Fido non timeo - “I trust, I do not fear”

Origin of the HERMON Surname

The earliest known references to this name are recorded in Hebrew records dated 311 AD. This could suggest that the name is of Jewish origin, derived from Mount Hermon on the Lebanon and Syrian Border. Alternatively the surname may be of German origin, but without DNA testing this can not be confirmed.

There are a variety of alternate spellings of this surname, some of which include: Harman, Harmen, Harmon, Herman, Hermen, Horman and Hormon.

The biggest population of HERMONs in England are located in Berkshire County. I have not found any link between the majority of them and my family from Westminster.

These days you will find HERMON families scattered all around the world. There are significant links to England, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

HERMON Family Beginnings

The oldest researched family in my genealogy originates in St James' Parish (Piccadilly), Westminster, London. The nature of records in the late 1700s, and the variations in phonetic spellings of names, makes it difficult to research back much further.

It appears that the families were financially well off. This could be through the location of their family businesses, the amount of freehold and leasehold properties they held, or their links to the cotton industry.

My genealogy begins with John HERMON and Mary CLIFF, both of whom were born around 1745. They married on 30 July 1770 at St Mary’s Parish Church, (now St Marylebone Parish Church ) Westminster. Together, they had eight children, of which five died in infancy. The surviving children were Mary, John Anthony & Richard. John’s occupation was a Glazier & Plumber and sometimes Painter.

In 1773 John leased land in Bury Street , which I suspect later became 12 King Street. His glazing business also started in King Street and remained there till around 1791. By 1802 a business partnership called Hermon & Son between John and Richard was established. Richard was later awarded the "Freedom of the City of London" by the Company of Glaziers.

After 1791 John took up a lease of a residence at on High Street , Kensington, which enabled Richard and his family to remain at the King Street property. John died in February 1806 at Kensington and was buried in the nearby St Mary Abbots Church . His wife, Mary, died at Richard’s place in St John’s Wood about June 1824.

Amongst John’s estate were leasehold properties at 20 Phillimore Place, Kensington and 91 Sloane Street, Pimlico.

22 King Street in St James

In July 1805, John had undertaken to purchase the 195 square metre freehold property at 18 (now 22) King Street . As executor for this estate, Richard paid £1430 for this property on 2 April 1806.

In the 1830’s the building on this site was described as "having a plain brick front of early 19th century character, with a modern stone shop-front of two bays...".

Some of the family members were builders and they constructed the initial building. This served as a home for a few generations of young HERMON family members together with being a base for their business. The property ceased to be HERMON owned in 1885 after 80 years.

In 2001 this building had a major renovation work carried out on it. Today it is subject to a preservation order which covers the front exterior and also the interior of the ground and first floor of the original 4 storey building. At the rear of the front building is a 3 storey building extension which is built over what was the yard for the initial dwelling.

The Next Generation

The following were children of John & Mary HERMON

Mary (1771-1815) was the eldest child. She married Thomas BLADES in 1798. He was an upholsterer and they lived in St James’. Thomas was in a partnership with John Anthony HERMON called Blades & Hermon.

John Anthony (1773-1854) was the eldest son. He married Maria HANCOCK (1779-1804) in November 1797. After Maria’s death he married Elizabeth WALKER (1782-1845) in January 1805. John was an auctioneer and house agent between 1802-1831.

Richard (1782-1849) was the youngest in the family. He married Susanna OWTRAM (1788-1859) in April 1808 at Worksop. Their 10 children where all born in St James’. Richard was a Glazier and Builder who was in charge of “Richard Hermon & Sons” (Builders & House Decorators).

Richard lived at 22 King Street till around 1820 when the family moved to Weston Lodge at 16 Grove End Road , St Johns Wood. Weston Lodge was once described as an elegant villa, surrounded by an acre of pleasure grounds, located in a preferable part of St John’s Wood. Richard died at the Lodge on 24 November 1849 and was buried with seven other family members in Catacomb B, Vault 106 below the Anglican Chapel in Kensal Green Cemetery. His sons, John and Alfred, continued the building business in King St.

My Ancestral Link to the HERMON Family

My great great grandfather was Alfred HERMON (1820-1866). He married his mother’s niece, named Sarah OWTRAM, in September 1849 at Worksop. They had eight children, five of whom were born in St James’ before they moved to Berrylands Lodge in Surbiton. Alfred was a Master Builder who lived at 22 King St till around 1854.

In Surbiton, Alfred became actively involved, as one of six trustees, in promoting the need for the community to have its own Anglican Church. Building of the church commenced in 1862 and it was consecrated as Christ Church in August 1863.

Alfred died at the age of 46, from a stroke, while staying at Radnor Cliff in Sangate. Radnor Cliff was a property owned by his wealthy younger brother, Edward. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the Kingston Cemetery . His wife died soon after and their young family were left in the care of members of the Owtram Family.

Three sons of Alfred left England to settle elsewhere, one of whom later returned. Wilbraham HERMON (1858-1934) went to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) to work on tea and rubber plantations. He had a total of 10 children from two marriages. Some descendants live in New Zealand and only in recent years became aware of their kiwi cousins.

Obituary - Wilbraham HERMON - Click to expand

OBITUARY - WILBRAHAM HERMON (SNR) OF KEGALLE; FEBRUARY 1934

Extract from The Times of Ceylon dated 13 February 1934

The death occurred at the General Hospital late last night after a brief illness of Mr Wilbraham Hermon (Snr) the veteran planter of Kegalle.

Mr Hermon, who was born on October 15th, 1859, arrived in Ceylon in 1878 and crept under Mr James Westland on Spring Valley, Badulla. He then went to Golconda, Haputale, which was in coffee at the time. After a period on Rosebury Estate he went to Wariagalla where he acted for Mr S H Hayes, who went to the Boer War. He was on Eadella Estate, Polgahawela, for 18 years before going to Borneo, where he was engaged in rubber planting. He contracted typhoid there and was compelled to return to Ceylon, taking up an appointment on Ambanpitiya, Kegalle. He later took up an acting billet on Dalkeith from where he retired after the War.

Mr Hermon did a lot of shooting in the old days and was also very keen on fishing.

He leaves five sons and three daughters. His two brothers were clergymen. One died in Cambridge a few years ago while the other predeceased him in New Zealand.

Migration to New Zealand

Arthur and Reginald, sons of Alfred HERMON, left England and sailed to New Zealand via Australia. They were fare paying passengers travelling on the ship GARONNE which left Plymouth in England, under Captain Hillkirk, on 29 May 1880. It arrived in Melbourne, Australia, on 16 July 1880, with 240 people on board, including crew. The HERMON brothers travelled in steerage.

On 21 July 1880 the Hermon brothers left Melbourne on the ROTOMAHANA bound for Wellington via the Bluff. They travelled in saloon (first class). (See extract below)

They lastly travelled to Nelson on the TAIAROA. The ship departed Wellington at 12:15 pm on 5 August 1880 and later reached Picton at 5pm. Departing there at 11:15pm, it arrived at Nelson at 7am on 6 August 1880. Strong SE winds were experienced while crossing the straight.

Newspaper Extract - Click to expand

Extract from Hawke Bay Herald dated Monday 2 August 1880

The death occurred at the General Hospital late last night after a brief illness of Mr Wilbraham Hermon (Snr) the veteran planter of Kegalle.

The Union Steamship Company’s ss. ROTOMAHANA, Captain T. Underwood, arrived here from Melbourne, via Hobart Town and Southern ports. We have to thank the courteous purser, Mr S C Miller, for the following report:- Left Hobson’s Bay [Melbourne] at 12:30 am on the 21st ultimo, cleared Port Phillip Heads at 2:35 am, and passed Swan Island at 8 pm, arriving at Hobart Town at 1:30 pm; on the 22nd; left at 11 o’clock that evening and arrived at the Bluff Heads at 8 am on the 26th; sailed at 5pm and arrived at Port Chalmers at 4:30 o’clock the following morning; called at Lyttelton on the 29th, and Wellington on the 30th... Experienced a light Southerly wind with fine weather during the passage from Melbourne to Hobart Town, and light Northerly winds, with fair weather during the run across to the Bluff, then had very thick weather as far as Port Chalmers, and comparatively fine weather during the rest of the passage up the coast. On this trip there was on board 33 saloon and 42 steerage passengers, 622 tons of cargo and 4 horses.

Theological Studies

The 1871 UK Census shows Arthur working as an assistant in a Tea Brokers’ Sale Rooms. This may have impacted his brother, Wilbraham, going to Ceylon.

By May 1871, Arthur had become quite involved doing Sunday School teaching in London. Arthur came to Bishopdale College in Nelson on the recommendation of clergy in London. When Arthur, aged 24, arrived at Bishopdale in June 1880 he was given a hearty welcome by Bishop SUTER . Arthur had come to him based on letters from an old and tried friend in England. He was considered to be very good student, well versed in the Anglican faith and quite intelligent. These characteristics were soon proven true during his studies at Bishopdale. He was ordained a Priest in September 1883 at Nelson.

When Reginald, aged 19, arrived in Nelson he took up work as a bank clerk in the Bank of New Zealand, having worked before in the Central Bank of London. At this time he was also a volunteer of the former Nelson Naval Brigade. He started his initial theological studies in July 1882 at St John’s College in Auckland. He left there in September 1883 and continued his studies at Bishopdale College. He was ordained a Priest on 29 September 1887.

Reverend Arthur HERMON

Arthur was the first clergyman appointed to take charge of the Spring Creek district, near Blenheim. He commenced work on 9 January 1882 in a district which covered Tua Marina, Grovetown and Spring Creek.

On 15 January 1883, the wedding between Arthur HERMON and Annie Jane TURNER took place at the St Peter’s by the Strand Church at Wakapuaka, Nelson. Annie was the granddaughter of James MACKAY (Snr). The HERMONs set up home in the parsonage in Spring Creek and they had a daughter, named Faith Adine, who was born there in August 1884. In December 1885 Arthur was granted leave to go to England and the family left in February 1886.

The family returned to Nelson on 25 December 1886 and Arthur started work at Greymouth. In July 1887 the family moved to Feilding and Arthur became the curate of St John’s Church . Mrs Annie HERMON died at the parsonage on 15 June 1889 and was buried at Wakapuaka Cemetery, Nelson. Soon after the death of his wife, Arthur was granted further leave to return to England and he departed in October 1889.

Whilst in England he married Edith BEARDSALL in Worksop on 31 July 1890. The newlyweds returned to Feilding on 15 October 1890. The family finally departed this parish and New Zealand in July 1893. After their return to England, Arthur started clergy work in the cure of Walesby, Nottingham and later at Mansfield. In April 1898, his only child, Faith Adine, died in Mansfield.

Arthur moved on to other parishes like Barnham (1898-1912), Roxton (1912-1913), Littleport (1913-1919) and lastly Swaffham Bulbeck . Arthur died there on 10 February 1932.

Obituary - Arthur HERMON - Click to expand

OBITUARY - ARTHUR HERMON; FEBRUARY 1932

Rev Arthur Hermon – Death of former Curate-In-Charge of Roxton
Extract from Bedfordshire Times & Independent Newspaper – 19 February 1932

Only a few hours after conducting a service for children in his own church, the Rev Arthur Hermon (Swaffham Bulbeck) and formerly curate-in-charge of Roxton had a stroke and died on the afternoon of the 10 February. He was 76 years of age. Mr Hermon identified himself with almost every activity at Swaffham since 1919.

He had the school building re-built and made into a church room. His death will be a great loss to the village. His wife died a little over two years ago and he leaves no children. After having an early morning service for children on Ash Wednesday he returned to the Vicarage as usual. Shortly before dinner time he had a seizure from which he died three and a half hours later. He had been troubled with his heart or many years. One of his two brothers died only three months ago. The other one lives out in Ceylon.

The late Rev A. Hermon was a New Zealander by birth born in England. He received his training at Bishopdale College, Nelson, and was ordained in 1881. His priesthood followed two years later and until 1886 he was curate of Spring Creek, Wairau, Nelson, following his accession to the incumbency of Feilding, New Zealand. which he held till 1893. He then came to England as curate of Walesby. Nottinghamshire, and remained there till 1895. He was also curate at Boughton and Mansfield. Then he came south to Suffolk and later became curate-in-charge of Roxton. He was very popular in Roxton and love by all parishioners.

Reverend Reginald (Reg) HERMON

Reginald was the first clergyman appointed to the Waimangaroa and Denniston Parochial District. He commenced work there in January 1886 (age 25) and was the resident vicar at Charleston in St Marks’ Church till 1887.

On 6 January 1887 at St Peter’s by the Strand Church, Wakapuaka, Reg married Flora MACKAY, 6th daughter of James MACKAY (Snr). The service was conducted by Bishop SUTER, assisted by Rev’s Arthur HERMON and John KEMPTHORNE. This church is now located in Nelson’s Founders Park. Their first son, Noel, was born at the MACKAY home in Bronte Street, Nelson in 1888.

St James Church at Ngatimoti , near Motueka, was consecrated on 28 October 1884. Reg HERMON was the only vicar there until March 1890. His family lived at the vicarage named “Berrylands” after Reginald’s birthplace back in Surbiton. Their second son, Stan, was born here in 1891, just before they moved to Wanganui.

The Wanganui Parochial District is a large missionary district and Reginald was appointed vicar there in 1891. He lived at Fordell , near Wanganui, with his family, Marion MACKAY, and his widowed mother-in-law, Anne Adney MACKAY.

In 1898 Anne Adney MACKAY passed away and is buried in the St John’s Churchyard at Fordell. By 1899, Reginald's last son, Arthur, was born here. Reginald left the parish around May 1900.

Later in 1900 Reg was appointed to the vicarage of St George’s Church in Patea . This was a much smaller district covering Patea and Waverley. In April 1903, when his health had declined, he was given a grant of £46 and leave of absence to travel to England. He traveled to London via Sydney and arrived there in July 1903. He later returned in October 1903. By 12 January 1910 the Patea community provided a warm farewell to the HERMONs at a garden party held in their honour.

The last place that Reverend HERMON undertook his clerical role was at St Mark’s Church in Mangatainoka . He commenced there on 18 February 1910. He retired in August 1921 and moved to Ferguson Street in Palmerston North. During his many years as an Anglican Minister he also was from 1897 to 1918 an Honorary Chaplin to the Territorial Force of the NZ Army. In recognition of this long service he was, in 1918, awarded the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officer’s Decoration. As a Senior Military Chaplain he was proud of the distinction.

Reginald passed away at Palmerston North in October 1931. His wife and son Arthur predeceased him. They are all buried at Terrace End Cemetery in Palmerston North.

Obituary - Reginald HERMON - Click to expand

OBITUARY - REGINALD HERMON; OCTOBER 1931

Extract from Manawatu Daily Times Newspaper – 21 October 1931

The funeral took place yesterday of the late Rev. Reginald Hermon, whose death occurred Sunday at the age of 70 years. A man of wide sympathies and understanding, the deceased gentleman was a much loved pastor in the various parishes wherein he worked during his long life.

Born in Surbiton, England, in 1861, the late Mr Hermon was left to fight his way into the world at an early age, his parents Mr and Mrs Alfred Hermon dying when he was a youth of tender years. Deceased came to New Zealand when about 20 years of age and·was engaged in banking for a time at Nelson. He then decided to study for the ministry and entered St. John's College, Auckland. He completed his training at Bishopdale College, Nelson, and was ordained Deacon by the late Bishop Suter in 1885. His first appointment was as curate at Charleston, West Coast, and after two years’ service he was ordained a priest. For three years he laboured in the parish of Ngatimoti, near Nelson, and in 1891 he was appointed to the Wanganui parochial district, being stationed at Matarawa, at that time a very large parish but now divided into three or four districts. After a stay of over nine years the late Mr Hermon removed to Patea where laboured for a further term of nine and a half years. His last appointment was at Mangatainoka where he resided until the time of his retirement to Palmerston North in 1921.

The late Mr Hermon had during his life displayed a very keen and active interest in the volunteer military training movement. Since 1897 he had been honorary chaplain to the Wellington Battalion of the Mounted Rifles Volunteers, honorary chaplain to the No.1 Battalion, Wellington (West Coast) Mounted Rifles (1901), and in 1910 was appointed honorary chaplain to the second-class New Zealand Territorial Force with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel.

Mr Hermon was married in Nelson to Miss Mackay, his wife predeceasing him about five years ago. Throughout his stay in Palmerston North he had been in failing health, practically an invalid, and his end was not unexpected. He is survived by two sons, Mr Noel Hermon, of Patea, and Mr Stanley Hermon, of Ballance, also two brothers, Rev. Arthur Hermon, formerly of Feilding and now of England, and Mr Willbrian Hermon, Ceylon. Mr F. Owtram and Misses E. and K. Owtram, of Palmerston North, are cousins of the deceased. Throughout his last illness Mr Hermon had the devoted care of his sister-in-law, Miss Mackay.

A Notable Family Connection - Edward HERMON

Edward (1822-1881) was the son of Richard HERMON and younger brother of Alfred (mentioned earlier). He became an East India Merchant at a young age and soon after joined the London Branch of Horrockses, Miller & Co , Cotton Manufacturers. His outstanding business foresight demonstrated in the London Office marked him for promotion.

In 1861 he was admitted as a partner when Thomas Miller sought a successor because his sons where not interested in the business. When Thomas died in 1865, Edward became the sole proprietor. Edward was also elected a Conservative M.P. for Preston from December 1868 to May 1881. By the end of 1879 he retired from the firm of Horrockses, two nephews remained involved.

Architect George Somers Clarke, a pupil of Sir Charles Barry who is best known for his design of the Palace of Westminster, had Wyfold Court built between 1872 and 1878 for Edward Hermon. He was by then he was one of England’s wealthiest men and a lavish contemporary art collector.

Edward died suddenly from a stroke in Berkeley Square, London, 6 May 1881. His estate was sworn to be £588,000 on 25 June 1881 and his pictures were sold for £37,116 4s 6d on 13 May 1882.