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Dilnot SLADDEN (1842-1906)

Known As
Dilnot; Dil; Uncle Dilnot
Biographical Details

Dilnot Sladden (1842-1906) was the elder brother of Julius Sladden.

Dilnot Sladden was born at Ash near Sandwich in Kent on 23rd March 1842, the second of six children of John and Elizabeth Sladden.  He was baptized at St Nicholas’ Church, Ash, on 1st May 1842.

On leaving school, Dilnot was indentured into the Merchant Navy on 23rd August 1858, aged 16.  His older brother, George, was a mariner and travelled all over the world, notably to Tasmania where Dilnot followed him in about 1860.  Dilnot left the Merchant Navy and went on to settle on the South Island of New Zealand.  He began farming and ran a timber mill.  A road named Sladdens Bush in Coopers Creek, Waimakariri District, is named after Dilnot Sladden as he was one of the first mill owners in the Coopers Creek area. 

In New Zealand, Dilnot met an English woman, Elizabeth Letitia Coster, known as Bessie, who had come out to New Zealand to visit her two brothers, Lewis and Stafford, who were farming on the South Island.  Dilnot and Bessie were married on 8th March 1866 at St Mark’s, Opawa, Christchurch.

Dilnot and Bessie had eight sons and three daughters:  Lewis Coster (1867-1939), George Edward (1868-1921), Francis Dilnot (1870-1939), Arthur Julius (1872-1940), Percival John (1874-1947), Mabel Bessie (1876-1952), Mary Agnes (1878-1967), Bernard (1879-1961), Hubert (1880-1952), Edmund Mourilyan (1882-1962), Violet Susanna Coleman (1884-1955).  They were known collectively as “the Oxford Eleven” (because they lived in the Oxford district of Canterbury on the South Island).

From 1876 Dilnot was JP for the Colony of New Zealand.  In 1887, Dilnot and Bessie and family moved to the North Island and settled in a newly-built home at Britannia Street, Petone, a suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington.  Dilnot was by now a meat exporter. 

Dilnot died on 1st September 1906 at Petty’s Hotel, Sydney.  His sister, Charlotte Hayward, and niece, May Sladden, had spent several months visiting Dilnot and family in New Zealand and were about to embark on the return voyage home, so he accompanied them to Sydney to say farewell.  Dilnot died of heart failure whilst staying at the hotel.  An account of this sad event is recorded in a letter written by May Sladden on 3rd November.

Dilnot was buried 11 days later at Taita, Wellington.

Photos of Dilnot Sladden by kind permission of Patsy Miller (née Sladden).

Letters mentioning this person: