Photographs of Rhodes's brother Frank and "Miss Rhodes", his sister, 1902 (GB 0162 MSS. Afr. s. 2201)
Although Cecil Rhodes's family may be traced back to Staffordshire and Cheshire in the 17th and early 18th centuries, his immediate ancestry begins with William Rhodes, who moved to London around 1720 and leased a farm in St. Pancras. He died in 1787 and, in common with four subsequent generations, was commemorated at St. Pancras Old Church. His son, Thomas held land throughout London.
Thomas's son Samuel (1736-1794), aware of the rapid growth of London, bought land containing brick earth. His estate in Hackney was left to his three sons, Thomas (1762-1856), William (1774-1843) and Samuel (1766-1822). Samuel amassed property in Hackney as a brickmaster while William patented his own brick manufacturing improvements. William's eldest son, Francis William (1807-1878) served as Vicar of Bishops Stortford, 1849-1876, and was Cecil Rhodes's father.
Cecil was only one of several children. Of his brothers, Herbert (1845-1879) was accidentally killed while pioneering in the Lake Nyasa area; Francis William (1850-1905) rose to the rank of colonel in the Army, seeing service in the Ndebele and South African Wars; Ernest Frederick (1852-1901) served in the Royal Engineers, retiring as Captain in 1884; Elmhurst (born 1858) rose to the rank of major in the Army and saw service in the South African War; Arthur Montagu (1859-1935) fought in the 2nd Ndebele War; and Bernard Maitland (1865-1935) retired from the Army as captain in 1897.
Ernest Frederick's wife, Helen Irving, leased Hildersham Hall, Cambridge in 1939 and the property passed to her two daughters after her death. In the mid-19th century, Cecil came into possession of Dalham Hall, Suffolk and Groote Schuur, near Cape Town. Dalham was sold during the next generation. Groote Schuur suffered a serious fire in 1897 and, although it was rebuilt, many of Rhodes's papers were destroyed.
Photographs copyright © 2003 Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.