Christmas Patterson

#91, b. 29 December 1827, d. December 1917

Medals awarded to Christmas Patterson for his service in the Royal Navy. Refer to research note for details (as supplied by Sid PATTERSON)

Individual's Timeline

Birth25 December 1827Christmas Patterson
Christening29 December 1827Christmas Patterson1,2
Death of Mother1 May 1839Mary Patterson3
Death of Father19 April 1849Jonathan Patterson4
Marr RegMarch 1857Christmas Patterson5
Marriage of Son14 January 1882Christmas Thomas Patterson6
Marriage of SonSeptember 1884Christmas Thomas Patterson
Marriage of Daughter4 January 1894Amy Mary Patterson7
Death RegDecember 1917Christmas Patterson8

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

  • Occupation: Christmas was a cooper's apprentice, then a tailor, then a naval pensioner. In 1871, Christmas was a Commissioned Boatman in the Coast Guard living in Sussex. Papers from Sidney PATTERSON filed in Military folder.

Census details

Some aspects of Christmas Patterson's life. Research into Christopher Patterson (Christmas) service in the Royal Navy - By Sidney PATTERSON, a fellow researcher and relative.

One of the ships he served on being HMS Leander, which was a ship of 50 Guns, took him to Russia where he served on her during the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War of 1854-1856. For his services there, he was awarded a campaign medal being the Crimean War Medal with clasp attached to it bearing the words Sebastopol. I (Sidney that is) obtained a copy of the original Victorian medal roll where it shows him as being presented with the medal and clasp whilst serving aboard HMS Leander.

This was a very famous ship that saw much action, and it, along with other ships, landed a lot of its sailors and marines to fight along with the army at the Battle of Balaklava Inkermann and the latter siege of Sebastopol and they were designated as the Naval brigade. I (still Sidney) also have a copy of his ships full casualty roll of killed and wounded with the dates when they were entered in the London Gazette.

He would also have been awarded a Turkish Crimean War medal; this was awarded to all the British participants in the war by the British ally The Sultanate of Turkey.

He took part in the 1860 China Wars, and whilst serving on HMS Simoom as a Captain of the Maintop he was awarded the China War medal with the clasp attached bearing the words Taku Forts. A friend of mine has uncovered the original Victorian medal roll with the full details of him and his medal and clasp awarded. I will have a copy of this roll with me by next week, along with the copy of the other Victorian roll I mentioned earlier being for the Crimean War, and I will send both of them to you. The rank of Captain of the Maintop would show that he was in charge of several other seamen a very important position as he would be responsible for the positioning and armament of the maintop as it was an armed structure, which would be able to fire down on the enemy if, need be. In addition, as he is listed as an AB seaman on the earlier Crimean War medal roll, he was obviously promoted when the China war came along.

As he later served in the coast guard that would have made up his extended service and qualified him for a naval pension that he received, he would have also qualified for the Victorian Long Service Good Conduct Medal (LSGC).

Notes on the LEANDER in the Crimean War - (1854-1856). Sebastopol in the Crimea was the great Russian naval arsenal on the Black Sea. A combined assault by British, French and Turkish troops resulted in the reduction of Sebastopol and led to the Treaty of Paris of 27 April 1856, guaranteeing the independence of the Ottoman Empire. By Admiralty Order the Crimea Medal was awarded to sailors and marines present during the campaign, between 17 September 1854 (the first landing at Eupatoria) and 9 September 1855 (when the allies secured Sebastopol). The sailors' medals were mostly delivered to them on board ship in the course of 1856. Her Majesty's Ship Leander, a 50-gun sailing ship, took part in the assault. Four clasps to this medal were awarded to the men present in the actions at Sebastopol itself, Inkerman, Balaklave (Balaclava) and (the sea of) Azoff.

A later addition by Sid - When Christmas landed in the Crimea with his captain William Peel ( The youngest son of Great Britains Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel who is the father of our Police Force ).

He fought with Peel in the 21 gun Diamond battery at the siege of Sebastopol so called by Peel after his former ship HMS Diamond which he commanded prior to taking over HMS Leander on which Christmas served as an able bodied seaman.

In his letters home to his mother Peel wrote the Leanders crew and that of the crew from HMS Diamond fight magnificently together.9
Christmas Patterson was a party to the brush with the law experienced by of Thomas Canham and Maria "Polly" Base Court case between Thomas CANHAM and his son Herbert and Christmas PATTERSON the Crimea War veteran. The 74 year old Christmas was accused by Thomas of attacking his 7 year old son, and of chasing him. Case was dismissed, not least because it was thought a 74 year old could never catch a 7 year old.

When I was looking up the players I discovered another link between the BLAKE family and the BEALES family. Tenuous, but fascinating to those of us who understand the big differences between the 2 families of my mother and her second husband. Back in the 50's when they married, anyway. The cultural circumstances of today have, thank God, removed these 'class differences'. Unfortunately they have been replaced by 'race differences', but I expect that in 60 more years, these will have been replaced by something else.....Too much to hope that all differences would disappear. It looks to me humans need some sort of difference to hang their hats on.

Christmas PATTERSON the Crimea War vet is the 2 x Great Uncle of my step father Basil BEALES

Herbert Thomas CANHAM was in the Sefton Arms with his father Thomas, the publican and mother Leah in 1901. Thomas the landlord of the Sefton Arms is the brother of Sarah Maria who married John BASE in 1886. John BASE was the brother of Maria BASE who married Herbert George BLAKE in 1891. Herbert and Maria are my GGP, parents of Porky BLAKE the Yarmouth butcher (my Grandad who I lived with for my first 5 years). This is link between the BEALES family and the BLAKE family, alluded to above. None of which were ever considered even an outside possibility by the 2 families back in 1950s when my mother BLAKE married my step father BEALES....

John PATTERSON - not found in my database, so I looked him up in the 1901 census. There is only 1 likely candidate, and he is John Danby PATTERSON, son of a Truant Officer named Arthur Henry PATTERSON born 1858 in Great Yarmouth. They were living 273 Southtown Road (round the corner from Sefton Road, the CANHAMs are about 4 pages away in the census).

Arthur Henry is also not in my database - There is NO Arthur Henry PATTERSON in the birth registrations in Yarmouth, but there is a Henry Arthur PATTERSON registered Dec 1857. This little chap was Chr in the Primitive Methodists, son of William and Mary Ann PATTERSON. HIM I DO HAVE.

Father William was a Prudential Insurance Agent who died in 1909. I have them in the database, but as far as I can tell he is NOT a relation of any of the PATTERSONs who are related to my stepfather and/or Christmas. Top of William's tree is James PATTERSON a shoemaker born in Norwich 1786. Even if there turns out to be a connection further up the tree, the protagonists in this drama would never have been aware of it.

A F CLOWES lawyer. Also in my database as Albert Frank. Born in Yarmouth 1865, long line of Solicitors and Drs. He was struck off in 1914 for Professional Misconduct.

Owned - the Queen Alexandria. She was (as YH546) a trawler - Steam screw; coal burner. Sails fore and aft. She transferred from his ownership and from Yarmouth to Mitford before 1905. A photo and more details are at -

Way back this CLOWES family owned Caister Castle. One married my 2x Great Aunt Charlotte BASE. Charlotte is ALSO a sister of John and Maria BELL. Charlotte CLOWES (nee BASE) came to Australia and is the grandmother of my famous cousin Cyril CLOWES the senior army man who was the head of the first army group to defeat the Japanese on land in the pacific. He was in the front line, not making tea back at base.

I am blood related cousin to Cyril, but not to solicitor CLOWES. I am related to Cyril and Albert is related to Cyril, but we are not related to each other.

BUT----as I read it, Albert Frank appeared for the defendant Christmas PATTERSON, and therefore against the 2 Canham claimants, but was somehow related to the CANHAMs by marriage.

CLOWES and Caister Castle. The 'castle' (called this because the roof was castellated) was built by Falstaff - the man who Shakespeare wrote about. It was against the law to build castellated houses, as the King thought that you, as the castle owner, could defend yourself against his men if he ever wanted to 'bring you to London'. This was of course in the time of dissension around who was going to sit on throne and who was not. But Falstaff was such a military hero he seems to have got away with it.

Falstaff had no children and the PASTON (of the letters) family got custody of the castle. The letters are worth the effort to read, being the first domestic letters - written by a married couple to each other, hubby in London doing business and somehow in Court Circles, and wife in Caister looking after the farm, the kids, the servants and the castle.

The PASTON'S castle became the CLOWES' via a female inheritance. Somewhere a PASTON woman married a CLOWES man.

Brushes with the LAW

In 1844 he was sentenced to 1 month for larceny at the Yarmouth Petty Sessions.

This is FAR outweighed by his Naval Service and Medals.... Christmas spent the first part of his time in the Navy as Christopher (connection proved beyond doubt by Sidney PATTERSON - Christmas is shown as 'alias Christmas' when he was with the Coast Guard).

Research Notes

  • Research note 01: His Navy records are in the National Archives mistranscribed as Christopher PATTERSON with a birth date of 25th Dec 1828 (it was actually 1827). In fact the record, as obtained by Sidney PATTERSON, is for Christopher PATTERSON. We agree this is our man, and he may have fibbed on the form as he had a (small) criminal record..
  • Research note 02: Re - 1861 census
    * I had no idea what a Captain of the Maintop meant; I found the following on the forum.
    * The Sailor's Word Book' by Admiral W H Smyth published 1867, describes a top as:
    "A sort of platform placed over the head of the lower mast, from which it projects like a scaffold. The principle intention of the top is to extend the topmast shrouds, so as to form a greater angle with the mast, and thereby give it additional support".....................
    "In ships of war it is used as a kind of redoubt, and is fortified accordingly. It is very convenient for containing the materials for setting the small sails, fixing and repairing the rigging &c. The tops are named after their respective masts"............................
    (I've edited the definition to include only the relevant bits).
    Captains of Foretop and Maintop would be agile and trusted sailors..
  • Research note 03: A note from Sidney PATTERSON re HMS Leander - There is another very interesting thing that has surfaced the medal roll for the Crimean war. It also shows the Captain's medal details. This I find is a very exciting development as it shows that the Captain was awarded the Crimean War medal with the clasps for Inkermann and also Sebastopol the Turkish Crimea medal and also the Victoria Cross. I know that his ship landed sailors and marines to support the army at the battle of Inkermann.
    * As you may know the VC was first introduced by Queen Victoria, as a result of the Crimean War and I believe that my (Sid's) further research will turn up some very interesting facts, which I believe, will make an interesting addition to your web page..
  • Research note 04: The medals pictured are from left to right the Crimean War Medal with single clasp for Sebastopol. ( This medal was awarded to him when he was serving aboard HMS Leander during the Crimean War )

    The China War Medal ( 1858-1860 ) with clasp for Taku Forts 1860 on the ribbon is attached a silver Victorian navy sweet heart brooch which is hallmarked for 1862. ( This medal was sent to him at the coast guard station with reference to the paperwork that I sent you previously where this is mentioned, when he was serving as a commissioned boatman in the coast guard

    The Victorian navy ( LSGC ) Long Service Good conduct Medal. Attached to the ribbon of this medal is his Victorian Naval Volunteer Reserve Lapel Badge.

    The Sultanate of Turkeys medal that he awarded to all sailors and soldiers of his allies being the British and French who helped him during the war.

    All of the medals have beautiful Victorian hallmarked fancy ribbon mounting attachments at the top of their ribbons for attachment to the uniform. These would have had to be purchased privately by Christmas.

    Above the medals in the display case is a silver Victorian Naval badge showing the fouled anchor ie rope entwined around it..

Children of Christmas Patterson and Priscilla Charlotte Baxfield


  1. England & Wales Parish Records, 1530-1906, online, Name:      Christmas Patterson
    Gender:      Male
    Christening Date:      29 Dec 1827
    Christening Place:      Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
    Father's Name:      Jonathan Patterson
    Mother's Name:      Mary.
  2. BDM, British Isles Vital Record CD.
  3. Copies of original certificates and docs.
  4. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online, Name:      Jonathan Patterson
    Year of Registration:      1849
    Quarter of Registration:      Apr-May-Jun
    District:      Yarmouth (1837-1924)
    County:      Norfolk
    Volume:      13
    Page:      286.
  5. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online
  6. Website ( "Original Doc downloaded - London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 Record for Christmas Thomas Patterson."
  7. BDM, British Isles Vital Record CD, Name:      Amy Mary Patterson
    Gender:      Female
    Birth Date:      abt 1869
    Age:      25
    Father's Name:      Christmas Patterson
    Spouse's Name:      Albert Henry Steward
    Spouse's Age:      24
    Spouse's Father's Name:      Frederick Charles Steward
    Marriage Date:      4 Jan 1894
    Marriage Place:      Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.
  8. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online, Patterson      Christmas      89      Yarmouth      4b     37.
  9. Sidney Patterson, "Sidney Patterson email," e-mail from e-mail address, various, email Feb 2012.
  10. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online, PATTERSON      Christmas Thomas            Yarmouth      4b     25.