Restoring the Colonel
Held in pride of place within the archive is a
painting of Feilding's namesake, William Henry Adelbert Feilding (son
of the 7th Earl of Denbigh), and steps are being taken to restore the
portrait and its interesting frame.
General The Honourable William Feilding was a
British soldier serving with the Coldstream Guards. He served in the
Crimean War and was British commissioner to the French Army during the
Franco-Prussian War. In 1871, as a Colonel and Director of
the Emigrants and Colonists Aid Corporation, he was selected to travel to
both Australia and New Zealand looking at blocks of land suitable for their
proposed emigration scheme for the labouring classes.
Finding offerings in Queensland not to his
taste, he sailed to New Zealand and within a short time journeyed to Foxton
where he met Arthur Halcombe and the two of them travelled inland to the
Manawatu for a look at land the New Zealand Government had for sale.
Back in Wellington on 20 December 1871 an agreement was reached to purchase
106,000 acres for 75,000 pounds and the recruiting of emigrants in England
The Colonel came back to visit the new
settlement of Feilding in 1875. Immigrants had been arriving for a
year, and life had been struggle for them - not the rolling green fields
they had been expecting with a wet winter adding to their woes.
However, when (now General) Feilding made his next visit in 1895, great
progress had been made and he was able to view a thriving settlement.
Unfortunately, General Feilding died of cholera in
Bangkok on his way back to England, and is buried in the Bangkok Protestant