Revised August 2013. (Original title: “Did the Cridge family ever live in Oak Bay?”) Material on Richard Cridge, C.E. added July 2015.
The Cridges are gigantic figures in Victoria history, memorialized in the Church of Our Lord and in the Cridge Centre for the Family, which occupies the 1893 Protestant Orphanage near Hillside Avenue and Cook Street.
Edward Cridge (1817-1913) was a Cambridge University graduate and ordained Anglican minister who with his wife Mary Winmill (1826-1905) made the trip around Cape Horn to be the second chaplain and boarding school operator at Fort Victoria in 1855. They became powerhouses in the social and religious life of the community, building the first Christ Church (1856), starting the first hospital (1858), a YMCA (1859) and the Protestant Orphans’ Home (1873). When in 1860 the well-connected George Hills was appointed bishop of the diocese, he hired Edward Cridge to be rector of Christ Church Cathedral and in 1865 appointed Cridge dean, setting the stage for a dramatic doctrinal controversy. Hills was a high-church ritualist, Cridge more of a charismatic evangelical. Cridge defied Hills’ authority, was put on trial in an ecclesiastical court and in 1874 stripped of his offices. The bishop even obtained an injunction in BC Supreme Court. A loyal body of the congregation asked Cridge to be the pastor of a new church and deserted Hills en masse. The Church of Our Lord, consecrated in 1876, under the rubric of the Reformed Episcopal Church, became the see of Cridge’s bishopric. There he remained into his 90s.
It’s possible the Cridge family lived in Oak Bay for a period following their devastating loss. A couple of narratives state as much.
In a recent biography, Quiet Reformers: The Legacy of Early Victoria’s Bishop Edward and Mary Cridge, the deaths of the Cridge children are presented as motive:
The dean refused to excuse himself from any duties and carried on despite the terrible loss. Mary found the parsonage frighteningly quiet. Their sorrow was beyond understanding, but together as time elapsed they found some solace in each other and in their faith. Living in the parsonage with constant reminders of the children they had lost, however, became unbearable, and Edward took the opportunity in April to purchase Sellindge Cottage from Captain McNeil for $814.
The house was located well away from the town in the relatively undeveloped area of Oak Bay, across Beach Drive from the present Oak Bay Marina. Cridge kept detailed accounts of his finances, including the cost of having the chimney cleaned and the walls whitewashed prior to moving in. A diary entry states how happy they were to be moving away from the parsonage into a house that they could really call their own, not provided by the colony or the Church. It was not the home the dean had envisioned — that would wait until later — but Sellindge was their own, a cottage they could furnish as they wished and which provided a refuge in difficult times.
By this account the Cridge family lived in Sellindge Cottage from 1865 to 1871, when they moved to a new house in James Bay. The details — the month; the cost; the location; accounts; a diary entry — give weight to the story.
Anchoring this narrative is the announcement in the Colonist (August 21, 1868) of a birth — the Cridges’ last — “in this city, at Sellindge Cottage.” And in Henderson’s Greater Victoria City Directory for 1913 under Named Private Residences there is listed a Sellenge Cove at 680 Beach Drive. The old numbering locates it about where Quiet Reformers claims Sellindge Cottage was.
A couple of inconvenient facts call this account into question. That area was not Captain McNeill’s to sell. It belonged to Joseph Pemberton and was part of Gonzales Farm, a cattle-ranching enterprise. The area was not then “relatively undeveloped.” It was totally undeveloped.
This much is known from Edward Cridge’s diaries: he did buy a property from Captain McNeill, in 1868. It cost $1,400, and the family did move into a new home on March 31.
It happens that for the year 1868 alone the Cridge diaries survive intact, in both longhand and typescript, in the BC Archives.
Here are the relevant entries:
January 6 — Monday
Went to the Bishop’s in reference to purchase of house next Mr Wootons — recommended me to enquire through Burnaby — Went to Burnaby & put it in his hands — Went into Hibben’s & wrote letter to Mr Hamilton asking him to preach on T evg for missions — sent it through Mrs Hicks — Mr McDonald told me Capt. Reid was better — went skating with Richard — Mr Burnaby called to say that Capt. McNeil’s agent told him the house, in consequence of ye capital question wd be $1400 —
14 — Tuesday
Mr Burnaby called ^first in the morng afterwds in the evg^ in reference to Capt. McNeill’s house to say that he had completed the purchase — price $1400; $900 down; the rest at 1 per c per mo., if paid in a year; after that period 1 1/2 per c.; all fixtures included — called ^with wife^ to inspect the house (illegible) Findley’s politeness — Business at Bank — Visited Capt. Reid. Ps. xxxiv (and?) Prayer.—
Called on the Bishop & Mrs Hills — Admiral Hastings there — Business at Bank — told Mr Shepherd of my purchase — & arranged for vacating the house —gave (me? him?) a letter from Mr Drake threatening legal proceedings if site of Infirmary was not paid for — called at Dr. Helmcken & (urged?) the union of the two hospitals — Business in town — Teachers’ meeting at Vestry — Sir James Douglas called — Mrs Blinkhorn came to stay a few days with us. The Turners called to look at the house. — Preached in the evening.
16 — Thursday
Arranged business & accounts — Met Bishop & Mrs Hills — conversation on new house — walked to town with Mrs A F Pemberton ^— long talk^ on Metlakahtla — Business at Bank — Called on Capt. Lewis of the “Otter” — Called with wife on Mr & Mrs Reynard — found him (printing?) — he is getting on nicely with it — Shopped with wife — Bone expressed a wish to take the Parsonage — Mr Beaven asked me to insure in his office — Mr Williams spent the evening with us —
17 — Friday
Arranged personal affairs — went out at 12? — Called on the Bishop — conversed on my purchase & change of residence — The Bp offered to give up the paddock — Also to graze in our enclosure of the Ch. Resve — for $1000 per an. — Recd Mr Wm Willemar’s examinn papers on the Articles — Called on Mr Findlay (not at home) — on Capt. Nagle — completed the purchase of residence — Insured the same at $1500. — Called on Mrs Wooton — Mrs Alston — 2 wks from her confinement — prayed with her — Mrs Roscoe — better — Heard of Mrs Crogan’s illness from Mrs McDonald & Miss Reid who called enquiring for a nurse —
March 2 — Monday
… Went with wife & took Carpenter (Hayward) to the house & arranged for repairs …
9 — Monday
… Rode out on business connected with the house …
17 — Tuesday
… Inspected the repairs going on at the house …
18 — Wednesday
… Went with wife to inspect repairs &c at new house
25 — Wednesday
… Arranged matters for getting into ye new house …
31 — Tuesday
Moved into our new house — Breakfasted with Sir James Douglas — being his day for signing pension paper — Called at the Bakers on the death of their son — assisted in arranging furniture &c —
April 1 — Wednesday
… Our first day at our new house — Beautiful weather like July …
It’s pretty clear the house the Cridges bought was next door to the Mr Wooton mentioned in the entry for January 6. According to the First Victoria Directory, 2nd issue (1868), Henry Wootton, post master, had his residence on Rae street. That would be present-day Courtney Street. It bordered the north side of the cathedral. Reference to later directories and the 1903 Insurance Plan of downtown Victoria reveals the Wootton home was near the corner of Quadra Street:
Insurance Plan of Victoria, British Columbia, 1903, p. 39, detail. University of Victoria Digital collections. “… provided to the University of Victoria by the Royal BC Museum for dissemination … for research only.” Christ Church Cathedral is at bottom left. Henry Wootton’s widow Eliza lived at 70 Rae St. in 1903.
The Cridge residence turns out to be not so far away from the church. (Capt. McNeill owned several properties in town. In his will he bequeathed “four lots on Fort, Douglas, and View Streets” to his daughters Harriet and Rebecca.)
Following completion of their house “Marifield,” on Carr (Government) Street, about 1875, the Cridges lived in James Bay for the rest of their long lives.
That said, two Cridge children and several grandchildren did live in Oak Bay, and descendants possibly still do.
The eldest child, Richard Coombe Cridge (1856-1906), appears in the 1881 census as a surveyor and civil engineer, age 25, living at the Cridge home in James Bay.
Richard’s vocation took him to Oak Bay, with unfortunate results. In the internecine litigation over Willam Henry McNeill’s will, the B. C. Supreme Court engaged Richard to survey and partition the McNeill estate according to a scheme satisfactory to all. Justice J. H. Gray unveiled the plan in court on November 16, 1880.* But in a hearing on May 5, 1882 before chief justice Begbie and justices Crease and Gray, the complicated scheme threatened to fall apart. Judge Gray explained that “the registrar had discovered during the time that the estate was being wound up that a very serious mistake had been made in the measurement of the estate in question, so that a considerable loss would accrue to several of the claimants. He thought the whole suit would have to be reopened.”** None of the litigants wanted that, so the court directed the registrar to hire another surveyor to rejig the boundaries, and case closed.
* British Columbia Supreme Court 1880-1946. Orders, vol. 1, folio 15. BC Archives call no. GR-1566; microfilm no. B07047.
** Colonist, May 6, 1882, p. 3.
The record is silent as to how the “very serious mistake” in the measurement of the McNeill lands was discovered. But it can be inferred from the very public contretemps between Richard, his partner J. A. Mahood and Victoria city council over their City Survey of 1879-80. Mahood & Cridge had barely set up shop as a partnership when they landed a plum: to make a new survey of the city. They were supervised by J. D. Pemberton and B. W. Pearse, the colonial surveyors and makers of the extant 1858 map. The Survey Commissioners reported to a committee of Council. Mahood and Cridge were to survey the boundaries of all private and public properties, map them and mark them with the customary piles of stones. The process was ratified by an act of the Legislative Assembly in March 1880. Trouble was, the survey wasn’t finished; Mahood and Cridge had been relieved of their duties and another surveyor hired to complete them. The map endorsed by Parliament had to be rejigged, prompting this notice the following March:
The Committee on Private Bills reported that Messrs Pemberton and Pearse had misunderstood the nature and effect of a resolution passed last session, and has altered the official map without reference to the Act. The map, as registered at the Land Office, had no legal effect.
Colonist, March 15, 1881, p. 2.
Council was furious; a memorandum penned by councillors Shakespeare and Boyd found its way into the Colonist without having been adopted by council; it concluded: “In place of your having any claim against the Council for remuneration, you should compensate the City for the loss.” Pemberton and Pearse considered the memo libellous, and at a special hearing before Council in August, they were exonerated. How, they asked, could they be bound by legislation passed ten months after they began work? Pemberton:
Mahood & Cridge were expected to finish their work by the 1st December, 1879. Mahood was a good surveyor, but Cridge had not sufficient experience to do the work alone. The first half of the survey was done well; but after that the commissioners could get no satisfaction from the surveyors. Mahood finally dropped out of the work and if the services of another engineer (Mr. Harris) had not been obtained the work would not have been completed.
Colonist, August 10, 1881, p. 3.
Two weeks later, Pearse published a scathing rebuke of Richard Cridge for attempting to use a “certificate” — a letter of reference — he had wheedled out of Pearse to prove that he had completed the survey, in spite of Pearse’s testimony to the contrary. The ambiguous wording of his certificate, written in haste, that “Messrs. Mahood & Cridge made a survey,” was seized on by Cridge in a “dishonest manner” to misrepresent his work before the standing committee.
The love and respect which I bear to Mr. Cridge’s father, who is one of my oldest friends in this province, forbid me to characterize in fitting language this attempt to prove me guilty before the committee of the house by publishing a certificate under my hand which appears at first sight to contradict that evidence.
Colonist, August 27, 1881, p. 2.
By this time Richard Cridge had long ceased to advertise his work as a land surveyor.
In 1883 Richard and Abigail Irene Polley, a 25-year-old teacher from New Brunswick, were married in Victoria by his father, the Bishop. (Richard was by that time living in Maple Ridge and employed by the C.P.R.) Their child Edward was born the following year. Richard is listed in the city directory for 1884/85 as an assistant engineer, Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. In 1885, he built a “Swiss cottage” on Simcoe Street in James Bay. But in the 1891 census Mrs. A. Cridge was in a New Westminster lodging, while the 1891 city directory shows Richard Cridge, surveyor, living at 2 1/2 Quebec Street, James Bay. In March 1896 the Colonist noted his departure for Honolulu, Hawaii; news arrived in September 1906 of his death there, age 50.
At the time of the 1901 census, Edward was living with his grandparents at Marifield, and Abigail was in a nearby rooming house. She lived at 439 Superior Street for some years and, circa 1918, moved into Marifield with her sister-in-law Maude Cridge. Edward enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915 at the rank of private. By 1921 Edward was living at 1550 North Hampshire Road in Oak Bay; he was employed as an excise clerk in the Customs office. Edward married Ellen Slater, and they raised four children in the Hampshire Road home. Following Maude Cridge’s death in 1922, Abigail moved in with her son. By 1936 she had moved to the Aged Women’s Home on McClure Street; she died there in 1947 at the age of 90. Edward and his family moved to Richmond Road about 1948; by 1955, to Linden Avenue. At the time of his death in 1958, he was living at 2358 Estevan Avenue. Ellen died in 1980 at a house on Monterey Avenue, possibly the home of her daughter Audrey Finch.
Mary Hills Cridge (1860-1948) married James Cran, a bank accountant from Scotland, in 1880, in Victoria, Bishop Cridge officiating. James had immigrated in 1870 and worked with the Bank of British North America in the Cariboo District during the gold rush years. Banking took the Crans to California and Ontario, then back to postings in the British Columbia interior. Along the way they had five children; one died in childhood. When James retired they settled on Quamichan Lake in the Cowichan Valley. Of their three sons, Duncan enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915, and Robert (Robin) was drafted in 1917. Their daughter Maude Erskine married Rowland Edward Paget, son of Lord and Lady Berkeley Paget of Litchfield, Staffordshire, in 1913. Paget already had 13 years’ military service with the Royal Sussex Regiment under his belt; he sported a tattoo on his arm with the name of his regiment. Paget was promoted to Major and wounded in battle while serving with the King’s Royal Rifles. After James Cran’s death in 1920, his widow Mary and youngest child Robin settled at 1214 Roslyn Road in Oak Bay. She lived out her long life there, and Robin continued to live at the Roslyn Road home until his death at age 80 in 1977. He never married.
Ellen Cridge (1867-1952) married Thomas Herbert Laundy (1865-1957) in September 1891 at the Church of Our Lord. Laundy, a native of London, England, had immigrated with his Scottish bride Williamina in 1889 to take a position with the Bank of British Columbia. By May 1890 he was a widower, having lost his 23-year-old wife to a brief unspecified illness. When he married Ellen Cridge, “the right reverend Bishop gave his daughter away,” the Colonist reported, “and also performed the impressive ceremony.”
The Laundy family lived on Simcoe Street, about a block from Ellen’s family home, for nearly twenty years. They raised six children: Everard Lynne (1893-1934), Herbert Cridge (b 1895), Cecil Eastham (1897-1989), Helen Eirene (b 1902) and the twins Arthur James Tylden (1907-1966) and Edward James Tylden (1907-1985). The Carrs lived just across the street, and Ellen became friends with Emily and Alice Carr.
In 1912, Thomas Laundy built a tudor-style guest house at 1052 Newport Avenue and a family residence at 1290 Beach Drive. Lynne had become an architect and Herbert a builder, and they worked with their father on the buildings. They gave the family home the name Sellenge Cove. A modernist condo now stands there. The Newport residence was long a guest house with rooms to rent by the month; it has for some years been operating as The Oak Bay Guest House, the only legal B&B in Oak Bay. The Laundys developed other properties in the neighbourhood as well.
(It’s likely that Sellenge was a variant of Sellindge. From Maude Cridge’s birth notice “at Sellindge Cottage” it may be inferred that the name was meaningful to the Cridges. Why? is a mystery. There is a town in Kent named Sellindge, some 24 kilometres south of Canterbury. It’s an area noted for churches; the Church of St. Mary, Sellindge, has Norman roots. But Sellindge is far from Edward Cridge’s place of origin, Bratton-Fleming, Devon, and far enough from Mary Winmill’s Dagenham, Essex birthplace, not to mention their meeting-place, West Ham, Essex, to pose a perplexity. Perhaps some family lore would reveal its association.)
Thomas and Ellen Laundy lived at 1290 Beach for more than 40 years and were pillars of the community. Ellen Laundy and her sister Mary Hills Cran did much work to memorialize local church history. Ellen was, her obituary relates, “active in the Protestant Orphans’ Home and other civic interests … devoted much time to the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire serving as regent of the Bishop Cridge Ministerial Chapter from its inception 31 years ago.”
Thomas Laundy worked for the Bank of British Columbia and its successor the Canadian Bank of Commerce until his retirement in 1925. He was also manager of the Victoria bank clearing house from 1911 to 1936. When he retired, Laundy graduated from being choir-master, lay reader and deacon in the Church of Our Lord to a fully-ordained minister of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Following in his father-in-law’s footsteps, he was for some years rector of the Church of Our Lord.
Two Laundy children lived in Oak Bay for much of their lives. Cecil Eastham held various bookkeeping and clerkly positions while living at home on Beach Drive. In 1927 he married Dorothy Margaret Holmes in Victoria; they moved into a house at 1382 St. Patrick Street and raised two children — Patrick, who became a physician and settled in West Vancouver; and Sally, who married Garth Lee and also lived in West Vancouver. The two produced six grandchildren. Cecil and Dorothy moved to a Beach Drive address before 1950 and settled finally on Queenswood Drive. After Dorothy’s death in 1973, Cecil remarried to Margaret Beryl Ferguson, who died in 1975. Cecil lived on to the age of 91.
Arthur James Tylden also took clerking jobs while living at home (as did his twin brother Edward James Tylden). Arthur married Dorothy Kennedy and in 1938 joined the staff of The Daily Colonist. In time he was made the newspaper’s paymaster, and continued as such with Victoria Press beginning in 1953. They lived for some time in the 40s on Orchard Avenue, and on Cranmore Road in the 50s. They raised two children, David, who migrated to Edmonton, and Robert, who stayed in Victoria. At the time of Arthur’s death in 1966, they were living at 1995 Fairfield Road.
Of the other Laundy children, Everard Lynne and Herbert Cridge enlisted with the Overseas Expeditionary Force; both were decorated for bravery in combat. Herbert fought in the Second Battle of Ypres with the Canadian Field Artillery. Lynne was at the Battle of Vimy Ridge serving with the 47th Battalion, Canadian Infantry. The citation for Lynne’s Military Cross reads: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. As the only surviving officer of the party detailed for the capture of an enemy position he personally displayed great gallantry in repulsing several counter-attacks and although severely shaken by shell fire, he carried on until relieved, setting a fine example of courage and devotion under most difficult conditions.” Herbert attained the rank of lieutenant; Lynne was promoted to captain and suffered serious wounds. He died in California at the age of 40, leaving a wife — his second, and the third Dorothy to take the name Laundy — and three children. Herbert settled in Ontario and raised a family. Helen Eirene married Robin Stewart Mackenzie Forbes; they lived variously in California, the Okanagan Valley and Victoria, while raising a family. Edward James Tylden married Violet Irene Primrose Robson. At the time of his death in 1985, they were living on Chester Street in Victoria.
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