Unwin Family

Family Motto
Stained glass window at "Chilworth" - Beecroft (NSW)
In memory of my great grandfather, George Unwin
The Family Motto - "Sooner or later, near or far, the strong have need of the weak"

Overview of the Unwin Family
List of Source Documents
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My Unwin family tree was compiled by Cyril Unwin about 1917 from material collected by George Unwin (1835-1906). It was revised by J D Unwin and Mr. Reginald Jennings and reprinted by Sir Stanley Unwin in 1947.

This tree Starts with Thomas Unwin of Steeple Bumpstead who died in 1566. The last entries are for the generation born around 1940 - 1945.


The first person of interest is Jacob Unwin (1802-1855), who was the first printer. Philip Unwin (page 10) records that the family lived at Black Notley Hall, a moderate sized, eighteenth century house in Essex, and his father, Fisher Unwin (1776-1819) was a brewer. Jacob had the deep religious sense of the typical nonconformist of those days and there was punctilious chapel-going. The Unwins were Congrgationalists - descendants of the fearless Independants of Purtitan England. Jacob was a member of the new Broad Street Congregational Church
In 1828, Jacob married Emma Soundy (1825-1842) who lived near Henley and who was the niece of John Curtis Byles (1773-1833) and Bridget Beuzeville. Esther Beuzeville, Bridget's sister, was a prolific writer and Jacob printed some of her early works.'A Century of Progress' (pp 24,25) lists 'Word to Parents', Cottage Comforts' and ' Memorials of Practical Piety',three of her books.

Jacob's third son George (1835-1906) married Maria Spicer (1842-1927), my great grandmother, known in the family as "light" granny. The fifth son Edward (1840-1933) married her sister, Elizabeth Spicer (1840-1921). The Spicers' too were strong Congrationalists, but whereas the Unwins' were the printers, the Spicers were paper manufacturers. The girls father, James Spicer (1807-1888) being regarded as the founder of the firm.

Some idea of George's character can been gleaned from the personal comment in'A Century of progress' (page 57) "He belonged to that type of employer now fast dying out, who lived in close touch with his works and his employees. At Chilworth, master and men were like a happy family. His high integrity of character made him trusted by all. If we were writing his biography we should have to devote many pages to his church work as well as to his interests in geology, achaelogy and numismatics."

George's third child was Ida Margaret Unwin (1869-1953) who was my paternal grandmother. She was born when the printing business was located at Chilworth in Surrey, the name she later used for her homes in Manchester and Beecroft. She married Cyril Beuzeville Byles(1871-1952) in 1899. The couple emigrated to Australia in 1911.

The Unwin printing business was carried on by Sir Stanley Unwin ( ). In 1912 he and his wife visited Australia as part of a world trip. They landed in Adelaide and travelled up the River Murray as far as Mildura thence to Melbourne via the mallee country. He writes "We arrived in Sydney just in time to witness the electrification of the signalling on the railways, which had been carried through by my cousin, Cyril Byles, with whom we were staying.

The history of the Unwin printing business is told in 'A Century of progress' 1926

Jacob Unwin
Jacob Unwin

George Unwin
George Unwin


Ida Unwin

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