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Page updated 30 June 2014


Hatley around the world

East Hatley – Quebec
Hatley overseas
Hatley Park
Another overseas Hatley

NB  As this is a long page, double click on the horizontal rules to return to the top.

East Hatley – Quebec

By Ishbel Beatty

YES – this place really does exist, and exchanges have been going on between the Cambridgeshire Hatleys and the Quebec Hatleys since Ishbel Beatty and a Canadian local historian got in touch with each other.

This contact was made just in time to learn that the Township of Hatley was celebrating its 200th anniversary of settlement this summer of 1999.  What could we do about it?  Our Parish Clerk, Sebastian Kindersley, drew up a colourful computer printed letter of greetings, which was signed by Chairman Mrs Joyce Dixon and this was read by the Mayor of Hatley at a reception on August 6th.  It was translated into French for the benefit of the French speaking inhabitants.

We have been sent a copy of the letter of invitation circulated in the Province giving the programme of summer events at which the anniversary was celebrated.  As well as the Mayoral reception in August, there was a display ‘Memories of Hatley Village’, combined with the issuing of a booklet with which to tour the historic houses of the village.  There was also a hymn-singing occasion followed by a Potluck Supper another day and on yet another Women's Institute Tea.

Some of these terms are familiar to us, but others, like the word Vernissage, remind us of the French part of the Canadian heritage.  This word is used like our term ‘varnishing-day’, the day before the opening of an exhibition of paintings, but in a more general sense.  There is to be a Musical Day on October 2nd, which ends the season of events.

Further exchanges will be taking place between people of all the Hatleys, and anyone in our villages with a particular interest in the Canadian area is invited to get in touch and add their contribution.

Gamlingay Gazette, October 1999

Hatley overseas

By Ishbel Beatty

You may be surprised to learn that there are other Hatleys than those in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.  In the Province of Quebec, Canada, there are villages called East Hatley and North Hatley.  Together with a rural area alongside Lake Massawippi, they make up the Township of Hatley, named in the 19th century by a Government surveyor called Rankin.

Our Canadian cousins will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the settlement of their East Hatley this summer, and the Parish Council of the Cambridgeshire Hatleys will be sending their greetings and congratulations to the inhabitants of those parts.  We hope to learn more about the area and its origins: it is possible that an emigrant from our East Hatley called Abbott had some influence on the naming.  Has anyone any knowledge which could help us confirm this?

We have also learned of Hatleys in Wisconsin and Georgia in the United States, and again research is needed to discover any connections between these places and Cambridgeshire.

Perhaps the operation of the internet will bring us all closer together in 1999and the 21st century.

Gamlingay Gazette, June 1999

Hatley Park
5,000 miles west of Gamlingay

By Ishbel Beatty

A country estate in Cambridgeshire gives its name to a settler's new home on the other side of the world.

The name of Hatley Park was taken to British Columbia in the 1890s for reasons that remain obscure.  This surprising fact became known to me when the Municipal Archivist of Victoria, British Columbia, arrived on my doorstep a year or two ago in search of information about Roland Stuart.  This was the name of the man who migrated to Vancouver Island and in 1892 acquired 250 acres on the Esquimalt Lagoon, facing south to a breathtaking view of mountains.

There he built himself a Tudor-style house, named it Hatley Park and furnished it with valuable antiques, oil paintings, and a library.  He cultivated the land, raised cattle, and supplied ships at the nearby naval station with fresh water.  But in 1905 the house burned down and Stuart sold the estate a year or so later.

There is little known about Roland Stuart's upbringing and his life before his settlement in British Columbia.  What was the source of his wealth?  How did he come to know of Hatley Park?  Why did it seem an appropriate name for his new estate and the house on which he lavished so much care?

From his full name, Gilzean Roland Whateley Stuart, we can guess that Stuart was a Scot.  He was born in Little Shelford, but that seems to have been only a temporary address and he and his mother lived later in France.  His father, a lieutenant in the Black Watch, died after only a few years of marriage.  His mother, Elma, seemed to have little money.  She worked at the craft of woodcarving and entered into a fulsome correspondence with a writer for whom she expressed adoration – George Eliot, a literary lion of the day.

Elma visited Marian Evans (George Eliot's real name) in London, sometimes with her son.  Roland did not marry and when his mother died he erected a large obelisk in her memory in Victoria, though she is buried beside George in Highgate Cemetery, her name transformed to Elvorilda Eliza Maria Stuart.

When I look at local directories. I find that our Hatley Park was occupied by tenants at the period before Roland Stuart may have left England; one Alexander Mckenzie in 1875 might conceivably have had a link with the Scottish Stuarts and entertained them there, but I have no clue as to his social status and manner of life.

After Stuart left British Columbia, an ex-Prime Minister of Canada* added even more hundreds of acres to the estate and built himself a grandiose mansion modelled on an Elizabethan manor house.  This became Hatley Castle, a family home, working farm, and centre for lavish entertaining.  The Castle itself was built with tower and battlements and walls of more than three feet in thickness.  The whole was on such a scale that it later became Royal Roads Military Collage, a national university for training officers for 50 years.

Now designated a National Heritage building, the castle is cherished by its own Friends of Hatley Park Society, who have published an anthology of its history.  It was Geoffrey Castle, editor of the anthology, who put together the chapters of its early story and came to Hatley St George to see what he could find out about its original owner.  He leaves me with a mystery – why did Roland Stuart choose the name of Hatley Park for his property on the other side of the world?

Gamlingay Gazette, December 1999

* Update 24 June 2014 – an e-mail from Geli Bartlett:

My name is Geli Bartlett and I am a tour guide at Hatley Park National Historic Site which is currently leased from the Government of Canada by Royal Roads University.

I'm often asked by visitors why it's called Hatley Park and I tell them that Roland Stuart named it after a place he was fond of in Cambridgeshire.

Having just read some of Ishbel's correspondence, I'm chastened to find that he's not known to have lived or even visited there. Hmmm. Then, I have to correct the comment about the next owner of H.P.

James Dunsmuir, elder son of Robert Dunsmuir who was the first millionaire in B.C. (coal and railways), was in turn Premier and then Lt. Governor of B.C.  He was never a prime minister of Canada; in fact he loathed politics!

Just thought you might like to know.

By the way, I was researching the Quebec Hatley's to see if Mr. Stuart was involved in them as he had moved back east after his house burned down in 1905. I've lost track of him after 1906.


Geli Bartlett

... and Ishbel's reply:

Thank you, Geli, for writing about Hatley Park and Roland Stuart. Yes, it seems unlikely that we shall ever know just why the name of Hatley meant so much to Roland Stuart that he transferred it to British Columbia. I am glad that you tried to follow his trail – I too would have liked to know more of him if it had been possible.

Apologies for my misinterpretation of James Dunsmuir's status. Prompted by your message, I returned to reading Geoffrey Castle's anthology of HP with much pleasure in all his detailed work.

It's always nice to know that people are interested in these historic links, and that you personally are doing something to keep them alive in British Columbia today.

Best wishes for your work and interests, and I am so pleased that you took the trouble to communicate.

Ishbel Beatty

Another overseas Hatley

By Ishbel Beatty

Inspired by the greetings exchanged with East Hatley, Quebec in 1999 on its 200th anniversary of settlement, I turned to the atlas and found HATLEY, WISCONSIN, USA.

Then followed some hard thinking: you cannot just post a letter to (say) the Post Office, East Hatley in the American continent and expect it to be delivered.  The stern guardians of public funds insist on a postcode or – no delivery.  I made various enquiries to no avail.  Time passed, and I did some research into the Cambridgeshire origins of an American family.   Would my correspondent do something for me?   She was delighted.  And in due course I received a letter from the Village Clerk of Hatley, Wisconsin, with a short history of the place  and a picture of HATLEY HOTEL, 1904.

The village was incorporated in 1912, but the first land grants were issued in 1857 and 1859. The first industries were sawmills, in an area once known as "the Great Pinery of Wisconsin." By the 1900s, any immigrants came from eastern Poland and worked as lumbermen.  The present-day Village Clerk has a Polish name and works in a local bank.  She put on a display of local pictures last year for the county historical society, and she knew of the Hatleys in Quebec.

Because of my link with a local historian in Quebec, I was able to put the two in touch, and Phyllis Skeats of Quebec wrote to Joan Warswarek of Wisconsin with some genealogical information about Matthew Wadleigh, who moved from Quebec in 1858 and gave the name of Hatley to his new place of residence.

Once peaking at 1,000, the village today has a population of about 500, and as well as a lumber company and a veneer mill, local businesses include several restaurants, a grocery store, a tavern and a beauty shop.  So if you holiday in North America and feel homesick, remember these two places which have something in common with Cambridgeshire.

Its website is

There is also a Hatley in Georgia, but this one seems to have acquired its title from someone's surname.  Can anyone find another Hatley out there?

Gamlingay Gazette, September 2001




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