There appear to have been two unrelated Harding Families in South Petherton. One can be traced back to Martock which Liz and Hanna descend from and the other orignated in Seavington.

William Harding was born about 1758 probably in Martock to Joseph and Susannah (nee Palmer) Harding but lived in Palmer Street, South Petherton and was one of the founding members and financial contributors of the Roundwell St Chapel.

william harding
William Harding 1758-1813
jane harding0001
Jane Harding (nee Clark) 1763-1812








William and his wife Jane had 12 children, including Sarah who married Benjamin Hebditch and William, the great grandfather of Lord Harding of Petherton and his sister Dorothy who married William Hebditch, and grandfather of Sarah Sophia Harding.

williamharding1835 1891
William Harding 1835-1891
Dorothy Ella Harding later Hebditch 1894-1971

Harding wedding1895 Wedding of Sarah Sophia Harding (1870 -1953) to Alfred Pether – please note that the  little girl in the hat is not Dorothy Harding and the baby in arms is not Alan Harding.  It is hoped to identify these two  shortly,




SusanChaffey1810 1870
Susan Harding nee Chaffey 1810-1870
Joseph Harding of Cincinatti, USA 1800-1887


HEBDITCH Lydia1863 1892

Priscilla Savidge
Priscilla Harding nee Savidge 1831-1881


Priscilla Harding 1864-1934





Lydia Hebditch 1863-1892






HARDING 1784 – 1854

This information has been received from a descendant of John Harding, living in Australia. If you wish to be put in contact please e-mail Liz

John HARDING, b. 1784 in South Petherton. He was the son of Elias. He married Ann Vagg on 04 September 1805. Ann was born 1780 in South Petherton, Somerset, England, and died 1837 in South Petherton, Somerset, England.  He married MARTHA EDMONDS 09 Feb 1840 in South Petherton, Somerset, England.  She was born about 1784, and died 1845 in South Petherton, Somerset, England.  John Harding’s death certificate showing he died at Saltwater Creek, Victoria, Australia in 1854.

John’s son Elias emigrated to Victoria, Australia, with his wife Francis (Eavis)and two sons, Samuel and Charles. The family sailed from Plymouth, England on the 14th June 1838 on board the ship “Coromandel” as “Bounty Immigrants”. The ship arrived in Sydney, Australia on 2nd October 1838. The date the ship put into Port Phillip Bay, Victoria before proceeding on to Sydney is unknown. (Although the term Victoria is used it was still part of the Colony of New South Wales).

John emigrated to Victoria, Australia, probably to spend his last remaining years with his son Elias and family. He died at Saltwater Creek, Victoria on the 6th February, 1854, aged 70, of Chronic Bronchitis & old age. In the death certificate it states he had been in Victoria about 5 years and his occupation was farmer. (As  yet no record of him has been found on a ship’s register) He would probably have been unassisted because of  his age. Unassisted and free settlers are harder to find as they did not involve Governments and money being paid. He is buried at the English (Eastern) Cemetery, Geelong, Victoria. Elias Harding his son, was the informant of his death. It also states his father’s name was Elias and his wife as Ann Vagg.

Our interest in this family stems from my Stepfather, Bowden Anzac Harding, still alive at 92 years of age. This side of the family became quite influential in Victoria and Queensland, as land holders (sheep and cattle properties in excess of 50 sq. miles, at various times), engineers, race horse trainers (Samuel, Grandfather of Bowden Anzac trained the winner of the 1874 Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous horse race) and jockeys and surveyors, to name just a few.