Before I go any further with my memories, I need to introduce my family.
My earliest traceable relative is Michael Wegelin, born 1516 in Germany. He was civic leader in Augsburg in Southern Germany.
The family have produced, religious leaders, hymn writers, clock makers and
banker’s— the very first Swiss bank was The Wegelin Bank in St Gallen. They were busted a couple of years ago, by the USA, for helping US citizens to avoid tax.
The name changed several times, first to Luz Wegelin, when Johann Matthias Wegelin married Jacobina Lutz, to Lutz Wegelin. He arrived in England in 1740’s, and the name changed to Luz Weguelin. He had three son’s.
The family was probably already quite wealthy, and soon became part of the British establishment.
One son chose the Honourable East India Company, and became exceedingly rich. Both he and his son were also Colonels in the Indian army— this was my line.
Another chose Banking, and also became exceedingly rich, rising to The Governor of the Bank of England. Both he and his son became British MP’s.
The other brother, J,C Weguelin, was a poet and a writer. A peony and a tradescantia, are named after him.
My Great Great Grandfather died in 1828, leaving his wife with an annual income of about two thousand pounds, more than a million pounds today—plus many shares. She lived in St Georges, Hanover Square, London, managing with just seven or eight servants including two footmen. There were sometimes as many as five members of the Weguelin family to look after.
Things started to go wrong with my immediate family, when my Grandfather, after living on private means from his fathers wealth, until he was in his late forty’s, was disinherited.
His crime was having a legitimate wife with four children, my family. And an illegitimate wife, with five children, (two of these died in the same month they were born) who lived just four miles away in Shepperton. He was also a keen cyclist.
It all seems quite civilised, in the 1911 census, he is described as a ships model maker. From this it looks as if he is still living on private means.
The address is Shepperton, he is with his ‘wife’ Septima, with Charles (my father) aged 12, and three other children aged 5,4 and 2.
In the records Septima died in 1914, He died in 1937 and his real wife , Mable, in 1939.
Both of these later records are in Watford, may be they got back together.
I only met my Grandfather once, all I can remember is an old man coming to the house on a bike. I have been told he was a bit odd, apparently wearing clothes similar to Sherlock Holmes, complete with a deerstalker hat.
Before he was found to be a bit flighty, he spent his time making model yachts, some of are still around.
He also took out several patents, one of these dated 1902, is a cleat for ropes, and is still used today on model boats.
Although the patents were worldwide, he was never able to defend them and so did not benefit from them.
My father died in 1934, aged 35, leaving a wife and six young children.
In a generation, our family had become virtually destitute.
Because my Grandfather was now just an ordinary working man, with two families to look after, he was unable to help us.