According to his son, Richard, Courtney Terrell believed that the origin of the family name was Tyrrell, and that it could be traced back to Norman times. Among the ancestors he claimed was Sir Walter Tyrrell, whose claim to fame or notoriety was that he managed to shoot King William II in the eye with an arrow during a hunting party in the New Forest. Another Tyrrell allegedly murdered the two princes in the Tower of London at the behest of Richard III (Richard Terrell, The Chief Justice, p.17). As far as I know the Terrells are of English origin, but there is a connection with France and there is now a considerable presence in America. One fact that does stand out is that the Terrells connected to the Balean family tree are frequently to be found in the legal profession. They are inventive and appear to have a social conscience, occasionally quite radical.
JOHN TERRELL is the first direct line Terrell who appears on the family tree. We have no birth date for him, but he died in 1796. According to Richard Terrell he was an officer in the department of excise in Exeter in the early to mid eighteenth century, but according to another source he was a Devon farmer. Both sources agree that he married SARAH CALL, sister of Colonel Thomas Call, brother of Sir John Call, Baronet of Whiteford, who made his fortune as a ‘nabob’ in India and was a friend of Robert Clive of India. Sir John Call was the Chief Engineer in the East India Company and died in Madras in 1789. In his will of 1788 he left £1000 to ‘my dear sister, Sarah’ and a further £4000 to ‘my natural daughter Sally Preston, now living with my dear sister, Sarah Terrell’. A portion of his wealth would have allowed future generations to establish the legal tradition in the family. Sarah Terrell gave birth to a son, named John for his father. I have no information about any siblings although records show several Terrells living in the area between Exeter and East Cornwall.
JOHN TERRELL was born on 6th December1774 in Exeter. He became a solicitor in that town and in 1803 he married ELIZABETH HULL, who was granddaughter to a local banker, her father was a doctor. They had five sons and two daughters. John had a good practice and lived at Upper Sculterney, Exeter. Four of his sons followed their father into the law. John died on 1st April 1832 at the age of 52. There are no dates for Elizabeth but the 1851 census shows a widow named Elizabeth Terrell born in Tavistock around 1770. The same 1851 census shows John Hull Terrell, born 1806, son to John and Elizabeth Terrell, as a solicitor and farmer of 126 acres in Exeter.
HULL TERRELL was born on 23rd January1809 in
Exeter. He was the youngest son of John and Elizabeth
Terrell. He went into law like his father, but unlike him he
went to the Bar. He was a London Barrister before becoming a
County Court Judge in Llandielo in Wales. In 1842 he married MARGARET A’BECKETT,
who was also a lawyer. She was the daughter of William A’Beckett and Sarah Abbot
and her family were descended from Thomas
A’Beckett. She was a lady in waiting to Queen
Victoria and painted a small portrait of Victoria’s children which
hangs in a corridor at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
William was a friend of Charles Dickens, but after a falling out,
Dickens took his revenge by depicting William as the villainous Ralph
Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby. Margaret and
Thomas had four children and it is through their son Arthur A’Beckett, Chief
Justice of New South Wales, that the Boyd
family tree in Australia is generated. Thomas also had a
MARIA FOWELL SPRYE, who was born in Vizgapatam in India
around 1827. She had been placed in his care by her father, Richard Samuel Mare Sprye, (brother of William Bach Sprye, who was an officer in the Madras
Native Infantry. It is believed that William lost his life in the
Indian Mutiny.) Isabella's mother was Henrietta Digby. In the 1851 census Isabella is shown as a
visitor in the house of Thomas and Margaret Terrell. William
had assumed that his daughter would be safe as the ward of a seemingly
respectable barrister! However when Isabella became pregnant
she was taken secretly to Paris, where she gave birth to a
son. She was to give Thomas seven children in all, Thomas, Alice, Henry, George, Phyllis,
James and Rosamund. It is through this line that
the Balean/Terrell tree is derived. After Margaret’s death in 1871,
Thomas did in fact marry Isabella in 1873, although in the 1861 census Isabella is
shown as a barrister’s wife living at Parson’s Mead, Croyden.
In the 1871 census Thomas is shown as a County Court Judge in Llandielo
and the family lives in a house called ‘Carregcenen’ in Llandielo Fahr
with a governess, cook, servant and nurse. The four young
children are living at home as is Alice, while Thomas and Henry would
have been at school at Berkhamsted. It has been suggested
that Thomas would have had a more successful career had he ordered his
domestic affairs better. He was offered the post of Chief
Justice of Calcutta, but had to turn it down due to being permanently
in debt. It is rumoured that when creditors came to arrest
him outside his own court, he had to escape through a back
door. He died in 1895 in France and is buried there in the
English Cemetery in Nice. His wife, Isabella, survived him by
many years and continued to live in the south of France until her death in 1914.
TERRELL was born on 11th July1852 in
Paris. He was the eldest child of Thomas Hull Terrell and
Isabella Sprye. He became a lawyer like his father.
He married EMMA JANE
SPOONER, who he met while renting rooms in
Emma’s mother’s house while he was studying law. Emma was
born on 6th June1842 and was ten years older than Thomas.
They had three children, Hugh,
Courtney and Isabel. In due course Thomas also
took a mistress, CLEMENTINE
BOURIEL, who was from Brittany in France.
Thomas covered the famous Dreyfus case in France as
a reporter, and he would go over to France and be with Clementine while
he was there and then would take home expensive jewellery as
compensation for his wife. He had seven children by
Clementine; Thomas, George,
Robert, Edward, Yolande, Simone, and Renee.
Thomas was Treasurer and a Bencher at Gray’s Inn, a divorce lawyer and an inventor, and he would make and lose fortunes in this way. He invented a special type of gas mantle, only to find that electricity came in and there was no longer any need for the mantles. He wrote novels and plays as well as writing for the London Evening Standard. He put his legal and scientific background to good use by writing the first edition of the standard book on patents and trade marks still known as ‘Terrell on Patents’ (his son Courtney wrote many further editions). He was a political radical, a liberal democrat, and was indifferent to religious beliefs. Like his father, had his life been more conventional his career may have progressed further. When Emma died in 1924 he married Clementine, thus legitimising her progeny. He himself died on 27th April1928 and there was a memorial service for him at Gray’s Inn Chapel.
Sir COURTNEY TERRELL, OBE QC was born in 1881, eldest son of Thomas and Emma Terrell. At the age of 47 he became Lord Chief Justice of Patna in India and he stayed in the post for ten years until his death and was revered and respected for his legal decisions and his great love of the Indian people, especially the children. He married CONSTANCE WOODER, but after the birth of their third child, he fell in love with her sister Edith Wooder. Edith and Constance both went out to India with him, but Constance soon left for Italy, where she remained. She remained on friendly terms with Courtney and they exchanged frequent letters, but they were unable to live together in harmony. Edith stayed on as his mistress and companion. Against convention, he would wear traditional Indian dress against the heat. His son Richard describes his life in his book ‘The Chief Justice’ (Michael Russell Publishing, 1979) and it is well worth reading. Courtney died on 17th May1938 from abdominal cancer.
TERRELL, the younger son of Thomas and Emma,
was a civil engineer. His wife was Doris Wrightwick.
They had two children, Stephen and Mary. Stephen was a QC on the
Circuit. He was president of the Liberal Party in 1972 and
was the candidate for Eastbourne in 1976. Hugh and Doris were
divorced in about 1928. Hugh had a de facto relationship with Dr
Gabrielle Jones, a cancer specialist. They had a son, Mark and
daughter Ann. Hugh's brother, Courtney, became guardian to Mary and
Stephen, who had become wards of court as a result of their parent's
split and had been placed in a children's home. When Courtney returned
from India on leave, he immediately took charge of the situation.
ISABEL TERRELL was born on 8th September1882, the only daughter of Thomas and Emma. She had a lonely childhood, being brought up by a governess. She studied the violin at the London Academy and became very proficient. She was also a talented artist. She married HERMANN BALEAN on 1st December1908 in St Peter’s Church Bayswater. They went out to China where Hermann took a medical post in Chinkiang near Shanghai. All their children were born there. Later they moved to Hong Kong where Hermann set up his own practice. During the war both Hermann and Isabel were interned at Stanley Internment Camp by the Japanese. Hermann died before the war ended but Isabel survived and returned to England. She lived at Henley for the rest of her life until she became too frail to look after herself. She died on 23rd May 1963 at the age of 80.
Capt. EDWARD TERRELL OBE QC was born on 12th June1902, son of Thomas Terrell and Clementine Bouriel. He was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn in 1924 and took silk in 1955. He was Recorder of Newbury from 1936-1971 and Recorder of the Crown Court from 1972-1974. He joined the RNVR in 1941 and was the inventor of plastic armour, which was fitted to 10,000 ships in WW2. He also invented the first rocket bomb for use on U-boat shelters and was involved in many other vital inventions for the protection of the naval convoys in WW2. He was married to WINIFRED PACKARD SHYVERS; they had a son, Christopher (Edward wrote a book about his wartime experiences, Admiralty Brief. It describes his inventions in some detail and is a very readable book.). Winifred was one of nine daughters of William and Rose Shyvers. William was a shipping broker and one of the founders of the Baltic Exchange, who made a fortune in WW1 and lost it in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash. Rose’s family owned large parcels of land in Santa Barbara, California.
THOMAS TERRELL, eldest son of Thomas Terrell and Clementine Bouriel, was Judge Advocate General for the RAF at the Nuremburg Trials. He was also present at the Ravensbrück Trials, where he met Oswald Bradford Balean, who was also involved, representing German defendants on behalf the British RAF