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The Origins of this Book
The present descendants of Isaac Fox (1810 -1878) who emigrated to Australia in 1838, had, until recently, no knowledge of their origins in Lancashire.
My father, Norman Fox, who did some initial research in the mid 1960’s had no idea, and supposed that the family must have been in Jamaica for a number of generations. The research for this book actually started in Jamaica with searches of wills there, until through some intuition on the part of our first researcher, Andrew Fox (no relation), a will of Isaac’s (1754 - 1811) brother was found, identifying Isaac of Jamaica, and his origins in Lancashire.
A local researcher Peter Stanford was then engaged to follow this further, and most of the material in this book is as a result of his good work.
The Australian Isaac d1878 was a beneficiary in his Lancashire uncle’s wills, as late as 1860(?). How then were the Australians unaware of this connection? My great grandfather was born in 1856(?) and was very proud of his ancestry. He spoke of it to my father as a boy, but gave no indication of the family origins as tenant farmers in this part of the world. He surely must of known, but chose instead to dwell on his grandfather’s success as a plantation owner in Jamaica, and the rich heritage of his grandmother’s family, the Young's.
The research has also, I believe, another casualty, in exposing the myth of the origins of the family crest, a coat of arms would not have been held by the tenant farmers, or acquired in the circumstances that oral history suggested. That is not to say that the family were not supporters of Charles I. Although we cannot prove conclusively, the story appears to have been an Australian invention. The need for ‘social acceptability’ was very real last century in Australia. Isaac’s (d 1878) sister married a very successful and respected family in England, Thomas Lambert, and one can not but suspect that the Australia cousins may have felt the need to compete too, in reputation.
We have no correspondence or written reports of the Fox’s of Scale and must rely on their wills, other official records, and contemporary writings, to try to understand the type of people they were and the life they lived.
Our research shows that there is much to respect and admire of the Fox’s of Roeburndale and it has given me particular satisfaction as a fourth generation Australian to be a part in reclaiming some part at least of our English heritage.
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