Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 40, September 1996


By C W Malcolm

During my eight years as headmaster of the Netherton School, I searched the history of the district. It is interesting that Captain James Cook with pinnace and longboat explored the river to that point before returning down stream to the ENDEAVOUR lying in the Firth which he named THAMES.

Captain Cook would not have known it as NETHERTON for that name was unknown in 1769. Its name was TE KOPURU and the first European settler changed it to NETHERTON, the place in England he had emigrated from. His reason for so doing was the confusion, particularly concerning the mails, with another Te Kopuru, north of Auckland.

Readers of the NZ HERALD of 3 October 1995 might have been surprised by a photograph and its accompanying caption: "Mystery from the seabed - a 5.6 metre long ship anchor pulled from Wellington Harbour has marine experts puzzling . . . its long chain has the words 'HINGLEY' and 'NETHERTON' etched on it."

For me there is no mystery at least as to where that anchor chain was made. In 1978 while on a visit to England, I "explored" the town of NETHERTON in the industrial Midlands, not more than six miles from Wolverhampton or nine from Birmingham, and spent some time in HINGLEY'S FOUNDRY where the anchor chain for the TITANIC was made and its anchor was assembled.

Indeed, Netherton is historically notable for even more than that: the late Lord Cobham when Governor-General of New Zealand, in one of his speeches stated that "from Netherton came the anchor chains which were used in Drake's ships which defeated the Armada."

The management at HINGLEY'S informed me (1978) that they had not manufactured anchor chains or anchors for eight years past, having diverted production to meet other demands.

Is this the NETHERTON from which Samuel Chalton came? For I have discovered another Netherton in England. It lies about six miles almost due north of Liverpool on the A5207.

Our Editor supplies the answer. I am grateful to him for obtaining information from Wise's Directory whose entry on Netherton states that Samuel Chalton came from "the industrial village of Netherton in the 'Black Country'." This establishes the fact that the Netherton I explored in 1978 is the one from which our Netherton is named.

In February 2018 Doug and Andrew Chalton kindly provided this update:

The history of Samuel Chalton founder of Netherton, New Zealand and the origin of the name.

Samuel Chalton and family.

Samuel Chalton emigrated from England to New Zealand departing on 26 November 1859 from Liverpool aboard the “Blue Jacket’. Just ten days earlier he had sold his dairy farm, named Crabwell Farm, near Chester. Samuel was motivated to emigrate by newspaper advertisements offering land in New Zealand at the rate of 40 acres per adult and 10 per child. Samuel had 5 children.

Samuel was accompanied by his wife Ellen, their five children and Samuel’s younger, unmarried brother John. They arrived in Auckland on 16 March 1860 and settled in Pukekaroro, just north of Kaiwaka, Northland. Samuel soon prospered and was reported in 1866 as owning “a very superior flock of 400 sheep”.

In 1870 Samuel and his family moved to Thames and established the Queens Hotel. Then in 1873 or 1874 Samuel and his family moved to the rough block of scrub land on the banks of the Waihou River which was later to become Netherton. Samuel and his family were the first settlers in the area.

In 1876 Samuel’s eldest daughter Ellen was married to John Osborne at Samuel’s homestead by Rev V Lush. This marriage is noted in the diaries of Rev Lush as the first marriage of settlers in the upper Thames.

Samuel was involved in the local community and was involved in the establishment of the first Netherton School 1880, and in 1892 was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for the area. He was also involved in the establishment of the first dairy factory which opened in 1904.

Samuel lived in Netherton until his death in 1910. He is buried with his wife at the Shortland Cemetery in Thames.

Origins of the name Netherton.

When deciding upon a name for the hotel he had built in Thames, Samuel looked to the history of his family. His younger brother William was already proprietor of a hotel in Porthmadog, Wales called the Queen’s Hotel.

When deciding on the new name for his village Samuel again delved into family history, but this time into his mother Susannah Nangreave’s ancestors.

The earliest known written record of the Nangreave family puts them in Netherton, Cheshire in 1495. 

In 1801, eleven generations of farmers later, Susannah was born ten miles away in Hawarden, North Wales. Family lore and her portrait indicate that she was fiercely proud; proud of her family name and their success as farmers.

In 1919 George Ormerod, a relative by marriage, published a history of Cheshire  which recounts that an estate  “has been possessed from the reign of Henry the VIIIth by the Nangreaves, who for several generations resided at Netherton Hall, a respectable old stone mansion of the style of James the First”. The Hall was demolished around 1820 and eventually replaced by today’s Netherton Hall Public House which displays some of the Nangreave family history on its walls.

In light of Samuel’s family history there can be little doubt that Netherton, New Zealand was named after Netherton Hall in the village of Netherton, Cheshire located about 10 miles NE of the City of Chester.

February 2018

Andrew Chalton    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Douglas Chalton    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Doug adds:-

There are at least 14 Netherton villages in England so it would not be surprising if there are alternative explanations for the origins of the New Zealand village. Certainly we are aware of the 1996 explanation written by CM Malcolm. As Chalton ancestors we can be certain that Samuel had no association with the Netherton near Birmingham and can produce much written documentation (published histories, wills, Parish records, etc) to substantiate the deep family association to Netherton in Cheshire.

On this basis perhaps it would be appropriate to connect the historical societies that represent the two Nethertons; the Paeroa Historical Society and the Family History Society of Cheshire.

Kind regards...Doug Chalton