It was once thought that Frankley Road was named after a Devonshire friend of an early settler, Mr John Newland. However, it now appears more likely that it was named after the Herefordshire family estate of Newland's wife. 

John Newland married sixteen year old Frances Agnes Roe on 19 December 1826 at St Mary's Church in Lewisham, Kent. She was the daughter of William and Frances Roe (nee Gisbitzky – the daughter of an exiled Polish count).  John and Frances Newland arrived in New Plymouth aboard the Amelia Thompson in 1841. After first settling in town, they bought 150 acres of land for the sum of 10 shillings an acre in November 1853. They named the block Frankley Farm. At the request of John Newland the county road leading to the farm was also named Frankley.

A 35 minute drive southwest from the city of Birmingham in England brings you to the small village of Frankley; the only village with this name in England. In notes written of a conversation with Fanny Leatham, the eldest of the Newland's children, she explains that Frankley Farm was named after her mother's family estate in England. We can only assume that the farm was in the vicinity of the small village of Frankley.

John Newland and his family had to abandon the farm in 1860 during the Taranaki Wars and retreat to the safety of the town. It wasn't until April 1867 that the family returned to the farm.

Newland has particular significance for researchers exploring the early life of Taranaki settlers, as he kept a diary covering the voyage to New Zealand and the next 30 years of life in his new country. The diary is in the Puke Ariki Heritage Collection.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

Related Information


Puke Ariki Heritage Collection resources: Diary of John Newland


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