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The Pyle Family Of Tarbet

by Anne Mackay - Australia

 The Tarbet Inn, Tarbet on Loch Lomond

William Pyle, Great Great Grandfather of the author, was innkeeper at The Tarbet Inn (latterly renamed to The Tarbet Hotel) from approximately 1839 to his death in 1854.

William Pyle began life as William Remnant born in Hamburg Germany 1792. He was born to an English Father, James Remnant and a German Mother, Maria Catharina Malchow. James Remnant, together with his brother William, were booksellers of English books in Hamburg and German books in London.

After William's birth James Remnant returned to London with his family and added two daughters, Anna Maria and Charity to the family. James ran the London side of the bookselling enterprise and all was well until around 1800/01 when his marriage failed.

Maria became involved with a man by the name of John Pyle who was involved in the slave trade. There is record of him selling slaves in Jamaica. At some point later Maria and her daughters returned to Hamburg. There is  also a record of daughter Charity having children of her own in the 1820’s.

James disappeared for a few years until he turned up in Plymouth 1816 declaring that he had made a miraculous discovery in medicine and was now  “Doctor Remnant”. Quite a change from selling books! James Remnant died in Plymouth in 1820.Agnes Pyle and twins Joanna and Wilhelmina

Son William is next found to be joining the army at Brighton but has changed his name and is now known as William Pyle. William served as a member of the 10th Royal Hussars (mounted regiment) from 1814 to 1821. He fought in the Battle of Waterloo and his medal and spurs are still in safe keeping by family members. On leaving the army William spent three months in London desperately seeking employment. He was down to his last few shillings when he was offered a position as secretary/bookkeeper to John Campbell, Viscount Glenorchy with whom he remained until 1824 when he left Perthshire to return to London.

William Pyle married Agnes Richardson at Kelso in 1827 and the couple made their first home at Dalmally where William became innkeeper of the Dalmally Inn. It is assumed that William came by this position via his association with Viscount Glenorchy as it was the responsibility of the land owner to provide an inn for travellers and in this case the inn was leased to many innkeepers right up to the 1950’s when it went into private hands. It was in Dalmally that 6 of their 8 children; Anne, Jane, James, Maria, Susan and Agnes were born. Twins Joanna and Wilhelmina were born after their move to Tarbet.

Tarbet Inn Receipt 1840In 1839 William moved his family to a bigger and better establishment, that being The Tarbet Inn. William couldn’t fail to do well at Tarbet Inn and must have been justifiably proud of his position. In 1848 he carried out some extensions and, as the establishment was well known to travellers, he was able to offer accommodation, meals and travel arrangements. The 1851 census lists seven employees living at the hotel; all of whom were far from their birthplaces. Also listed as residing at the hotel in the 1841 and 1851 census was Anne Richardson, younger sister to Agnes who obviously made her home with the family.

Tarbet hotel from Rose Garden

The Pyle children spent their most formative years at Tarbet. William employed a governess to teach his younger children but at least three of the children were sent to boarding school. Anne, the eldest, attended the reknown Edinburgh Ladies Institution which was owned and run by her maternal aunt and uncle, John and Susan (Richardson) Dalgleish. James was sent to Merchiston Castle School also in Edinburgh and Maria was found on the 1851 census attending a school in Clapham London. Graves of William and Agnes Pyle at Ballyhennan Graveyard, Tarbet

Agnes (Richardson) Pyle died May 1853 and sadly William followed in January 1854 leaving a still young family. Anne, the eldest, being 26 and the twins only 13 at the time. William and Agnes are buried in the Ballyhennan Burial Ground at Tarbet.



Here are brief histories of Agnes and William Pyle's children:- 

Jane, the second eldest daughter married George Sutherland at Tarbet in 1851. George also belonged to the parish of Arrochar. George and Jane decided to spread their wings and emigrated to Canada by ship. George left in 1853 and Jane followed later in 1954. They settled and raised their family in Nova Scotia. In time this family extended their horizons and many of their children lived their adult lives in British Columbia. One daughter, Agnes, returned to holiday with her Anne Pyle in Parisaunt in London and while there met and married her Aunts brother in law, Joseph Matterson. Agnes and Joseph lived in Ireland and Joseph ran Mattersons Bacon Factory in Limerick. William ran the London side of the business and he and Susan lived at Kensington. The couple had one daughter, Ethel, who in due course married Major Donald McKay whose ancestor was a notable builder of clipper ships at Boston in the USA.

Daughters Anne and Maria went to Paris where they ran a boarding school; the address being number 6 Rue Dumont d’Urville, Paris. Anne died there in 1868 about the time of the Paris riots.  Maria returned to London where she opened another boarding school, “The Hurst”, at Lewisham. When Maria retired from this occupation she lived with her sister Susan. Both Anne and Maria remained single.

James PyleJames must have had a good case of wanderlust as he and some contemporaries, by the names of McPhaile, Campbell, Brown and Anderson, set sail from Greenock for Australia on the ship Glenroy in 1855. They went in search of gold but unfortunately the rush was over so James became a hawker in the Ararat district of Victoria. In 1860 he married the 16 year old Caroline Ford, daughter of William and Sarah Ford. Caroline was born in 1844 during the voyage which brought her family to Australia from Ireland. For the best part of the next two decades James was a shopkeeper in Wickliffe, northern Victoria. Itchy feet must have claimed him again though as he crossed the Murray in 1879 in search of land and obtained 400 acres at what was to become Berrigan in the Riverina district of New South Wales. He was among the early settlers of the area and later added more land to his property with the final size being 1000 acres. The early years were rough living, this was new land with none of the amenities we take for granted today, a real test of perseverance. James named his property after his place of birth-“Dalmally” and it is still known by that name today, nearly a century and a half later. James and Caroline had 12 children whose many descendents are now spread far and wide across Australia.

Pyle Store Plaque at Wickliffe, Australia Pyle Store at Wickliffe, Australia

Agnes married a professor of German and Physical Science, Robert Carl Schenk. Unfortunately Robert died only a few years after their marriage leaving his widow with a young son, Ernest. Agnes was an accomplished artist and one of her paintings sold at Christies in the 1990’s. Ernest changed his name to Remnant pre. WW1, bringing the name full circle. Ernest, now Remnant, was a much travelled man with many accomplishments to his name; including being the owner and editor of the “English Review”; he led the British Trade Mission into Russia in 1929 and had business interests in Poland, Belgrade and Greece to name but a few. 

Twins Joanna and Wilhelmina
The twins, Joanna and Wilhelmina spent the years after their parent’s death with the Dalgleish family in Edinburgh. Both contracted gastric fever and died within two weeks of each other aged just 16. Details from their death certificates advise that their bodies were returned for burial at Ballyhennan.



If you know any further information on any of the people referred to in this article please EMAIL us and we can put you in contact with Anne Mackay who has been researching her family history for over 20 years..

Names we are continuing to research connected to this family include - Pyle, Remnant, Richardson, Dalgleish, Sutherland, Gordon, McKay, Mossop, Matterson, Schenk and Ford.