History of Ceylon Tea - Forum

SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES => Historical research & queries => Topic started by: Justin Kirby on November 03, 2009, 08:19:31 PM

Title: Maitland Estates or possibly a Kirby one too?
Post by: Justin Kirby on November 03, 2009, 08:19:31 PM
I'm trying to find out where to start as far as finding out about the estate of my great great grandfather George Kieth Maitland (1854-1896). According to Arnold Wright in Twentieth century impressions of Ceylon: its history, people, commerce … (1907) he was a "a well-known Ceylon planter".

I found an announcement in The Times that seems to suggest that he died back in the UK in 1896:

The Times, Saturday, Mar 21, 1896 DEATHS

MAITLAND – On the 17th inst., at Reading, the result of an accident, GEORGE KEITH MAITLAND, of Thorosia, Bogawantalawa, Ceylon, and The Old Garth, near Reading, second surviving son of the late George Ramsay Maitland, W.S., Edinburgh, aged 42.

They give his address as Thorosia, Bogawantalawa, Ceylon, but I've seen other references that refer to the address as 'Theresia' rather than 'Thorosia' and their seems to be, or have been an estate called Theresia near Bogawantalawa.

I have an anecdote from his grand niece Petronilla (Kathleen Florence) Maitland that suggests that he a lot of money on a coffee plantation in Ceylon, but was effectively saved by his wealthy wife Theresa (McDonnell of Keppoch) who converted the Presbyterian Scot to Catholicism. Petronila died recently and was born in Ceylon in around 1916. Her father was Sir John Maitland, 6th Bt. I presume Sir John was also a planter.

I read somewhere that I lot of the early coffee planters lost money but sure when or where this was in Ceylon

I also found mention of a “Mr. AM Maitland ... son of the late "Mr. George Keith Maitland, a well-known Ceylon planter".  He's my grea great uncle. Unfortunately, there’s only a snippet available on Google books for his entry on Twentieth century impressions of Ceylon: its history, people, commerce …' by Arnold Wright, but I’m assuming they are referring to Alexander McDonell Maitland who I think died in Ceylon in 1920 . I can’t see the whole entry relating to him, but in relation to him it mentions that the estate had around 300 coolies and an annual crop of around 160,000 LBs of tea. Sadly, the snippet doesn’t mention the estate name only that he was a member of Balangoda, Darawella and Bogawantalawa clubs, and liked tennis and shooting.

I don't know if my great great uncle inherited his father's estate or had his own, or worked for someone else.

My great grandfather George Henry Kirby married George Keith Maitland's daughter Alice Marie in around 1900. I don't know if they married in Ceylon, but I've been led to believe that their son (my grandfather) Alfred Reginald Claude Kirby was born around 1901 in Ceylon, as were my great aunt and unlce Valda Mary Kirby "Zara Valda Mari Kirby" (abt 1903) and Roderick George Maitland Kirby (b: abt 1911). George Henry Kirby also served for 9 years in the Ceylon Volunteer Rifles; resigned on leaving Ceylon which I'm guessing was just before the outbreak of WW1 because by then he living in Australia where he enlisted.

Any pointers about where I might find out more about my Maitland and Kirby relatives time in Ceylon would be much appreciated.

Justin Kirby

Title: Re: Maitland Estates or possibly a Kirby one too?
Post by: Ian Gardner on November 19, 2009, 07:55:16 AM
Dear Justin,
When I was planting in the 1950s there was a rather old Mr. Maitland planting in either the Dickoya or Dimbulla districts. Bogawantalawa was a sub-district of Dickoya. At the moment I cannot recall Mr. Maitland's first name but if it comes to me I will let you know. I am also passing this message on to some friends of mine in case they can help.

Title: Re: Maitland Estates or possibly a Kirby one too?
Post by: terrymills on November 21, 2009, 09:51:31 PM
The Maitland you refer to is probably D J Maitland known as Jimmy Maitland who was Manger of Bambrakelly Group, Dimbula. (Lunuva (Ceylon) Tea & Rubber Estates Ltd Agents Harrison & Crosfield Ltd, in the early 1950's.
He was a friend of Dr Ceri Jones of Dukes Bungalow Talawakelle, and as I was a PG with Ceri from 1956/7 to 1959/60 I met Jimmy on a few occasions.

Title: Re: Maitland Estates or possibly a Kirby one too?
Post by: Ian Gardner on November 24, 2009, 07:23:16 AM
Hello Justin,
Here is information received to date:

Hello Ian.
I am not sure whether you are aware of Mrs. Maitland who was in Talwakelle District. If I am right she owned Talankanda Estate which was managed by Whittals.

Tony Nagendra
Hi Ian,
I read one of your messages where you requested information on Mr Maitland. I can shed some light. My name is Patrick Vethecan in Melbourne. In 1966 I was SD on an estate called Melton in Lindula, next to Bambarakelle and Ferham. Melton was owned by Dascon Maitland and his wife Jean. I stayed in their bungalow with Jean because Dascon I think died about 1960. Melton was about 300 acres and I was overlooked by Eric Peterson from Coombwood. David Shockman was on Ferham at the time. Jean was a keen Bridge player and so was David and a few other senior English planters. Once a fortnight they used to all congregate at Melton to play Bridge.
Jean's sister used to live in Sydney in Kirribilli. I visited her when I migrated in February 1973. Rahanwatte was next to Melton which belonged to Scottish Tea & Lands.

Patrick Vethecan.