The following calendar of events in the history of the BASTIANI family of the Isle of Wight (UK) is only intended to give an overall impression of the development of the family and is not a list of descendants. Contributions have come from 'cousins' all over the world and although this is intended as a factual account some suppositions and errors are inevitable. From this, perhaps erroneous, base it is hoped that other members of the family will contribute in order to compile a more complete history. Please don't hesitate in calling to my attention any errors that you may notice. Only in this way can a true account eventually be achieved.
discussion about the BASTIANI family of the Isle of Wight tends to
revolve around, or relate to, the almost legendary figure of “Old Joe”,
more formally known as Joseph William BASTIANI. At a time
when the Isle of Wight was relying heavily on smuggling for its trade,
Old Joe seems to have established himself quite a reputation as being
something of a master of the art. Certainly his frequent crossings of
the English channel in an open fishing boat are a feat in themselves and
his way of life is perhaps best summed up by Rudyard Kipling in his poem
is well known that “Old Joe” had a certain propensity for
embellishing a story and it is perhaps the contemporary appreciation of
Mark Norman & Henry Griffin which best sums him up in ‘Old Men
Remember Life on Victoria's Smaller Island’
Joe possessed the ingenuity of "the land of the sunny skies".
He exhibited tact and industry, coupled with the dogged perseverance of
the English character. He was at times a trifle unscrupulous and had
little regard for either truth or morality in his dealings. He was sober
Joe’s family were exempt from such trifles remains a mystery but the
story of his own origins may well rank amongst them. Legend, self
instigated or not, would have it that he was the son of an Italian
plaster sculptor Sebastian SANBASTIANI, but hard evidence tends to
parent most often claimed by, and for, Joe was Sebastian SANBASTIANI, an
Italian plaster sculptor who, whilst working in London,
fell in love with a domestic servant girl from the Isle of Wight.
Unfortunately Sebastian was dying of tuberculosis, so Harriet HEAL
brought him to her home on the Isle of Wight where it was hoped the
climate would better suit him. They were married in Portsmouth in 1829 and had
some children. Sarah Elizabeth was born on the 15th July
1830 but died when only three. A brother John, was born in 1831 but he also died in
childhood circa 1839. Joseph William was born on the 16th June 1832.
Amelia was born on the 12th October 1832 and another Elizabeth Sarah was
born on the 31st of March 1834 after the death of Sebastian!
If records are to be believed it is impossible that these children
were all born by the same parents. The most probable
alternative father is therefore, Joannes BASTIANI. Joannes is recorded
as being a seaman shipped by Lord Yarborough from a Greek island circa
1828 and having settled as his gardener in his seaside villa known as
"The Cottage" at St Lawrence IoW. It is possible, if not probable, that
the similarity of their names and geographical locations may have led
to a friendship between Joannes BASTIANI and Sebastian SANBASTIANI,
Following the early death of the latter it is not unreasonable to
surmise on the continued relationship of Joannes and Harriet and the
possibility of offspring. After some years of fairly settled life in
the island Joannes is said to have returned to Italy (c1839) to fight
with Garibaldi’s Red Shirts. Garibaldi himself who was a visitor to the
Island may have provoked this move.
However it is significant that this was also at the time of
However it is significant that this was also at the time of Harriet's death.
In 1999 I quite unexpectedly received an e-mail from Dean CHRISTAKOS, who is a BASTIANI descendant from Greece. He informed me "there were three brothers from "Lower Italy" who were crab fishermen and sometime circa 1820, whilst fishing from their open boat, a storm arose that blew them off course, eventually to be wrecked upon the Greek coast. Without a boat and without means to return home, all three settled in "Platsa", near Kalamata, and later moved to "Tarapsa" (now Vasilikio). Two of the brothers started families, settled into the Greek lifestyle and even took Hellenized names. The eldest, named Christos, assumed the name of CHRISTAKOS. The youngest brother, named Joannes, was remembered as having re-embarked upon a passing English ship and he was heard of no more.
choice of Joe’s parents is by no means obvious but some other factors
may be taken into consideration:
· No record of a marriage has yet been found for Joannes BASTIANI although he is recorded as having "settled into the local lifestyle".
used the name 'Harriet' for his eldest daughter (my great grandmother)
who always claimed that her grandfather was Joannes and that he had
returned to Italy to fight with Garibaldi.
AJoannes BASTIANI is recorded with the Scottish contingent, in the British Legion of Garibaldi's Army.
SANBASTIANI came from an apparently prosperous family and it seems unlikely therefore that his
children would have been left destitute in a foreign land,
as seems to have been the case with "Joe".
SANBASTIANI family and the BASTIANI family are generally considered as
being of the same origin and they are certainly of the same region
(Duchy of Parma) in Italy.
SANBASTIANI and Joannes BASTIANI were both living very close to each
other on the Isle of Wight. Apart from being close neighbours they also
shared origins, name, language and patrimony. It is therefore quite probable that they knew each other well and
at least became acquaintances.
hypothesis that seems logical, is that after the death of her husband, Harriet HEAL took care of
both Sebastian's and Joannes's children. The similarity of their names
may have given an air of
eligibility to the situation and alleviated some administrative problems.
Unfortunately, Harriet herself died in December 1839 and the two
surviving children, Joe and Amelia, became
orphans again; presumably living with Harriet’s parents and siblings. The natural
mother of Amelia remains unproven but records suggest that she and Joe
could not share the same.
1912 11th October, birth of Sydney Ralph BASTIANI URRY to Rodney Frank Sanbastiani URRY.
c1928 Colwell Bay. "Ned" BASTIANI's boats and bathing machines are to the right of the access road with the CONWAY brothers business on the left.
PLEASE SEND OTHER FAMILY WEB LINKS OR E-MAIL ADDRESSES THAT MAY BE LISTED HERE...
What is shown on this page is only a fraction of the information that has been collected. Family trees including over 400 members of the Isle of Wight family are stored on Gedcom files. Copies of such files are available, by e-mail, to those of you who are equipped with the appropriate software (e.g. Brother's Keeper etc...).
My own branch of the family are nearly all boat owners. Father owned 45 during his life, and my uncles, David and Colin URRY of Emsworth UK achieved fame on the dinghy racing scene and are amongst those who founded (and built) the Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club. Today, Colin has his 'Rival 32' based in Greece where he's doing some research of his great grandfather "Old Joe" BASTIANI, whilst his son Martin is campaigning the Mumm 30 "Warp Factor VI". David's been hobnobbing with Royalty lately, when HRH Princess Ann recently opened the club's new facilities for handicapped sailors.
|If I am biased toward my own branch
of the family it's mostly because I'm self indulgent and partly because
that's where most genealogy begins. I hope that in time we'll be able to
regroup all the branches into an interesting family tree.
Thanks must go to all the people who have so generously contributed information and photographs included on this page. The title photo for this page was kindly donated by Silvia BASTIANI and restored by myself. It replaces an earlier copy withdrawn at the request of Heather KERSHAW
Special thanks go to Heather KERSHAW née BASTIANI of Colwell who has done considerable research on our family and her continued presence on the Island has enabled her to accumulate a great deal of our history. Although the information shown here is not her own, I am at least indebted to her for the encouragement she gave me during a visit to her home in 1999 and her initial donation of a copy of the photo of "Old Joe". Heather may not always agree with all my findings but such criticism can only be beneficial in the reconstruction of the true facts. I am therefore, indebted to her. Heather is without doubt a highly competent researcher of the BASTIANI family history whilst I prefer to look upon my own contribution as simply that of a chronicler.
|The author and editor of this website...|
||Mark Sebastian Bastiani URRY 6, rue Gambetta, F-17230 Marans, FRANCE Tel: 33 (0) 546 011 829|