Captain Matthew Flinders RN, Son of Donington in Lincolnshire

Captain Matthew Flinders - Explorer and Cartographer - born 16th March 1774 in Donington - the man who named Australia. The story of Matthew Flinders - son of Matthew Flinders - Surgeon, Apothecary and Man-Midwife of Donington in rural Lincolnshire - is well documented - accounts of his life and exploring is detailed on Wikipedia 

When Matthew died in 1814, he was still living in London working with the Publishers of his great works A Voyage to Terra Australis. So his remains were buried in London. For many years, it was thought that their location was lost. However work by the HS2 team in preparation for the new High Speed Railway Project in early 2019 revealed the discovery of those remains - identifiable with a clearly marked lead breastplate on the coffin.

As soon as this find was publicised, people from Donington began the campaign to have him brought back to Donington as his final resting place. The Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home Group was established with this sole aim. The Group worked with Matthew's direct descendants, the Church Authorities at Lincoln, Sir John Hayes MP - who raised the issue in the House of Commons - and gained much support. The campaign has been successful - on 17th October 2019 the decision was announced that Matthew's mortal remains would return to Donington for reburial.

The Reburial: - 

Plans are now in preparation for the reinterment which is likely to be in the North Aisle of the Church - see picture - adjacent to the Flinders Stained Glass Window. The preparation work will involve an archaeological survey of this part of the church; church permissions / Faculties; the design and creation of an appropriate Ledger Stone for on top of the grave to provide an appropriate and permanent tribute to this great man. Fund raising for all of this has started - please see the Make A Donation section to support these works and to ensure Matthew has a permanent and fitting memorial!

Photos are of Cigarette Cards from 1920s featuring Matthew Flinders. The House is a photo of the Flinders House at Donington ( no longer there ) as it would have been in Matthew's time. 

Reburial Update

Inevitably due to the Worldwide Corona Virus pandemic - all plans for Matthew's return to Donington - which we had hoped would be in July 2020 - have now been put on hold. It had been hoped to have multiple services to enable the maximum possible opportunities for the many people wanting to join us to be involved. Inevitably all of that is now postponed. 
We had anticipated that there would be a number of visitors joining us too including from Australia and New Zealand - so any future planning will have to allow for that to still happen in an appropriate way - without the need for self-isolating. Like everyone else - we can only hope that this dreadful disease will be conquered and that a normality will return - allowing everyday events and special occasions - as Matthew's reburial will eventually be - to take place without the need for social distancing - because the threat has diminished and normality has returned. 
If at all possible to achieve this we will recommence planning and would again try to aim for an appropriate date - possibly July 2021 - but until the 'World' returns to normal it isn't possible to provide anything more specific for now. We do continue to hope that eventually - whenever the reburial does take place - we will be able to FINALLY give this great explorer the proper remembrance that he so very much deserves.

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Ann Flinders. Ann Chappelle was born on 21st November 1770 at Hull,  the daughter of a captain in the Merchant Navy who had died early of illness at sea off Java. Her mother remarried to a Rev William Tyler and had another daughter, Isabella, with whom Ann lived and remained very close for the rest of her life.
Ann was described by eugenicist Sir Francis Galton as 'with above average mental powers, considered clever, with a sweet and perfect temper, beloved by all who knew her, witty, generous, nervous, with apptitude for poetry, literature, singing, verse, and painting flowers from nature'.
Ann and Matthew married on 17th April1801at Partney in Lincolnshire - and it was the intention for Ann to travel with him on his voyages - however that was vetoed by the Lords of the Admiralty and after just three months of marriage, they were parted for over nine years.
Ann and Matthew had one daughter - Anne, born in 1812 who later married William Petrie, a civil engineer. Their only child and son Sir William Flinders Petrie ( 1853 - 1942 ) went on to become a renowned Egyptologist who is buried in Jerusalem.
It is believed that through illness Ann became blind in one eye, nevertheless she was a watercolourist with an aptitude for painting flowers - some of her work is in the Usher Gallery at Lincoln.
Ann outlived Matthew by almost forty years, living at various addresses in London with her half-sister Isabella. Her headstone can be seen in the Churchyard of St Thomas, Charlton, London.
Inscription on the Headstone reads -
"Sacred to the memory of Ann, Widow of Capt Matthew Flinders RN The Circumnavigator of Australia and Discoverer. She died 10 February 1852. Let me die the death of the righteous And let my last end be like hers. Also of Isabella Tyler Half Sister of the above and daughter of the late Revd Wm Tyler of Ashby Lincoln Who died on 18th December 1867"
Images are: - Of Matthew and Ann; and Daughter Anne in the Blue Dress - by kind permission of Lisette Flinders
and the gravestone at Charlton

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On Thursday 28th November  2019 at 11.15am and 9.15pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra is a repeat of the 2005  
broadcast “My Love Must Wait” based on the letters of Matthew and Ann Flinders.
My Love Must Wait - written in 1941 by Ernestine Hill - features Jenny Agutter as Ann.
The story in 'My Love Must Wait' charts Matthew's life from boyhood - into the Navy - and through his explorations, discoveries and eventual internment on the Isle de France ( now known as Mauritius ) and does show what an excellent man he was from his care of his ship's contingent, to his extremely detailed record keeping and, of course, maps - and helps the reader to understand how the relationships occurred and developed with Captain Bligh, Sir Joseph Banks, George Bass, little brother Samuel, John Franklin and many others - a steady but interesting read!!

Picture shows Matthew's flute - as mentioned in the "My Love Must Wait" play - photo courtesy of Lisette Flinders, at which Matthew was very skilled.


Donation Amount

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The Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home Group was established early in 2019 with the aim of influencing the return of Matthew Flinders' mortal remains to Donington for their final reinterrment. The Group is made up of local people from the Parochial Church Council; the Parish Council and others. The Group is also supportive of the Flinders display material in the Church and would like to raise funds to ensure the materials on display are continually updated.
They have created a 2020 Calendar of Flinders pictures from around the village - this is a high quality, keepsake Calendar containing 13 professional images - including the Flinders Statue in the Market Place; Flinders Park; Thomas Cowley High School - the school on the site where Flinders began his education - and many more. These Calendars are available in the village at the Library, in the Get-A-Head and Vanity Fayre Hair Salons and at the Church - or by contacting the group at Cost is £10 - or £12 incl P&P to anywhere in the UK; £17.50 to Australia. You can purchase below and we will mail it to you direct.

The Group also has a very active Facebook Page - LINK to Facebook!

Donation Amount

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One companion of Matthew for several years of his travels was TRIM - the black and white cat who has become almost as famous as the Explorer himself.
Trim has 6 statues - 4 in Australia and 2 in Britain.
Trim has had a number of stories and publicatons written about him - obviously allowing for some 'story-telling' licence relating his story along those years until he disappeared in Mauritius whilst Matthew was detained there.
These include -

- Trim: Being the True Story of a Brave Seafaring Cat by Matthew Flinders

- Matthew Flinders' Cat by Bryce Courtenay

- Trim, The Cartographer's Cat - The Ship's Cat who helped Flinders Map Australia - by Gillian Dooley

- A Cat Called Trim by Corinne Fenton  ( a Children's Book ) 

The picture shown is Trim at the feet of Matthew's statue in the Market Place in Donington

"To the memory of Trim: 'The best and most illustrious of his race, the most affectionate of friends, faithful of servants, and best of creatures' says a State Library of NSW plaque"  

1797: Trim is born on board HMS Reliance in the Indian Ocean between Cape Town and Botany Bay. Flinders is Master's Mate.
1798: Flinders takes command of HMS Norfolk and circumnavigates Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) with George Bass. Trim remains on board Reliance.
1799: Flinders and Trim sail north on Norfolk to what is now south-east Queensland.
1800: Flinders and Trim sail to England on Reliance via Cape Horn and St Helena.
1801: Flinders and Trim sail to what is now Western Australia on HMS Investigator via Madeira and Cape Town.
1802-03: Flinders and Trim survey the southern coast of Australia, arriving in Sydney in May. Two months later they head north on Investigator and circumnavigate the continent.
1803: Flinders and Trim head to England on HMS Porpoise but are wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef. Flinders sails back to Sydney on Porpoise's cutter Hope while Trim stays on Wreck Reef. Flinders and Trim are reunited and sail for England on HMS Cumberland but are captured by the French in Mauritius.
  • Church Street, Donington, Spalding PE11 4UA, UK
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