The Babingtons

George Augustus Davis married Elizabeth Babington. 

This story starts in 1335 and brings us to early Australia.

14th C - Sir John's motto

Sir John de Babington (1335-1409) is said to have exclaimed in Norman French: 'foy est tout' ("faith is all"), on being chosen by King Henry IV for dangerous duty in France, which then became the family's motto.

16th C - Anthony Babington was born in 1561, in Dethick, Derbyshire, son of Sir Henry Babington, a wealthy Derbyshire Landowner, and Mary d'Arcy, daughter of George I, Lord d'Arcy of Aston in Yorks.

Babington served as a page to Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment at Sheffield. In 1580 he went to London, attended the court of Elizabeth I, and joined a secret society supporting Jesuit missionaries.

In 1586 he was induced by John Ballard and other Roman Catholic emissaries to lead a conspiracy aiming to murder Elizabeth and release Mary.  Philip of Spain promised immediate assistance with an expedition after the assassination of the Queen had been affected. Coded messages in which Mary approved the plot were intercepted by the Queen Elizabeth's secretary, Francis Waisingham, and were used later against Mary.

It became known as the 'Babington Plot'.  Babington fled but was captured at Harrow and executed with the other conspirators.  He was hanged, drawn and quartered, a process so gruesome Elizabeth I decreed it not be employed again. 

Anthony Babington's motto, insolitos docuere nisus, (we are told by Kim Bastin) is a line of Horace, from the fourth ode of his fourth book.

Even the correct spelling might not help Google Translate very much, for bereft of context those three words are quite difficult to interpret. Our distinguished ancestors must have assumed their descendants would know their Horace, recognise the quotation and understand it in the light of its original context.

By themselves the words mean "[they] have taught [him] unaccustomed exploits (or efforts which were new to him)

In the immediate context, ‘they’ is the winds and ‘him’ is a young eagle which has just impulsively left its nest to battle with the winds and whatever else eagles battle with. But in the wider context of the poem, the young eagle is a figure for the young (23) Drusus Nero, a step-son of the emperor Augustus, who with his elder brother Tiberius led successful campaigns in the Italian Alps (15 BC) to punish the unruly tribes of the Raeti and Vindelici for their repeated inroads into Roman territory. Horace, at Augustus’ command, wrote a poem about each of the brothers.

Drusus unfortunately died while still young; otherwise he would probably have succeeded Augustus as emperor. 

It seems some Babington must have had some notable military or other achievement. That is at least what his choice of motto suggests.

18th C - Thomas Babington, anti-slavery activist

Thomas Babington (1758 - 1837) of Rothley Temple was GAD's g-g-uncle by marriage (that's your 9x great uncle, Arthur). Thomas was a close friend and prominent supporter of William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect in their fight against slavery. Many hours were spent at Rothley Temple drafting anti-slavery legislation. Babington served later as MP for Leicester and High Sheriff of Leicester. He is buried in the chapel at Rothley Temple.

19th C - The Babingtons arrive in Australia

Elizabeth Babington’s father, Edward Babington (brother of Richard), was a convict who secured approval to bring his family to Australia.  This was enabled by a letter from Edward’s master, who said Edward was of sufficiently good character.  

The Babington Sisters

Elizabeth had two sisters, Susannah and Rebecca (pictured ABOVE).  Edward’s wife and the three girls arrived in 1826.  Edward died in 1828, just two years after his family arrived from England. Apparently Edward Babington was tall for his time - six foot.

Charlie's g-grandmother's sister (Susannah Babington) married a man who had been sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing cloth and information from the family Bible. 

George Augustus Davis (senior) married Elizabeth Babington (pictured BELOW). 

The Babingtons emigrate to Hobart

On 16th September 1826, aged 16, Elizabeth Babington (soon to be Mrs George Augustus Davis) departed England for Van Diemen's Land with her mother and foursiblings aboard the Charles Forbes, a small sailing vessel similar in size Sydney's Manly ferry. It carried free settlers and 74 convicts, arriving in Hobart Town on 3 January 1827. 

The Babington Brothers 

Elizabeth's brothers (Richard and James Babington) married twice and produced children within each marriage.

Each brother had a son named Richard, both sons born within a year or two of each other, one at Glenlyon, the other in Tasmania.

In the mid-1850s, after James’ arrival at Glenlyon, police were notified of a missing nine year old child named Richard Babington.

Questions remain:

1.       Whose son was missing – Richard or James?

2.       Did the child meet a sad end or was he located?

Unfortunately the answers cannot be verified via Police records or examination of the Victorian Registry of Deaths. 

'Glenlyon' and Richard Babington 

Richard, brother-in-law of GAD, was transported for seven years for stealing bacon, wheatmeal, and two sacks. He arrived in Sydney in 1830 on the Nithsdale and in January 1840 and was granted his Ticket of Leave. He joined Alexander Mollison’s exploration party as a casual labourer; Mollison was the first squatter to the Loddon Valley.

Richard left Mollison’s employ in 1844 and applied successfully for the lease of 10,240 acres around Mt Franklin in Victoria. He named the lease Glenlyon.  The present township of Glenlyon and General Store are situated within his original lease.

Richard was thrown from his horse and killed on 6 April 1853. His young brother James and family traveled from Tasmania to manage the lease, which he did for many years, adding a mill and significant improvements to the property.  

Richard is remembered today for two reasons: firstly, a hill named after him north of Lyonville and, secondly, a failed attempt at running a pub ... the Glenlyon Inn was not successful, being too far off the main road to Castlemaine.

BELOW: Babington Mill, (north of Daylesford)