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REV. LACEY HENRY RUMSEY, ST. PAUL’S ANGLICAN CHURCH IPSWICH, QLD

Four covers became available addressed to the Rev. Rumsey at 2 different sites almost simultaneously, and he has proved to be difficult to research, particularly at a distance. The first appears to have a mint copy of the blue two pence (rough perf. S.G. 15) Queensland stamp. It is addressed to The Reverend Lacey Henry Rumsey, Care of the Reverend J. N. Moffatt, Brisbane (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1: Click to enlarge.

 

The reverse showed an originating (or possible transit) postmark of IPSWICH/ JY 9/ 1862/ QUEENSLAND as well as a reception BRISBANE/ JY 10/ 1862/ QUEENSLAND (Figure 2).

 

Figure 2: Click to enlarge.

 

The second cover was addressed in a similar fashion to the Rev. Rumsey, but care of the Honble F.E. Bigge, Mount Brisbane. The one pence carmine-rose (rough perf. S.G. 14) had a ‘rays 87' postmark, which should have been taxed as the rate was 2d and the reverse showed an originating postmark of IPSWICH/ DE 16/ 1862/ QUEENSLAND (Figure 3).

 

Figure 3: Click to enlarge.

 

The third cover was similarly addressed to the Rev. Rumsey, but it was addressed to an illegible business for was prefaced by ‘Messrs’, at Brisbane. The rough perforation blue Two Pence stamp (S.G. 15) had an illegible rays postmark (Figure 4).

 

Figure 4: Click to enlarge.

 

The reverse had an originating IPSWICH/ MY 17/ 1863/ QUEENSLAND and an arrival BRISBANE/ MY 18/ 1863/ QUEENSLAND (Figure 5).

 

Figure 5: Click to enlarge.

 

The similarity of the handwriting, the use of the full name in the address, and the consistent spelling of the Reverend’s first name as ‘Lacy’ instead of ‘Lacey’, suggest that all three covers originated from the same person. The smaller size of the third cover was described as a ‘Lady’s Envelope’ by the vendor. The Honorable Francis Edward Bigge may well have been the person to which Rumsey’s second letter was sent. His biography on the Queensland Parliament site showed that sender misspelt his name which was ‘Biggie’ who was born 1820, he died 03.12.1915 and was a parliamentarian from 01.05.1860 until 16.05.1873 - this is the total information supplied!

The fourth cover was from Ebay and it had a Six Pence lilac English stamp which was postmarked with a CHELTENHAM/ F/ MR 15/ 63 duplex and was addressed to the Rev. Lacy Henry Rumsey, Ipswich Parsonage, Queensland, Australia and the reverse had a distinct arrival stamp of BRISBANE/ MY 16/ 1863/ QUEENSLAND. The ‘Ipswich Parsonage’ was crossed out in red crayon, the re-address was not legible. There was a manuscript that the letter arrived by ‘Northam’ at Sydney on 13/5/63 noon, and at Brisbane 17/5/63 1 p.m. (Figure 6).

 

Figure 6: Click to enlarge.

 

There is no certainty that the reverend’s first name was correctly spelt ‘Lacey’ which was the form used at 2 different Queensland sites, plus in a reply from Dr. Kay Cohen, Honorary Research Officer at Queensland History.org.au, but it is disconcerting that the letters’ senders may have been correct.

Rev. L.H. Rumsey M.A. took over as incumbent of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ipswich in 1858 from Rev. John Mosely, who returned as incumbent in 1865. The permanent church building for St. Paul’s was erected during that time. Rumsey formally opened the building on Whitsunsday, 12 June 1859, and he was responsible for its construction in 1858-59. Rev. John Mosely who was now the incumbent at St. John’s Church, Brisbane installed the first Anglican Bishop of Brisbane, Edward Wyndham Tufnell, and Rev. L.H. Rumsey of Ipswich assisted him on 4th September 1860.

The Queensland Pioneers Index, 1829-1889 shows that 4 children were born to Rumsey and his wife, Ann Nowell (or Norrell) Bussell: Constance Ada, b. 9 Nov. 1860; Almaric Aubrey Herbert b. 20 Sep 1863; Herbert William b. 24 May 1865; and, Athelstane Aubrey b. 19 Aug 1866. It is reasonable to suspect that the reverend gentleman was of British origin. Any other biographical data has not come to light so far, except for the following documented fact.

On September 11 1861, the mayor of Ipswich John Murphy told a Council meeting that it was necessary for the Municipality of Ipswich to have a ‘Seal’. Rev. Lacey H. Rumsey M.A. was requested to create a design and that crest (sometimes referred to as the ‘Seal’ is still in use by the City of Ipswich to-day. There is no written record however, but it is believed that this Crest was registered in 1861 by Rev. Rumsey with the appropriate authority in England at that time.

For those interested in crests there is a long description of its contents, association with Britain, wool, wheat, church building, factories, shovel, pick-axe, coal, mining, paddle-wheel steam-boat, cotton, and a ribbon with a latin slogan: Confide Recte Agens (meaning ‘Be Confident When Doing Right’). We may know little about Rumsey’s life before or after his relatively short stay at St. Paul’s Church, but we know from his Ipswich Crest that he had a great imagination (Figure 7).

 

 

Figure 7: Click to enlarge.

 

Addendum (August 2009):  Another cover, the earliest by one to two years has become available, and is the only cover addressed to Ipswich Parsonage, Moreton Bay, New South Wales, before Queensland was separated from N.S.W on 6 June 1859. The English stamps are canceled Weymouth with the B.N. '873' (Figure 8).

The reverse has a red London transit, a BRISBANE/ JY 16/ 1859/ NSW, and a reception IPSWICH/ JY 17/ 1859/ NSW (Figure 9).

 
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