William Valpy was born 1793 in Reading, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom (Forbury) to Richard Valpy (1754-1836) and Mary Benwell (c1760-1816) and died September 1852 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand of unspecified causes. He married Caroline Jeffreys (1804-1884) 1826 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

William Henry Valpy (1793 – 25 September 1852) was a noted early settler of Dunedin, New Zealand. He is sometimes referred to locally as "The father of Saint Clair", as he was the first settler in the area now occupied by the suburb of St Clair.[1]



Offspring of William Valpy and Caroline Jeffreys (1804-1884)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ellen Penelope Valpy (1827-1904)
Caroline Arabella Valpy (1828-1852)
Catherine Henrietta Elliot Valpy (1829-1919) 19 December 1829 England, United Kingdom 6 May 1919 New Zealand James Fulton (1830-1891)
William Henry Valpy (1832-1911) 8 January 1832 Calcutta, West Bengal, India 1 January 1911 Oamaru, New Zealand Penelope Caroline Every (1840-1924)
Arabella Jeffrey Valpy (1833-1910)
Juliet Anna Owen Valpy (1835-1911)

Valpy was the son of English educationalist Richard Valpy, and the younger brother of Abraham John Valpy. Valpy joined the Navy at age 14 and went to India in about 1812 and spent much of his early adult life in Calcutta, where he worked first as a writer for the East India Company then as a judge. He retired to England in 1836, but poor health prompted him to emigrate with his family to healthier climes. They arrived in the new settlement of Otago only one year after its founding, in January 1849, on the Ajax. William, with his wife Caroline (born 1804; née Jeffreys) travelled with five of their six children: artist Ellen Penelope Valpy Jeffreys, Catherine Henrietta Elliot Valpy Fulton (who became a suffragist), Arabella Valpy (who was instrumental in bringing the Salvation Army to New Zealand), Juliet Valpy, and William.[2] Their sixth child, Caroline, remained in England with her husband.[3]

At the time he was regarded as the wealthiest man in the colony.

Valpy was the first settler in the South Dunedin area, with two large farm properties he named "Caversham" and "The Forbury" after places connected with his family in and around the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. The names still survive as the names of Dunedin's suburbs of Caversham and Forbury, and a road in the suburb of St Clair close to the former site of the Forbury estate buildings is named Valpy Street. These farms were important sources of employment for many of the new community, as was Valpy's construction of a road linking the properties with the heart of the city. This road formed the basis of several arterial routes still in use in Dunedin.

Valpy was heavily involved in local politics, though his Anglican English background came under strenuous attack from the Scottish Presbyterian community of early Dunedin. In May 1851, Valpy was invited by Sir George Grey to represent Otago in the original New Zealand Legislative Council. Following a numerously attended public meeting in opposition to Valpy's acceptance, Valpy declined.[4][5] The strain of this conflict, along with Valpy's continuing poor health, took its toll, and Valpy died in Dunedin in September 1852, only three and a half years after he had arrived in New Zealand. Whilst his health had been delicate, his death on 25 September 1852 was unexpected.[6] Just three days earlier, his daughters Juliet and Catherine had married at his homestead; the latter had married James Fulton.[7] Caroline Valpy died on 30 October 1884 at Mornington, aged 80.[8]


  1. ^ Newton, B. A. (2003). Our St Clair - A resident's history. Dunedin: Kenmore.
  2. ^ "Ajax list". Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Macdonald, Charlotte (ed.) (1991). The Book of New Zealand Women. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books. pp. 702. ISBN 0908912048. 
  4. ^ "Otago". Wellington Independent VII (586): p. 3. 24 May 1851. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Untitled". Wellington Independent VII (587): p. 3. 28 May 1851. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Dunedin, Saturday, October 2, 1852". Otago Witness (72): p. 2. 2 October 1852. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Married". Wellington Independent VIII (732): p. 3. 16 October 1852. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Deaths". Otago Witness (1720): p. 18. 8 November 1884. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
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Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General

Robin Patterson

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at William Henry Valpy. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.