Jane Flindell (1807-1885)

Jane was born in Truro, Cornwall on January 19th, 1807.  She was the tenth child and sixth daughter of Thomas Flindell II and Mary Brunton.    Tradition has it she worked with her father in printing and with her mother carried on the business after his death.   In his Will Thomas directed the paper be sold, so it is more likely that she assisted her mother running the paper during Thomas’ incarceration for libel to Her Majesty Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Queen Consort to King George II.

Jane did not marry.  The 1881 British Census listed Jane Flindell as single, an annuitant, age 74, living at 39 Regent Square London.  Francis Richard Flindell[1] in a letter to George Simpson[2] dated September 1913 records

“Jane never married, her lover died of yellow fever on his way home from the West Coast of Africa”.

He also mentions in his letter that he had been placed under the guardianship of two great-aunts – Aunt Conquer (Ann Flindell) and Aunt Jane who lived at 39 Regent Square.  Tom Bates became his guardian after Aunt Conquer died and Aunt Jane went to live with the Bates at No. 14 Albany St. just at the end of the Euston Road.   He added that

“Aunt Jane died at Tom Bates house while he (Francis) was in Calcutta in the part of early 1883”.

The year is at variance with the registration of her death in 1885 and with Fanny’s (Frances) letter below.  Matilda’s letter to her brother FBS dated September 14th, 1886 refers to

“the death of our dear sister Jane, some 18 months ago”.

She added that

“the kind Simpson’s[3] provided for us the last resting place.  Poor dear Jane is its first occupant and the rest remains for Fanny and myself”.

This would make Jane’s death about March 1885.

Fanny adds another dimension to Jane’s life at the Bates.  In her letter to FBS dated February 16th 1844 she states

“Jane has left the Bates.  She was anything but comfortable there.  Mary[4] was not fit to have an elderly person living with her; she is too overbearing and jealous in her temper and Tom is too henpecked to dare to interfere if he had the inclination.  Jane was completely cowed and borne down there and that is saying something.  I think that where she now is that Mrs. Allison will do her best to make her comfortable, but by what I hear the husband is addicted to whiskey, which is not so very pleasant.  However, she cannot have everything”.

It would seem that, through the kindness of family, Jane was provided for in her latter years.  There is a big gap of twenty years in her life, from her father’s death in 1824 to Fanny’s letter of 1844.  She was not ignored.  It is just that there is not record to draw on.  Undoubtedly FBS, who lived in London just prior to migrating to Western Australia in September 1857, would have known his sisters’ circumstances.

There is a bigger story here that probably will never be told.

[1] This is Francis Richard Flindell, son of Richard Brunton and grandson of FBS.

[2] This is the grandson of George Simpson and Mary Flindell.

[3] Jane’s eldest sister Mary (1794-1874) married George Simpson (1792-1871), and it would have been their children who continued providing support to Mary’s sisters.

[4] Mary married her cousin Thomas Bates.  Mary was the daughter of John Brunton Flindell whose sister Sarah married Thomas Bates, their son being Thomas Bates II.