Who were the Stagpooles?

From Ireland to New Zealand


The family name Stagpoole is not found in Ireland. The name is almost certainly a variation of Stacpoole (Stackpole, Stakepol, Stackpoole, Stacpole, de Stacpoole etc). The Stacpoole family are Norman-Irish family from the area around Limerick and Clare. The name itself originates from Stackpole in Pembrokshire, Wales.

The three Stagpoole brothers and Mary MacNulty appear on record only when they leave Ireland with the 57Th regiment and begin the journey that will take them half way across the world to New Zealand. They were Roman Catholic, had no schooling and were from a poor background. Mary and the brothers grew up during a very difficult period in Ireland's history.

The 19th century in Ireland was punctuated with famines that culminated in the catastrophic 'potato famine' 1845-1848. The result of the ongoing crop failures and famine was to reduce the population of Ireland by more than two million people, through starvation and emigration. Large numbers of subsistance farming families were driven from their land many ending up in workhouses.

The poor law of 1847 required that those seeking relief must be 'destitute poor', the Gregory Clause of the act barred those with holdings of more than a quarter of an acre from receiving any form of aid unless they relinquished their land. Thus the London government facilitated the clearances of estates for landlords and wiped out an entire way of life.

Family stories from different branches of the Stagpoole family suggest that the brothers may have been victims of this law and possibly spent some time in a workhouse before enlisting in the British army.

The 57Th was based in Cork, Ireland from 1846 until 1853. During these years a large number of Irishmen were recruited by the regiment.

Life with the 57th

57th Chronology

April-September 1831-57th to India

April–September 1846-To England
and on to Ireland

February-March 1853 To Corfu

23 September 1854 arrives Crimea

5 November 1854 Battle of Inkermann

April- September 1855 Sebastapol

May 1856- Malta

May-June 1858-57th to India
via Egypt and Aden

November 1860-January 1861
57th to New Zealand

May 1863-January 1866 57th in NZ Land War

March-August 1867 57th to England

September 1871 57th to Ireland

May 1873 57th and 77th
establish Depot at Woolwich

 Officers of the 57Th Regiment of Foot in Crimea with dog

Photograph by Roger Fenton, 1855 in Crimea

 1855 photograph of the 57th Regiment in Crimea by Roger Fenton

Photograph by Roger Fenton, The 57th Regiment 1855 in Crimea

The Journey To New Zealand

The 57th travelled on three ships to New Zealand.

The Star queen, a troop carrier, which left Bombay on 23 November 1860. Commanded by Captain Barber it carried 10 officers, 1 surgeon, 16 sergeants and 314 rank and file soldiers led by Major Butler.It carried a quantity of amunition on board. It arrived in Auckland 13 January 1861 and in New Plymouth on 25 january 1861

The Castilian, a transport ship under Captain Harrington, left Bombay on 27 November 1860. It carried The headquarters of the 57Th under command of Captain Logan and 10 officers, 1 surgeon, 411 non commissioned officers and privates. It arrived in Auckland on 21 January 1861. Five deaths, due to illness, occurred during the voyage.

Her Majesty's Steam Transport ship Prince Arthur left Bombay on 18 March 1861 under the command of Captain Walker. It carried six officers with 2 wives and 4 children. 147 NCOs and privates. 42 wives of soldiers and their 69 children. It arrived in Auckland on 3 June 1861. Major Hassard was the officer in charge. On the journey to New Zealand 5 people died of dysentery and 7 children were born at sea.

Otahuhu camp near Auckland

Military camp for Imperial forces at Otahuhu during the 1860s

Reference number: PA1-q-250-28 Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

unknown troopship at Malta

19th Century troopship

The Last Goodbye

The British army left New Zealand in spring 1867. Bartholomew, Mary and their children stayed behind in New Zealand. Dudley returned with the army to England. Martin married in Invercargill in 1868 and then probably left New Zealand. The three brothers who stuck together through all those years were never to meet again.