This week's story from guest writer Carl Bonniface, a descendant of Edward Morey, is the first in a three part series on Morey’s contribution to built heritage on Banks Peninsula.
Who was Edward Morey? He certainly made his mark with most of his well designed and built structures still standing, despite the earthquakes, and adding to the colourful history around Banks Peninsula.
Edward William Morey was born in Havant, Hampshire, England on 8 April 1822. On 13 September 1841 he married Charlotte King at Alverstoke, Hampshire. On 12 October 1858, Edward, aged 35, Charlotte, 34 and their three daughters aged 12, eight and 18 months, boarded the ship Strathalan bound for New Zealand. They were assisted immigrants, the total fare being £59, 10s (NZ$18,500). They arrived in Lyttelton on 21 January 1859. Edward was a trained stonemason and bricklayer, as was his father Henry Morey.
Meanwhile, prior to their arrival in Lyttelton, plans for a new stone Anglican church had been drawn up by surveyor and architect George Mallinson, after the unfortunate demise of the first timber Anglican church. Built in 1852, it soon had to be demolished after the freshly milled native timbers used in its construction shrank and it became too dangerous to occupy in the strong southerly and northwest winds.
Along comes Mr Morey. Did he know about the planned new church before he left England? Was that why he came to Lyttelton? You would think that the news of the fate of the original church would have been talked about by church builders back in England, especially considering that William Chaney, a well respected English stonemason (he spent 18 years restoring Canterbury Cathedral before coming to New Zealand) was involved in the first church’s construction. There is, however, no mention of this being a possibility anywhere in the Morey family history.
Morey submitted a quote to build the new church, which the Anglican diocese accepted. The tender was let to him on 11 April 1859 for £3,320 (NZ$1 million). The new church was situated further to the east than the former, in order that the whole building rested level on solid ground, with the foundation stone being laid on 26 June 1859. The building was constructed of red porphyry (volcanic) stone from the Sumner Road quarry, with finishing sandstone from Quail Island and a shingled roof. The new Church of the Most Holy Trinity was consecrated on 10 April 1860; it had taken just 11 months to build. Interestingly, as stated in the Lyttelton Times article on the consecration on 11 April 1860: ”a great portion of the interior timber used had been taken from the materials of the former Church and is therefore well seasoned”.
An excerpt from the same article reads:
”It is due to Mr Morey to say that he has kept more than good faith with the parish, and has left a record of excellent workmanship, done in a short space in time, in a business like way, and with a conscientious liberality, which should teach a practical lesson to the whole building trade in the province”.
Unfortunately, this beautiful church became a victim of the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, but not its historic fittings and fixtures. Thanks to some dedicated local people, those irreplaceable treasures were saved and reinstated into St Saviours at Holy Trinity, which is another story to be told.
Although Mr Morey built the new Anglican church, he was actually an active member of the Wesleyan church in Lyttelton, volunteering his time to make improvements to that denomination's buildings to accommodate its rapidly increasing congregation. He lived in Lyttelton for four years from 1859 to 1862. During that time he delved into the property market, purchasing and leasing sections and building houses on Jacksons, Selwyn and Hawkhurst roads and Oxford Street.
Morey also successfully tendered for and built brick culverts across London and Winchester streets. He built a new hall for the Loyal City of Norwich Lodge No. 4356, of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, in St Davids Street for the bargain price of £245 (NZ$75,000), as he was a brother and secretary of the order. He unsuccessfully tendered to build the Lyttelton Gaol (16 November 1860) and the beacon on Adderley Head (7 May 1861). He regularly ran an advertisement in the Lyttelton Times stating: “EW Morey, mason, builder and contractor – Tombs and headstones neatly executed”.