow Tatham & Susan Noon
    Robert Bristow Tatham & Susan Noon
    Marriage register
    Family ID F0260  Family Group Sheet

    Family Ada Susan Molyneux,   b. Jan 1865, Burton-on-Trent Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Nov 1950, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 85 years) 
    Marriage 20 Apr 1887  St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 6
    Frederick Spence Tatham & Ada Susan Molyneux
    Frederick Spence Tatham & Ada Susan Molyneux
    Marriage register
    Children 
     1. Frederick Charles Molyneux Tatham,   b. 03 Jun 1888, Ladysmith, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Mar 1890, Pietermaritzburg, Natal? Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
    +2. Arthur Tyrone Tatham,   b. 27 Aug 1889, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jun 1965, South Africa? Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
     3. Errol Victor Tatham,   b. 29 Sep 1891, Loop St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Jul 1916, Delville Wood, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 24 years)
    +4. Cécile Florence Tatham,   b. 20 Sep 1894, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 09 Jan 1980, Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
     5. William Inglis Tatham,   b. 21 Jun 1897, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Jul 1916, At sea, in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 19 years)
    +6. Ada Lilian Joan Tatham,   b. 10 Jan 1899, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 07 May 1972, Pietermaritzburg, Natal? Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
    +7. Josephine Clara Tatham,   b. 07 Dec 1900, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Sep 1984, Cape Town, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)
    Last Modified 01 May 2012 
    Family ID F0261  Family Group Sheet

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 15 Apr 1865 - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 17 May 1865 - St Peter, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - - 1879 - St Charles Grammar School, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - in office of Henwood & Roseveare, Drapers - 1879 - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Office boy with Albert Button, Solicitor - May 1880 - Newcastle, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Attorney - 1886 - - Ladysmith, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - < - 20 Apr 1887 - St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 20 Apr 1887 - St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Solicitor - abt 1889 - - 7 Timber St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - abt 1889 - - 47 Loop St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsPost/Rank/Title - Chairman, Board of Governors, Michaelhouse - 1899 - 1901 - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary Service - GOC Staff (mentioned in despatches) - abt 1899 - 1900 - Ladysmith, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Senior Partner - Tatham, Wilkes & Co - abt 1900 - 1918 - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1913 - 200 Pine St, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary Service - Chief Intelligence Officer - abt 1914 - 1915 - Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary Service - Staff Officer - abt 1915 - 1916 - Egypt Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary Service - Lt-Col, R of O, South African Defence Force - abt 1916 - 1917 - France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Judge of Supreme Court - 1918 - - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - abt 1920 - - Parkside, Alexandra Rd, Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 26 Nov 1934 - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 28 Nov 1934 - Pietermaritzburg, Natal Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsProbate - £85 16s. 3d. - 01 Feb 1935 - London Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : Town/District       : County/Region       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    F S Tatham & Wilkes - Advocates, Solicitors & Notaries
    F S Tatham & Wilkes - Advocates, Solicitors & Notaries
    original partners, abt 1900 or earlier

    Histories
    Lieut-Col F S Tatham leaves SA Defence Force
    Lieut-Col F S Tatham leaves SA Defence Force
    Article in Natal Witness, Aug 1925
    Frederick Spence Tatham
    Frederick Spence Tatham
    Biography in Natal Who's Who, 1906
    Indians in Africa
    Indians in Africa
    Frederick Spence Tatham (1865-1934)
    Letter to The Times, 04 Nov 1895

  • Sources 
    1. [S63] Gill Tatham.

    2. [S54] Tatham Wilkes Attorneys.

    3. [S04] H Curtis: Notes for a Pedigree of the Tathams of Co. Durham.

    4. [S10] Tatham Family in South Africa, by Gill Tatham.

    5. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Peter, Pietermaritzburg, 17 May 1865.
      b 15 Apr 1865

    6. [S06] Parish Registers, marriages, St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, 20 Apr 1887.
      index entry

    7. [S38] City & County Directories, Natal Almanac, Directory and Yearly Register, 1897.

    8. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, 14 Feb 1899.
      dau Ada

    9. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, 21 Oct 1894.
      dau Cecile

    10. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, 27 Nov 1891.
      son Errol

    11. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, 22 Sep 1889.
      son Arthur Tyrone

    12. [S07] Other Sources, Michaelhouse School.
      website accessed 14 Feb 2010

    13. [S07] Other Sources, Women of South Africa, 1913.

    14. [S29] Medal Index Cards WW1.

    15. [S05] The Times, p 12, 04 Jun 1917.

    16. [S03] Family Members, DL.

    17. [S06] Parish Registers, burials, St Saviour, Pietermaritzburg, 28 Nov 1934.
      index entry

    18. [S14] National Probate Calendar.

    19. [S03] Family Members, JG.