People and Places

People in the family
It is obviously impossible to write a description of every single one of our ancestor George Anthony Molteno’s hundreds of descendants since the late 18th century. But many of them were remarkable people and led very interesting lives. This section of the website will tell you something of them.

John Charles Molteno’s familyClick on this to help you make sense of the first three generations of Molteno descendants originating in South Africa, some of whom actually lived most of their lives in England, Scotland and Kenya. This file lists John Charles Molteno’s wives, children and grandchildren.

Who’s Who in the Family — Thumbnail SketchesClick on this for very short descriptions of the lives of a select number of family members.

Family Members — more detailAs the website develops, there will be more detail about some members of the family. This will take you to each person whose life story is told in more detail. Click on the person’s name and you will see the basic facts about them. More interestingly, you will also see a list of further items, each of which you can click on and read more about the person in question.

Biographies

In the case of a handful of members of the family, some kind of more full biography, usually unpublished, has actually been written by various authors. You can read these biographies here as they get mounted on the website.

Places important to the family

In the Cape and in Britain, there were a number of farms and big houses which became particular centres of gravity for the family. In the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th, members of the wider family would often visit and stay at one of them.  The generosity of certain relatives was a key factor, but their affluence also helped make it possible for them to keep open house.  John Charles Molteno set an example with his own home in Cape Town, Claremont House, when he first bought it in 1864. It continued as a centre of gravity for big family occasions in the hands of his son, Frank Molteno. This  lasted until a few years after Frank’s death when the family finally sold the house in 1929 at the beginning of the Great Depression.

Without doubt, the most generous and welcoming of all the family were Percy Molteno and his wife, Bessie Currie. From the 1890s through to the late 1930s, countless family members stayed with them at  their three homes –  Palace Court in London, Parklands in Sussex, and later (following Bessie’s father, Sir Donald Currie’s death) Glen Lyon in the Scottish Highlands. Their son, Jervis Molteno and his wife, Islay Bisset, continued this tradition of hospitality into the next generation.  And from the 1920s, Percy’s daughter, Margaret Molteno, and her husband, Lenox Murray (Caroline Molteno and Dr C F K Murray’s son), did likewise and welcomed family members to their home at Painswick Lodge in the Cotswolds.

In the Cape, Wallace Molteno also continued his father’s tradition, and he and his wife, Lil Sandeman, gave an equally warm welcome to relatives coming to stay, often for long periods of time, at Kamferskraal and later at Nelspoort. This was where Wallace’s father, John Charles Molteno, had started sheep farming in the Karoo in the early 1840s and which Wallace took over in the early 1900s.

But there were other places in South Africa where members of the family often gathered — Kalk Bay, a tiny fishing village on the Cape Peninsula, where various members of the family had holiday homes; Miller’s Point some eight miles further down the Peninsula past the naval base of Simonstown; Inungi which was Elliot and Effie Stanford’s farm in East Griqualand; and Elgin where several branches of the family settled after 1900 and pioneered the deciduous fruit and apple industry. Indeed Kathleen Murray went on having a huge Christmas Day family gathering in the garden of her home in Elgin right into the 1960s.

If you would like to read about these places, just click.

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