If you should happen to bump into any anglophone Bazalgette on your course through life, it is almost certain that this fine specimen will be a descendant of Louis Bazalgette.  If he/she happens to be French, he/she may still be a relative, because current thinking is that all the Bazalgette families that have ever existed emanate from the small hamlet of La Bazalgette, high on the causses of Lozere.
Having established himself in London, Louis was married to Catherine Métivier at the Anglican church of St. George’s Hanover Square on Saturday, August 14th, 1779.   Louis and Catherine’s first child was Louis, born on May 31, 1781 (who died in infancy), followed by Louisa on October 27th, 1782 and Joseph William on December 17th, 1783.  On 15th December, 1784, Catherine’s last son, John, was born, and christened at St. George’s Church on May 5th, 1785.  Four children in three-and-a-half years undoubtedly took a toll on Catherine’s health, because she died in the middle of May, 1785 and was buried at St. Marylebone Parish Church on May 16th.    On April the 7th, 1787, Louis married Frances Bergman, the eighteen-year-old daughter of another tailor, Daniel Bergman, in the Church of St. George, Hanover Square.  This marriage produced ten children (not all surviving to adulthood), but strangely all the surviving male lines of the family come from Joseph William and John, Catherine’s children.
Joseph William, despite being of entirely French stock, had a great desire to join the British Navy and fight against the forces of Napoleon.  He entered the Navy in October 1796, at the tender age of twelve, as a ‘Fst.-cl. Vol’ (‘volunteer, first class’) on board the French-built ship Impetueux (74 guns), attached to the fleet in the Channel,  serving under Captain John Willett Payne.  Payne, known to the Prince of Wales as ‘Little Jacko’, was comptroller of the Prince’s household until this point, when the need for austerity forced upon him by Parliament obliged him to let go some of his staff.  A fine ship was procured for Payne, who was probably raring to get back to sea anyway, and it was arranged that young Joseph William would join his ship, under his protection.  Not to get ahead of the story, but Joseph William’s namesake only son was the Victorian civil engineer who helped to save London from cholera.
John, the other son, had a distinguished military career, serving on two occasions as acting Governor-General of Nova Scotia.
More about the family as time permits!

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  1. Charles Bazalgette says:

    Yes. 2 months short of 13. Of course there was a lot of falsification of birth certificates, particularly when you were applying to be a lieutenant. And there were ‘volunteers’ who never even went to sea for a couple of years although they were in a ship’s muster. It all depended on contacts. I researched the naval side quite a bit a while ago because I plan to write about Joseph in the next book. Had to wrench myself back to finish off old Louis first.

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