James William Crask (b 1810)

parents John Crask & Sarah/Susanna Neve

born 1 May 1810, North Repps, Norfolk, England[13]
baptised 6 May 1810, St Mary's North Repps, Norfolk, England[13]
died 13 December 1885, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia[3,5]
buried 18 December 1885, St Kilda General Cemetery, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia[4]

James William Crask

James William was born and baptised in North Repps in north-east Norfolk, England.  

James William's baptism entry, St Mary The Virgin, North Repps

His parents stayed in North Repps so James probably grew up and went to school there.  His father John, was a Bricklayer so it is likely that James learned the trade from him.  Records show that James worked as a Bricklayer[8] and Builder[7].

Google Maps

Ann Susannah Emery

Ann Susannah Emery was baptised on 7 March 1808 at St Andrew's Church of England, Felmingham, Norfolk.  Her parents were George Emery and Bertha (aka Barty, Martha) Passon[1,7,6,14].  Felmingham is a town located approximately 13 km south of North Repps.  In 1811, the population was 299 persons consisting of 65 families lviing in 64 houses[15].  

George Emery was a Farmer and was farming in the Felmingham area from at least, 1806 through to 1815 after which time he moved to the North Repps area.  So Ann and James both grew up in and around the village of North Repps.

Felmingham parish church register

Life in Norfolk

James William Crask and Ann Susannah Emery were married by Licence on 6 November 1833 at St Mary The Virgin Church of England, North Repps, Norfolk[16].

From St Mary's parish register

They may have lived for a time in the nearby seaside village of Sidestrand since their first child, James William born 1834 was baptised there.

The 1841 UK Census has the family living in the village of Overstrand just a few km up the beach from Overstrand[8].  James worked as a Bricklayer, Ann was a Shopkeeper and James born 1834 and Elizabeth born 1840 are also shown on the census record.

The 1841 and 1844 Electoral Registers mention James William in Overstrand[17].  The 1844 entry refers to his Nature of Qualification as Freehold house and land located Near the White Horse Inn.  James was clearly a man of some means.

Location of the White Horse Inn
Google maps

The White Horse today
Google maps

The Octagonal Tower

In 1848, James obtained an interesting commission.  From Ref 18 - One Saturday night in 1841 the octagonal tower of St Michael's and All Angels church in Siderstrand collapsed in a tempest with only half the tower remaining erect.  

James is referred to as Crask, the village builder of North Repps but later in the book he is referred to as James Crask.  James was paid the sum of 45.0.0 for building the tower up.  

St Michael's and All Angels in 1823[18]
The present church is the old church relocated since in 1880 it was removed, stone by stone and rebuilt on its current site.  The tower alone is modern since it was not considered desirable to removed James Crask's handiwork which remained in the old churchyard on the cliff[18].  The tower eventually collapsed around 1912.

The 1851 UK Census had the family still living in the village of Overstrand[7].  James stated his occupation as Builder.  It appears that Ann no longer operated a shop.  She had a few children to look after by this time.

Erpingham Poor Law Union

Sometime in the 1840s or 1850s, James worked on the buildings of the Erpingham Poor Law Union[31].

Emmigration to Australia

James, Ann and two daughters, Lucy Ann and Matilda Maud, arrived in the Colony of Victoria on 6 December 1854 aboard the "Argo".  

She sailed from Southampton on 4 October 1854.   The Argo was an iron screw steamship of 1,800 tons, launched in 1852[19].

They were unassited passengers meaning they paid their own way.  The family surname is listed as Craske in the ship’s manifest[2].

The Argus, 6 December 1854[10]

James' sons, James William and Henry Emery are not mentioned in Ref 2 nor in The Argus Shipping News of 6 December 1854.  Perhaps they arrived later?

Interestingly, James' younger brother Francis Neve Crask arrived in Melbourne just 24 days later aboard the "Sussex".  Presumably, they planned to emigrate together,

In 1869 and 1870, the family lived in Inkerman Street, St Kilda and James was noted as a Builder[11].

The family appears to have lived in a small timber cottage at 31 Evelyn Street, East St Kilda from 1875 through to 1892[11].  

Ann continued to live there after James died and from 1875, Enoch and Matilda Maud lived there also[9,11].

In Melbourne James worked as a Builder[5,11].

31 Evelyn St, St Kilda, Vic
Google Maps

Passing On

James William Crask died at his home in Evelyn Street on 13 December 1885 aged 76 years[3,5].  He was buried at the St Kilda General Cemetery on 18 December 1885, in the Independent, Monumental Section, Compartment C, Grave 219[4].  

From James William's Probate

James did not leave a Last Will but Ann successfully applied for probate and this was granted on 1 March 1886.  In Ann's probate application, she declared that only she and her daughter, Matilda Maud, were entitled to any distribution of James' estate.  The only asset declared in the Probate was the land and a two-bedroom wooden cottage in Evelyn Street, East St Kilda.  There is now no evidence of this house.  A new building was constructed, probably in the 1970s.

Ann Susannah Emery died aged 87 in St Kilda, Victoria in 1894[5].  She was buried at the St Kilda General Cemetery on 20 February 1894 in the Independent, Monumental Section, Compartment C, Grave 293A[4].  
She lies in the same grave as her daughter, Matilda Maud Crask.

Grave of Ann Susannah Emery and Matilda Maud Crask


James and Ann’s known children were:-

Ref 18

Baptism entry

Burial entry

Baptism entry

Burial entry

Baptism entry

Burial entry

Baptism entry

Burial entry

Baptism entry

Burial entry

Baptism entry
No baptism entry has been found but her birth was registered in Erpingham.

She emigrated to Australia with her parents in 1854 and grew up in the St Kilda area.  Matilda married Enoch Kinder (b1846) and died on 23 July 1930 at 10 Henry Street, Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia (her daughter, Florence Ruby Kinder's home).  Her story is continued with Enoch Kinder

Matilda Maud named one of her children Henry Emery.  The name, William, also features in the names of Matilda Maud's children.
Matilda Maud Crask ca 1918

from Matilda Maud's birth certificate

It is sad that of the 9 children born to James William and Ann Susannah, that only one child, Matilda Maud, survived to continue the family line.  Five of their chidren did not live past 18 months.

Many of James and Ann's children were baptised in St Martin's, Overstrand.

St Martin's Church, Overstrand

Photo credit:  Simon Knott


  1. International Genealogy Index
  2. Victorian PRO Immigration to Victoria 1852-1879.
  3. Victorian Pioneers Index
  4. St Kilda General Cemetery records
  5. James William Crask b1810 Probate
  6. Robert Emery, private communication, 2005
  7. 1851 UK Census HO/107/1809, Folio 266, page 10
  8. 1841 UK Census HO/107/760/1
  9. Frances Ruby Kinder b1885 birth certificate
  10. Australia Trove, http://trove.nla.gov.au
  11. Sands & McDougall Directories
  12. England & Wales FreeBMD
  13. James William Crask b1810 baptism entry
  14. Susannah Ann Emery baptism entry
  15. www.origins.ork.uk/genuk/NFK
  16. James William Crask b1810 & Susannah Ann Emery marriage entry
  17. UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538-1893
  18. Records of a Village, Being Notes on the History of Sidestrand by Christobel Mary Hoare, 1914.  Readable copy at HP BookPrep
  19. Wikipeadia - Argo 1853
  20. Elizabeth Ann Crask b1835 baptism entry
  21. Elizabeth Ann Crask b1835 burial entry
  22. George Emery Crask b1837 baptism entry
  23. George Emery Crask b1837 burial entry
  24. George Emery Crask b1838 baptism entry
  25. George Emery Crask b1838 burial entry
  26. Henry Crask b1839 baptism entry
  27. Henry Crask b1839 burial entry
  28. Elizabeth Crask b1840 baptism entry
  29. Elizabeth Crask b1840 burial entry
  30. Matilda Maud Crask 1847 birth certificate
  31. http://www.oldshuck.webspace.virginmedia.com/erpingham_poor_law.html