Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Gambling Redfern Genes

Rabbi Isaac Aboab Fonseca

My family love games, fun, parties and socialising but unfortunately the down side is addiction to drinking and gambling. My father was a drinker and gambler when I was a child and I was badly affected by it. He gave up drinking heavily when he became a born-again Christian when he was 36 and at 42 he gave up smoking but he never mastered giving up his gambling.  He went through large amounts of money. He gambled on horses,lotto, magic numbers and the stock market. I realise now it wasn't the money but the excitement and risk that makes gambling so addictive. Men need excitement and risk in their lives. My father had a sparkling personality and was a master story teller and there was always some adventure to be had. At 17 he had faked documents and went off to the Korean War as a 'bub' as they called the underage recruits. Strangely my father took up designing and making dresses when he retired at the age of 55 until he sold his sewing machine for gambling money. However the story of his mother's family makes it less surprising. My father also taught me how to mix cement and lay bricks when I was young and much to my own surprise I really enjoyed it.

I have also come to realise in one sense my father didn't stand a chance coming from a long line of gamblers. My father told me his mother Mabel Redfern liked to bet on the horses and that his grandfather JJ Redfern and his brothers were all big gamblers who were involved in the racing industry. They were in the brick trade and had come to Western Australia from Melbourne after the bank crashes in the 1890's.  JJ (John James) had been born in Derby England in 1856 and had arrived in Melbourne in 1857 as a baby with his parents William and Maria Redfern. In tracing back the Redfern family in Derbyshire I discovered they were public house owners and involved in forms of gambling such as horse racing, cockfighting and wrestling matches. In the old "Derby Mercury" I found advertisements for such events at their home called Steeple House which had originally been a vicarage. At Steeple House they also ran their cloth business (Calico and Gingham) while hosting gambling events. I realised that going back  300 years my father's family were still gamblers. I was rather taken back when I read that Stag fights were also held at Steeple House until I realized they weren't deer but a name for two year old roosters.

I traced them back to Thomas Redfern who was also called Tomas Fonseca. His father Isaac Fonseca was a Jewish merchant in London who adopted the name George Redfern. The Fonseca family and their connections had been descended from Jews who had been settlers and sugar plantation owners in Recife in Brazil under Dutch Rule. This was a real gamble which didn't pay in the end when the Portuguese took back the colony and the settlers had to flee. My ancestor Isaac Aboab Fonseca was actually the Rabbi of the settlement and a follower of Sabbateanism at one stage. His first wife was Esther Querido whose brother was the grandfather of the famous Jacob Querido a successor of the false Messiah Sabbatai Zvi his brother-in-law. Strangely my grandmother's mother Sarah also descended from a family (Nunn/ Nunes) who were Jewish settlers in Recife.

My father's grandfather John James Redfern was the Manager of the Metropolitan Brick Company in Western Australia until his death in 1926. The company had been started by a group of former Melbourne businessmen who came to Perth to regroup their fortunes. His son Ernest Nicholas Redfern succeeded him as manager after his death. It was under Uncle Ernie's management that the Maylands Brickworks began production. Ernest was followed as manager by his brother James Redfern who was still the manager in 1951[13 September] when he was tragically hit by a train at East Guildford and killed. Another brother of my grandmother Mabel Vaughan Redfern was Leslie Redfern. Leslie was in the 51st battalion in World War 1 and was killed in action in 1917 in the battle of Polygon Wood.

My father's great grandfather William Redfern was born in Tissington, Derbyshire England near Fenny Bentley in 1824. He was baptised on 23 January 1825 at St Werburgh, Derby in the Church of England. It was usual at this time for Jewish families outside the big cities to be recorded in the Anglican Church registers. He was a brickmaker and he emigrated to Australia (to Melbourne) at the end of 1856 arriving in Australia in January 1857 on the "Balnaguith" with his wife Maria and his children John James (1), William (4), Sarah Anne (12) and his sister Esther (20).  After his marriage in 1844 he went to America on the "Athens" to Philadelphia. He is listed as a farmer aged 21. He may have gone to visit his brother Isaac Redfern in Indiana who was ill and died in 1845. It would seem he remained in America for a number of years but I have not as yet found out why he stayed there for so long. He may have served as the crypto-Jewish Hazzan (worship leader) or "Rabbi" to the crypto Jews of Indiana in place of his brother. This would explain the large gap between his eldest daughter Sarah Anne and his second child William. He was involved in the Brick making industry with the Nunn family in Melbourne. He died in Brunswick Victoria in Australia in September 1887.

Blue Bell Inn: 19th century Home of the Redfern Family

William's father John Redfern was a farmer in Fenny Bentley in Derbyshire with a large family according to the 1841 census. In his will it stated he was a farmer and innkeeper at Fenny Bentley. His son William was away at school in Wirksworth in 1841. He was born in 1798 in Measham which is about 35 miles from Fenny Bentley on the Derbyshire Leiestershire border. He married Ann Taylor at Measham in 1819. By 1851 he is listed as a farmer of 33 acres and already at the Blue Bell Inn which was about half a mile from Tissington Hall. By 1861 he is living in Derby and is the publican of the Brickmakers Arms on the corner of Ashbourne and Fowler Streets with his wife and daughter Ruth who is a Mill Hand. By the 1871 Census Ann is listed as a widow and as a farmer and Innkeeper of the Blue Bell Public House (Tissington). John died in 24 November 1867 in Fenny Bentley Derbyshire. His Redfern cousins in Swadlincote were brick makers and potters. He as a publican doubled as the spiritual leader (crypto hazzan, rabbi and shochet) of the close knit crypto Jewish families of Derbyshire - they were farmers also so that they could provide kosher food.

John Redfern had a brother Joseph Redfern III who was married four times. Three of his wives were called Ann or Anne.He married his first wife Ann Dennies in 1815 at Measham. His son Joseph Redfern (b.1817 Abney) was the publican at the Red Lion Inn at Windmill near Hope in 1841. His second wife was Hannah Hunt (the Housekeeper of Mr Foster the grocer in Ashbourne) who he married at Ashbourne in 1839. He was the innkeeper at the Roe Buck Inn at the time of his marriage to Hannah. He was a malster and publican/ inn owner. He was the publican of the Roe Buck Inn at Draycott in the Clay around 1828 and the publican of the "Gate Inn" at Stanton in the 1840's. He sold up his property in Stanton in 1848 and moved to Derby. He was a malster at the Brickmakers Inn in Derby where his brother John was the Innkeeper. He later moved back to Stanton to the Gate Inn with his third wife Ann (they were living there in 1861). The family was also in Netherseal between Stanton and Applyby Magna in the 1820's.
Roe Buck Inn Draycott near Ashbourne

John's father Joseph Redfern Junior was born in 1766 in Wirksworth. He was a tailor and a cloth manufacturer and merchant. He married in Appleby Magna on the Derbyshire and Leicestershire border about two miles from Measham. He married his relative Sarah Wright (daughter of James Wright and Sarah Millington) in Appleby Magna in 1788. Some of the children were registered as baptised in Appleby Magna, and others in Measham (2 miles from Appleby Magna). He later moved back to Wirksworth to live at Steeple House with his father. He was a Calico and Gingham manufacturer in Wirksworth who owned (or leased) Steeple House. His black colt horse was either stolen or strayed according to the "Derby Mercury" 1800 (may refer to his father). It would seem the family had financial problems around 1812 and started to sell up their property. In 1827 he is listed as a farmer in Abney near Hope. He died at High Peak in 1837. Around the time of his death he was living on a ten acre farming property at Broad Gates, Ashley Hay with his son Samuel Redfern. It would seem that Joseph Jnr returned to Wirksworth before 1802. Steeple House was located at Steeple Grange were the Brickworks were located and this would seem to be the first connection to Brickmaking in our Redfern family. It would seem that the Redfern's were from the wealthy class but lost everything probably due to gambling debts and a failed business.

Steeple Grange Brickworks area near Wirksworth

Here are some notices in the Derby Mercury referring to Joseph Redfern:

"Derby Mercury April 15 1802
Wanted Immediately, A Steady Industrious Person, that perfectly understands the Nature of Working Fine Calicoes, to superintend a small Shop of Apprentices. Personal application to be made to JOSEPH REDFERN, jun. Calico Manufacturer, at Steeple House, near Wirksworth." 

"Derby Mercury July 16, 1812
Upon theTurnpike Road betwixt Wirksworth and Cromford,
The Property of JOSEPH READFERN,Junior,
A Freehold Dwelling House occupied by J. Redfern, containing two Parlours, a Kitchen and Pantries, upon the ground floor, with four Lodging Rooms; a handsome Garden in front newly planted, a small Croft adjoining, in which is a Two-stalled Stable and good Cow House, the whole contains 3 Roods and upwards.
Also a Dwelling House in the possession of Mrs Hargreaves, containing two Parlours, a large Kitchen and Pantry, and five Lodging Rooms, with a spacious back Yard, and good Garden.
The above Premises are newly erected. And are in a perfect state of repair. The interior of the Houses are finished in a genteel manner, with Closets and all other necessary Fixtures, and every Room in both Houses, except one are private.
The Purchasers of either of the above Houses may be accommodated with any quantity of Eight Acres of rich Meadow Land, part of which abounds with an excellent Bed of Clay, and adjoins the Turnpike Road, not half a mile from Wirksworth.
Also Six Small Dwelling Houses, three of which have Weavers Shops adjoining them.
The whole of the above is Freehold and Tithe Free, and Land Tax redeemed.
Also a large Building lately occupied as a Weavers shop, that will hold ten Looms; with a small Building and Garden adjoining the same.
Also a Piece of Rich Freehold Land, about five Acres, upon Wirksworth Moor; has a constant Spring of Water running through it, and is considered the best Piece of Land upon the said Moor.
The respective Occupiers will shew the Premises & Possessions of all or any part may be had at Michaelmas or Christmas next.
To treat for the same apply to JOSEPH REDFERN, junior, upon the Premises; or of Mr SWEETENHAM, Solicitor, Wirksworth.
Steeple Hall, July 7, 1812
N.B. If any part is not disposed of by Private Contract, the same will be Sold by Auction sometime in August or September next."

"DERBY MERCURY 22 April, 1813
At the House of Mr Joseph Mather, the Miners Standard, in Wirksworth, in the county of Derby, on Wednesday the 5th day of May next, precisely at 4 o’clock in the Afternoon, in the following Lots, and subject to such Conditions as will be then produced;
LOT 1 A Compact and modern built Dwelling House, with Outbuildings, Garden and small Croft adjoining, now in the possession of Mr Joseph Redfern.
Also a piece of excellent Meadow or Pasture Ground situate near to the above Premises, known by the name of the Sprink Close, in the occupation of the said Joseph Redfern, containing about 4A. 0R. 10P
Lot 2 A Dwelling House and Garden, in possession of Mrs Hargrave.
Also Four Dwelling Houses and a Weaver’s Shop. With Gardens to the same respectively belonging, now in the several possessions of Obadiah Wigley, George Froggatt, Joseph Simpson, and George Bunting.
LOT 3 A large Building lately occupied as a Weaver’s Shop, capable of containing 10 Looms, with a small Building and Garden adjoining, now in the possession of the said Joseph Redfern.
The above Premises are Tithe Free and Land Tax redeemed, and are pleasantly situated by the Turnpike Road leading to Matlock Bath, about half a mile from Wirksworth.
Mr Joseph Redfern will shew the Premises, and other Particulars may be known on application at the Office of Mr Swettenham, Solicitor, Wirksworth.
On the same Day, at 10 o’clock in the Forenoon will be disposed of by Auction, upon the Premises, About 30 Weaver’s Looms, Winding Machine, Warping Mill, and other Articles in the Weaving Business. And also a variety of Household Furniture.
Wirksworth, 20th April, 1813"

"Derby Mercury 30 March, 1815 THE Creditors under the Assignment of JOSEPH REDFERN, late of Steeple House, near Wirksworth, may receive a first and final Dividend of the Estate and Effects of the said Joseph Redfern, on application to the Counting House of Thomas Atkinson, 14 Bank-street, Manchester, on the 12th April next. All those who do not execute the said Deed of Assignment before that time; will be excluded from any share of the said Estate."

Joseph had a brother Jonathan who was a tailor and cloth merchant and manufacturer with his brother Joseph Jnr until the business went bust and everything had to be sold to pay debts. In the 1790's Jonathan was a cloth merchant and tailor in Elvaston where he married and he also lived in Heanor. He joined his brother at Steeple House near Wirksworth around 1801.

Jonathan's grandson John Redfern was a tailor trained by his father who had been trained in his father Joseph's Calico and Gingam shop in Wirksworth. In 1846 he married Harriet Beazley in Cowes on the isle of Wight and he set up a tailoring business in the Cowes High Street. He became a leading fashion designer for haute couture. His customers included Queen Victoria and her daughters as well as Lily Langtry the mistress of the Prince of Wales and also the Empresses of Russia and Germany. He died in 1895 and his business was then run by Charles Poytner Redfern (b.1853) who some reseachers believe was his son -others that he just assumed the name Redfern. However it is most likely that Charles Poytner Redfern was John Redfern's son John Redfern b.1847 who at some stage changed his name and age which would explain why many researchers believe Charles Poytner was John Redfern. see

Charles Poytner Redfern was a partner with his father John Redfern and brother Ernest Arthur Redfern Russell in the fashion House of Redfern in Cowes, London, Paris and New York etc. He was the favourite designer for Queen Alexandra when she was Princess of Wales and Queen. "...The influential Institut Français de la Mode places John Redfern firmly in the forefront of fashion:
“The legacy of John Redfern may actually define clothing in the 20th Century. The intellectual lineage of Redfern is monumental and exemplary of the entire history of 20th century clothing. John Redfern mentored Charles Poynter Redfern who, in turn, mentored Robert Piguet, who mentored Christian Dior – who led the line to Yves Saint Laurent”...." from also see

Joseph Jnr and Jonathan's father Joseph Redfern Snr lived at Steeple House near Wirksworth and the "Derby Mercury" mentions him at Steeple House as early as 1757. Some strange goings on seem to take place at Steeple House such as wrestling matches and cock fighting during the 1750's and 60's. Joseph married his relative Hannah Cellars (Sellers) who was the daughter of Abraham Cellars (Sellers) and Esther Shepherd (Sarfati). Joseph Redfern's father John Redfern also is mentioned as living near Ashbourne in 1735 (possibly at Steeple House). He was involved in horse racing as mentioned in the "Derby Mercury" of September 4 1735. His horse was called "Lady Legs". It was to run in a five Guinea prize race on Shirley Common near Ashbourne. John Redfern married a relative Grace Alvares the daughter of Joseph Alvares (son of Aaron Alvares and Hester de Fonseca). Her Portuguese/ Spanish name was Gracia and her Hebrew name Chana. She was known as Grace. She was a relative of her husband and like him descended from families who had settled in Recife under the Dutch. They were also settlers in Jamaica and Nevis. They descended from the New Christian Duarte Henriquez Alvares of the Canary Islands who went to London. Duarte Henriquez Alvares aka Daniel Cohen Henriquez. He married a second or third time to Leila Henriquez (Beatris de Vega) of Amsterdam. The Alvares family of London were descended from his sons David , Daniel, Isaac and Joseph (Jose Antonio) from his first marriage to Beatriz da Torres around 1620. The Henriquez family from his Amsterdam marriage in 1656. He had been in England in 1646 (as Henry Alvares) as part of the secret Marrano community, he returned to Spanish territory and was an official in the Canary Islands before leaving for England again around 1653-6. Some of his sons by his first marriage settled in the Dutch Recife before returning to Amsterdam in 1654 and then moving to Jamaica, Nevis and London as merchants.

John Redfern's father Thomas Redfern (Tomas Fonseca) lived near Kniveton and Ashbourne in Derbyshire. His wife Ann (Chana Ruth) was from a Jewish family of Sarfati Pina (anglicised to Shepherd) who like the Fonseca's had lived in Dutch-ruled Recife in the mid 17th century but in 1654 returned to Amsterdam and then moved to England as merchant traders after 1670. Ann (Ruth) was born in Tibshelf in 1703. She was the daughter of Jacob Sarfati de Pina (aka James Shepherd) and Chana Fonseca the sister of Isaac Fonseca (aka Isaac Redfern). Her father Jacob was the son of Joshua (Tomas) Sarfati de Pina whose father Benjamin Sarfati de Pina had been a Jewish settler with his brother Aaron in Recife Brazil in 1636. He returned to Amsterdam in 1654 and later went as a merchant trader to Britain and settled there. Benjamin was the grandson of Tomas Nunes de Pina who took the name Joshua Sarfati in the synagogue in Amsterdam. Thomas Redfern was involved in the cloth dying industry in Uttoxeter. His widow may have remarried a clergyman and moved to Steeple House after 1727. She married John Barton and they had a daughter called Ruth Barton (b.1740). She died at Steeple House around 1755.

Thomas's father Isaac Fonseca (George Redfern) was a Sefardi Jewish merchant in London in the 18th century. He bought a property in the Wirksworth Hundred area of Derbyshire and assumed the name of George Redfern. Redfern was a surname found in the region. Many of the Redferns of Derbyshire descend from him. They were part of the crypto-Jewish community which especially in their rural seats outside London they kept Jewish customs secretly in the home while outwardly for social reason observing the Anglican niceties of the Established Church and quietly attended the Jewish synagogues in the major centres such as Liverpool, London, Manchester, Bristol etc. Thomas had secretly been trained by his father as the crypto Jewish Hazzan (worship leader) for the crypto- Jewish community in Derbyshire. He led a minyan at Steeple House for the crypto Jews. The coming and going at Steeple House with its gambling activities provided a good cover for the Jewish activities. Many of his descendants were secret Hazzans or "Rabbis" trained by their fathers. They ran public houses (inns or pubs) which doubled as a secret synagogue or minyan for the crypto Jewish community.

"Wirksworth Hundred (which continued to known as Wirksworth Wapentake until the eighteenth century, after the alternative form had been abandoned for the other hundreds) stretches across the southern half of the limestone (or White') Peak from Matlock in the east to Ashbourne in the west, together with a northern extension which includes the large parish of Hartington on the Staffordshire border. Although most of the hundred remains rural, the district has a long history of mining and quarrying for lead, limestone and other minerals, and in the Derwent valley saw the introduction of water-powered cotton spinning in the late eighteenth century." from

Isaac was descended from a family of Jewish merchants based in London but involved with trade in Jamaica, Curaco, Barbados, India and other parts of the British trade empire. His  wife Alice Millington belonged to a family that was part of a network of Jewish Marrano families who had settled in England who had formerly been settlers and merchants in Dutch Brazil (Recife) as well. Alice or Alicia married Isaac Fonseca de Recife (aka George Redfern) of London and they settled in Derbyshire where the Millington (Dias de Millao) had originally settled after they left Dutch Brazil and Amsterdam. Alice's grandfather Rowland Millington aka Rodrigo Dias de Millao aka Reuven was born into a Jewish Marrano family that had suffered under the Inquisition in Portugal. His father Manuel Cardoso de Millao (b.1571) settled in Pernambuco (Recife) Brazil in 1590 and was involved in a trading co-operative with other local Marrano families. In 1592 Manuel was joined by his brother Gomes (Daniel), in 1606 Gomes returned to Portugal and he was replaced by his younger brother Antonio (Aaron). After the burning of his father Henrique Dias de Millao in 1609 Manuel went to London to live and work but he had returned to Brazil by 1612. When the Dutch from 1630 ruled Recife Manuel and his family openly reverted to Judaism. Manuel (also known as Manuel Teixeira) and his brother Gomes (known as Daniel Abensur) opened a diamond trading business in Amsterdam and Manuel died in Hamburg in 1644. Manuel married his much younger relative Sara De Caceres. 

Isaac Fonseca (aka George Redfern)'s grandfather Isaac (b.1642 Recife) was the son of Joao de Fonseca (also known as Capitao (Captain) Joao De Fonseca Vila Boas). Joao (Jacob) was the eldest son of Rabbi Isaac Aboab de Fonseca by his first wife Esther Querido. As a teenager he went to live with his Fonseca relatives in Lisbon where he became a merchant trader. He settled in Brazil as a wealthy sugar plantation owner in Pernambuco (Recife) in Brazil with his relative Balthasar Fonseca when he was about 20 years old under the Dutch. His father joined the settlement in 1642. After the end of the colony around 1654 he moved with his father Rabbi Isaac back to Amsterdam and then moved to London as a merchant trader. He had at least four sons with his wife Sarah Querido (his first cousin): Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Abraham de Fonseca. In 1666 his father Rabbi Isaac Aboab Fonseca now the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam accepted the claims of Sabbatai Zvi.  Rabbi Isaac died in 1693.

The traits and addictions have deep roots in our family histories and we need to receive deep healing prayer in order to cut us off from the inherited negative traits with a healing of the family tree. We can redo all our ancestors and their acts in Divine Will through prayer and thus turn darkness into light and negative into positive fruit for souls and the kingdom of God.