@camden_life @CamdenTownUnltd “Father Frank” Comes to Belsize Park in Camden kindly R/T #krnl_vic #ammarketing


Ancestry * Biography * History

Francis William Tremlett was born in Twillingate, Newfoundland, the grandson of Robert Tremlett, who was born in Devonshire, England, on April 24, 1764, the son of Laurence Tremlett, a textile factory worker, and his wife, Anne. Robert voyaged from England in 1775 at the age of eleven to Newfoundland, then one of the North American colonies of the vast British Empire of the day.

Francis began his formal education at St. John’s University in Newfoundland from 1842 to 1846. He wished to pursue the path of becoming an Anglican minister, and in 1846 he would achieve the first step toward that vocation when he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England by the bishop of Montreal. In 1847 he was ordained a priest by the same bishop. Later in 1847, he would bid farewell to Newfoundland and voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Boston aboard the bark Acadian, accompanied by his mother Elizabeth and siblings Isabella and Louisa.

From 1846 to 1851 Reverend Tremlett was also chaplain to the bishop of Newfoundland, during which time he performed missionary work with Canadian Indians, possibly the Inuit or the Beothuk tribe, the latter being a people uniquely indigenous to Newfoundland at the time. Missionary work was a potentially difficult if not dangerous undertaking. The Beothuk were a small tribe, reclusive from European settlers, but on occasion mutual enmity and violence between the two was known to have occurred.

In 1849, he travelled to England and married for the first time to Josephine Scarlett Dare at St. John’s Church, Paddington, in the shire of Westminster, London. Reverend Tremlett’s well-connected bride was born Josephine Catherine Bonella Scarlett in Jamaica on September 27, 1806, to Bonella Bowen and Philip Anglin Scarlett, a slaveholder.

By 1851, Reverend Tremlett was also Curate to St. Botolph’s Church in Boston, but the relationship with his bishop there soon soured because Reverend Tremlett tried to start his own church for the poor without the bishop’s authorization. The bishop admonished him not to preach there, but Reverend Tremlett ignored the bishop and was therefore subsequently summarily removed after an exchange of acrimonious letters between the two men.

After that, apparently Reverend Tremlett had had enough with Boston and it wasn’t long after the St. Botolph’s incident that he booked passage to Europe. He immersed himself in his studies, earning his master’s degree in 1850 and then his doctorate in 1852, both from what was then the Protestant University of Sachren at Jena in Germany.

In 1853 Reverend Tremlett is shown as officially finally settling down in the parish of St. John, Middlesex County, London, and set upon the task of doing what his bishop would not allow him to do back in Massachusetts: establish his own church and his own ministry. He would achieve his goal in 1859 with the construction of the Church of St. Peter in Belsize Park, an area northwest of London in the borough of Camden. The church was consecrated by the Bishop of London Archibald Tait and Reverend Tremlett received his incumbency (tenured position of office) in 1860.

He now had his ministry and his pulpit, and soon many were drawn to his congregation by his preaching and personal charisma. As word spread, his flock eventually crossed boundaries of the Victorian social class, as among them were members of the aristocracy, the upper mercantile and middle classes, evangelicals, as well as orthodox parishioners. Church attendance grew so quickly that it quickly outstripped the capacity of St. Peter’s, and special galleries had to be constructed to accommodate the overflow. By all accounts, Reverend Tremlett was a fiery orator, a real wrath-of-God, fire-and-brimstone vicar, and he was prolific in raising money for and from his church—and eventually for the Confederacy.

The vicarage at St. Peter’s would eventually become known as “Rebel’s Roost,” where Reverend Tremlett entertained the company of many a Confederate over the years, from soldiers and sailors of all rank to agents to diplomats and even C.S.A. president Jefferson Davis himself and his wife, Varina. Much more than just a social gathering place, St. Peter’s became the hub for Confederate communications during the American Civil War, and Reverend Tremlett also provided safe houses in various locations around London during the war years.

The South had the greatest economic need for European trade in general, and had the greatest military need for ships. This transformed Liverpool largely into a virtual Confederate port. Indeed, the historian Frank Merli observed, “Soon after the war began, it was said that Merseyside [Liverpool’s county] flew more Confederate flags than Richmond”. Yet England was officially neutral with regard to the war. Further, England was also abolitionist, since The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 had outlawed slavery throughout the United Kingdom. All of this presented complicated, delicate political issues for the leaders of Queen Victoria’s government, Prime Minister Henry John Temple, Third Viscount Palmerston, also known as Lord Palmerston, and foreign secretary John Russell, First Earl Russell, also known as Lord Russell.

If you’re interested in learning more about the book, Amazon has the book, a description, and a generous preview.

Even though the book’s finished, this blog will continue with future posts.

’til next time,


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@camden_life @CamdenTownUnltd “The Colonel and the Vicar” Comes to Belsize Park in Camden kindly R/T #krnl_vic #ammarketing


Ancestry * Biography * History

Hello! My name is Edward Rayner and I’m an independent American author. I’m also an amateur genealogist who derives material for my writing by investigating my family’s ancestry for interesting forebears and writing their biographies within the context of significant historical events.

My recent book “The Colonel and the Vicar” is about two of my ancestors that were on opposite sides of the American Civil War… from opposite sides of the ocean… and how there lives intertwined with the historic events of their day. The book also speaks to the considerable international influence on the war, particularly from the United Kingdom.

The main characters are Henry Martyn Tremlett, my great-great-granduncle, who became a Union Army captain in the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment (eventually, a colonel in the 39th Mass.), and the Rev. Dr. Francis William Tremlett, my ancestral first cousin, an Anglican priest who founded St. Peter’s Church in Belsize Park in Camden, England, and was arguably the foremost English collaborator with the Confederate States of America. Historical events are intertwined with the lives of the central characters, together with many other colorful, interesting personalities that contributed to their stories. Henry and Francis were first cousins to one another.

The volume of literature written about the American Civil War is immense, though the scope of the war is thought of by most Americans as a purely American conflict. In truth, the war was very much an international affair, with political intrigue, espionage, and stirring sea sagas that were played out across the Atlantic to Europe and beyond. In most discussions about the war, American history largely focuses on the battles in America while overlooking the political role played by European nations, particularly Great Britain, and the military role played by the navies and shipbuilders involved. In my opinion, those international events greatly influenced at least the length of the war if not events during it, and yet in my opinion these international events are underserved in our history books.

I hope that this post generates some interest on the other side of the pond. I’ve written to book stores in the Camden area, even sent free hardcopies for evaluation, and I’m disappointed that my effort has not warranted even a response. If you’re interested in learning more about the book, Amazon has the book, a description, and a generous preview.

Even though the book’s finished, this blog will continue with future posts.

’til next time,


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September 4, 1861: The 20th Massachusetts Is Ordered To The Front #krnl_vic #amwriting #ammarketing


Ancestry ∗ Biography ∗ History

The attack on Fort Sumter occurred on April 12, 1861. On April 25, my great-great-granduncle Henry Tremlett joined the Massachusetts Militia, fourth battalion at Fort Warren, located on Georges Island at the entrance to Boston Harbor. There he rose to the rank of sergeant in a few months. On June 28, 1861, Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew appointed Colonel William Raymond Lee to command the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Less than three months after his time began at Fort Warren, Henry enlisted in the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment on July 10, 1861, which was forming up at Readville, south of Boston. The camp at Readville was named Camp Massasoit after the great Wampanoag Grand Sachem, but the regiment was often referred to as “The Harvard Regiment” because many of its officers were educated at Harvard University. Many were also descendants of major figures during the American Revolution, including Captain John C. Putnam and Major Paul J. Revere. Lieutenant Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Henry’s first lieutenant, would go on to become an associate justice and later an acting chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Lt. Colonel Francis W. Palfrey may ring a bell for any readers familiar with my home town, as the largest hill in the town bears his name.

The Twentieth Massachusetts was organized into ten companies. Henry was commissioned to the rank of captain and assigned to command Company A. A company was comprised of about 100 men. The regiment was initially part of Lander’s Brigade, Second Division, Second Corps.

On September 4, 1861, two months after First Manassas, the Twentieth Massachusetts received orders to leave for the front. They left Boston without any fanfare; they simply and quietly boarded trains for Washington.

After stops in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore they reached their final destination, Washington, on September 7. On September 12, the regiment was given orders to march to Poolesville, Maryland. Poolesville was located on the east bank of the Potomac River, thirty-five miles north of Washington. Virginia and the Confederacy were located on the west bank.

The Twentieth was joined by at least two other Massachusetts infantry regiments, the Fifteenth and the Nineteenth, as well as Vaughn’s Rhode Island Artillery Battery and others in the order of battle, all under the command of Brigadier General Charles Pomeroy Stone and ultimately General of the Army of the Potomac George McClellan.

The army would remain at Poolesville a full month, assigned to picket duty along the Potomac River, and consumed by daily drills, shooting practice, and strict discipline, including no noise after taps… until October 21st.

Next: Baptism By Fire: Battle of Ball’s Bluff

The story of the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment is part of my book, The Colonel and the Vicar, available on Amazon.com.

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